InfiniteWP vs MainWP vs ManageWP?

Just wondering what people are using for remote management of WordPress sites - either your own, or clients?

Around 6 months ago I set up a hosting server and started to offer hosting to a bunch of my clients. As part of the service do managed WordPress updates for core WP and plugins (from WP.org, not premium plugins in general) for a small extra monthly fee.

This is super easy to do with a centralised management control panel that notifies of any updates required and let's you easily and effortlessly update all of your sites from the one management control panel.

I started off using ManageWP.com but was put off by the monthly cost. While it's not much per site it adds up quickly.

For the last 4 months I've been using InfiniteWP (http://infinitewp.com). Overall I quite like InfiniteWP but have experienced some strange issues with certain client sites refusing to update plugins and backups failing. Unfortunately I missed out on the lifetime deal by a week so the other downside is the cost of all of the addons which are currently $799 up front and then 50% again each year. This cost will continue to rise with each new addon released.

However, today I just stumbled across a new player I hadn't heard for before - MainWP - http://mainwp.com/redirect/getresults.html

In many ways it's similar to InfiniteWP - offering remote management, one click admin logins, uptime monitoring, automated backups to Amazon S3 etc. The major differences are that it runs in WordPress (as opposed to InfiniteWP which is a custom php script) and all the extensions are a one time fee each with lifetime updates.

So for approx $200 I picked up all of the extensions for MainWP today. After testing if I decide to switch from InfiniteWP for client site management I'll be saving at least $350+ each year ongoing.

MainWP doesn't yet offer a client reporting extension (send to clients so they can see the updates & backups that have been made) but one is in development.

So far I'm extremely impressed with MainWP but need more testing to make sure plugin upgrades and remote backups to Amazon S3 etc run smoothly.

Has anyone else here used MainWP and InfiniteWP? Any thoughts on the pros and cons of each?

In particular I'm interested to hear from anyone who has experienced problems with MainWP - particularly failed remote backups which I've been frustrated by with InfiniteWP.

Final note: if anyone is interested in MainWP the 25% coupon offer that was supposed to end a few days ago is still working although it might stop working at any time. Drop me a line if you would like the coupon code.

  • Jack Kitterhing

    Hi there @phillcoxon,

    Hope you're well today and thanks for your question.

    I've never personally used InfiniteWP, Though I have used ManageWP and between the two that was my personal favorite.

    The backups never failed using ManageWP and personally I felt the pricing structure was better, even though it does add up, at first you could say buy a 5 site package, which worked out a lot cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars on InfiniteWP

    I hadn't seen MainWP before, but it certainly does look very interesting and I'll be interested to see everyone elses opinions on this thread.

    Thanks!

    Kind Regards
    Jack.

  • phillcoxon

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for the reply.

    ManageWP is pretty rock solid in my experience. I haven't had issues with backups but I have spoken to people who have. More than anything it was the cost of paying for 100+ sites in future that put me off.

    InfiniteWP I've been using every day for general plugin updates but I don't rely on it for backups as I've had issues with it saying backups completed and then finding out they didn't

    Support seems slow and spotty and I found the fact they closed their forum recently worrying. I totally agree with not trying to support customers in a forum - use a ticket support system - but when it removes the ability for customers to talk to each other about their experiences I start to get a bit wary.

    So right now I'm hoping MainWP will work out as a really great cost effective solution. I'll post back more of a review in the next few days.

    In the meantime I'd also definitely like to hear about other people's experiences with MainWP.

    Catch ya!

  • phillcoxon

    Here's a quick update on my thoughts so far.

    I like it.

    A lot.

    In fact, I've already gone ahead and requested a refund of my last two Infinite WP plugins and then went ahead and bought the entire set of extensions for MainWP.

    Financially it makes sense. For around US$220 I was able to pick up ALL of the MainWP extensions with *lifetime* updates. InfiniteWP now costs $800 up front and then at least $400+ every year to renew the plugins and this will continue to get more expensive as more plugins are released.

    While InfiniteWP is a standalone custom PHP script, MainWP is a WordPress plugin and the extensions are additional WP plugins. It's quite neat to run a WP website remote management interface within WordPress itself. It means I can install additional plugins (WordFence, iThemes Security, Yubikey Login etc) and customise the site to my liking.

    Even though I've only had MainWP for a few days I've seen a number of updates to extensions and the core MainWP plugins along with a brand new plugin (File Uploader Extension) released.

    I really, really like that the base MainWP and MainWP child plugins are available on github for anyone to review code and contribute to. They are keeping the development very open which is always a good sign in my opinion.

    I think it's great that they have a fairly active community forum and encourage suggestions and voting on new features. They also encourage users to use the API to develop their own third party extensions.

    InfiniteWP on the other hand recently closed down their community forum. Generally I find it hard not to see that as a bad sign. It puts an end to all customer discussion and redirects support through to their ticket system which has a reputation for being pretty slow (1-2 days).

    Overall I feel that InfiniteWP still has the better interface and has some pretty solid features that MainWP is still missing. Customer Reports for example - although really not that good in InfiniteWP right now I understand they're working on an improved solution. The new Google Pagerank module for InfiniteWP is fantastic.

    But $220 for 16 MainWP plugins vs $800 for all of the InfiniteWP plugins and then ongoing renewal fees... I think I can wait on MainWP to catch up as far as Google Page Rank, Client reports etc. By the way - that $800 for InfiniteWP is if you buy all the plugins at once. If you bought them individually it would be $1142 + around $500 for annual plugin renewals.

    http://infinitewp.com/addons/

    However, where InfiniteWP really does shine is the overall ease of use of the interface and speed. MainWP can feel very sluggish, especially when starting a bunch of client site updates at once. Many features aren't as easy to find in MainWP and feel more complex to action compared to InfiniteWP.

    MainWP is still the newer kid on the block but seems to be catching up very quickly. From screenshots and blog entries I can see the MainWP interface is continuing to improve and be refined. From the email updates I've received there is a real feeling of commitment that seems to radiate from the developers to continue creating the best product possible.

    Some of the new extensions I'm exploring in MainWP are mind-blowingly useful:

    http://mainwp.com/redirect/getresults-3.html

    Take the Favorites extension (just $19.99!) that lets us keep plugins and themes in groups which we can easily deploy in seconds.

    I'm setting up groups of plugins - "Developer", "Debugging", "Security", "Optimisation" etc. In each group I can pick plugins from the WP.org repo or upload my own plugins.

    When I create a new WordPress site I can select say the Developer and Security groups and with one click have MainWP download, install and activate all of the associated plugins on that website. This saves a significant amount of time and ensures I always start with the most up to date versions of the plugins installed.

    If I had to choose between InfiniteWP and MainWP at the same price right now I'd still go for InfiniteWP. I like the interface better, it feels much quicker and I've found it pretty rock solid over the last 4 months of using it. However, MainWP appears to be catching up to InfiniteWP very, very quickly and I expect great improvements and extensions to come. InfiniteWP certainly can't compete on price.

    Given there is a possibility that at some point that MainWP might also move to a subscription based basis I'm happy that I've invested and locked in lifetime updates.

    In a couple of days when I have more time I can whip up a little video to demo MainWP vs InfiniteWP if anyone's interested?

  • phillcoxon

    Hey PC!

    I've spent quite a bit more time testing MainWP over the last couple of days and I'm liking it more and more.

    I have a major project deadline due in 3 days. As soon as I get on top of that I'll squeeze in some time to create a video comparing InfiniteWP and MainWP. That should also give me enough time to explore a few more features that I have yet to test such as Boilerplate templates, link manager, code snippets, client branding for the MainWP child plugin on client sites etc, good good backups are etc.

    If there's any particular areas you're interested in knowing about let me know.

    Catch ya!

  • Ash

    Hi @phillcoxon

    I never used MainWP but I heard it is good. In fact, once I used manageWP and in that time I was happy with that.

    Though I have heard once about the security issue in MainWP, not sure their current status.

    Ohh, here is a good article, you may read it

    http://www.nutsandboltsmedia.com/mainwp-vs-managewp-the-showdown/

    Hope it helps Please feel free to ask more question if you have.

    Cheers
    Ash

  • phillcoxon

    Hi Ashok,

    Yes, I read that article too - it helped me make the decision to buy MainWP.

    I haven't heard of any security issues with MainWP but the developers seem very active and are pushing out regular updates so I expect they'd be on top of any security issue very quickly.

    I like the fact that MainWP have a White Hat reward for people identifying any issues:

    http://mainwp.com/white-hat-reward/

  • phillcoxon

    Ok, finally have a few minutes to post some thoughts after using MainWP for a few weeks.

    I like it. A lot.

    I've been running InfiniteWP alongside MainWP and I'm now switching fully to MainWP. What I said previously still stands - InfiniteWP has a more polished interface. MainWP on the other hand can't be beaten on price. We're talking US$250 one time fee for *everything* compared to InfiniteWP which is heading upwards of $1000 / year. MainWP also runs inside of WordPress as a plugin which gives additional flexibility to modify the MainWP control panel site - add two factor authentication and automated backups, for example. Additionally MainWP is GPL which is a huge plus. The main InfiniteWP control panel is proprietary code.

    So yeah... definitely recommending MainWP.

    I created a very quick, rough video overview. You'll have to forgive my cough - I was pretty sick a few days ago so I'm coughing now and then and wasn't in the right head space to give a particularly good demonstration. Should give you the idea though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDYTKgpX124

    So yes, I'm a big fan of MainWP now and looking forward to see what plugins they release next. I've already put through some suggestions.

    http://mainwp.com/redirect/getresults-3.html

    If anyone has questions - let me know.

  • wp.network

    Hey all, I wanted to add that I've been (lightly) testing MainWP for several weeks now. I have the MainWP Dashboard running on an SSD-based VPS with a dual core cpu and 2gigs of ram.

    I'm currently managing 12 sites, and while there are some issues (mainly failed updates/backups), they seem fairly small and largely related to the lowcost shared hosting I have many of the 12 managed sites hosted upon.

    Overall, I'm impressed with MainWP and think that its a promising product.

    Which brings me to the other thing...

    I just got an email from Dennis (the MainWP lead) that they are moving to a subscription model beginning August 1st.

    The word is that any extensions purchased after August 1st 2014 will only have one (1) year of support and updates. You can still use it, but no updates... So, if you're into MainWP (or even think you might be later) now is the time to get in on a lifetime license.

    Just an FYI.

    Regards & Aloha,
    Max

  • wp.network

    @phillcoxon I am also hopeful that MainWP will now turn their focus to quality improvements.

    I would guess that their move to the subscription model was made after they had released most of the extensions they had in the workshop in order to compete against (for instance) InfiniteWP on a subscription basis.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they later roll out a 'developer' pack or somesuch similar (again) to InfiniteWP.

    So happy that I got in a few months ago when Dennis was offering some really sweet discounts on the already bargain prices.

    I do think that its currently a bit too tricky to get set up out-of-the-box, but again, hopefully they can move into progressively refining the product after they stabilize their cashflow a bit.

    Cheers,
    Max

  • wp.network

    Hey all,

    I've just noticed that the last three purchases I made from MainWP (two last week, one in May) are showing up in my bank statements as recurring payments...

    I've posted in the MainWP forums about this and expect Dennis will resolve the issue without any problems.

    This is just an FYI for y'all... you might want to double check your bank/cards whatever and try to get any issues worked out before MainWP is in the midst of switching to their new subscription model come August 1st.

    Regards,
    Max

    • wp.network

      ... and an update on that last:

      1) I was perhaps a bit hasty in my wording above. All I can say is that I'm quite sensitive to erroneous recurring charges. (I've been burned before.)

      2) Dennis and the folks at MainWP did indeed get right on this, and while its not fully resolved yet, I have every confidence that it will be.

      3) As of now, the issue seems to be something to do with Stripe.

      As a note, Dennis did make clear to me that

      MainWP does not and has never had any kind of recurring transaction for Extensions, even when it goes to yearly it is something you will need to renew yourself. If we ever have a recurring program it will be very clearly stated and not something that is just put in there.

      So, please don't be put off by my above FYI. Issues happen, and everthing breaks at scale. What matters most to me in this situation is how awesome the folks at MainWP have been in addressing the issue very promptly (as is the usual with them).

      My final word on MainWP vs InfiniteWP vs ManageWP is this: I beleive that MainWP offers the best overall value of these three solutions, hands down - not only does it make admin life easier, its a profit margin maker too.

      Ok thats it for real.

      Aloha,
      Max

  • successfulgeek

    Really great info. I was lucky enough to get in on InfiniteWP early in the beta and I bought the whole premium plugin package for $300 early and because of that I get all plugins they will ever release and updates forever for being an early supporter. Because of that I definitely can't see myself switching to anything. I am very happy there are more options coming out though.

  • phillcoxon

    I thought I'd follow up on this post to say I'm still using MainWP every day and love it. It makes keeping sites up to date almost effortless and I can only guess at how much time it saves me having to log into client sites individually to upgrade them.

    Having automated plugin updates for trusted plugins and notifications of other plugins that need to be upgraded a bit more carefully is fantastic.

    I know the MainWP are currently working on improving the backup systems to work more efficiently and consistently on different server environments which I'm looking forward to.

    So overall MainWP has been one of the very best investments I've made in the last couple of years, if not the best.

    However, I'm guilty of only using a small handful of the many MainWP extensions. I'm wondering who else here is using MainWP and can share some thoughts about their favourite MainWP extensions? I haven't used any of the content creation / content management ones yet as my primary focus has been technical support, upgrading sites etc.

    Anyone care to share some of the other cool stuff they're using MainWP for?

      • phillcoxon

        Hey @Ryan!

        Yes. I'd totally still go with MainWP - I love it.

        My comments are still the same as above - as far as polish, InfiniteWP still holds an edge. Overall it's prettier to look at and more intuitive to use in a few areas.

        However MainWP has (in my opinion) significant advantages at the moment.

        1) $399 for a lifetime license is an amazing deal - I'd encourage people to grab it now while it's available.

        2) The MainWP core team have done what many users asked - slowed down on producing new extensions and really started digging into improving the core MainWP plugins and existing extensions. Updates have been coming out frequently with lots of new improvements.

        3) I love that it's based on WordPress. I can set up multiple instances of MainWP as opposed to InfiniteWP which only allows one control panel install.

        I have a special, highly secured MainWP WordPress control panel installed.

        Because I can add plugins I've installed security plugins, monitoring, login restricted by IP address and I have hardware Yubikey authentication active. Plus I have the entire MainWP control panel backing itself up continuously (files - twice a week, database 2 x daily).

        I prefer the flexibility of MainWP over InfinteWP.

        Right now the only extension that I use that is still suffering is the Reporting extension which is based on the old version of the Stream plugin. I still use the old Stream extension on all of my sites so I can use the reporting. It's not ideal but I know MainWP are thinking about it and figuring out a new strategy to improve reporting again.

        None of the other WordPress management plugins have a better reporting solution yet (that I'm aware of). It's the one major sticking point they all have so I hope MainWP continue to push this and come up with a great solution in the near future.

        Oh... one other that could still be improved is the favourite plugins as management is really non-intuitive. It's awesome because I can favourite plugins - both wordpress.org plugins or custom plugins I upload which you can then bulk install / update on managed sites... but sometimes I get stuck trying to figure out how to favourite a plugin because I'm on the wrong screen. It should be more intuitive.

        There are still many MainWP plugins I have yet to use across my websites (content generation etc) but I hear great things about them and see lots of positive comments in the forum in general.

        So yes, if you have $399 spare I'd run straight to MainWP and grab the lifetime license offer while it lasts. They did say it would only be for a limited time and they've generally stuck to what they say in the forums. In the most part the days of lifetime updates for professional wordpress plugins are coming to an end as developers look to ensure continuing revenue for development. It's such a good investment - I recommend grabbing it if you can.

        • Ryan

          Wow, thanks for the great response! This is all very helpful information.

          I'm all about taking advantage of lifetime updates while I can. I've taken advantage with other plugins and know that they never last. A couple notable purchases were WP Types Toolset for Life and a lifetime unlimited license for Formidable Pro.

          I'm seriously considering MainWP, so thank you for the assurance and honesty about it's shortcomings.

          Up until now I've basically been adhoc installing updates when I perform maintenance and also allowing native WordPress Auto Updates to occur along with local auto backups I'm running using the Updraft Plus plugin. For the most part this has worked well, but now I mainly want a centralized control panel to manage all of the configuration.

          It sounds like you've really invested a lot of time into setting up a solid system. I know I need to setup something similar, but am trying to decide the best way to approach my existing customers. I've only been building WP sites for my customers for a couple of years now and am learning as I go. Currently I have WP customers who pay only for hosting each month and others who have hosting and content maintenance agreements. For customers who already have maintenance agreements, I'm not so worried about, but for the hosting only customers I feel like their should be a fee involved in keeping their WP install up-to-date.

          I feel partially at fault for not being up front, by lack of experience, about the additional maintenance requirements when building a site with WP vs a static HTML site. Because I build all of my sites with WP, some of the customers can appreciate the additional features and ability to update their own content, but on the other hand, some don't even know the difference.

          It might be a discussion you'd rather have offline, but I'm curious how you've approached your customers and how you decide what to charge. I'm hesitant to just include the updates at no additional charge, mainly because I know that even with automatic or one-click updates, things can break.

          I really want to iron this piece of the business out.

          Can you offer any insight?

          • phillcoxon

            Hey @Ryan!

            I'd be very happy to discuss this next week (crazy busy week ahead).

            I'm facing very similar issues. I'm hosting around 40 client websites and using MainWP to manage updates.

            In the most part I'm simply updating plugins as part of the hosting fee but it's not an ideal situation. While most upgrades work perfectly a few do go wrong now and then if if there isn't a backup in place first then it can turn into a nightmare of lost time getting the site back up.

            So I'm drafting terms and conditions for my hosting which includes free minor updates to WP, plugins from wp.org and themes from wp.org as part of a maintenance service along with uptime monitoring and extra security / caching plugins. However, I want to be very specific about stating that paid or custom plugin / theme upgrades are not included and if plugins or WP breaks on even minor upgrades we can put it back to the way it was immediately but there will be a charge for any hands-on time required to upgrade sites.

            I'm also setting up electronic agreement signing so that all hosting clients will have to digitally sign acceptance of the terms and conditions in the near future if they want to retain hosting. I have a really great system for this.

            Would be very keen to swap notes on maintenance contracts etc.

            Drop me a line next week (phillcoxon@gmail.com)

  • wp.network

    ...a shift in the winds, for those who want all-in just got an email from MainWP

    With the purchase of "The Bundle" you not only get all the MainWP Extensions currently released but also all future MainWP Extension each with a lifetime license for a very limited time introductory price of $399.

    But what about the Extensions you already bought?

    We love our customers and appreciate everything you have invested in us so, for the next two months every penny you have spent on MainWP Extensions is credited towards your purchase of "The Bundle"!

    Its nice to have two months to think about it - that was a nice touch, imho

    Cheers, Max

  • phillcoxon

    I'm getting people contacting me directly asking if I'm still a big fan of MainWP so I thought I'd update this thread.

    In summary: yes, absolutely.

    Everything I said above still applies. I use MainWP (http://mainwp.com/121.html) every day and love it in the most part. On several occasions it has been a lifesaver when I had to roll out emergency plugin upgrades for plugins that had massive security holes in them. I love that I can log in and push out updates to all sites using affected plugins in around 40 seconds. Given I'm managing 30+ sites that saves an immense amount of time.

    I'm still only using a fraction of the plugins that MainWP provides and will be setting time aside to really dig into trying / using more over the next few months. I'm particularly excited about the upcoming backup plugin that will tie in Updraft Plus management. For many years I've used BackupBuddy for backups but over the last 6 months I've started moving to Updraft Plus Pro for backing up extremely large websites as BackupBuddy often seems to fail with an error when backups get over 1.5gb in size. Being able to manage and get reports on Updraft Plus backups will be awesome.

    As always the only minor negative I have is that I find the interface non-intuitive and lacking in some places. But that 2% annoyance is outweighed by the 98% brilliance in functionality and peace of mind that MainWP offers.

    The devs continue to be extremely responsive to support requests and really seemed to take on board the suggestions from users (including myself) to stop shipping new plugins and really focus on improving existing ones. As a result there has been a steady stream of upgrades for MainWP plugins coming out.

    I believe the get lifetime plugins and updates bundle deal is still available for US$399 at http://mainwp.com/121.html (less any MainWP plugin purchases you've made recently). If you have the cash to spare I still highly, highly recommend grabbing this as it will save a fortune over time in yearly renewals once the promotion ends.

    With all that said there is a new player in the wordpress management service that will be launching soon. I'm on the beta team (although have done very little beta testing due to time constraints) and it looks good but will almost certainly be ongoing subscription only... so MainWP's current deal still shines.

    • Ryan

      Hey @phillcoxon - Glad you're still a supporter. I'm using a number of the extensions, but haven't bought the bundle yet. Is this the Updraft extension you were talking about?
      https://extensions.mainwp.com/product/mainwp-updraftplus-extension/

      Have you tried the Remote Backups Extension?
      https://extensions.mainwp.com/product/mainwp-remote-backups-extension/

      If so, what was your experience like? I'm trying to use it to backup to AWS S3 storage, but I keep getting failures and partial backups. Seems hit or miss. I've always been happy with Updraft in the past for local backups... combining Updraft Plus for Developers with the Updraft MainWP extension might be the way to go!

      • phillcoxon

        Hey @Ryan - use that's the updraft extension. It requires you also own a license for Updraft Plus of course. I've yet to test it - will do so next week.

        I did originally try the mainwp remote backups extensions in the early days but had issues which is why I reverted back to BackupBuddy. I haven't tested for a while but I know they've been putting huge emphasis on getting backups to work across as many server configurations as possible so will start testing that too.

        I love the simplicity of Updraft Plus (full version) for backups - particularly the way it breaks backups down into smaller sections and sends to remote storage, making sure all parts get there intact. The only thing I don't like about Updraft is how annoying it is to clone a site elsewhere. BackupBuddy still wins there with the importbuddy.php script. With updraft you have to install a new copy of WP, install all the Updraft plugins etc first. Ugh.

        As far as backups my servers are suffering from backup overkill right now. WordPress sites get backed up to Amazon S3 via BackupBuddy or Updraft Plus (depending on size) - usually twice weekly for files and daily for DB. On top of that my cPanel Servers back up all cpanel accounts to separate Amazon S3 every 2 days.

        Finally I run R1Soft backups which are mind-blowingly awesome once you get through the initial learning curve to set up. R1Soft backups do a continuous block level backup up changes on the server drive to an offsite location. So every 4 hours (or whatever time you specify) R1Soft notices what's changed (at a block level) on the disk and sends the binary difference to a R1Soft server. Separately every mysql database is also backed up every 4 hours. This means that if I need to do a restore I can select snapshots of the server every 4 hours for the last few days and pick the exact file and the exact time that I want to restore that file back to. Likewise I can select any database at any 4 hour interval going back 3 days and restore it to that exact state in about 2 minutes.

        I had my first ever real test of this last week when an associate accidentally deleted a large folder of files on a live site (I know, I know). I was able to pick the point in time I wanted to go back to (8 hours previously) and restore that folder back before any changes had been made - all - 3-4 mins.

        So hence why I haven't quite got back around to fully testing mainwp's backup systems hehe. There's no such thing as too many backups.