I have a number of Joomla 3.x sites, which I want to manage centrally, however they are all for different clients, so I cannot share any information between them.

What I want to achieve is to automate updates between them, run them at different versions (mainly to reduce upgrade risks) and be able to install extensions to multiple sites.

What I have done so far is set up a subversion repository with the shared code and I link this into each site with svn externals. However I have not achieved automation between the databases, in terms of structure of the database and updating the details of extensions.

My installation runs on my own dedicated server, which is locked down, so I have to change access rights of folders every time I upgrade Joomla or an extension.

I have at times upgraded Joomla by running the SQL scripts that come with the upgrades myself, at other times I have taken the change access rights/ upgrade/ change access rights route. Both approaches are still quite tedious.

I had a cursory look a these extensions: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/core-enhancements/multiple-sites but none of them look like they may do what I want.

Has anyone done anything in this area and could give me some pointers to build a system myself? - are there code libraries (outside Joomla) that can track the changes to extension and other tables? My list of extensions is likely to stay restricted, I tend to code anything else that is needed in the templates or plugins. - any other ideas?

  • jdog - Thanks for asking this question - I was just about to ask the same. I've looked at the Watchful.li solution which I'm evaluating, however as REactionFaye mentioned below, I'm looking at building an in-house solution. In the meanwhile, I'm using spreadsheets to keep track of all sites and their correlating extensions (esp. for versions) - and this is certainly something that can be automated. Ideally a solution is needed which alerts for available updates, can push those to mulitple sites with a restore point, has the ability to roll-back specific updates and logs and updates records.
    – NivF007
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 15:49
  • @NivF007 thanks for the message - what would be your suggestions for coding components to achieve what we want. I have access to a library that can detect changes in database structure and apply them to other databases. I have nothing to track content changes yet.
    – jdog
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 8:15
  • If this is a 'discussion' - (btw - one which I'd very much like to have) - let's start a topic on the Joomla! Forum).
    – NivF007
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 22:54

5 Answers 5


mysites.guru (formerly myjoomla.com) does everything you are asking for:

✔ manage Joomla websites at different versions centrally for different clients

✔ update Joomla

✔ update extensions

plus a great deal more:

✔ scan for malware

✔ restore compromised core Joomla files back to the original files

✔ automate backups

✔ uptime monitoring and alerts

New features are regularly being implemented.

You might also consider watchful.net which has similar functionality and seems to be more affordable up to 25 websites. For more than 25 websites, the mysites.guru unlimited sites option may be better value.

I am not affiliated with mysites.guru but find it useful for managing the 50 Joomla, WordPress and HTML websites I look after:

mySites.guru Screen Capture

  • 1
    Both watchful.li and myJoomla.com are up to the task. I have recommended both to clients and site managers.
    – FFrewin
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 7:07
  • 1
    I have tried both of the above and found, for my needs (10+ sites so far) that myJoomla offers better value for money, although it doesn't currently offer single sign on, i.e. on click sign on from the myJoomla interface, but the support is second to none. Highly recommended, plus has helped me identify and clean a number of hacked sites.
    – Dtorr1981
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 0:23
  • @Dtorr1981 myJoomla does allow single click login now ;-)
    – user239
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 15:20

I know this doesn't answer all of your points but for me I have multiple sites all running 3.x

I use Akeeba, which notifies me of updates available, and is set up to create system restore points (basically SQL backups) when Joomla updates. So my routine is:

  1. Backup every site
  2. Check for updates to backup extensions
  3. If there are updates for the above run another backup
  4. Install Joomla update for the least popular site first
  • same as above, don't you have to do this for all sites?
    – jdog
    Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 19:58

I'm managing 30 Joomla sites some of them are 2.5 some 3.2. On patch I do the following per Installation:

  1. Run a script that makes a copy to a working directory of the files
  2. Copy the database with the current data as postfix
  3. Switch the working directory version to the new database.
  4. let run Joomla update on it, maybe update some other extensions
  5. test website (because an update easily break some functions, thats the reason why I make it manually)
  6. Rename the current site folder with the version tag
  7. Rename the working directory to the name that apache excepts

This reduces the risks to a minimum and the downtime to zero if you make the last two steps atomic (really fast).

  • 2
    Ok, I can't see how this automates anything? Don't you have to do the same for all sites? I'm looking to do things not for every site, but automate it.
    – jdog
    Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 19:58

I don't suppose you've looked at Watchful.li yet? We manage 200+ sites on a regular basis with extension and joomla updates. Watchful is designed to help manage this exact scenario pretty well. It's a newer service and they're regularly adding new features.

Out of your listed requirements, Watchful.li does all the things you want: 1) Automated Updates via centralized control panel 2) Remote install extensions 3) Automated Backups via Akeeba 4) custom scripting / plugins possible 5) tons more features

Now a potential drawback I see is that if you're interested in giving clients access to their own closed-off part of this control panel I don't see that being possible yet, but it'd be a good feature to ask them about implementing.

We are in the process of putting about 200 sites on this solution. We have about 50 currently and we're moving more over as we're able. I'm expecting to reduce a lot of our staff time by moving over to Watchful and increase productivity as a result.

  • We've used Watchful in the past, Chad is bang on. We've moved away from it now because we've built our own system geared to our specific clients, but we still recommend this.
    – Faye
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 20:06
  • Hi Chad, I hadn't seen Watchful.li yet, but some other solutions in this space. Where I am hesitant at the moment is that my super secure file access rights setup has saved my bacon so many times, I would not want a solution that works from within the Joomla interface or framework.
    – jdog
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 8:13
  • What I mean is that any solution that doesn't have access to my server is inherently going to need write access to the Joomla files through FTP or within Joomla. I don't want to open this up at the moment.
    – jdog
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 8:14

Two Software-as-a-Service solutions have already been mentioned:

And those commercial SaaS solutions are both good.

However, I prefer a self-hosted solution. A few years ago I started using YourSites.net (commercial extension) and I really like it:

  • You install the YourSites component on the website from which you want to control other websites.
  • Within the component you can download a YourSites Client plugin. Install it in another Joomla or WordPress website.
  • After that you can monitor and maintain all your other (or client) sites from within that one website.

YourSites works great. And because it's self-hosted I don't share any of my websites' data with third parties or online services. So no GDPR (EU privacy law) issues.

  • Valuable information was lost to comment deletion. I'll summarise what @PhilTaylor said: There are no GDPR issues using mySites.guru. It operates a secure and fully legal service in compliance with all international laws. mySites.guru doesn't "share" your websites data with the SaaS, there is no third party involvement nor any GDPR compliance issues. When you connect a site to mySites.guru, you DON'T share your website's data. No third parties have access to your data, the code is GPL and not encrypted, you can review it yourself. See joomla.meta.stackexchange.com/q/406/12352 Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 3:24

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