Plesk 2019 Highlights: Looking Back on a Great Year

There’s a long, juicy list of events and accomplishments we had at Plesk this year. As we reflect on our Plesk 2019 highlights, we can learn and plan for an even better 2020. So let’s have a look at some of the proudest moments we had in 2019, before we start the new year.

Obsidian Launch:
Preview and General Release

Perhaps our main achievement this year was the successful launch and rolling out of updates to Plesk Obsidian. In the weeks leading up to the release date, September 25th, we invited users to try a Plesk Obsidian Preview and some of the unique features we were introducing. The Onyx to Obsidian transformation involved a heightened user experience, new security and monitoring tools and an optimized webstack to streamline the web project lifecycle.

A newer release candidate of Obsidian was frequently released until our launch. Finally, we had our most powerful management platform yet. Improved usability, tougher security and max productivity thanks to all the enhancements, new features and extensions of Obsidian. With the release, came the beginning of a short releases era – Plesk Obsidian auto-updates.

From Plesk Obsidian 18.0 onwards, the previous release tiers: Early adopters, General release and Later adopter release – became obsolete for partners. This was for multiple reasons, among which were security, speed and regularity of updates. By January 2020, we hope to have all servers auto-updated from 17.8 to 18.0. Plesk Obsidian was fully released in October 2019 with overwhelming success.

WordPress Toolkit
Updates from 3.5 to 4.4

The WordPress Toolkit 3.5 in February was a big one because it included eight hot security fixes and a new installation experience. In March, we rolled out a major update in WordPress Toolkit 4.0 – Remote management [demo included]. You gave excellent feedback so we could improve and in June, we released WordPress Toolkit 4.1 with a remote management plugin. The later WordPress Toolkit 4.3 in September was all about Smart Updates premium – Namely better user experience, checks and usability features. The final release of the year was a double-whammy – WordPress Toolkit 4.3.5 (Plesk Onyx 17.0 and 17.5) and 4.4.0 (Plesk Onyx 17.8 and Obsidian 18.0). In WordPress Toolkit 4.4, we focused on further UI and settings changes, set installations, action notifications. Stay tuned for our next big release early in 2020 where we’ll have the first prototype of WordPress Toolkit for cPanel!

New Extension Partners and
Hyperscaler Opportunities

At the start of the year, we added NextCloud – a self-hosted file-share and communication platform, to our Beta extensions catalog. Since partnering with Acronis in 2018, we saw them move forward with their latest Acronis features and key findings in Q2. Then in April, we had the birth of CLI command – WPchk – A WordPress Security checker tool for Linux servers.

Further on the security front, we partnered with Cloudbric in October, who provide advanced WAF and DDoS Protection as an extension. This year, Kolab have made two additions to their top groupware product. The first was the Seafile extension integrated into Plesk Premium Email – a file cloud where you can share libraries, directories and files with others. The second Premium Email integration was Anti-spam using Dovecot, SpamAssassin and its Bayes algorithms.

Meanwhile, on the Plesk hyperscale front, both Linode and DigitalOcean became 1-click apps in the Marketplace.

We’ve also relaunched three new CloudLinux extensions in the Imunify360 Products family designed to help you automate server protection: Imunify AV, Imunify QuickPatch and Imunify360.

Plesk and our VR Traveled Across Continents

You can check out what our Plesk VR looks like here.

Plesk was a key sponsor for the biggest hosting and cloud event of the year back in march – Cloudfest. Our team, including Plesk CTO Jan, gave compelling keynotes on WordPress hosting and such. Plus workshops about how Plesk can help one adapt to new tech changes in the industry. Meanwhile, over at our booth, our Plesk Virtual Reality Experience made its debut. Giving attendees a real feel of Plesk and what it does – let’s just say the lines were long for that one.

In June, we took the VR to WordCamp Europe in Berlin. Here, we were able to have some meaningful conversations with the community and gain insights on their WordPress installations. WCEU 2019 was also our chance to help 1&1 IONOS launch their new WP Pro offering in front of 2,700 WordPress lovers. You too can do this by co-sponsoring a WordPress event with us, so get in touch!

At WordCamp US in November, we launched a joint welcome offer for Plesk on DigitalOcean. It’s valid until December 31, so hurry and get yours to start off with a Plesk discount and free DigitalOcean credits. We were also there as a sponsor and had plenty of giveaways alongside our VR experience. We also had the opportunity to offer live coverage on talks on automated WP testing, managing WP multisite and more. Tell us in the comments if this was useful and if you want more of this in future events!

Successful Plesk Customers Among Plesk 2019 Highlights

This year, more than a few customers came forward with their success using Plesk. EverData use Plesk to manage their technical issues. And over 70% of their customers love the product because of its ease of use.

Michael Schinzel, Managing Director of Ip-Projects in Germany, used to be skeptical but is now a direct Plesk customer. Because of direct solutions to critical issues and free support. Lincoln Islam said Coderex doubled productivity since using Plesk.

Kahl Orr from Rise.co said he wouldn’t have the half-million-dollar revenue, high-quality sites and satisfied customers he has now without Plesk. He says Rise.co became more productive and efficient at managing sites. Meanwhile Marcus Karmer from German company – HostPress, attributes becoming a leading managed WordPress company to Plesk.

DuetSoft grew profits by 25% by using Plesk on DigitalOcean. Milosz from managed to start giving more time to his clients, thanks to Plesk’s time-saving features. He also cut costs and stress while gaining a market advantage. Share with us what Plesk has helped your company do in the comments!

My Plesk Self-Care Portal Beta Launch

During the Summer, we were able to announce the first launch of My Plesk – personal self-care portal. Now Plesk Online Store/Retail customers can manage all their Plesk licenses and online store purchases from one place. You can manage your licenses, subscription, edit profile details, find your activation key, even renew or upgrade your Plesk.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for My Plesk for free. Just by using the same email you used to buy Plesk licenses and extensions. We are still open to feedback about My Plesk beta and there will be more updates in 2020 – stay tuned!

Plesk Educational Resources Took a Leap Forward

Plesk has been on Udemy since October 2019 with five free Plesk Udemy courses to date. So far we’ve had +10,000 students taking courses for using Plesk on major providers: DigitalOcean, Linode, Hetzner, GoogleCloud and Amazon Lightsail – And almost 300 positive reviews – this couldn’t make us happier.

The courses cover how to set up your own cloud server with Plesk. Then how to deploy or move a website (WordPress or otherwise) across the major cloud provider of choice. Meanwhile, there have been over 380 certified users in 2019 thanks to our free Plesk University courses. Following Obsidian, we had certification upgrades to reflect the training. So go ahead and learn something new – for free – before the year is up.

The Top APAC Partner Event in Singapore

The “partner event of the year” – Plesk APAC Partner Day 2019, was our partners’ chance to meet peers and Plesk experts. In light of the (then) newly-released Plesk Obsidian, our insiders went over to share what was new and what was coming next.

Among whom was Plesk CEO – Nils Hueneke, who spoke about the evolution of Plesk, Markus Galler, VP of Sales, and Plesk CTO, Jan Loeffler. Plesk engineers even gave a look behind the scenes of the Plesk Obsidian development. This release, along with some WordPress Community insights, allowed us to discuss tips on how partners could tune their existing infrastructure into value-added services.

 

Plesk 2019 Highlights: Smashing Major Milestones Together

We’re also excited to launch our brand new Virtual Private Server Management Platform, SolusIO. You can become a DigitalOcean-style VPS hoster too with this turnkey VPS solution.

Our platform has had a lot of reach – however this year we’ve hit new records. In May 2019, Plesk-powered mailboxes exceeded the 16 million mark. As of October 2019, Plesk was running on over 400,000 servers – up 20k servers from last year. And for the first time, we had over 1.4 million WordPress Toolkit instances installed.

This growth gives us every confidence that our solutions are useful and that partnering with Plesk makes sense as we go into 2020. Aside from the Plesk 2019 highlights, we want to mention the strong support we get from our customers every day. Your feedback and trust allows us to improve and keep doing what we do. We would have never achieved so much without you.

These accomplishments are not a brag but a reminder not to underestimate how much is possible in a year.
Tell us below – what have you achieved this year?

Holiday Stories: How a Plesk Program Manager Ends The Year

Holiday Stories: How a Plesk Program Manager Ends The Year

Around the world, people have different holiday stories. Celebrating the end of the year and winter holidays in many weird and wonderful ways. In the Ukraine, for example, they celebrate an old folk holiday called Malanka by dressing up as devils, goats, or bears, and performing in their thousands. In Tibet, they celebrate Losar, one of the most colourful cultural celebrations worldwide. Namely because it involves a lot of fire: torches, firecrackers, and incense all feature in their huge public gatherings.

I myself am cold-blooded, and so will be seeking out warmer waters and taking it easy. Since I have no bones, you can bet that, wherever I am, I’ll be busting moves on the dancefloor. But enough about me.

This year at Plesk, we have a lot of festive offers to wrap up the year. But we want to start the celebrations by finding out what some of our global team are getting up to. This is what happened when I sat with one of our program managers, Ivan Chega, and asked how he spends the Winter holidays season.

Hey Ivan, tell us (and our readers) a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Ivan Chega, Program Manager at Plesk. Novosibirsk, Siberia 🙂

Describe a typical workday during the winter and any rituals to keep energies high.

All my weekdays tend to be the same.

  • 6am: Wake up, light breakfast, vitamins (Omega-3, multivitamins, Vitamin D).
  • 7am: Pick up my daughter and take her to kindergarten.
  • 7:40-9:40am: Crossfit training (each workday).
  • 10:30am-7:30pm: Work, normally from the office
  • (swimming pool twice a week after 7pm).
  • 7:30-23:30pm family time, reading, studying Spanish.

Share some activities/traditions that mark the end of the year both at work and at home.

At work we’ve got a very nice corporate New Year’s event with lots of entertainment. At home it’s nice in other ways, because I’m usually driving around, buying presents for my kids from me and from Ded Moroz (Russian Santa). It’s a lot of fun giving presents to relatives on January 1st.

Do you have any funny moments/stories to share?

Every Siberian can tell you lots of stories from his/her experience on how to start a car at temperatures below -30 C and lower. Also, the choice of winter tyres – Studs or studless? That is the question.

What is the nicest winter memory you can share with us?

When I was a child, my grandfather used to own a big cabin in Taiga (even with electricity produced by hand-made power station installed in a creek), quite far away, and on the weekends, we used to go there to ski or snowmobile. Sometimes even spent the night there. Best times ever. Nowadays, Cross-country Skiing with my older son is my favorite Winter activity.

What’s your favorite winter dish or dessert?

  1. The first is Boozy – If you don’t know it, click and learn – you can thank me later.
  2. Omelette with sausages and special salad with cucumber and radish. And BOOZY

What advice would you give Plesk Users at this time of year?

It’s too easy to enjoy summertime – though Winter requires more creativity, you can find ways to enjoy it as much as you can. Be active and let no holiday blues creep into you.

We hope you enjoyed the interview above, and make sure to heed some of Ivan’s advice and have a very happy and active holiday season wherever you may be.

Keep your eyes peeled for more from our Pleskians in our 2019 Holiday Stories series on Facebook and Twitter. Are you enjoying these stories? Let us know below.

What you may have missed at last weekend’s Cloudfest Hackathon

This year, the intention behind the Cloudfest Hackathon was for the big guys to contribute to the open source communities. The pitched projects were across different CMS – WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, and involved diverse companies. The participating developers and sys-admins were free to choose which projects they wanted to contribute to. And so the event began!

The Cloudfest Hackathon Event

Cloudfest Hackathon event location 2018 - Plesk sponsors

Inside Europa-Park in Rust, the Cloudfest Hackathon kicked off with a casual get-together lunch. And with the presentations of the open source projects by host Jeffrey Hardy, it was time to hack! It was also time to repeatedly hear the most used expressions in the development world: “But it works on my machine”, “Must be a bug” or “This worked earlier!”

Some were more prepared than others – check out these guys’ matching hackathon wardrobe and hairstyles. We take the Cloudfest Hackathon coordination very seriously around here.

Though it was clear that most people are used to collaborating together on projects remotely, it still seemed like an overall amazing experience to bring everyone together and create some great code with those like-minded people, in person.

Plesk Team on Projects 1 and 5

Pleskians at Cloudfest Hackathon 2018 - Plesk people post

Here at Plesk, we’re very supportive of open source projects. So we were more than happy to help co-organize the event and be part of a great sponsor list. That way, attendees could go without having to worry about accommodation and travel expenses. Our fellow Pleskians participated in developing 2 out of 6 proposed projects. Project 1: “Automated security check for WordPress plugins” and Project 5: “Domain Connect Example DNS Provider”.

Cloudfest Hackathon 2018 - Project 1 - Plesk
Cloudfest Hackathon 2018 - Project 5 - Plesk

For project 1, we built a simplified command line tool to extract security reports out of the RIPS static analyzer. Then it sends them to given email addresses to integrate them into CI tools or extension pipelines. Just like the WordPress plugin repository SVN. As for project 5, I’ll let our CTO, Jan, tell you all about that:

Project insights from David and Arnold – CMS Garden and GoDaddy

I got the chance to chat with two iconic people behind the projects ideas we got involved in – David Jardin (CMS Garden) and Arnold Blinn (GoDaddy).

David met the founders of a German startup who located an important safety gap in Joomla core with a security scanner tool they had developed. The Joomla community strived to implement the tool into the Joomla extensions directory to use it for plugin and core review. Today, 30% of all websites run on WordPress and David’s passionate about making the web a safer place. That’s why he suggested working on this project for the WordPress CMS, as well during the Cloudfest Hackathon.

One of Plesk’s main goals is to make the web a safer place and ease the workload that comes with managing WordPress and Joomla! sites. Find out more about the toolkits we developed to facilitate your working life by clicking below.

Project number 5 was already a huge success during last year’s Cloudfest hackathon. Arnold explained that Domain Connect is an open standard that makes it easy for a user to configure DNS for a domain running at a DNS provider to work with a Service running at an independent Service Provider. The user can do so without understanding any of the complexities of DNS. This project is very valuable and it’s kind of surprising that it has not been initiated and realized years ago. This project had the most contributors by far with up to 12 people working on it at the same time.

The result was a step higher than we thought

The Cloudfest Hackathon lasted 3 days with 55 coders working on 6 different projects until the late evenings. This edition had brilliant minds behind it like Timo Kargus, David Jardin, Sabrina Waltz and our CTO Jan Löffler.

Plesk at Cloudfest Hackathon 2018 - I'm a nerd - get over it

This team managed to create a unique and inclusive setting for innovative projects and brilliant code in a laid-back atmosphere that we won’t easily forget. And they happily confirmed that the new open-source thinking everyone brought to the Cloudfest Hackathon was a huge success.

The idea is to move further in this direction and to aim for more participants and open source projects across different CMS next year. Cloudfest’s organizer team will soon be in the early planning stages for 2019’s edition. And we can tell you now – us Pleskians will be involved in one way or another. Stay tuned.