I had reviewed ManageWP some time back and I used the paid version of that WordPress multiple sites management solution for a while. Because of the steep recurring price tag, I had to switch to its free version that supported 3 sites with limited features. But then here comes the FREE CMS Commander (from the WP Robot author) that can manage not only WordPress sites, but other CMS sites as well (e.g. Joomla, Drupal) and even phpBB based forums. And the free version supports up to 50 sites to be managed.

And even better, CMS Commander comes with the integrated WPRobot features meaning that you can now insert free content such as Youtube videos, Yahoo Answers, eBay Amazon Shareasale affiliate links, Flickr content and a LOT more into your real content.

What is CMS Commander all about?

Imagine you have several WordPress sites to manage. The day to day maintenance of these blogs in terms of upgrading plugins, themes, upgrading and backing up WordPress, comment moderation, posting etc are going to be a daunting task by itself. And that’s where CMS Commander comes to your rescue and you can now manage all your WordPress sites and Joomla Drupal phpBB sites from ONE place. That’s right, from one portal.

The following are some of the salient features of CMS Commander. Please note that the product is still under development and hence the feature list changes every day.

  • Save your time as a webmaster by not having to login to each Admin area of the numerous WordPress, Drupal or Joomla (1.5 for now) sites that you own
  • If you are into autoposting, you can neatly blend content into your original posts. It supports article spinning options as well
  • Moderate comments, create sections or categories, manage users and a lot more day to day affairs
  • One click Plugin Theme updates on all sites
  • Instant automatic backup of all sites into your DropBox account

How does it work?

Well, the CMS Commander requires you to install a small plugin on each of your WordPress, Joomla or Drupal sites to help manage them remotely from CMS Commander portal and you don’t need to enter your passwords within the portal itself. This makes the tool very secure.

If you are into autoblogging, you can schedule WPRobot campaigns to run within this tool so that you can pull and publish legal content from open content sources.

At the moment, I am playing around with two of my blogs and a experimental Joomla site to see how things work with this multiple site management solution. So far things look bright though there are several improvement areas.

What could be improved with CMS Commander?

The very first improvement area is the ease with sites could be added. Although, adding your sites to CMS Commander is still easy, it could be even easier. For example, I have seen ManageWP providing a direct click add of the CMS management plugin by redirecting to the site’s plugin page. This is missing in CMS Commander as of today.

Also, the menu navigation of this WordPress based site could be improved. At the moment, there are dozens of links on the left navigation bar which really needs to be grouped better. I am still experimenting with each of them and hence too early to judge. However, something like a prompt based system (e.g. ‘Your tasks today’ kind of thing in the content panel) would work better and make the user interface easier.

I sometimes also have the confusion as to which site(s) are selected – as there’s a selected background styling as well as checkbox on some. This needs some cleanup as well.

And the competing products have a lot more features such as Analytics integration built into them. CMS Commander has to catch up with all these features as well.

Overall, the author has to make the usage of this portal a lot easier for the common blogger. I am told that they are now focusing mainly on the WordPress sites management features and there are some functionalities missing in management of Joomla and Drupal based sites. I will probably keep updating this post with more news and features coming in. Until then the product gets a 4 out of 5 for a very good attempt.

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