WordPress Toolkit by Plesk has proved incredibly popular over the last years, offering hosting companies and server admins a single point of management for a range of key WordPress features. Whether admins look after a large number of sites or just a small portfolio, WordPress Toolkit saves time, offering a much more convenient way to tackle common WordPress admin issues.
Now, administrators can also manage remote WordPress instances, as we roll out Remote WordPress Management as part of WordPress Toolkit 4.1. Let’s take a look at how Remote WordPress Management works.
Using Remote Management for WordPress Toolkit
The functionality is straight forward, we wanted to create as few hurdles as possible for our users. To get started, you simply add the remote WordPress instance to the WordPress Toolkit via the Connect button in the WP Toolkit.
With the latest WordPress Toolkit release, we included the Remote Management Plugin. It is part of Remote Management and the idea behind it is obvious – not all the users possess ssh access to the remote server, that’s why the solution here is to use WP plugin in order to connect to remote WordPress sites. The user only needs to provide the WP URL and the credentials to an administrator account. As soon as the access to the remote WP site is provided, WordPress Toolkit initiates the connection and installs WP Remote Management plugin. From this moment WP Toolkit is able to manage the site using the full scope of features under Remote Management functionality.
Another vital feature of the Remote Management for WordPress Toolkit is the ability to add multiple WordPress instances from a remote server at once.
All that’s requires is a hostname or IP address, alongside SSH details including port number, username, authorization type, and password. That’s it – you can add your remote WordPress instance to WordPress Toolkit and manage it alongside all your other WordPress instances, whether local or remote.
WordPress Toolkit brings a lot of benefits and these are available to remote sites too. Just some of the benefits include:
- Simplified WordPress infrastructure management. With no need to log into each WordPress instance manually, remote sites managed by WordPress Toolkit can be accessed from one central spot making site administration a far smoother experience.
- Easy testing and staging. It’s easy to test changes and updates to a site using the sandboxing feature of WordPress Toolkit. There’s no need for a dedicated plugin either, it’s all automated under WordPress Toolkit.
- Plugin and theme management. You can find and install a theme or plugin on a specific remote site, or indeed across a number of remote sites with ease thanks to WordPress Toolkit.
- Simple but feature-rich. Though the WordPress Toolkit UI is simple to use, putting remote sites under management of the WordPress Toolkit gives admins access to advanced controls including debugging management, the WordPress command line interface and even search index management.
WordPress Toolkit has proven incredibly useful for website administrators around the world, and the ability to manage remote WordPress instances using the feature-rich WordPress Toolkit will further widen the appeal of one of Plesk’s most popular tools.
Current limitations in the beta version
As you know, beta products are not finished products – though they’re good enough to start using in most cases. That’s why we notify users that start using Remote Management that the product is provided free, and “as is” with no guarantees.
Don’t let that frighten you: it’s a working product, and we’ve tested the remote management feature thoroughly. Nonetheless, there are a couple of limitations you should be aware of before you jump in:
- To use Remote Management you need the latest version of The WordPress Toolkit and Plesk 17.8 or newer.
- It doesn’t matter whether you use Plesk or cPanel on your remote server, but the server must be Linux based because we don’t yet support Windows servers
- Some features are not yet included in the beta as we focus more on the stability of the remote connections.
- Security measures that depend on web server config files getting modified are not available, and the password protection feature is also unavailable
- There are some functionalities in the current WP Toolkit which highly depend on Plesk like NGINX caching, backup and file & database management integrations and require some more time to be integrated.
These limitations slightly restrict what you can do managing remote sites with WordPress Toolkit, but most administrators will find that remote management using WordPress Toolkit still brings a lot of benefits.
What else did we add to WordPress Toolkit 4.1?
With version 4.1 we’ve made a number of changes that long-term and new users alike will appreciate. Improvements are both visual, with more of the new user interface, and functional with key WordPress Toolkit functions now much improved. Here’s a summary of the changes we made to version 4.1:
- Smart updates. Users have told us that they feel the way the Smart Updates feature works is not transparent enough. For example, users have complained that they’ve had to watch a static screen for half an hour without knowing whether any progress is being made. We’ve updated Smart Updates, with single-site updates now showing a multi-step progress indicator – though we’re still working on elegantly displaying this for multiple sites under update.
- Our new UI. In version 4.1 we now link across all the WordPress Toolkit functionality that sits in the Websites & Domains screen across to our new interface. We’re not yet showing WordPress Toolkit site cards directly on this screen, but doing so is planned for a next release.
- Copy and cloning. Users can now see a physical path when cloning or copying a WordPress site. This will help users where the domain’s document root actually points to a different domain document root and will help prevent writing across existing data. Similarly, the WordPress Toolkit will now stop users from cloning a site to a destination that already contains a WordPress instance.
- Databases. We now show the database server info on the WordPress Toolkit database tab, and we think this small change is just one of many small improvements that over time makes WordPress Toolkit such a pleasure to use.
- Quarantine. In situations when infected WP sites has been found during scanning process, the quarantine mode comes into play. The certain infected site is put into quarantine, however WordPress Toolkit is still able to work with the rest of the sites.
- Health Check Support. WordPress 5.2 rolled out Site Health Check feature which provides some useful information about the health condition of WP site. In the past WPTK had issues with this feature, however starting from version 4.1, not anymore
Version 4.1 is a big step for WordPress Toolkit, and we’re most proud of the fact that we can now allow administrators to manage their remote WordPress instances under the same convenient roof. For version 4.2 we’re looking to our customers for feedback. Any ideas? Let us know and we’ll make sure the popular requests make it into WordPress Toolkit 4.2.
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