Deploy Plesk Onyx on DigitalOcean

Plesk on DigitalOcean is now a one-click app

According to Alex Konrad, Forbes Editor of the Cloud 100 list, Cloud companies like DigitalOcean are revolutionizing how businesses reach their customers today. From digitizing painful old processes to allowing them more time to focus on what they really care about. This is what makes their products unique.

As a Web Professional (Developer, Agency owner, IT Admin) your goal is to provide valuable services to your customers. You want to be able to focus on the things you’re good at. And leave the nitty gritty of technical server management, cost streamlining, running instances, backups, and account management to a VPS. Because a virtual private server fits this purpose exactly. Tired of managing infrastructure and security, when what you want is to focus on coding and improving your product or service? Then Plesk Onyx is the ideal solution.

What is Digital Ocean?

We know DigitalOcean, founded in 2011, as a cloud infrastructure provider with a “developer first” mentality. They simplify web infrastructure for software developers and their mission is to smooth out the complexities of infrastructure. How? By offering one simple and robust platform for developers to easily launch and scale their applications. DigitalOcean is now the second largest and fastest-growing cloud computing platform of all public apps and websites, according to Netcraft.

Over 750,000 registered customers have launched more than 20 million Droplets combined on DigitalOcean. The company is now investing heavily in advancing its platform to further support growing teams and larger applications in production.

DigitalOcean cloud hosting
Image: DigitalOcean

Plesk on DigitalOcean

Plesk on DigitalOcean gives you a ready-to-code environment. So you can easily build, secure and run websites and apps that run and scale in the cloud.

Plesk manages and secures over 380,000 servers, automates 11 million websites and at least 19 million mailboxes. It’s the leading WebOps, Hosting and Web Server Control Panel to build, secure and run your applications, websites and hosting business. You’ll find it in 32 languages and 140 countries, with 50% of the top 100 worldwide service providers partnering with Plesk today.

Key Plesk Onyx Features

The versatile Plesk Onyx control panel
  • The WebOps platform

Manage all your domains, DNS, applications websites and mailboxes from one single platform.

  • DigitalOcean DNS – integrated into Plesk

The free Plesk DigitalOcean extension integrates Plesk with the DigitalOcean DNS service. This web service is highly available and scalable and you can use it as an external DNS service for your domains. The extension will automatically sync DNS zones between Plesk and DigitalOcean DNS. Here’s how:

  1. After installing Plesk, add your first domain/website.
  2. Then navigate to the domain and click “DigitalOcean DNS” for that domain.
  3. Enter your DigitalOcean API credentials into the extension. Or use OAuth to authorize your DigitalOcean account.
  4. Start having your domains in sync with Digital Ocean DNS.
  • Automated Server Administration

Easily manage your server, including automated updates, application deployment, monitoring, backups and maintenance.

  • User-Friendly Interface

One dashboard to manage multiple sites. Build websites, run updates, monitor performance, and onboard new customers from one place.

  • Security

Plesk on DigitalOcean secures  your applications and websites automatically.  You get a firewall, fail2ban and a web application installed and activated by default. Plus various additional options available on demand as Plesk Extensions. Or by simply upgrading to a Premium Plesk Edition.

  • Ready-to-Code Environment

Enable and manage multiple PHP versions and configurations, JavaScript, Perl, Ruby or Node.js, all in one-click. Every stack is deployed automatically and allows you to do custom configurations as you need.

  • Self-Repair Tools

We built automated healing and recovery functionality into Plesk, so many technical issues can self-repair without any need for support. This starts at fully-automated (safe) updates, including all OS components. And goes to various available manual self-repair tools up to a complete repair panel, in the unlikely event of something going wrong. Additionally, Plesk continuously monitors all relevant system components’ health, and provides notifications to the administrator before something goes wrong.

  • Multi-Language support

Plesk is available in 32 languages.

  • Plesk Extensions

Plesk  is a super-light application, automating all your server components and management needs on Lightsail in a single environment. As your business needs grow, you can use the in-app Plesk Extensions catalog to enable additional features on-demand. Many are free and some provide extra value when premium. Get access by clicking on “Extensions” inside Plesk itself.

Plesk WordPress Toolkit – secure and simple

Staging environment best practices - Plesk WordPress Toolkit

Find full details on Plesk WordPress Toolkit here, but here are some key features below.

  • WordPress Simplified:

One-click installer to initialize and configure WordPress from start to finish. One dashboard to mass-manage multiple WordPress instances.

  • Secure Against Attacks

Hardens your site by default, further enhanced with the Toolkit’s security scanner. No security expertise necessary.

  • Run and Automate your WordPress

Singularly or mass-execute updates to the WP core, themes or plugins. Monitor and run all your WordPress sites from one dashboard.

  • Simple, but not Amateur

Get full control with WP-CLI, maintenance mode, debug management, search engine index management and more.

  • Stage and Test*

Test new features and ideas in a sandbox before pushing them to production – No plugins required, no separate server needed.

  • Cut Out Complexity*

Stage, Clone, Sync, Update, Migrate and more. Execute all these complex tasks with one click. No more high-risk activities or stressed-out dev teams.

  • Smart Updates powered by AI*

Smart Updates feature for WordPress Toolkit analyzes your WordPress updates and performs them without breaking your site. Otherwise, it will warn you the update may be dangerous.

  • One-Click Performance Optimized*

You can reach a maximum performance of your WordPress sites and no time and with great simplicity. Just enable NGINX caching in one click and combine with Speed Kit, powered by a distributed Fastly® CDN and Varnish cache.

*Some of these features are not available within the free Plesk Web Admin SE but require an upgrade to a higher value premium edition of Plesk or Plesk Extension.

Plesk on DigitalOcean (free) includes Plesk Web Admin Edition SE, a free version of Plesk with up to 3 domains and good for small websites and certain limitations. To gift yourself with a higher value Plesk edition, check out our Plesk Upgrades.

How to deploy Plesk on DigitalOcean

  1. First, log in to your DigitalOcean account.

2. Then, from the main dashboard, click “Droplets” and “Create” -> “Droplets”.

Plesk on DigitalOcean now a one-click app - How to deploy - Create Droplet

3. Under “Choose an image”, click “one-click apps”

4. Select “Plesk”.

PLesk on DigitalOcean - Now a one-click app - Choose a size - Droplets

5. Choose your size and then a data center region.

Note: Plesk runs smoothly with 1GB RAM and 1 vCPU for smaller websites and environments. Running many websites or higher traffic requires a larger droplet size.
Please also refer to the Plesk infrastructure requirements for details.

Plesk on DigitalOcean now a one-click app - New SSH key

6. Add your SSH keys

Plesk on DigitalOcean now a one-click app - Finalize and create Droplet

7. After adding and selecting your SSH key, go further below and click “Create”.

Plesk on DigitalOcean now a one-click app - How to deploy - sudo plesk login screenshot

8. Once your Droplet is created, go back to your favorite SSH terminal client on Windows or Mac.

Using the related private key you created, login to the new Droplet via its IP address. You copy it from the DigitalOcean interface.

9. Once arrived on the terminal, type the following command: sudo plesk login

Plesk on DigitalOcean now a one-click app - How to deploy - sudo plesk login screenshot 2

10. This generates you a hidden link to access your Plesk the first time. So you can create your web-based administrator login that you copy/paste into your browser

Important final deployment points

  1. Unless you have defined a hostname for your Plesk server in your DNS, please use the hidden link with the IP address, not the one with the hostname.
  2. The first time you log into Plesk, you’ll get an SSL / not secure warning in your browser that can be safely ignored. Because it’s secure with a self-signed certificate. As soon as you assigned a hostname to your Plesk server in the DNS, you can secure your Plesk panel using one-click Let’s Encrypt for free.
  3. After deploying a droplet with Plesk, it can take up to 2 min to finish running a set of post-install scripts through the image. During that time, you won’t be able to log in. So you need just a bit of patience 🙂

Check out the following for further information and helpful links:

Further Information & Helpful Links:


The free Plesk Web Admin SE bundled on DigitalOcean droplets includes 30 days of free support. Afterward, either a support subscription or an upgrade to either a Web Pro or Web Host edition is required for continuous support.


Doing what I love, loving what I do, across continents. Vice President (VP) Marketing at
Showing 14 comments
  • Alexander


    You can speed up the creation of Droplet with next user script at step #5 and skip section “Connecting the instance via SSH”:


    sh <(curl || wget -O –

    /usr/local/psa/bin/init_conf -u -passwd YoUR_PAS5W0RD-here

    • joerg

      Alexander, Thank you! Good point.

  • Larry

    This is fantastic. We actually have a current need for this and had just been experimenting with digitalocean the past week. Thanks for this writeup.

    • Joerg Strotmann

      Larry, Much appreciated!

  • Matt


    Great article, just one question. As someone thats coming from using Plesk with a “regular” hosting provider. Whats the process for keeping the linux install patched/updated from a security perspective? (We chose CentOS).

    • Joerg Strotmann

      Matt, Thank you!

      There are two ways.

      In-place upgrade is performed using Plesk Installer on the same server. This strategy can be used if the OS installed on the server is supported by the target Plesk version and has not been discontinued under the terms of the Plesk Lifecycle Policy. However, if the server has hosting software that is not supported by the target Plesk version (for example, hMailServer, MDaemon, or Gene6 FTP Server), it is strongly recommended to do an upgrade by transfer.

      Upgrade by transfer is the process of switching to the latest Plesk version by moving all of the hosting data and settings from the current Plesk server to a server with the latest version of Plesk installed. This strategy is preferred when upgrading servers with an OS that either falls under the end-of-life policy or is approaching the support termination date. Upgrade by transfer also allows you to minimize downtime of services on the production server, as websites stay online while the transfer is in progress.

      You will find more tips here:

  • Miguel

    What about licensing? Do you consider a droplet a VPS or a dedicated server?

  • Joerg Strotmann

    It depends. A VPS server would be considered the in-between hosting option, perfect for when you have outgrown shared hosting but aren’t ready for a dedicated server just yet.

    It may matter in how you configure things. DigitalOcean Droplets are KVM virtual machines.

    License types are based on the operating environment in which Plesk will be running:

    VPS licenses can be used only on virtual instances based on hypervisor technology such as Virtuozzo, Xen, “KVM”, Hyper-V, or VMware.

    Dedicated server licenses can be installed on either a dedicated server or on a VPS (Virtual Private Server).

  • Marco

    good morning and excellent article

      I have a question, I have a droplet in production with magento, is it possible to install the plesk control panel without causing problems to the website? or is it necessary to start from a clean machine?

    thanks and good job

    • Joerg Strotmann

      Marco, I would recommend to use a clean one, since magento has env configured and Plesk will do chanes in the env configuration.

  • Kingsley Felix

    nice feel like going back to DO

  • Jinfei Shi

    I encountered an issue which I cannot view my site after initial installation via SSH my chrome keeps loading the url but eventually it displays an error message “This site cannot be reached, took too long to response”.

    It turns out that port 8443 is disabled on my droplet I had to run “sudo ufw allow 8443” in order to continue.

    Try that if you have similar issue.

  • Jay

    This seems to be under the assumption I have purchased a license. I have not, but I do use the DO service, and have for quite some time. Does this mean I simply need to setup my server accordingly and plesk and DO will work in tandem, and I do not have to purchase a separate key?

  • Michael

    Annoying article – please allow us to copy the command easily and simply!!!

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