A while back I talked to Ryan D. Sullivan, the CEO of WP Site Care about his experience with ManageWP. As one of the most important features he singled out the Manage Plugins and Themes tool:
One particular feature that has helped us again and again is the ability to filter through all of our sites looking for a specific plugin. When we find out a certain plugin has a security vulnerability of some kind, we’re able to quickly find all of the affected client sites, and push out fixes right away.
It ended up on our home page as his testimonial. I always thought that this tool was nice to have, but not essential. Since then, I realized how effective the Manage Plugins and Themes tool is at getting in, doing what you came for, and moving on.
Orion Manage Plugins and Themes
The recent Yoast SEO upgrade to 3.0 has ruffled a lot of feathers. The plugin instability, coupled with a major change in the workflow, lack of interest in the beta program and the lack of support for free users has caused a lot of people to revert back to the 2.3.5 version, and wait until a more stable version is released. If you ever downgraded a plugin on 30+ sites, you’re probably having a PTSD flashback right now.
“I’ve been in Comcast tech support, I know what ‘upgrade’ really means! I’VE SEEN THINGS! You’ll never catch me alive, Yoast!”
With the Manage Plugins and Themes tool, it’s as easy as it gets. First off, you’re able to downgrade with one click. Simply grab the older version from the WordPress repository, like this one, and that’s it.
With ManageWP you’re able to overwrite the plugins and themes currently on your websites. It’s really useful for downgrades, as well as situations when your plugin code has been altered. Or maybe you have a customized plugin/theme that you want to deploy across all of your websites.
This tool is quite handy, and used in a number of ways.
Improvements Over the Classic ManageWP
You probably remember that ugly old grid view in the Classic version. We found a way to make it look better, without losing functionality.
Manage Plugins and Themes tool was already pretty great, but we found a couple of ways to improve it:
- It’s ridiculously fast. It takes just a moment to show a list of every plugin and theme you asked for.
- In the Classic version, there was some confusion when it came to plugin and theme versions; different versions of the same plugin or theme were listed as a separate entry, and people would get confused why there isn’t an install option for a site. We’ve rearranged the lists now, to avoid the confusion.
- When you wanted to reboot the plugin, you had to go through the deactivate-wait-reactivate process. Now, thanks to the fact that Orion is built with AngularJS, you just click on deactivate-reactivate, and the system will handle everything for you.
- You can now list both active and inactive plugins on your websites (thanks for the tip, Donna!)
The Manage Plugins and Themes tool is the 4th milestone on the Orion roadmap. 7 milestones left until Orion fully replaces the Classic version. Do you have any suggestions on how we can further improve this tool? Maybe a way to better organize the view, or a more efficient way to execute actions? Let us know in the comments below.
When can we see the Orion Manage Plugins and Themes option? Looking forward to using it.
I’ve looked and looked, but I can’t find where to do this in Orion. I can only find plugin updates. Can you point me in the right direction please?
I think the problem might be that, when choosing the websites you want to work with, you chose a disconnected or paused website.
If I’m mistaken, please contact us at email@example.com and we’ll help!
I just sent an email. Thank you.
I haven’t seen a response to the email I sent two days ago. I would really like to receive an update on this.
I’m looking for this option, too. Thanks for pointing it our Jason! Will look forward to the update.
It turns out that there’s a set of icons at the top of the page–one of which is for managing plugins. HOWEVER, I never saw those icons until I selected “All Websites” from the dropdown checkbox at the top left. The kicker is this: I have more than 50 sites, so I had to manually advance from page to page (50 on a page) and select “ALL” on each page to make the icons appear.
I’ve suggested (in an email message) that we have a way to view more than 50 sites per page.
See if this helps.
Hi Manage WP Team,
Orion is great. Thank you!
I am searching the automatic updates for the plugins and the themes: Could someone help to find them in Orion?
thanks a lot in advance
It’s great to hear that you’re liking Orion 🙂
The automatic updates are not in Orion yet. You can turn on the automatic updates in the Classic dashboard for now, until we implement them into Orion in the next month or so.
Hello, Nemanja! Any ETA for this feature? I couldn’t find the feature yet in orion 🙁
We parked the automatic updates for 2017, since we had more important features to complete. A new roadmap should be live at the end of 2016, we’ve got lots of interesting news in store for 2017 🙂
Kamran Abdul Aziz
Can we please have the option to check the Changelogs from the Orion Dashboard?
Are you looking for the changelog specifically in the Manage Plugins and themes tool?
You have the changelog in the Updates widget, on the main screen of the Orion dashboard. Just click on the version number on the right.
Great update. What would make these even more awesome would be the ability to find sites that match criteria like.
Has this plugin but not this plugin.
eg. Has Yoast SEO but doesn’t have Yoast Local SEO Addon
or find sites that doesn’t have certain plugins.
eg. Doesn’t have Yoast SEO or All In One SEO
Then we could then install a SEO plugin on these.
Also being able to set Active vs Deactive as part of the criteria.
Wow, this is fabulous! The Classic tool was useful but had its drawbacks. I really like that I can now do one search and pick up both active and inactive installs.
Orion ROCKS! 🙂
Thanks for pointing that out, Donna! I’ll add the active & inactive part to the article.
What is the procedure to do this on a new install…………ie………no plugins/themes?
“Or maybe you have a customized plugin/theme that you want to deploy across all of your websites.”
Except i would want to copy all/some of my plugins/themes to the newly created site.
It would depend on your preferred flow. If you’re looking to set up a similar set of plugins as some other website you manage, here’s how:
– Select that website, and the blank website.
– Click on the Manage Plugins button. This will give you a list of all plugins that are present on these websites.
– Intall those that you need on the new website.
There are also another two ways of handling this:
– The first is already in the Classic version of Manage Plugins and Themes. If you go to Install > Favourites, you’ll be able to go through your WordPress.org list of favourite plugins, and install those that you need.
– The second is great if you have a couple of blank templates that you use when starting a new site. With the Backup tool you can create a backup of that template site, and use the Clone Wizard (currently in Classic, but will be in Orion in the next month or so) to deploy the template site to a new location.
Hope this helps!
It would be awesome to have the ability to uninstall themes or plugins with this tool. It drives me nuts that when a new WP release gets installed and a new default theme like 2016 comes along with it. Bulk deletion of these would be fantastic.
Great news – you already can!
When you’re in the Manage Plugins & Themes tool, switch to the Inactive tab, and you’ll see the Delete button.
The Classic version has this ability too, it’s in the Bulk Action drop-down menu.
This is my last comment in 2015, see you next year! 😀
The only problem is with the next WordPress update all the themes you delete will come right back. I am not sure why there cant be an option to permanently remove the WordPress default themes so that they do not get reinstalled?
201x themes are there mostly for troubleshooting purposes. These are the only themes thoroughly tested for compatibility with the clean WordPress installation, and they are handy when trying to figure out if your theme might be one of the reasons your website is breaking.
The WordPress team could create an option to update without the default themes, but they’re probably too busy tackling major issues.
My personal recommendation, in the meantime, is to go to Manage Plugins and Themes after each major upgrade, pick the 201x themes and delete them in bulk.