Good, no doubt, and could be great at some point. Also, this is open source and as of this writing the only contributor is Softaculous, which makes good stuff.
I use this plugin because I manage anywhere between half a dozen to a dozen sites at any one time for various clients. So, not exactly a ‘power user’ but I like having one place to manage all the sites. It’s a long overdue idea and a welcome one. Being able to manage all your wordpress theme and plugin updates from a central site is a godsend for many.
Sadly, it doesn’t live up to its potential just yet.
When you first log in, you see a mosaic display of the front pages of the websites you’re managing. Hover over them to be taken to the admin dashboard or for some other options. So in that way you could consider it a central login screen for all the sites you connect. It also allows you to make backups, which is good if you don’t have backups set up already.
However, updating themes and plugins is clunky and not intuitive at all. And since this is the main reason most of us would use wpcentral, it’s disappointing.
UPDATES: You cannot update all your themes and plugins at once. If you’ve ever logged in to your site and clicked ‘Update plugin’ three or four times in succession as you go down the page, using wpcentral is actually slower than that and nowhere near as intuitive.
The plugin’s screen shows options under ‘Updates’ marked ‘Outdated Plugins’ and ‘Outdated Themes’. There is no ‘Update All’ button. In fact your mouse cursor disappears in this box and you just have to hope you clicked the right thing. When you do see the list of website items to update, you can’t just click ‘Update All’ here either.
You have to check a box at the far left beside the site name, then go to the far right and click ‘Update’. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE… Just because you check the box to the left of the website and click ‘Update’ does NOT mean it updates everything. You have to individually select which things to update. And you don’t know what they are unless you figure out that you have to click the name of the site first, which only then displays a list of outdated items.
You can’t tell it to update themes and plugins from the same screen (unless you log in to your wordpress dashboard and do it from there, in which case you’re technically not using wpcentral anyway).
Therefore if you manage many sites you’ll want to either a) keep doing it the way you’re already doing it, logging into each site and clicking ‘Update plugin’ in succession’ as you go down the page, or b) use wpcentral solely as a sort of central password manager.
POSTS: There’s a button on the left marked ‘Manage Posts’ which shows you a list of posts from all the connected sites. Clicking ‘Preview’ or ‘Edit’ simply repeats the same page in a new window. This is because post management is only accessible in a paid version; however, instead of displaying a message saying that, you can waste some time til you figure this out too. Given how it handles updates I’m not sure if I’d trust it to manage posts, especially if you have different authors or preferences set for display for each. This may be unfair of me to say, since I am using the evaluation version.
I’ll keep using it because it’s a helpful idea, but only as a sort of option b) above, a place from which to conveniently open all the wordpress page dashboards (they open in a new tab). Even with seven sites currently connected the truth is it’s only marginally faster than logging in to each one individually (since it takes you straight to the dashboard without having to log in first), and in fact until I figured out what I described above, my sites were not updated properly. I had to log in to the sites separately from wpcentral and figure out why some plugins updated and some didn’t.
“A” for effort. Considerably less for implementation. But I would think that these issues will be addressed in future.
*edit* In a supreme irony, I logged in to one of my sites to see if it needed updating when I logged out of wpcentral’s site, and yep…which plugin needed updating? Wpcentral.
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