Announcing Plesk Onyx Support Policy Update

Calling to all Plesk Onyx users – it’s time to say goodbye to your current software version. The dynamic hosting industry evolves very quickly. And our goal as a WebOps leading platform is to provide our customers with the best solutions. Plesk Obsidian entered the game so you can access the most complete tool on the market. With optimal usability, increased productivity, tougher default security, and many more key improvements.

With the launch of Obsidian last year, Plesk ended the era of upgrades and introduced the era of short releases. Switching to regular updates is imperative to always deliver a secure and stable version of Plesk. That is, with new features and improvements that partners and customers expect to get from an intelligent software solution. Find out more about Plesk Obsidian 18.0 mass update and new partner controls in this article. Also, keep in mind that only Obsidian gives you access to the full extensions catalog.

In order to fully accompany you to make the digital transformation easier, we provide you with the best support, that requires an update to the latest software version. In this regard, Plesk has an end-of-life support policy which is primordial in order to deliver innovative and cost-effective solutions.

Plesk Version Lifecycle

The table below describes when specific versions of Plesk will enter the extended support phase and when patches for critical issues will no longer be available. If the Plesk version in use is EoL (End of Life), Plesk strongly recommends upgrading to a supported Plesk version.

Product Released Extended Support* End of Life**
Plesk Obsidian June 4, 2019 *** not applicable not applicable
Plesk Onyx October 11, 2016 October 11, 2020 April 20, 2021

*In terms of Plesk Onyx, there is a 4-year support period, after which the product will no longer be available for new purchases and will only receive patches for critical issues. The Extended Support Period is six months starting from October 2020.

**End of Life: Once the Extended Support period is over, the product will stop receiving further development (including critical patches), and technical support requests will no longer be accepted.

*** Starting from this date, Plesk began accepting technical support requests for Plesk Obsidian (General Availability version launched on October 22nd, 2019).

Benefits of Auto-updates

It’s worth noting that Plesk is committed to supporting only Plesk Obsidian (18.x), and not older versions than the two previously released.

Here’s a good example. If a user installs Plesk 18.05.28 as a fresh instance but after a few weeks decides to install a new instance, its version will be 18.0.29 and not 18.0.28 anymore. Nonetheless, version 18.0.28 will still be supported until the following two newer versions are released – in this case, until version 18.0.30 is released.

This is why it’s very important to check your current version of your Plesk before asking for support. It’s possible that you’re no longer using a supported version – that is, the current version or the one before – and all you need to do is to update your Plesk to get full performance. You can turn the update option on to automatically update versions and simplify your admin tasks – at the end of the day, this is what Plesk’s here for 🙂  

Essential benefits of auto-updates are the following:

  1. No need to upgrade or migrate to a new major version each year.
  2. Immediate access to new features or improve existing ones.
  3. Constantly patching potential security vulnerabilities.
  4. Boosted speed and performance.
  5. Protection of user’s data.

You can find more information about Plesk Support Policy end-of-life on our lifecycle policy and change log pages. 

Got any questions about short releases and the Plesk Obsidian auto-updates? Drop us a line in the comment section below!

Plesk is now available on Linode: Here’s how to install it

install Plesk on Linode

Cloud companies like Linode are revolutionizing how businesses reach their customers today. Digitizing painful old processes, allowing them more time to focus on what they really care about – making their products unique. This is why we have Plesk on Linode. Now let’s talk about how to install Plesk on Linode too.

As a Web Professional, your goal is to provide highly available and scalable services to your customers. You want to be able to focus on what you’re good at. Forget the nitty-gritty technical server management, cost-streamlining, running of instances, backups, and account management. These tasks are for the  virtual private server, designed precisely for this purpose. If you’re tired of managing infrastructure and security when you just want to focus on improving your product/service, Plesk Obsidian is the solution. Now for the infrastructure…

What’s Linode?

Linode is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider

Linode is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider company based in New Jersey, US. Linode offers multiple products and services for its clients. Its flagship products are IaaS solutions with multiple VM sizes at different price points billed hourly.

Additionally, Linode Backup allows customers to back up their servers on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Linode Manager and NodeBalancer both allow users to manage multiple server instances across a single system.

You can learn more about Linode here.

Getting started with Plesk on Linode

First, please review the Software Requirements for Plesk to find what Linux distributions are supported by Plesk.

  1. Then, log into your Linode Account and click on “One-Click Apps”. If you don’t have one, you need to create one first.
Plesk Linode 1

2. In the middle of the page, click on “Plesk”

linode plesk

3. Then scroll down to choose some options based on your needs:

    1. You need to define a domain name for your server. This should be in the format yourserver.yourdomain.com . This is only going to be active after your point your DNS to the virtual machine but is a requirement for a successful deployment.
    2. Select an operating system of your choice. You can currently choose the latest CentOS and Ubuntu versions. Which one is best for you is a matter of choice and there are no limitations of Plesk independent of what you are going to use.
    3. Select a Region of your choice. Depending on where you or your customers’ websites are, select the datacenter region that you may need. Usually, it’s recommended to choose the closest location to where the majority of your website visitors are coming from to avoid any performance delays.
plesk linode 3

4. Afterwards, scroll down further and select the size of your virtual machine. Plesk runs smoothly on a small virtual machine. However, it highly depends on your setup and how many websites you plan to run on a single virtual machine. Please also refer to this guide for details.

linode plesk 4

5. Scroll down again and define further options. The Linode Label and “Add Tags” are optional things. Here, you’ll need to set a root password, which you will need to remember for later 😉

Further Optional Add-ons are optional and up to you whether to use them or not. Then click “Create” on the right side.

plesk linode 5

6. The Plesk Stack Script asks you to fill in basic information. Which will start the Plesk configuration, install a temporary license key and let you to login. All without needing an SSH to generate a password afterwards. Because you can define it upfront.

Leave all the other settings as default.

plesk linode 6

7. You should see this or a similar screen in your browser after you pressed enter in the browser. Click on “Login to Plesk”.

plesk linode 7

8. You can safely ignore the “insecure” message after you pressed “Login to Plesk”. The reason is that unless your chosen domain name for the server has no SSL certificate assigned, this message will stay. You can do this later for free using a Let’s Encrypt certificate inside the Plesk configuration.

Then use the user “root” as your username and the password that you defined inside the Linode interface earlier. Click “Log in”.

linode plesk 8

9. You can then enter a few more details to set up the server. And a password for the login with the “admin” username. You can then use that login to access Plesk instead of using root and the root-password. We highly recommend that if you’re accessing the virtual machine through the terminal, you only use the root access.

You can either use a trial license for Plesk or check out our Plesk licenses to enjoy its full capabilities.

Enter the activation code you receive in your Plesk order and “Enter Plesk”.

linode plesk 9

10. Welcome! After a few more seconds of initialization, you can now add your first domain and/or website. If you need more details, we also suggest checking out our documentation or Plesk University where we have free courses available.

plesk linode 10

Recently, we even launched a free Udemy course on how to get started with Plesk on Linode. So you can get your first website up and running in no time. In the meantime, we’re available if you need any additional support. Or if you want to be part of our growing Facebook Community Group. Give us a knock and we’ll let you in. Happy Plesking on Linode!

Plesk Obsidian 18.0 Mass Update and New Partner Controls

Plesk Obsidian 18.0 Mass Update and New Controls - Plesk

This year, we’ve publicly announced the automatic updates to 17.8, from Plesk 17.0 and 17.5. Then, in September, we announced the beginning of the short releases era of auto-updates. Now, we’re sharing the progress we made with auto-updates to the latest Onyx version, with additional details and timelines on auto-updates from Onyx to Obsidian. You’ll also find out how you can set up the automatic updates to run at the time you want them to.

Plesk Obsidian 18.0 General Availability (GA) happened on October 22, 2019. As of end of November 2019, we updated around 60,000 Plesk servers to Plesk Obsidian. Since then, they continue to be updated to the latest version every month. Of course, only if a system administrator has allowed automatic updates.

Thanks to the auto-updates, we increased the number of servers on supported Plesk v17.8 to over 20%. With the Plesk Obsidian release to GA we have two supported versions, and 76% of all the Plesk servers are running actual and supported versions.

How We’re Ending 2019 – Plesk Servers by Version Distribution

How We’re Ending 2019 - Plesk Servers by Version Distribution Plesk

Your Automatic Server Update To Plesk Obsidian

We plan to start mass distribution of automatic updates to your Plesk Onyx 17.8 servers starting from January 20, 2020. From the end of January until the end of February, Plesk Retail Customers (who purchased licenses directly from us) and Partners with Early Adopters tier* will be updated. From March through June, we plan to update the servers that belong to the General Release tier. Then, we’ll start updating servers on the Late Adopters tier from June.

Your Automatic Server Update To Plesk Obsidian Plesk

*To check your tier in Plesk Onyx 17.8, in the Plesk interface in the left side menu, click Tools & Settings > Update and Upgrade settings.

Controlling Automatic Updates from Partner Central and Plesk

There are two ways for a server administrator to set up days and timeframes for the installation of automatic updates in Plesk:

  • If you’re managing just one Plesk Server, please refer to our Administrator’s Guide for details on how to set the automatic updates time through the panel.ini configuration file.
  • If you want to apply auto-update settings to more than one Plesk server, you will need to do so from Partner Central:
  1. Login to Partner Central here.
  2.  Go to Product Configuration > configuration you need > click Edit link close to Server Settings.
  3. Make sure the radio button Install updates automatically is selected.
  4. Set weekdays when you want the auto-updates to run (at least 2).
  5. Enter the email address of a person or group of people who we should notify when the auto-update starts and ends.
  6. Set a timeframe for when you want the updates to be installed (3 hours at least).
  7. Click Save.
  8. Make sure to activate the configuration
Controlling Automatic Updates from Partner Central and Plesk

Please note that in both cases of setting up a timeframe through panel.ini or KAPC configuration, the time that is specified is in UTC time zone. There are some limitations that you should be aware of:

  • When specifying a timeframe, it should fit into 24 hours timeframe, i.e. the period that is being specified, should be either until midnight, or after it.
  • There is just one timeframe for any week day, i.e. on the settings in the screenshot above the auto-updates are allowed for installation Monday to Thursday from 1 am to 4 am UTC.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have several Plesk servers and I perform their administration. Auto-updates are enabled on all of my servers and I see that several servers were already updated to the latest version of Plesk Obsidian, while several servers are still on older version. What is wrong?

A: There is nothing to worry about. The remaining Plesk servers should be updated to the latest available version until the end of the particular short release period.

Q: I have set up in panel.ini file the weekdays and timelines where I want my Plesk servers to be auto-updated. What will happen if my provider sets another days and timeframes in KAPC?

A: The settings on a single server have higher priority, and in this situation, the settings specified on your single Plesk server will be taken into consideration by the auto-update algorithm.

Q: I purchased my Plesk license directly from you. Can I use the configuration settings in Partner Central even if I’m not Plesk Partner?

A: You cannot use Partner Central settings in this case. We recommend that you set the days and time-frames using panel.ini.

 

Got any more questions about the upcoming mass update or new Partner controls? Drop us a line in the comment section below!

Announcing: Plesk Obsidian Professional and University Certification Upgrades

Announcing: Plesk Obsidian Professional and University Certification Upgrades

Plesk is glad to announce that the Plesk Obsidian Professional course and exam are now available for you to take. We’re also working hard on updating our other courses and exams to completely align with Plesk Obsidian as well. Then, the plan is to complete the full line-up: Associate, Professional, and Expert, by the end of the year.

Getting your certification and digital badge

To earn a brand-new Plesk Obsidian Professional certificate and digital badge, simply:

  1. Go to Plesk University and log in
  2. Complete the Plesk Obsidian Professional course
  3. Take the Plesk Obsidian Professional Certification exam online.

However, we understand that some of our students have already earned their certificates recently. So it may be a bit unfair to ask you to re-do a course in this case. Especially if you’ve already spent time earning or renewing your certification just months before the new Plesk Obsidian course was released.

So what’s the point of having a brand new certificate for the previous version of the product, Plesk Onyx? Do you have to do it all over again? And how do you do it, if only one new exam is available at the moment? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Plesk University Certification Upgrades

Completed the Plesk Obsidian: What’s new? course and passed the Plesk Certification Upgrade to Obsidian exam? Then, all your Plesk Onyx certifications earned between June 1, 2019 and October 16, 2019 will be upgraded to Plesk Obsidian.

For example, maybe you earned your certificates for Plesk Onyx Associate in May, Plesk Onyx Professional in June, and Plesk Onyx for Linux Expert in September. If you pass the Plesk Obsidian Certification Upgrade exam, you’ll earn the Plesk Obsidian Professional and Plesk Obsidian for Linux Expert certificates right away.

The certification upgrade program will be active until the end of 2019, when the full line-up of Plesk Obsidian courses becomes available.

 

Learn more about Free Plesk University Certifications here.

Top 3 user-friendly Multi-Server Management Tools

Top 4 user-friendly Multi-Server Management Tools - Plesk

System administrators probably all agree that a web hosting control panel is more or less essential to their jobs. Because it eliminates the need to manually manage disparate servers – a time-consuming task. Control panels make multi-server management less of a chore because they handle site launches, security, and updates automatically. Here we’re looking at which multi-server management solutions are the most user-friendly.

Server Control Panels Guide How Multi-Server Management Works

DirectAdmin

DirectAdmin

DirectAdmin does not offer single-dashboard for multi-server management. It does support DNS Clustering though. Plus, it can automate the transfer of DNS data to and from other DirectAdmin machines. And finally, it can look out for instances of domains that have been duplicated on a DA network.

InterWorx

Interworx

This web hosting control panel divides itself into NodeWorx for admins and SiteWorx for website owners. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature the convenience of multi-server management from one dashboard.

For clustering, one box acts as the Cluster Manager, meanwhile, other machines are Nodes.  They mount the CM /home partition in order to balance the load between all servers. And the CM server retains all data.

ISPManager

ISPManager

ISPmanager 5 Business is a multi-server management solution that can manage server clusters and handle data based both locally and remotely. They installed the node on each of the remote machines on the network, managing the nodes using remote calls. Hence, each local node is managed just like every other one, apart from when adding a new cluster node.

How To Manage Multiple WordPress Sites

Manage Multiple Wordpress Sites

Trying to manage multiple WordPress sites can become a tall order pretty quick. First, you need to log into one site after another. Then, go through plugin updates and make sure they’re compatible with your chosen theme. Configuring plugins or customizing settings of active themes can be another routine challenge. Doing this over and over again can end up sucking all your time – an asset you can’t buy.

One Dashboard for Multiple WordPress Sites

The thought behind single-interface solutions is that they’d overcome this time-wasting process by allowing you to manage multiple WordPress sites from just one location / dashboard ( you may also read about WordPress multisite environment ). That’s why they provide the convenience of a single login. And one interface in one central location, letting you get in all your WordPress sites’ dashboards, without the big run-around.

Moreover, having a single login point helps you update plug-ins and themes. And this can be really useful if you’re managing clients’ WordPress websites. They aren’t always diligent about this kind of thing. So having overall control like this wins you back lots of precious hours.

Features of a Good WordPress Management Solution

Features of a good WordPress management solution - Plesk Multi Server Management

A good interface should be able to handle core updates as well as plug-ins – so always look for that. And you also want to be able to do offsite backups. Because hackers and malware scum are always keen to compromise your systems. Therefore, having the ability to safely back up offsite can be a lifesaver. Uptime monitoring is another useful feature because it’s a great way of showing whether your host is doing what they say they’re doing. And that your clients are getting their value for money.

Some WordPress platforms even include SEO monitoring & analysis ( read more about SEO Toolkit ) giving you access to analytics without the need to go hunting through Google Analytics. These are just a few of the essentials and extras on offer with the platforms listed below to manage multiple WordPress sites.

Reviews of Multiple WordPress Site Management Solutions

Reviews of Multiple WordPress Site Management Solutions - Plesk

1. Calypso

Calypso is Jetpack’s own offering to help you manage multiple WordPress sites. It’s for WordPress.com users, but self-hosted sites running Jetpack can also be looked after using the same dashboard.

But even more, Calypso is perfectly capable of editing a large number of WordPress.com websites from one central point. And with .com sites being such a sprawl of disparate applications, this platform offers a great way to keep them all under control. In the end, JS and the WP Rest API make it very quick – quick enough that you can watch changes you make in real-time.

Calypso Pros

  • Pages load straight away
  • Desktop UI
  • Real time working
  • Manage multiple WordPress sites
  • Take care of self-hosted and .com sites
  • Easy-to-use dashboard (some prefer it to the wp-admin panel)

Calypso Cons

  • Not yet fully-integrated with self-hosted websites
  • Not great for theme developers who build bulky panels

2. InfiniteWP

InfiniteWP has a lot to offer, which is perhaps why it’s so popular amongst those who manage multiple WordPress sites. The upgraded version gives users access to Utilities, Analytics, Maintenance, Managing, Reporting, and Security. There’s a risk-free 14-day moneyback policy. So it’s well worth taking for a test drive – no obligation to buy.

InfiniteWP Pros

  • One dashboard covers multiple WordPress sites
  • Simple staging and cloning
  • Site cloning using FTP authorizations
  • Plug-ins and core updates and management
  • Check broken links

InfiniteWP Con

It’s “freemium” so you have to pay extra for the good stuff.

3. ManageWP

When ManageWP first opened up shop in 2010 there weren’t many WordPress management tools out there, so it was quite new and exciting to have one tool that let you manage lots of different sites. By the end of their first month that tool was managing 100,000 websites, which is a pretty incredible achievement for a brand-new business. But how does it fare today? Let’s take a look.

ManageWP Pros

Reliability:

No ManageWP review is complete without considering reliability. And luckily, it remains at the top of the list of reliable multisite WordPress management tools. The free version backs up all your sites automatically once a month, but if for some weird reason you want to disable it, you can. ManageWP also lets you run performance and security checks.

The ManageWP dashboard shows you info that might help you optimize certain things. So you can see how many spam comments and site revisions you have (keeping your database manageable) and your database size. You can fix all these with one click.ManageWP also organizes your analytics, and can adequately count page views. However, you can also get more via your Google analytics account. All in all it’s pretty good, but it’s worth noting the few tantrums it’s thrown every now and then. Like breaking same demos, among other things.

Ease of use:

ManageWP is easy to use and the interfaces easy to navigate. It provides useful tooltips as you go, so every section you visit can provide explanations. In fact, everything is thoroughly documented, and we think that it’s enough to get any regular WordPress user up to speed on ManageWP pretty quickly.

Plugin management:

If a plugin needs to be updated you’ll see it on your ManageWP dashboard. If you want to tweak them individually, just head into the settings on each of your sites. This will let you activate, deactivate, and delete any plugin you choose.

A menu here lets you add new ones. It includes the WordPress.org repository, cloud storage, and ordinary URLs or ZIP files. As comprehensive as it is, ManageWP won’t let you alter each plug-in’s unique settings. But you still have your WordPress dashboard to take care of that.

Update management:

When you log in to your manage WP dashboard, you’ll receive WordPress core updates. And, you can see if your sites are running different versions on your Overview bar (left side of the screen).

ManageWP Cons

  • Add-ons: premium add-ons can get expensive (especially for enhanced backup features)
  • Not self-hosted: (some users prefer self-hosting for added security)
  • Lack of extension: not as many premium extensions as with MainWP

ManageWP gives you a lot of features considering its a freemium tool, and there’s no limit to the number of WordPress sites you can use. You’ll miss a few premium add-ons with the free version, but there’s nothing you can’t do without.

This ManageWP review commends the suite for its simplicity. Users still love the fact that its WordPress management tools are fairly easy to get to grips with.

4. MainWP

MainWP is a self-hosted solution lets you manage lots of WordPress sites. We’d recommend it because it’s easy to use and has really good support.

MainWP Pros

Comprehensive features:

As with ManageWP, MainWP gives you one-click updates, backups, cloning, uptime monitoring, SEO analysis, white labeling, and more. But, MainWP also has extensions that let you spin content across your sites – Useful if you’re looking after sites dealing with similar subjects. Plus, using and storing code snippets, and Piwik stats integration. New extensions appear all the time and MainWP also offers API hooks for developers who want to make their own extensions.

Control:

Because MainWP is installed on your server, you have full access to logs for troubleshooting any issues that might occur. You can also access MainWP on Github if you want to customize the plugins for your own use. MainWP’s clarity lets developers make the service better, which is great to know.

Costs:

This MainWP review finds that it’s great value, because you only pay for extensions that make it more functional. So say you were to buy 3 extensions at $18.99, that would still come to less than cost of running ManageWP for one month. You still get lifetime support and updates.

White labeling:

The entire WP dashboard can be white labelled, so you can easily rebrand a clients’ entire experience if you need to. The child plugin you install on client sites will retain that branding during updates. This is something that ManageWP has struggled with at times.

All in all, this part of MainWP has been great. Auto updates. With MainWP, you can configure “trusted” theme and plugin updates working across your client sites automatically. But it’s wise to do so with caution. If you just use this with the plugins you know, it won’t cause you problems. You can set it and forget it.

MainWP Cons

Installation process:

You can expect to install MainWP and a few purchased extensions in around 1 hour. And it does require some effort and some head scratching. The uptime monitoring extension was particularly tricky.

Server load:
At the moment you can’t specify a backup time, and the server load increases a lot when you do, slowing down your sites. This can be resolved by setting up separate backups for each site instead of specifying backup of every site every day, such a time-consuming job defeats the purpose.

No shared hosting: Please note that MainWP won’t work with shared hosting, or at least we haven’t found a shared host that will allow it to.

5. WordPress Toolkit by Plesk

Wordpress Toolkit

Then there’s the WordPress Toolkit, an alternative way on how to manage multiple WordPress sites.

It makes it easy to install, configure and manage multiple WordPress installations.

We must admit here that WordPress Toolkit is more suitable for experienced system administrators and developers who are passionate about having top-notch flexibility.

As well as absolute control over the infrastructure that they own.

WP Toolkit Pros

  • Easy Installation: The 1-click installer of WordPress Toolkit does all the job – WP download, database creation with a dedicated user, creation of admin account in WordPress and initializes WordPress so that it’s 100% ready for use out of the box.
  • Staging Environment: With WP Toolkit you may clone your site, create a staging environment for any experiments. As soon as all experiments are over – sync to production as soon as you polished everything.
  • Theme/Plugin Management: You may install/activate/deactivate a plugin/theme on one or several WordPress instances at the same time. Bulk removal of plugins and themes is also possible.
  • 1-Click security: It’s possible to scan multiple WordPress sites to identify and protect your core installations. Almost full absence of manual work. WP Toolkit security solution takes into consideration all latest WP Codex and WP security recommendations and practices.
  • Backup: If something goes wrong on your site because of any reason – restore points and backup will help you to restore your WordPress website(s) to previous stable state.
  • Debug Management: WP Toolkit gives ability to manage all important debug options on per-instance basis from a single interface.
  • Indexing for SEO: It is possible to control indexation of your website. Allow or disallow indexation on a per-instance basis.
  • Maintenance Mode: activate WordPress maintenance mode when updating WordPress, plugins, or themes with a single click.
  • Command Line Interface: WordPress Command line interface is easily accessible for all WordPress instances you have on board. Import a database, create a new user, update themes and plugins in a flash using WP-CLI.
  • Smart Updates: This feature for WordPress Toolkit analyzes updates and performs them without breaking the site. It also notifies you if the update is dangerous.

WP Toolkit Cons

  • Current and upcoming versions of WordPress Toolkit are fully dependent on Plesk.

WordPress Edition – a Multiple WordPress Sites Management Platform

Use Plesk WordPress Edition

Recently Plesk presented WordPress Edition, a bundle which includes all you need to run and manage WordPress-based hosting business – Plesk Onyx hosting platform, WordPress Toolkit and some other important extensions like Backup to Cloud Pro, Sucuri Security Scanner, Speed Kit , Uptime Robot and SEO Toolkit.

The Time for Multiple WordPress Site Management

The process of management multiple WordPress sites is not necessarily sophisticated, however time-consuming and requires a lot of time resources. As soon as you realize that taking care of your WordPress sites occupies significant part of your working time – it is the right moment to start using one of the solutions described above.

Every solution reviewed previously let you manage multiple WordPress sites using one central location. Each of them comes with list of extra tools that can simplify and improve your workflow. Before making a choice you need to remember that it is not only about functionality, but also about usage experience and other factors related to certain solution’s performance in perspective of  defined technical environment.

Plesk Ports Usage

Plesk Ports

A port is a network location with certain address inside any operating system which main purpose is to differentiate traffic related to various services and apps. Ports are identified by the number from 1 to 65535. Each port is always bind to an IP address of a host and a protocol type relevant to communication way.

Port Types

Ports can be grouped into 3 main categories:

  • System ports, 0-1023 – ports associated with core services and considered to be essential for operating system
  • User ports, 1024-49151 – ports assigned by IANA using the ‘IETF Review’ process, the ‘IESG Approval’ process, or the ‘Expert Review’ process
  • Dynamic ports, 49152-65535 – ports suggested for private use.

Plesk Ports

Here you will find a list of ports and protocols which are in use by Plesk services.

Service name Ports
Administrative interface of Plesk over HTTPS TCP 8443
Administrative interface of Plesk over HTTP TCP 8880
Samba – file sharing on Windows networks UDP 137, UDP 138, TCP 139, TCP 445
VPN service UDP 1194
Web server TCP 80, TCP 443
FTP server TCP 21
SSH (secure shell) server TCP 22
SMTP (mail sending) server TCP 25, TCP 465
POP3 (mail retrieval) server TCP 110, TCP 995
IMAP (mail retrieval) server TCP 143, TCP 993
Mail password change service TCP 106
MySQL server TCP 3306
Microsoft SQL Server TCP 1433
PostgreSQL server TCP 5432
Licensing Server connections TCP 443
Domain name server UDP 53, TCP 53
Plesk Installer, Plesk upgrades and updates TCP 8447

Install Plesk on Alibaba Cloud in Minutes

Install Plesk on Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud provides a wide range of cloud services that many use to power their businesses all over the world. And the great news for administrators is that Plesk is also available on Alibaba Cloud to access the latest technology and security. Read on to discover what makes Alibaba worth investing in and how to then install Plesk on Alibaba Cloud.

Installing Plesk on Alibaba Cloud

This step-by-step tutorial from Plesk University shows you how to get started with Plesk on Alibaba Cloud in just a few minutes.

1: Instances and Pricing

In order to install Plesk on Alibaba Cloud, users first need to create a new account on Alibaba Cloud. Then, just select ‘Elastic Computer Service’ in the navigation console and click on ‘Instances’. Go to the ‘Create Instance’ button and choose the pricing you want from the two options available: Pay-as-you-go or Subscription.

2: Select Data Center Regions

Once done, select the datacenter region and zone. Remember, for small business site hosting, it’s worth choosing the data center region and zone closest to the geolocation. Thus, lowering page load times.

3: RAM Size

If you’re unsure which instance to choose, start with the ecs.n1.tiny instance, because you can always upgrade later if you have a subscription. Select the Instance Type. And when choosing the ECS instance to deploy Plesk on, look out for how much RAM it comes with. The more websites you host, the more traffic generates, and hence, the more RAM you’ll need. The Plesk System Requirements will help you estimate the amount of RAM your setup needs.

4: Elastic IP address and more

Set “Network Bandwidth Peak” to “0 M” to have the option to later bind an Elastic IP address to your instance. An Elastic IP address is a constant, public IP address your instance needs for web hosting.

Under “Choose the Operating System”, select the Marketplace Image tab and type Plesk in the search field. Under “Choose Storage”, we recommend SSD Cloud Disk for your site hosting and minimum one Ultra Cloud Disk or Basic Cloud Disk for backups. Under “Security Settings”, set the authentication method for your instance: password or key-based authentication.

5: Successful Activation

Under “Purchase Plan”, specify the number of instances you want (and instance name). Click Buy Now, and then click Activate. When the instance has been successfully activated, you can see it in the Alibaba Cloud console (Elastic Computer Service > Instances > click the data center region you specified during purchase).

6: Buy and bind an Elastic IP

All that’s left to do is purchase and bind an Elastic IP address. After this, your instance should be up and running. However, to start using Plesk on Alibaba Cloud from scratch, you’ll need to perform a short post-install configuration.

7: Opening Ports by Plesk

By default, each time a new instance is created, only certain ports are allowed for inbound connections, which means that posted used by Plesk are closed. Therefore, in order for Plesk and its services to work in an efficient manner, users need to open up specific ports by adding security group rules to the desired instance.

Users can either add a single security rule that allows all incoming connections, which is the preferred option for businesses that do not have much experience with either Plesk or Alibaba Cloud. Another option would be adding multiple security rules to allow incoming connections to only arrive to ports required by Plesk.

Your tailored Plesk config on Alibaba Cloud

Configurations for Plesk available on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace include; Plesk Onyx on Ubuntu 16 (WebHost), CentOS 7 (WebHost), Ubuntu 16.04 (Web Admin SE), Windows 2012 R2 (WebHost), CentOS 7 (BYOL), Ubuntu 16 (BYOL), and Windows 2012 R2 (BYOL). Check the Plesk docs article for more configuration info.

We advise Administrators to ensure the recommended components set include all the components necessary for hosting. Including managing the web server, mail server, and database server. Furthermore, the WordPress Toolkit in Plesk Onyx on Ubuntu 16.04 only provides basic functionality. So we advise users of this Plesk license to upgrade their license.

The Benefits of Alibaba Cloud

Install Plesk on Alibaba Cloud - Plesk

This Cloud service is highly-secure and reliable, holding an international network of 18 data centers. Less network latency means your ecommerce clients can complete faster transactions, and with less errors. You only need to look at the sheer amount of annual transactions that Alibaba Cloud powers to verify its strength.

This suite also includes data storage, relational databases, big-data processing, DDoS protection, and even content delivery networks. Moreover, SMEs need to ensure they use reliable, high-performing and elastic technology that lets their business scale as needed. Alibaba Cloud not only caters for cloud hosting, security, and storage needs, but can also allow businesses to expand and compete in the ever-challenging markets of today.

Got any questions about your Plesk installation on Alibaba Cloud? Let us know in the comments below.

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My Plesk User Experience (2): Lessons learned from testing Plesk Onyx

My Plesk user experience 2 - Plesk Onyx testing and analysis

So Plesk Onyx came along and it had implemented NGINX caching. Naturally I was curious and removed all my customizations. Then I started to compare the website performance with the inbuilt NGINX caching, other caching methods, and the Speed Kit extension that speeds up websites.

This was the variety of tests and configurations I made on the platform:

Platform Web Server Configuration Caching Engine Configuration
1 WordPress Website on Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 Proxy Mode and Smart static files processing turned ON NGINX Caching OFF
2 WordPress Website on Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 Proxy Mode and Smart static files processing turned ON NGINX Caching ON
3 WordPress Website on Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 Proxy Mode and Smart static files processing turned ON NGINX Caching OFF Redis Caching ON
4 WordPress Website on Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 Proxy Mode and Smart static files processing turned ON NGINX Caching ON Redis Caching ON
5 WordPress Website on Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 Proxy Mode and Smart static files processing turned ON NGINX Caching OFF SpeedKit Ext. ON
6 WordPress Website on WordPress.com Everything in default mode
7 WordPress Website on Vesta CP NGINX Web Template turned ON with the WordPress2 Option selected

I installed the Plesk server (version 17.8.11 update 25) on the Digital Ocean droplet on CentOS7 with 2 GB RAM. Next, installing the Redis server as it was. I plugged in Redis Object Cache with its default settings. And had no additional parameters in additional NGINX directives.

There was PHP version 7.2.10 with default settings and the “FPM application served by NGINX mode. And the VestaCP server installed on Digital Ocean droplet on Ubuntu 16.04.

As a test page, I used a typical blog post with lots of photos. Hosted both on the server and externally, with a small chunk of text and one comment.

Testing on the Plesk Onyx Platform

Testing on Plesk Onyx platform

For testing, I used the httperf command line tool (with the same launch parameters) and a well-known online testing system GTmetrix.com. From the GTmetrix.com reports, I chose the following parameters:

Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the total amount of time spent to receive the first byte of the response once it has been requested. It is the sum of “Redirect duration” + “Connection duration” + “Backend duration“. This metric is one of the key indicators of web performance.

Once the connection is complete and the request is made, the server needs to generate a response for the page. The time it takes to generate the response is known as the Backend duration.

    • Fully Loaded Time: RUM Speed Index is a page load performance metric indicating how fast the page fully appears. The lower the score, the better.
    • PageSpeed Score
    • YSlow Score

The httperf utility was launched with the following parameters:

httperf –hog –server jam.pavuk.su –uri=/index.php/2018/10/03/kgd/ –port=443 –wsess=100000,5,2 — rate 1000 –timeout 5

The creation of 100,000 sessions (5 calls each 2 seconds) with speed 1,000. And here, the following markers received with httperf were the most interesting:

  • Connection rate – the real speed of creating new connections. It showed the server ability to process connections.
  • Request rate – the speed of processing requests, in other words a number of requests a server can execute per second. It showed web app responsiveness.
  • Reply rate – an average number of server replies per second.

Plesk Onyx Test Results

Plesk test results

Clearly, there’s an ocean of tools and solutions to test website performance. Some more complete and respected than others. But even the tools I used allowed me to come to pretty objective conclusions. The test results are summarized in the table below with the green buts highlighting the best values of the parameter, and the red – the worst.

Plesk Onyx test results table

And so, after analyzing the received data, we can conclude the following:

  1. Unchanged PageSpeed and YSlow Scores
    PageSpeed and YSlow Score metrics in Plesk remain absolutely the same, no matter the configuration. Therefore, they don’t depend on caching or other server settings like for code optimization, image size, gzip compression and CDN usage.
  2. Caching is essential for speed
    No caching on Plesk at all gives the worst time metrics. Fully Loaded Time and TTFB dramatically increase. Websites with the turned off caching are significantly slower.
  3. NGINX and Redis are a successful combo
    Comparing caching methods, NGINX caching used in Plesk seems better than Redis Cache. It’s possible the default Redis Cache configuration doesn’t let us achieve a higher performance. It’s not quite clear how the used combination of both caching tools works, but it gives quite alright TTFB и Backend duration metrics.
  4. WordPress performance suffers
    WordPress.com shows the worst performance results. However, by default, it doesn’t actually offer bad optimization for the PageSpeed Score.
  5. Vesta and NGINX mean extremely fast page load
    Using the lightweight Vesta control panel with the turned on NGINX Web Template + php-fpm (wordpress2) designed for WordPress hosting gives great speed results. Even more, for WordPress hosting, VestaCP has custom NGINX web templates including NGINX caching support.

Moving to a new DigitalOcean Droplet

Plesk on Digital Ocean droplet - install - now a one-click app

I deployed Plesk to the new DigitalOcean droplet using Web Installer as it doesn’t require me to go to the server via SSH and do all the stuff in web interface. This recent migration from my VPS to a new DigitalOcean droplet gave me new data for my last Plesk experience. All in all, the migration was successful with minor warnings, which in most cases I resolved using migration wizard suggestions.. The bottom line is that Plesk with turned on key features and settings gives very good results for your website.

Also, I strongly recommend you turn on NGINX caching with your Plesk if you’re seeking a simple and reliable way to speed up your website. You won’t need to set up any difficult configurations. And web pros can make the most of Plesk by fine-tuning as they see fit. That’s what it’s made for. their right.

Finally, my story was aimed at people without professional knowledge who simply want to use built-in Plesk features. So I hope that this story will be good reason for you to login to Plesk and take a fresh look.

My Plesk User Experience (1): Easy Starts and Common Issues

Plesk User Experience While Testing Plesk Onyx

Plesk first crossed my path when it came packaged with web hosting acquired from a Russian provider. At the time it was version 12.0, but I never paid any attention to it until I discovered that part of its service was domain names registration.

Starting Off with Plesk

It couldn’t hurt to register a couple of domains for myself, and so I did. I added them to Plesk, and configured the DNS records. Now these websites loaded default web pages. Then, as I already had websites hosted in Plesk, I thought “Why not use mailboxes registered on my own domains?”. So I went and created a couple of mailboxes and configured Roundcube webmail.

But it was all just personal use until I occasionally started to use this complete infrastructure as a sort of a test server. Why? In order to solve tasks related with questions from forum users. And so, my Plesk server operated like this for a while without any use cases development. That is, until the start of 2017 – when I spontaneously took a closer look at something I had available, but which was laying there unused this whole time.

Easy Building on the Plesk Platform

Building on Plesk Platform

I realized that I could now use my own platform for my personal blog. It didn’t take me long to choose WordPress as I had previous experience with it. What’s more, the new Plesk Onyx had integrated its WordPress Toolkit, which looked promising. After getting a license with additional extensions, I started building – themes, plugins, you name it, before publishing my first posts.

Plesk is also built for multiple domains. So when my famous, American Instagrammer friend needed a website to develop her “Travelling with kids” idea, I offered my hosting platform.

Within Plesk, I created a personal account for her and subscriptions with two domains. One was used to host her website, and the other to host her personal mail.

She quickly learned how to use the WordPress admin dashboard and Plesk. She created mailboxes and installed WordPress plugins and themes. Then created posts and moderated comments. Which I believe says a lot about how easy Plesk’s interface is.

As thousands of subscribers were actively visiting both our blogs, it was time to pay more attention to Plesk server maintenance. And later, to server optimization, creating regular work in the Plesk interface and even more in the Linux command line. But more on that later. Before that, there were common issues of all sorts that I had started to face.

Issues uncovered and solved by using Plesk

Issues solved by using Plesk
  • Service downtime
    Various services like httpd and MySQL stopped every now and then. I managed to solve this by turning on and configuring Watchdog.
  • Memory usage
    Then Health Monitor started to constantly notify that MySQL consumes RAM.
  • Basic MySQL settings
    I had optimized operation modes of MySQL via CLI and thought it would benefit to have at least some basic settings of MySQL optimization in the Plesk interface. Eventually, RAM for VPS was increased from 1 to 2 GB, solving the issue.
  • Frequent updates
    Email notifications about new WordPress plugins made me login to Plesk often. I am one of “update-it-all” types and very meticulous when it comes to installing the latest software versions. The Smart Updates feature in WordPress Toolkit solved this task.
  • Extensions accessibility
    I used to find accessing my installed extensions inconvenient. So it was great when WordPress Toolkit had installed extension icons in the left menu.

Speeding up and hardening the WordPress Website

Speed Up WordPress Website

During an internal contest for the best WordPress website hosted in Plesk, I focused on two goals. I wanted to make my WordPress website the fastest and the most secured.

To achieve the A+ note on ssllabs.com, special NGINX parameters became necessary. They were installed via Additional nginx directives and the /etc/nginx/conf.d /ssl.conf file. An attempt to maximize the speed of my website powered by NGINX was a special matter.

At that time, NGINX caching wasn’t yet implemented in Plesk. So I tried various caching solutions, such as redis, memcached, and the very same NGINX caching. All via the CLI, of course, but with the help of customized settings.

It didn’t take long to realize the NGINX version shipped with Plesk was not suitable to use with trendy acceleration technologies. Ones like caching, the brotli compression method, PageSpeed Module, or TLS1.3. Even the Plesk Forum also raised this issue as it seemed to occupy the minds of advanced users.

The result was publishing different ways how to compile the latest NGINX versions. Thus, supporting modern technologies, and substituting the NGINX version shipped with Plesk for a custom one. I also joined forum users in compiling and optimizing NGINX builds for my Plesk server, all during the contest.

In the end, I got the speedy WordPress site I wanted powered by customized NGINX with Redis caching. All was well until Plesk Onyx was released. See what happened next in part 2 of my Plesk experience story tomorrow.