What can go wrong without the best web hosting platform? [Infographic]

Without the right host for your website, a lot can go wrong for your business. Read on to learn more about the importance of choosing the right web hosting platform.

How important is choosing the right web host

Web Hosting Platform - infographic by Plesk

Choosing the right web hosting platform is as important as your site content. And the wrong web hosting platform can seriously impact your business. Your web host must protect your site from security breaches, and backup all your data in case of hacking.

Slow websites or ones that go down for even a few minutes will negatively impact your SEO ranking. (In this event, see how to turbocharge your website speed to get back on track.)

So how important is choosing the right web host? Let’s look at the facts.

One-second page load delay leads to 7% conversion drop

Load delay and conversion drop

Page loading time is one of the most important factors that contribute to your website’s success. Also, it affects whether visitors will return to your website and perform profitable or desired actions. According to Aberdeen Group, a 1-second loading delay can result in a 7% decrease in e-commerce conversions and can drop customer satisfaction by 16%.

Sites on Google’s page 1 load in under 2,000 ms

Sites on Google’s page 1 load in under 2,000 ms - Plesk

Websites that appear on Google’s first page of search results load in under 2,000 milliseconds and loading delays can result in a loss of 44.19% in page views for a 20 second loading delay. A slow-loading website isn’t likely to appear in the first page of Google’s results.

Need a mighty page speed boost? Check out Google Pagespeed Insights.

Almost half of websites are hosted on Apache servers

Apache servers - a majority

From all the billions of websites that exist on the internet, Apache servers are the most widely used with 46.9% of existing websites. NGINX is the second most popular with 37.8% of websites hosted on it. So, make sure your hosting platform supports this.

Stats for SMBs and large companies using private cloud

Stats for SMEs and large companies using private cloud - Plesk

Private cloud computing generally feels safer than public cloud computing because access to the resources in a cloud infrastructure is limited. However, many SMEs – about 8%, and even 24% of larger companies do not buy cloud infrastructure altogether. This is mainly because of lack of knowledge about cloud computing. Pick a web host with plenty of opportunities to scale to the cloud.

A whopping 86% of websites have serious security flaws

Whopping 86% of websites have serious security flaws - Plesk

Over 30,000 websites are hacked daily with 86% of websites having at least one serious security flaw, including these top brands.

Over half of WordPress sites run on an outdated CMS version

Over half of WordPress sites have outdated CMS version

One of the reasons why so many websites are hacked is because many of them run on an outdated CMS version. In fact, 56% of hacked WordPress sites, 84% of hacked Joomla sites, 96% of Magento sites and 81% of hacked Drupal were all hacked for the same reason.

Why Choose Plesk web hosting platform?

When it comes to choosing a web hosting platform, look for reliability and security more than anything. Want to offer users the ability to scale and grow your website quickly without compromising on quality? Then, a web hosting platform like Plesk is one of the best options to grow an enterprise website and maximize its potential.

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 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. If you plan to host small business websites, we recommend choosing the zone closest to their geographic location to reduce page load times for local visitors.

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 - Finalize and create Droplet

6. Additional options such as Private networkingBackupsUser data, and Monitoring are not necessary for most Plesk users. Then click “Create”.

7. You can log in to your droplet using:

  • A root password, which you will receive by email. If you go with this option, skip the “Add your SSH keys” step and go to the next one.
    • Just type in your browser: https://<your-droplet-IP>:8443 . You will potentially see for 30 seconds some finishing procedure of the automatic deployment. Afterwards you will automatically land in the initial on-boarding of Plesk.
  • An SSH key. If you go with this option, click New SSH key to add a new SSH key or select a previously added key (if you have any).

Note: Using SSH keys is a more secure way of logging in. If you use a root password, we strongly recommend that you log in to the droplet command line and change the root password received by email. The command line will automatically prompt you to do so.

Enjoy and let us know if there are any questions!

When CTO, Jan Loeffler, reveals Plesk Hosting Tactics at Cloudfest 2018 [Video]

Successful Hosting Tactics Revealed at Cloudfest 2018

Our Plesk CTO, Jan Loeffler, made his grand entrance at CloudFest, Rust, yesterday. As he entered the main forum room bouncing a Plesk-branded football, the Fifa World Cup anthem came on for all to hear. He was going to share inside tactics on how to win, what he called, the ‘Hosting Champions League’.

Jan joined Plesk 2 years ago as CTO with the vision to have Plesk become the leading hosting control panel worldwide, and keep it that way. He’s a diehard football fan. But there’s another thing he feels absolutely passionate about – and that’s cloud hosting. At Cloudfest 2018, he brought these two worlds together.

Jan Loeffler holding a football at his Cloudfest 2018 talk - Secret tactics of how to win the Hosting Champions League

When hosting becomes a game, you need to go long and strong to win the league and increase your revenues. Now Jan reveals how to take home the gold, with collected advice from none other than our very own Pleskian community.

Who are the likely Hosting contenders?

Think of the hosting industry as if it were a football league game. Where would you put your money? And if you think of the likely contenders – how well are they playing the game, and what are they doing?

This is what Jan’s trying to gauge when we look internally. Are we being team players? Are we coaching our customers on what’s best? According to Jan, you can only win the Hosting Game by adapting to what your customers want.

Jan’s advice for all the Hosting teams out there

Offer Hyper-tailored Solutions

How can you score and win the hosting cup? Jan insists that hosters can only compete with giants like AWS by offering cloud service solutions to customers on top of their standard offers.

“Customers want simplicity and great service, which is something that’s difficult for companies like AWS to provide. This is where you, hosters, should step up and become your customers’ coaches. You have the experience and the infrastructure to “tackle the defense” and to advise them to design perfectly adapted solutions.”

Notice the current hosting scene and how many traditional hosters have ignored the winds of changed and not adapted. None of these traditional hosters would have made it to the Premier League if this were a tournament. Jan suggests offering a custom solution and charging a higher price.

Address the Current Web Developer Trends

Get on the WordPress Wagon. WordPress dominates as the most popular way of building websites with 30% of all websites built on this platform worldwide. Half the WP sites out there are hosted by 15 hosting groups. Jan says “WordPress is a must-have for all hosters and service providers”. The current hosting winner for WordPress is GoDaddy as they host most of the wordpress sites all over the world.

Plesk audience at Jan Loeffler's Cloudfest 2018 talk - Winning the hosting champions league

 

Another one is git. Why don’t hosters use git if 70% of web developers use it as their source control system? That’s why Jan advises hosters to include this in their offering. Go where your customers are.

The Call to Hosters

Our hosting partners continue to launch new products, and now they’re even doing so with the new Plesk Onyx and all its updates. We’re talking AI, SEO, Security – the works. So a big thank you to the following hosting partners for their immediate support with our latest product: Infortelecom, UOL, InterNetX, ZNetLive, Conetix, Codero, A2 Hosting, Axarnet, Webplus, Exabytes, Managed.com, OzHosting, 34sp.com, Ptisp. Jan quotes Van Gogh in saying that it’s all the little things that lead to success, and we all agree. 

Plesk Cloudfest 2018 Talk by Jan Loeffler - Great things are done by a series of small things brought together - Van Gogh

 

Finally, Jan encourages hosters to step out of their comfort zone and team up Plesk. A proven ally that runs on all the major cloud players, like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. You can plan your gameplay with the all-in-one platform in your corner. And use the available extensions and features in order to win the Hosting Cup. Even the sky isn’t the limit when you can scale to the cloud. 

So, who won the Plesk football?

You didn’t think the Plesk-branded football was just a prop, did you? What would Cloudfest be without a little competition added to the mix? Jan fired a Plesk-Trivia question to the audience, promising to award the Adidas ball to the first correct respondent. “Which is the most visited feature page in Plesk?” he asked.

Answers started shooting from all directions. “WordPress Toolkit” – good following, but no. The “Extension Catalog” – nope, even more than that.  “The Dashboard?” – close, but no. And it wasn’t the login page either! “The help page?” – no, that’s low on the most viewed list, says Jan cheekily.

Plesk Cloudfest 2018 Talk - Jan Loeffler with football winner Patrick Blank from WSPN

 

In the end, it was Patrick Blank from WSPN who gave the right answer and took home the football. Let’s leave a bit of mystery here. Can you guess what the most visited feature page on Plesk is? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch Jan Loeffler’s full keynote speech here

Video Update (March 20, 2018): We now have Plesk CTO – Jan Loeffler’s entire talk below. It’s 23 minutes of great insights – hit play to have a listen. Jan also shares what’s new on Plesk Onyx, justifying all the buzz around it. And the answer to the trivia question will be revealed at the end: “Which is the most visited feature page on Plesk?”

Migrate to Plesk on AWS from Plesk, cPanel or DirectAdmin

Why migrate to Plesk on AWS?

Amazon Web Services is the cloud computing platform by Amazon.com, offering over 90 key infrastructure services such as computing power, storage options, networking, and databases, delivered as on-demand resources with pay-as-you-go pricing.

As part of the hyperscale cloud revolution, increasing numbers of web professionals are now running their instances on AWS, and many Plesk hosting partners have chosen AWS to run their managed-services business. Running your instances, hosting or managed business with Plesk on AWS provides many significant benefits over the traditional hosting infrastructure:

  • Scales better than traditional shared or VPS hosting: Plesk on AWS is based on AWS’ latest innovations and integrates smoothly with the Route53 service of AWS. Support for new AWS services are constantly being added as Plesk Extensions to take advantage of the automation and customization features of the Plesk platform. Pass on the value to your website and app customers by including AWS services to their portfolio.
  • Improved innovation: Deploy from websites and apps anywhere to everywhere. Tune, secure and optimize images that can be scaled horizontally (for high traffic sites) with ease-of-use through AWS.
  • Improved infrastructure: Quick and cost-effective spin up of dedicated multi-server environments.
  • Increased security: Intelligent Security Advisor, free SSL with Let’s Encrypt, Fail2ban, configurable firewall, ServerShield by CloudFlare, Security Core w/ ModSecurity by Atomicorp, Patchman (Patches Vulnerabilities in CMS), Datagrid reliability & vulnerability scanner, and much more
  • Proven workflow: Deploy a Domain, DNS, SSL and simple PHP application in just a few minutes…or a multi-services multi-stack application in as much time. Improved CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!) and eCommerce (WooCommerce, Prestashop, others,..) workflows to ensure better development velocity.
  • Increased productivity: Move from a release cycle every quarter to deploying changes on a minute-by-minute basis
  • Increased agility: Fully integrated deployment capabilities to deploy code more frequently
  • Global AWS Infrastructure: Plesk instances through the AWS marketplace are immediately available on any of Amazon’s many data center locations.

To learn more about Plesk on AWS, as well as our plug-and-play Plesk WordPress Server Solution and Plesk Business Server Solution, go to our Plesk on AWS page.

Let’s start the migration to AWS

Here’s what we’ll cover in this tutorial:

  1. Prepare your Plesk (or cPanel/DirectAdmin) source server
  2. Install Plesk on AWS as a target server + configure public IP
  3. Install Plesk Route53 Extension on Plesk on AWS + configure the extension.
  4. Install Plesk Migrator Extension on Plesk on AWS
  5. Migrate all the data (Plesk to Plesk), domains will be created in route53 also on this step.
  6. Use the Plesk feature “Switch DNS” – so that the source server stays a Slave until all domains are switched on the Route53 side (actually on the domain registrar’s), website stay functional during the switching time of 24-48 hours that Route53 needs for DNS sync.
  7. After that, you need to contact your registrar to delegate your domains to Route53 DNS.

1. Preparing your existing Plesk or cPanel/DirectAdmin server (source)

Note: there are some limitations in case you plan from Linux to a Windows Server and vice versa! In general, we recommend only to migrate from Linux to Linux or Windows to Windows.

To ensure that the migration is successful, a number of TCP and UDP ports need to be opened on the source and destination servers.

Plesk offers a nice Firewall component that needs to be installed in case you don’t want to do this over command line. If you can’t find the firewall in Tools & Settings -> Firewall, then you need to install the component first (click here). Then you can access it over Tools & Settings -> Firewall. More details on the firewall for Linux here and Windows here.

For Unix servers, open the following ports (In case you are migrating form Plesk using the Plesk Firewall Extension, these ports are all configured correctly for you by default!):

  • TCP port 22 for SSH connections on source server.
  • TCP port 8443 for access to Plesk XML API on the target server and on the source servers, if migrating from Plesk.
  • TCP ports 110, 143 for POP3 and IMAP, on the source and target server. These are used for post-migration checks.

For Windows servers, open the following ports:

  • TCP ports 135, 139, 445 and UDP ports 137, 138. Be sure to open these ports on the source and on the target server.
  • TCP port 1433 for MS SQL, if it is used as the default instance.
  • UDP port 1434 and all (or manually selected) TCP ports for MS SQL, if it is used as a named instance.
  • TCP port 10155 for a custom Plesk Migrator service performing miscellaneous tasks.
  • TCP port 10156 for rsync server.
  • TCP port 8443 for access to Plesk XML API on the target server and on the source servers, if migrating from Plesk.
  • TCP ports 110, 143 for POP3 and IMAP, on source and target servers. These are used for post-migration checks.

Also, make sure that https://installer.plesk.com is accessible from the destination server.

We recommend that you install and configure all the necessary services and settings on the destination server before performing the transfer. For example, if you plan on migrating MySQL databases, make sure that the MySQL server is installed and running on the destination server, and so forth.

Make sure that Plesk on the destination server has a separate license. Otherwise, you may experience problems with the license validation during migration. The possible ways of obtaining a license are described in the Administrator Guide.

2. Preparing your AWS Plesk instance (target server)

Follow this guide to set up Plesk on AWS. Note: be absolutely sure that your AWS instance is configured running with a public IP address as described in the installation tutorial, otherwise you might have issues with the DNS parts later. 

Plesk OnyxImage: Plesk Onyx

3. Installing the Plesk Migrator Extension

To install Plesk Migrator using the Plesk interface

  1. Log in as administrator to Plesk on the target server.
  2. Go to Extensions -> Server Tools -> Plesk Migrator 
  3. Select Install on the Plesk Migrator detail page.

4. Installing the AWS Route53 Extension inside Plesk

In case you plan to use the DNS features of Plesk (what is highly recommended!), you need to make sure that you have the Route53 Extension installed.

  1. Log in as administrator to Plesk on the target server.
  2. Go to Extensions -> DNS -> Amazon Route 53
  3. Select Install on the Amazon Route53 detail page.

Just for reference – here the guide for Route53 from AWS: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/Route53/latest/DeveloperGuide/MigratingDNS.html

5. Initiating the migration on your AWS Plesk instance (target server)

  1. Log in to Plesk on the destination server as the Plesk administrator.
  2. Go to Server Management > Extensions > Plesk Migrator > Start a New Migration. If Plesk Migrator is unavailable, install it following the instructions here.
  1. Select the hosting panel installed on the source server from the Panel type menu.
  2. Specify the following:
    • The source server’s IP address. If migrating from a Linux server, specify the SSH port as well (22 by default).
    • (Plesk for Linux) The login and password of a root user on the source server. Alternatively, you can choose to authenticate via SSH keys. For details, refer to Authentication by SSH (Linux).
    • (Plesk for Windows) The login and password of the built-in administrator accounts on both the source and the destination servers.
    • The directory for storing temporary files on the source server (make sure there is enough free disk space available to store the dump of the largest database that will be migrated).
  3. If migrating from a Windows-based server, specify the method for installing the RPC agent (an application enabling Plesk Migrator to gather data):
    • Automatic (recommended). Plesk Migrator will try to deploy and start RPC agent on the source server using the built-in administrator account. In some cases, automatic deployment may fail (for example, due to firewall settings, or because the File and Printer Sharing or RPC services are disabled). If this happens, deploy the agent manually.
    • Manual. A link to download the RPC agent package will be provided. Download the package and install the agent on the source server manually.
  4. Click Prepare Migration to proceed to the next step. Plesk Migrator will attempt to fetch the data about the different objects (domains, subscriptions, customer/reseller accounts, and hosting plans) found on the source server. If the connection fails, double-check the source server information, make sure that the connection is not blocked by firewall, and try again.

    Note that from this point onwards, you can leave the Migrator interface without losing your progress – the migration will remain in progress until you finish it explicitly. To continue from where you left off, click Server Management > Extensions > Plesk Migrator and then click the corresponding migration in the list.

  5. You now find yourself on the Add subscriptions tab.

  6. Here you must select the subscriptions to be migrated (note that you cannot migrate individual domains, the fewest number of objects you can migrate is a single subscription and all its domains). You can use one of the three available filters:

    • By Subscription. If you migrate a subscription owned by a customer or a reseller, the corresponding customer/reseller account will be migrated as well (unless a custom subscription owner is specified – see below). The hosting plan the subscription is based on will also be migrated.
    • By Customer/Reseller. If you migrate a customer or reseller account, all subscriptions owned by the account will be migrated together with the hosting plans they are based on. Note that migrating a reseller account does not automatically migrate the customer accounts owned by the reseller. If you select a reseller account and one or more customer accounts owned by that reseller for migration, the reseller’s ownership of the customer accounts will be preserved on the destination server.
    • By Hosting Plan. If you migrate a hosting plan, all subscriptions based on the said plan will be migrated as well. If you migrate a hosting plan belonging to a reseller, said reseller will be migrated as well, plus all subscriptions based on the selected hosting plan together with the customers who own those subscriptions.
  7. Select what types of content (mail content, web content, and databases) will be migrated.
  8. Select a custom subscription owner. By default, whenever a subscription owned by a customer or reseller is migrated, the corresponding customer or reseller account is created on the destination server as well. If you select a different subscription owner, the ownership of all subscriptions being migrated will be assigned to that account.
  9. To change the migration settings, click Settings in the upper-right corner.

  10. Here, the following controls are available:

    • Adjust application settings. By default, during migration Plesk attempts to make changes to the configuration files of a number of popular web applications to make them operable on the destination server. Clear the checkbox if you want to make the changes manually. Leaving this option enabled will increase the migration time.
    • Apache restart interval (Plesk for Linux only). Restarting the web server on the destination server is necessary for the migrated domains to become available over the network. Make sure not to set this value too low (less than 300 seconds is not recommended), as all hosted domains become temporarily unavailable every time the web server is restarted.
    • Run post-migration checks. By default, after the migration is finished, Plesk performs a number of automated tests to identify potential issues with the migrated domains. Clear the checkbox if you do not want the tests to be run. Leaving this option enabled will increase the migration time.
  11. When you are satisfied with the list of subscriptions to migrate and the migration options, click Migrate to proceed. Plesk will run pre-migration checks to detect potential issues and display a report.

  12. We advise you to fix the detected issues (if any) before continuing with the migration. Make the necessary configuration changes, then click Refresh to re-run the tests.

  13. When the pre-migration check returns a clean result, click Start migration to begin migrating. Once a migration is underway, you can monitor its progress on the Overview tab.
  14. As subscriptions are being migrated, status reports will be displayed for every subscription for which the migration was either completed successfully or failed.
    • The icon indicates that the migration was completed successfully.
    • The icon indicates that the migration was completed with errors. Click [Details] to see the list of issues that occurred during the migration.
    • The icon indicates that the migration failed. Click [Details] to see the list of issues that occurred during the migration.
  15. If you want to perform an additional sync of a subscription’s content after the migration is finished, click [Re-sync] next to the subscription’s name.
  16. If you want to migrate additional subscriptions from the source server, return to step number seven. Otherwise, unless you plan to migrate from the same source server again in the near future, you can click Finish migration to remove it from the list of ongoing migrations.

6. Going into production: switch DNS

  • Any DNS zones (domains) will be transferred to the configured Route53 correctly when using a public IP address on your Plesk server on AWS, without any manual interventions.
  • After the migration, AWS need some time to propagate new DNS records/domains inside their infrastructure.
  • IF on source server DNS was handled by Plesk, then the migrated domains continue to work on old DNS but points to new IP’s because of “switch DNS” feature described earlier.

7. Request at your domain registrar or registries to switch DNS to route53

After your changes to Amazon Route 53 resource record sets have propagated to Amazon Route 53 DNS servers (see Step 4: Check the Status of Your Changes (API Only)), update your registrar’s name server (NS) records to refer to the Amazon Route 53 name servers.

migration with no downtime – woohoo!

 

8. Additional tips

In case you are not ready to migrate your whole server yet, there is also an option to just migrate 1 site to a server with Plesk on AWS or one WordPress instance into Plesk’s all new WordPress Toolkit. For that, please refer to separate documentation available here.

 

Thanks to the whole AWS team for co-authoring this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights to optimize this tutorial.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

How to deploy Plesk Onyx on Amazon EC2

Plesk on AWS

In the latest Magic Quadrant report for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide, for the 6th straight year, Gartner placed Amazon Web Services in the “Leaders” quadrant and named AWS as having both the furthest completeness of vision and the highest ability to execute. Today, AWS provides a highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform in the cloud that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world.

What is AWS?

Amazon web services is the cloud computing platform by Amazon.com. Building and running your business starts with computing, whether you are building mobile apps, or running massive clusters to sequence the human genome. AWS has over 70 infrastructure services, such as computing power, storage options, networking and databases, delivered as a utility: on-demand, available in seconds, with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) forms a central part of Amazon Web Services, by allowing users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. EC2 encourages scalable deployment of applications by providing a web service through which a user can boot an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to configure a virtual machine, which Amazon calls an “instance”, containing any software desired.

A user can create, launch, and terminate server-instances as needed, paying by the hour for active servers – hence the term “elastic”. EC2 provides users with control over the geographical location of instances that allows for latency optimization and high levels of redundancy.

Amazon EC2Image: Amazon

AWS Global Infrastructure

AWS placed its data centers across 42 availability zones within 16 regions around the world: US West (Oregon, Northern California), AWS GovCloud, US East (Northern Virginia, Ohio), Canada (Central), South America (Sao Paulo), Europe (Ireland, Frankfurt, London), Asia Pacific (Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai) and China (Beijing). Each availability zone has at least one data center that has redundant power for stability, networking and connectivity.

AWS regionsImage: Amazon

Throughout the next year, the AWS Global Infrastructure will expand with at least five new Availability Zones in new geographic Regions: Ningxia in China and Paris in France.

Run any application

If you need to run any application, for example a WordPress website or control and manage server or cluster level functions such as scaling and deployment, well then AWS EC2 is the best! It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

  • You provision, scale, and manage server capacity. EC2 offers a wide selection of instance configurations optimized for every use case
  • You control the server, OS, and deployment software
  • You have flexible payment options to meet your business needs, including enabling BYOL

Benefits

    • Inexpensive

Amazon EC2 passes on to you the financial benefits of Amazon’s scale. You pay a very low rate for the compute capacity you actually consume. See Amazon EC2 Instance Purchasing Options for a more detailed description.

  • Elastic Web-Scale Computing

    Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously. Of course, because this is all controlled with web service APIs, your application can automatically scale itself up and down depending on its needs.

  • Designed for use with other Amazon Web Services

    Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Domain Name System (Amazon Route 53), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) to provide a complete solution for computing, query processing and storage across a wide range of applications.

    Tip: Should you decide to make the move to the cloud with the Amazon Route 53 service, we recommend that you use the Plesk Onyx extension for automated provisioning of DNS zones to Amazon Web Services.

  • Reliable

    Amazon EC2 offers a highly reliable environment where replacement instances can be rapidly and predictably commissioned. The service runs within Amazon’s proven network infrastructure and data centers. The Amazon EC2 Service Level Agreement commitment is 99.95% availability for each Amazon EC2 Region.

  • Secure

    Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon VPC to provide security and robust networking functionality for your computing resources.

Simplify Server Administration

  • Managing Infrastructure

    For all server needs – small businesses and IT Pros that want to host a few websites, web developers and designers that need to host dozens of websites, shared web hosters that can grow to serve millions of websites – Plesk Onyx on AWS is the ideal solution for simplifying server administration, while scaling to meet your specific needs.

  • Easy to Start

    Quickly get started with Amazon EC2 by visiting AWS Marketplace to choose preconfigured software on Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). You can quickly deploy this software to EC2 via 1-Click launch or with the EC2 console.

AWS MarketplaceImage: Amazon

What is Plesk Onyx?

Plesk Onyx is the new benchmark in control panels, and is the only tool you ever need to build, secure and run websites and applications in the Cloud!

Plesk Onyx allows server administrators to set up new websites, manage accounts and e-mail, and oversee DNS entries and other relevant networking data and specs through an intuitive web-based interface. It is an intuitive control panel that any customer can easily use. The latest version of Plesk Onyx supports multiple Windows and Linux distributions, for example Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and many more – meaning you have even less to worry about if you have a customized network setup or if you are unsure about compatibility.

Gain time, gain freedom.

Our biggest release to date simplifies the lives of Web Professionals by fully integrating Docker and Git. Server related tasks and components are automated to run and scale web projects as well as providing one-click web server security. The ultimate answer for Web professionals who work with SMB’s (small to medium-sized businesses), we like to think of Plesk Onyx as a tool which empowers end users to easily deploy their web projects and get their MVP’s to market sooner.

What are the benefits/features?

  • Build: Plesk’s easy-to-use intuitive interface provides an environment for web professionals to code directly in. This allows developers and designers to focus on their business and develop web apps and sites that scale in the cloud.

  • Secure: It is not uncommon to have well-functioning websites that do not take security concerns into consideration. Such an approach can have huge negative consequences as your services continue to run and be exposed. An estimated 90% of web developers realize specific security concerns or loopholes in their application only after it is too late. Plesk will handle all security protocols and take necessary measures for you, automatically.

  • Run: Manage your WebOps: In the past, a team of tech specialists was needed to ensure that everything worked together throughout the running and deployment of any given web application. This meant that you had to have someone dedicated to ensuring that everything from the deployment, running, maintenance and security to the patching and repairing of your app or system, runs smoothly and successfully. However, with the progress of time, these tasks have become more and more automated, to the point where you do not need the same expensive technical resources you needed a few years ago.

Plesk Onyx also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx Featured ApplicationsImage: Plesk Onyx

Now that you’re familiar with AWS EC2 and Plesk you’re ready to take the next steps. There’s no better way of finding out about the powerful capabilities of AWS than by trying out the platform.

Getting started with Plesk Onyx and AWS EC2

 

1. Creating an AWS Account

To access any web service AWS offers, you must first create an AWS account. An AWS account is simply an Amazon.com account that is enabled to use AWS products. You can use an existing Amazon.com account login and password when creating the AWS account.

From your AWS account you can view your AWS account activity, view usage reports, and manage your AWS Security Credentials.

To set up a new account

1. Open https://aws.amazon.com/, and then choose Create a Free Account.

2. Follow the online instructions.

3. Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

Note: You will not be charged unless your usage exceeds the free tier limits, which is great to explore the services and even host a real app without being charged.

 

2. Go to the AWS Marketplace

AWS Marketplace is a new way to find and buy software that runs in the AWS Cloud. In order to simplify installing on Amazon, Plesk provides a variety of AMIs (Amazon Machine Images) with the most popular configurations.

Plesk Onyx at AWS Marketplace Image: Amazon

Thus, no actual installation is required. In Amazon terminology, the user needs to launch the instance from the appropriate AMI. All available AMIs can be found at AWS Marketplace.

Note: In this How-to we use the ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) instance of Plesk Onyx CentOS 7 which allows you to use your own Plesk license. If you don’t have one yet, you can get a free trial license here.

Bring Your Own License

 

1. Click on Plesk Onyx ‘Bring Your Own License’ (CentOS 7), read the product description to make sure that it suits your needs.

2. Expand Region, and select the region you want from the list. The price is different for different regions.

3. Click the Continue button.

Plesk Onyx - Bring Your Own LicenseImage: Amazon

4. On the next site choose 1-Click Launch which uses predefined settings for Plesk Onyx.

5. Choose the configuration on the EC2 instance type. You will see the pricing information change under Pricing Details to match your selection. You can also review the Monthly Estimate in the right pane.

6. Create new Security Group based on seller settings. The Security Group created by AWS Marketplace based on recommended settings for Plesk ‘Bring Your Own License’ CentOS 7 version 17.0.17.

Plesk Onyx 'Bring Your Own License' (CentOS 7)Image: Amazon

7. Select the Key Pair to be used for connection to the instance (an existing Key Pair is required for connection to the Plesk instance). A Key Pair can be generated in the AWS Management Console.

8. Read the User End License Agreement (EULA) and AWS Customer Agreement and click Launch with 1-click button.

9. An instance of this software is now deploying on EC2. Software and AWS hourly usage fees apply when the instance is running and will appear on your monthly bill.

An instance of this software is now deploying on Amazon EC2Image: Amazon

10. Click on the AWS Management Console link in the right pane to get your instances list.

3. Connecting the instance via SSH

When Plesk is installed on an Amazon EC2 instance, the admin password is generated automatically. You need to obtain the generated password in order to access Plesk GUI for the first time.

Amazon EC2 - Connecting the instance via SSHImage: Amazon

1. Open up your favorite SSH client application and connect to the instance utilizing the public IP address assigned to the instance, that can be found in the right pane of the instances description.

2. User name: The remote user to log in as. The default admin user, or Superuser, is centos for Centos, ubuntu for Ubuntu.

Note: If you added a public SSH key to your instance when you created it, you must have the private SSH key of the key pair (and passphrase, if it has one).

3. Generate a one-time login for logging in to Plesk Onyx.

Run the following command:

 # sudo plesk login | grep -v ec2.internal

SSH into your instance

4. Copy the generated link into your browser.

4. Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk Onyx, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx Installation WizardImage: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your hostname (Public DNS).
  • Default IP Address: Select your IP address
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Plesk Onyx settingsImage: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. After that comes the license key install page. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceed with installing the license key.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx Image: Plesk Onyx

Thank you to the whole Amazon team for co-authoring this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

Deploying Plesk Onyx on Microsoft Windows Azure

Cloud computing provides businesses the ability to quickly scale computing resources without the costly and laborious task of building data centres, and without the costs of running servers with idle capacity due to variable workloads. To simplify dynamic provisioning in the Cloud for infrastructure providers (including service providers who offer dedicated servers, VPS or IaaS), Plesk now provides ready-to-go images for deploying on Microsoft Windows Azure.

What is Windows Azure?

Quite simply, anything you want it to be.

This cloud platform from Microsoft provides a wide range of different services, to help you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you’re a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website with a global reach, Windows Azure provides a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business.

In addition to traditional cloud offerings, Azure offers services that leverage proprietary Microsoft technologies. For example, RemoteApp allows for the deployment of Windows programs using a virtual machine running Windows, OS X, Android, or iOS through a remote desktop connection. Azure also offers cloud-hosted versions of common Microsoft enterprise solutions, such as Active Directory and SQL Server.

Questions about Windows Azure?

There are two great places you can go online to ask questions about Windows Azure and get answers from the community:

  • The Windows Azure forums on MSDN.
  • Get involved with the Azure Community on Stack Overflow here.

The best way to keep up with new features and enhancements in Windows Azure is by following the official Windows Azure Blog. If you use a newsreader, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog and get the news as it happens.

Microsoft Windows Azure Dashboard
Image: Microsoft

What is Plesk Onyx?

It’s what Web Professionals like Developers, Designers, Agencies, IT-Admins use to simplify their work lives.

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to build, secure and automate applications, websites and hosting businesses. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries in the world, 50% of the top 100 worldwide service providers are Plesk partners. Our WebOps platform is designed to help infrastructure providers create targeted solutions for Web Professionals, Web Hosts, and Hosting Service Providers.

Key solution areas include:

  • Unlimited domains
  • WordPress Toolkit
  • Developer Pack
  • Subscription Management
  • Account Management
  • Reseller Management

The new Plesk Onyx for Windows and Linux (WebHost) also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx at Microsoft Windows Azure Virtual Machines Marketplace
Image: Microsoft

Here’s the good news: Plesk Onyx now runs on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to provide the scalability, security, and performance that customers depend on.

Better news yet, Plesk provides a variety of virtual machine images with the most popular configurations. So no actual installation is required. You’ll just need to create a virtual machine from the appropriate image. All available images for virtual machines can be found in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

 

Which virtual machine images are provided?

The new Plesk Onyx images are shipped in three editions and are available for both Windows and Linux.

The ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) instance of Plesk Onyx allows you to purchase your own license directly from the Plesk Online Store or from a Plesk reseller. For Plesk Onyx WebHost images, the cost of your license is included in the hourly charge for the instance. Plesk Onyx licenses are available for two platform types: for Dedicated Servers and for VPS.

License and OS version:
Plesk Onyx images at Microsoft Windows Azure

Now that you’re familiar with the Windows Azure platform and Plesk, you’re ready to take the next steps. And there’s no better way to experience the powerful capabilities of Windows Azure than trying out the platform for yourself.

 

Getting started with Plesk and Windows Azure

Microsoft is currently offering a free one-month trial of Windows Azure that provides you with $200 of Windows Azure credits you can use for whatever you want. You get full access to the platform with no strings attached. Just sign in with your Microsoft account and fill out the form.

Tutorials

These tutorials by Cynthia Nottingham, Technical Writer at Microsoft, shows you how easy it is to create a Windows virtual machine (VM) from a Plesk-published image by using the Azure portal.

 

Quick Start Guide: Create a virtual machine

Log into the Azure Portal and on your Dashboard, select New> Compute. Search for the Plesk virtual machine images and select the appropriate Plesk configuration.

Microsoft Windows Azure - Plesk Onyx images
Image: Microsoft

When configuring a virtual machine, you will be asked to specify the following settings:

1. Basic settings: virtual machine name, disk type (SSD or HD), username and password, your Azure subscription and resource group.

Note: The root username cannot be used during the VM creation. You may grant the root user access to the VM later from the console.

For Linux VM, you can choose the following authentication types:

  • SSH public key. In this case, you should specify your SSH public key. You can find information about creating public and private SSH keys here.
  • Password. In this case, you should specify and confirm the password that will be used for connection to the virtual machine.

2. VM size. You can choose one of available standard sizes provided by Azure.

3. Storage and network settings, including virtual network, subnet, public IP address, network security group (firewall). It is OK to leave the default values for most options.

Note: By default, your machine will have a dynamic IP address, so that the IP address will be changed each time when the virtual machine is restarted. If you want to avoid this, click Public IP address and then select the Static option. The virtual machine will be created with a static IP address.

4. Deployment. When you’ve dialed in all the settings, you’ll be presented with a summary. Confirm these settings for your new VM and click OK. Finally, your offer details will be generated and you can now purchase your virtual machine by clicking the Purchase button. The deployment process will start, and you will see its progress on your Dashboard.

5. You’ve created a VM. Your new VM will deploy in a couple of minutes. Once your virtual machine is deployed, it will be automatically started and the setting page will be displayed. You also can view and manage your virtual machine settings by going to Virtual Machines and selecting your virtual machine name.

Of course, you will be able to see the Public IP address of the machine.

Microsoft Azure - virtual machine configuration
Image: Microsoft

Access Plesk Onyx on your virtual machine

Connect to the virtual machine.

  • If you’ve created a Windows Virtual Machine, you can connect to it via Remote Desktop. Go to the Azure Portal Dashboard >Virtual Machines, choose your VM, and click Connect. This will create and download a Remote Desktop Protocol file (.rdp file) that acts like a shortcut to connect to your machine. Open this file and connect to your virtual machine using your login and password.

  • If you have a Linux VM, you can SSH into its public IP address that is displayed in the virtual machine’s settings. Depending on your selected authentication type, you may either use a login and password, or your SSH public key.

  • From a Mac or Linux workstation, you can SSH directly from the Terminal. For example:

     ssh -i ~/.ssh/azure_id_rsa [email protected]
  • If you are on a Windows workstation, then you will need to use PuTTY, MobaXTerm or Cygwin to SSH to Linux. For details, see How to Use SSH keys with Windows on Azure.

 

Get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk

  • On the virtual machine, run

     $ sudo plesk login

    to get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk. You will receive two links: based on the virtual machine name and based on the IP address. Use the link based on the IP address to log in to Plesk.

login via ssh to Plesk Onyx

Note: You cannot use the link based on the virtual machine name the first time you log in because Plesk has not passed the initial configuration and the full hostname has not been created yet. You should use the link corresponding to your public IP address.

 

Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx configuration wizard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your primary domain (i.e. testdomain.com).
  • Default IP Address: Leave the IP as default.
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Plesk Onyx Settings
Image: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. Then comes the License key install page. Your Microsoft Azure instance is billed on an hourly basis, starting when it boots up and ending with the instance termination.

  • If you have a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Plesk Onyx image, your hourly charge for the Microsoft Azure instance will be lower but you need to purchase and install the Plesk product license yourself. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceeding with installing the license key.
  • If you have a non-BYOL Plesk Onyx image, for example, Plesk Onyx on Windows 2012 R2 (WebHost), the cost of the license will be included in the hourly charge for the instance.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx - Administration dashboard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Thanks to the Microsoft Windows Azure team for co-authoring the introduction to this article and for providing feedback and technical insights on Windows Azure.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!