Top Cloudfest Hackathon Results You Need to Know [Video]

Top Cloudfest Hackathon Results You Need to Know - Plesk

Over 90 contributors, fueled by pizza and coffee, produced mind-blowing results at the fourth edition of Cloudfest Hackathon. Our Pleskians contributed to many of the seven projects, with CTO Jan Löffler as team captain for the “Hack My Hoster” project. Here’s a closer look at our accomplishments this year.

Hack my Hoster – Jan Löffler from Plesk

How secure is your hosting provider? Who leads as a role model and who falls behind? The target of this project was to protect the customers of the most popular hosting companies against hackers. How? By revealing security vulnerabilities and pushing the liable providers to fix them before being exploited.

Jan and his team reviewed and tested settings for web server, PHP and database. Also, they reviewed and tested SSL certificates, and checked password security and authentication methods. In the end, they performed own scripted intrusion tests and uploaded Malware to test security scanners. Then, Jan presented how the different hosters performed in the tests.

We were happy to find two role models in this category: HostPress and Kinsta. Because the ways in which they protect their customers exceeded our expectations. As a result, the team stated they would like to team up with these hosting companies to offer an even better solution. And Jan went on to give his CloudFest keynote in front of 100s of hosters about better protecting their customers.

Domain Connect DNS Provider – Arnold Blinn, GoDaddy

Domain Connect is an open standard that makes it easy for a user to configure DNS. This is for a domain running at a DNS provider to work with a service running at an independent service provider. During previous CloudFest hackathons, this team worked on sample implementations and third-party integrations – including a full Plesk implementation in 2018.

But this year, Arnold and his team worked on a DNS Provider Library. So proof of concept implementations for cPanel, Bind and PowerDNS have been built on top of this.

Domain Connect Panel at Cloudfest 2019

Moreover, a Domain Connect panel took place with Arnold, our Jan Loeffler, Pawel Kowalik and Kellie Peterson. While representing Plesk, IONOS, and Automattic, they explained why Domain Connect is important to simplify DNS management for website owners. And how easy it was to implement it for their companies.

ID4me Plugin Fiesta – Pawel Kowalik, IONOS

ID4me is a new open digital identity service providing seamless user onboarding and authentication. They return control over digital identities back into the hands of users via an independent SSO solution. During the hackathon, this identity service was implemented for 12 client integrations, including Plesk, and two authority services. But it was 11 that ended up having a working solution.

The protocol has thus been proven and tested for interoperability. Besides IONOS, GoDaddy, OpenXchange and many others, Plesk will support login via ID4me similar to “Login with Facebook” or Google.

Application <=> Server Management Protocol (ASMP) – Alain Schlesser, Bright Nucleus

The ASMP protocol tries to enable management operations. Because they want to bridge the gap between applications and the server environment they run on. This keeps the initiative and responsibility with the application owner, while keeping the hoster’s full control of the actual implementation.

During the hackathon, the working group started work on an RFC and fleshed out an Open API 3-specification. Additionally, they did a proof of concept. Resulting in a PHP client library, a PHP sample server, and a WordPress plugin complete with docker setup. In order to run end-to-end tests with this new protocol.

Finally, several big players have stated their interest in this protocol, with the two biggest CMS systems on the application side, and Plesk/cPanel as well as major hosts like GoDaddy on the server side.

Hoster wtf – Marc Nilius from WP Wartung 24

The end-user hosting experience can vary dramatically, especially in the shared hosting environment. Most hosting companies have individual configuration backends as well as different configuration or infrastructure stacks. It can become quite challenging for an end-user to find the best hosting partner according to their individual needs.

So Marc’s team, which I had the pleasure to be a part of, established a list of quality criteria. So that we could test different hosting packages. The focus was set on easy registration and onboarding, end-user support and technical requirements (for CMS).

During the hackathon, we tested seven international and German hosting providers specialized in managed WordPress hosting. Marc briefly presented the results and showcased some true “Hoster wtf” issues we discovered during testing. The mid-term goals are to first add a ranking to the criteria list. Then, to provide a comparable list of shared hosting plans and providers. As well as to offer additional help for configuration pitfalls for these hosts.

Cloudfest Hackathon 2019

We’ll keep a close eye on these five projects to see what more comes out of them. Meanwhile, we look forward to the fifth Cloudfest Hackathon in 2020! See you there?

Why We Took Plesk to the Nordics #WCNordic

WordCamp Nordic

WordCamp Nordic was two years in the making and we were more than excited to be a part of this very first edition in Helsinki, Finland. There were many reasons why we sponsored and joined the event. Read on to find out.

Top Reasons We Sponsored the First WordCamp Nordic

WordCamp Nordic - Plesk Team
  1. Backing Open Source Projects
    We love open source because we get exposed to new and alternative concepts, techniques and approaches to solving problems. Plus, it helps create innovation opportunities.
  2. Investing in the WordCamp Community
    Being present in a first-time location creates opportunities to meet new people in a different region. If our contribution can help provide more of these events where people can strengthen relationships and create magic – then so be it.
  3. Supporting WordCamp Nordic Values
    We wanted to actively support this very first regional Nordic WordCamp which was a door-opener for more regional medium-sized WordCamps worldwide.
  4. Learning from industry professionals
    We weren’t there just to share our knowledge, contributions and resources. But also to learn from the WordPress experts about small business woes, hosting fears, developer tips, and more. All useful info we can share with our customers for a better WordPress and ultimate online experience.

Julius Haukkasalo on top business mistakes you can avoid

Julius Haukkasalo at WordCamp Nordic

As mentioned before, we were also at WordCamp Nordic to learn. And among the many talented individuals at the event, we discovered Julius. A business owner, who had a lot of wisdom to share on running a company. Especially useful for many of our Plesk customers, who also manage businesses themselves. Here are the top three tips we took from him.


  1. Don’t try to do it all alone


It’s easy to delegate the stuff you don’t like/care about. We all tend to do the stuff we’re best at. But if somebody can do 80% of what you do – delegate! You also need to prioritize yourself, your workload and how much you can take on while still being motivated and avoiding burnout. You are the most important resource for yourself and your company.

  1. Allow employees/colleagues to fail

Julius compared leading a team with raising a family. When his kids said they “don’t know how…”, or are “not good”, or “too small”, he figures it’s because he tried to protect them too much. Let your colleagues/employees make mistakes and learn.

  1. Don’t delay solving issues

If there is a conflict to solve, go for it without any delays. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish when it’s about time to let your colleagues and employees do their own thing and when you are just being coward who tries to avoid conflicts.

Jonathan Sulo on WordPress plugins that hosters fear

Plesk at WordCamp NOrdic, Finland - Jonathan Sulo

One of our priorities at Plesk is speed and performance. So naturally, we had a lot of interest in Jonathan’s session – which was about plugins that drain performance and kill your database. So our hosting partners and customers would do well to stay away from plugins such as these to retain their clients.

He also suggested alternatives to use and some general usage and error-checking tips for WordPress plugins. We feel that the main point Jonathan made is that the most dangerous plugins are the ones you don’t update. Which we of course agree with 100%. Same goes for updating Plesk too.

Moreover, Jonathan believes it’s better to update and break the site than deal with the security risks of outdated software. He then went on to give us a checklist in order to add and run plugins the right way.

Adding plugins the right way

  • Think about whether you really need that plugin. Is it a must-have or nice to have?
  • Avoid plugins that “do it all”
  • Are there server-based or PHP functions or alternatives?

Running plugins the right way

  • Check out the plugin properly first
  • Only install from safe sources
  • Test before and after install
  • Activate for website or network
  • Delete plugins you don’t use
  • Scheduling: use server-based Cron (via control panel) & WP-CLI /usr/bin/php

Finally, he gave valuable advice within and outside WordPress, such as using WP-CLI and checking the error logs via your hosting provider.

Note: You can read our recommendations on WordPress plugins and backup solutions here.

Key Takeaways from our latest WordCamp Experience

Plesk at WordCamp Nordic - booth - support engineers, Francisco and Robert

Having our sales engineers, Francisco and Robert, on site was useful to gather info about the needs of the WordPress community. Plus get valuable feedback about the WordPress Toolkit and its features. A number of potential customers had technical queries about the software and its suitability for their projects – and we could easily answer.

We also seized the opportunity to connect with a few small to medium-sized partners and enhance our relationship with them. We’re looking forward to being present and doing more of this at more regional WordCamps like Latin America and SE Asia. And of course, hope for a 2020 edition of WordCamp Nordic!

WordCamp Cologne 2017: A Special Plesk Recap

Plesk recap blog post about WordCamp Cologne 2017

WordCamp Cologne was one of the biggest WordCamps in Germany for the year with 250 attendees. I was one of this year’s co-organizers, putting heart and effort into it for weeks. Colleagues Patricia, Jan and Jörg couldn’t wait to be in the beautiful city, that welcomed us with wonderful weather.

Contributing to WordPress

Before the actual WordCamp event, we held a WordPress Contributor Day in the stylish Microsoft premises where 80 people contributed to the open-source project. We had WordPress Core, Meta, Accessibility, WP-CLI, Hosting, Polyglots, WordPress TV, Design, and Community.

Jan and Jörg joined the Hosting team and connected the community with hosting companies to improve WordPress hosting. Amidst organizer duties, I also took part in discussions and Q&A at the Community table.

A Heartwarming WordCamp Start

Saturday early morning, we set up our brand-new Plesk booth and arranged numerous giveaways.

And we just had to spoil our WordPress friends with delicious sweets to power their day:

I was honored to co-host with Marc Nilius, this year’s lead-organizer. The most special and emotional moment was when the community surprised me with a personalized community Wapuu. I almost burst into tears.

BarCamp, Talks and Speakers

This year’s WordCamp Cologne was a BarCamp – no session or speaker in advance, but attendees interested in giving a talk presented their topic in under a minute. If the audience was interested, the session got scheduled. Plesk CTO Jan Löffler pitched two sessions and both got a slot. See the slides (German) for WordPress auf Speedand Web Trends in Zahlen und wie sich Hosting verändert.

Altogether, 39 sessions were scheduled on website performance, design, accessibility, web security, Gutenberg, web development, mental health, digital law and digital nomad lifestyle.

WordPress Toolkit and Plesk Courses

The attendees were super interested in WordPress Toolkit demos. They asked how they can use Plesk for their private or business purpose. If you missed this part, don’t worry, find out more by clicking below or get in touch with our experts.

Discover the WordPress Toolkit

Feedback from the community was more than valuable for us – a company always trying to improve. They also loved that we offer free courses on how to use Plesk in Plesk University. Take some time to check them out.

See Course Catalog

WordCamp Goodies and Atmosphere

It wouldn’t be a WordCamp without swag. WordCamp Cologne gave attendees a t-shirt and branded scarf in soccer-fan-style.

We couldn’t keep a straight face – it was just so much fun.

Of course, we also joined the social events with the community while discovering the lovely German and “Kölsch” culture.

Plesk gets its own official Wapuu!

An international delegation of WP community members official released Plesk’s Wapuu:

We’re still looking for a cool name that will fit this little guy. Help us out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below.

Wrapping up WordCamp Cologne with captured memories

While overwhelmed by the positive feedback, I need to mention the 9 organizers, 16 volunteers, 42 sponsors & community-sponsors who made this event possible. It was hard to leave.

But we went home with lots of inspiration and positive energy. Here are some special moments captured below. Can you spot yourself?

Jesse Friedman Interview at WordCamp Rhode Island

This year’s WordCamp Rhode Island went down on Sept. 22nd and 23rd. Plesk was proud to sponsor the event with around 200 attendees and 22 speakers. A team of 8 organizers led by Joy Adamonis, and 15 volunteers turned WordCamp Rhode Island’s 6th edition into a blast.

Our WordCamp Rhode Island Highlight

jesse-friedman-wordcamp-rhodeislandJesse Friedman was one of WordCamp Rhode Island’s co-organizers. This year, he was in charge of the speaker-wrangling and of, well, being a speaker himself. He was so kind to become my interview partner for a short recap and some personal questions.

Jesse has been building websites for 17 years, and exclusively with WordPress since 2006. Since then, he has written several books, taught 100s of students and organized dozens of local meetups along with a few WordCamps.

He’s spoken at tech conferences worldwide and utilized his consulting expertise for small agencies and billion dollar international companies. Today he’s a proud team member of Jetpack at Automattic.
(Source here)

Plesk Interviews Jesse Friedman

Naturally, we couldn’t help but ask Jesse a few questions to pick at the brain of one of WordCamp’s most influencial.

  1. How did you experience this year’s role as a WordCamp Organizer?

This was a great year for planning. Our organization team came together under the leadership of Joy Adamonis, the events lead organizer. Joy was so organized and on top of everything that had to be done. We spent so much less time scrambling to complete tasks and thinking more about how we can improve the conference. This year we made some major changes to our speaking tracks and our blind speaker submission process.

  1. What’s been the matter closest to your heart as an organizer for WordCamp Rhode Island?

I used to be an Adjunct Professor at a local University. So for me, it’s always been about giving back and helping to teach those who need a little push to succeed. WordCamp Rhode Island has an especially eclectic group of experts and novices. So designing a curriculum that everyone can benefit from is a fun and worthy challenge.

  1. What do you love most about WordPress and its community?

In the closing remarks this year I asked every attendee to raise their hand if they received help at a WordCamp, or owe some level of their success to something they learned at a WordCamp. Nearly everyone in the room raised their hands. The WordPress community is amazing because we all came from the same place.  We all needed help from someone else in the community at one point or another. The amazing thing is that no one forgets. So now we have an awesome community comprised of thousands of people eager to give back.

  1. What piece of WordPress related advice would you have given yourself 5 (or 10) years ago?

I would have told myself not to be so sure about what I’d be doing in 5 years. In the last 6 years I have gone from the Head of Development at a production house, to the Director of Innovation at a startup, to doing UX and Marketing at Jetpack. And now I’m working in Partnerships and Business Development. WordPress creates so many opportunities for everyone and their careers, we should all be open to it.

We want to thank Jesse for this interview and the support he gave to Plesk during the event.

Looking for more from this event?

Soak up tons of great talks and ideas from our WordPress community with presentations from the WordCamp Rhode Island sessions or tune in to them here on WordPress TV.