The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.1 Release – Backup Limits, Localization Support, and More

We’re proud to announce that the Plesk WordPress Toolkit v5.1 is now publicly available. So, let’s see what this release brings to the masses.

Discover the WordPress Toolkit 5.1

Backup Limits

Backup functionality was introduced back in WordPress Toolkit v4.10. And we have already received quite a lot of feedback about it. The most popular request was about limiting the number of available backups to prevent end-users from subtly eating up all their storage space. We’ve added the limit to Plesk Service Plans under the Resources tab:

The limit is enforced on a per-site basis for the whole subscription. So, each site on a subscription gets to create the allowed number of backups. If you set the limit to 0, the backup feature becomes unavailable to end-users. Which is handy for those admins who want to fully restrict access to the new backup feature.

cPanel changes

A month ago we released WordPress Toolkit for cPanel. And we’re striking the iron whilst it’s hot. That means we’re implementing a lot of changes specific to cPanel. Let’s quickly go through them:

Database User Management

The Database User Management feature was already available in Plesk before. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t fit into the WordPress Toolkit 5.0 schedule. Since we want WordPress Toolkit to be as identical as possible on both Plesk and cPanel, we’ve added this ability in WordPress Toolkit 5.1:

New Security Measure

The “Block directory browsing” security measure was missing in the initial release of WordPress Toolkit 4 for cPanel. This was due to certain technical issues we didn’t have the time to properly resolve back then. Now, we’ve fixed everything that needed fixing. So we’re introducing this security measure on cPanel:

Localization Support

WordPress Toolkit v5.1 now supports multiple different languages on cPanel. Whenever you change your language in WHM or cPanel, WordPress Toolkit will also switch to this language. This change affects both WHM (with server-wide locale setting) and cPanel (with user-specific language setting).

Changelog

WordPress Toolkit changelog isn’t the easiest thing to find, especially for cPanel customers. To remedy this, we’ve added the ability to view product changelog from the global WordPress Toolkit settings:

WordPress Toolkit has a single unified changelog for both Plesk and cPanel, since it’s the same product, just on different platforms. Filtering out information about the platform you need isn’t particularly easy. We’re looking into improving the changelog UI and UX in the future.

Improvements, Bugfixes, and Future Plans

Speaking of changelog, it clearly shows that WordPress Toolkit 5.1 includes more bugfixes than usual. But don’t worry – This is not caused by the sloppiness of the WordPress Toolkit dev team. We’re simply putting more focus on the stability and robustness of the product, which means fixing more bugs 🙂 

Besides improving site list performance on cPanel, we’re also planning to implement several internal enhancements. That hopefully will make WordPress Toolkit more stable and robust, leading to fewer bugs down the road. We’re also going to address a couple of other hot topics. Like adding sets for resellers by the end of 2020 – but we’ll get back to you with it when it’s fully developed. 

One of the upcoming WordPress Toolkit releases will focus heavily on addressing issues related to cloning, which should also improve Smart Updates’ performance.

…As you see, we have a lot of things in store for the future. So stay tuned for the upcoming WordPress Toolkit releases. And drop us a line in the comment section if you’d like to share your experience with us. Thank you for your attention and see you next time!

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.0 Version Release

I’m glad to announce that WordPress Toolkit v5.0 is now available! This seminal release introduces major changes in the product, fully justifying the major version increase. Let’s learn what makes this release truly special.

Goodbye Onyx, Hello Obsidian

WordPress Toolkit 5.0 leaves Plesk Onyx behind, requiring Plesk Obsidian to work. This change was necessary because it was getting increasingly difficult to develop new things while having to drag along a bunch of legacy code required for WordPress Toolkit to work in Onyx 17.8. Full transition to Obsidian should allow us to avoid using many old crutches, making changes faster and with fewer bugs. It will also open a lot more UI/UX possibilities, allowing our design team to properly express their ideas.

Users on Plesk Onyx 17.8 will stay on WordPress Toolkit 4.x, receiving only critical security updates (if/when necessary). Updating to WordPress Toolkit 5.0 will require updating your Plesk installation to Plesk Obsidian. We’re also going to prepare a separate WordPress Toolkit 4.10.x release. That’s to show a special notification to users about updating to Obsidian if they want to get new stuff. Learn more about Plesk Onyx End of Life and its support policy update here.

New Website Management UI

The biggest in-product change in WordPress Toolkit 5.0 is the new UI for managing WordPress installations. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

We wanted to avoid dramatic revolutions and evolve the UI naturally. Making it more convenient and usable without requiring users to re-learn it. To achieve this, we’ve taken our true and tried website card interface and replanted it on a different set of UI elements that are also used by Dynamic List in Plesk.

Our next step was moving the update functionality to the very front. Since keeping your site up-to-date is one of the most important things the site admin is expected to do on a regular basis:

Other tools were also reshuffled a bit and placed in the expected and convenient locations. We wanted to make sure users won’t be confused and lost trying to find what they need. In the end, we’ve got ourselves a new modern-looking yet familiar interface with improved focus on important things – performance and better responsiveness.

This might not seem like a huge change, but it’s a very important one for us. Our old UI was already quite good (so no need for a drastic redesign). But it used outdated technology that was, let’s say, on life support. It was time to move the UI to a different foundation, creating a new UI platform with a huge potential for improvements and integrations.

We’ve already toyed a bit with some interesting ideas that would fit nicely in the new interface. I’m going to show you a super-secret sneak peek into some of these ideas made possible by our new UI platform:

We’d love to explore these ideas (and many others) in the future, but this is a tale for another time (and another bunch of challenges we’ll have to solve eventually).

WordPress Toolkit Lite Update

The “Lite” version of WordPress Toolkit 5.0 (also called WordPress Toolkit SE on our website) was previously limited to owners of Plesk Web Admin edition and similar low-end Plesk editions. However, the “free” part of the WordPress Toolkit required a thorough review and redesign to make it acceptable for a larger audience.

After conducting the review, we’ve come to the conclusion that the changes were required on two fronts:

  • Redesign the UI and UX of the whole process
  • Change the contents of the Lite (free) feature list

Let’s start with the UI/UX redesign. The old “Lite” interface had a lot of visual glitches, bugs, and overall inconsistencies accumulated over the years. Case in point:

Our design team came up with a new unified approach that was positively received by pretty much everyone who saw it. Powered by the new UI library, this redesign significantly improves the WordPress Toolkit Lite experience, making it consistent, unobtrusive, and pleasant to look at. I’ll let the screenshots tell the story:

The same screen, but with Lite upsell elements highlighted:

Inside a paid feature screen:

As for the contents of the WordPress Toolkit “Lite”, we’ve come up with the following rules of thumb that should be logical, reasonable, and easy to understand for both hosters and end-users:

  • Single-site operations available in the control panel or in WordPress itself should be free. Such features are either a mandatory baseline thing expected to “just be there”, or simply a nice bonus. They won’t push people to purchase paid WordPress Toolkit, but if they’re behind the paywall, it will annoy users (“I can do it in WordPress admin for free, why are you selling it?”).
  • Mass operations should require a paid version of WordPress Toolkit. They are a matter of convenience not available in WordPress itself, and they are required for any large-scale business. This makes them high value for agencies and hosters.
  • High-value operations like cloning or Smart Updates should also require a paid version of WordPress Toolkit. These features are critical for (semi-)professional level work and they are hard to carry out otherwise.

With this logic in hand, we’ve revised the list of “free” and “paid” features in WordPress Toolkit, coming to the following results.

Free and Paid Features

Features are available for free in WordPress Toolkit Lite:

  • Management of Search Engine Indexing
  • Debugging management
  • Password Protection
  • Update settings for individual sites
  • Upload of plugins & themes on the plugins & themes management screen of a particular site

Feature only available in the full (paid) version of WordPress Toolkit:

  • Mass update operations, including modification of update settings for multiple sites at once

We hope these changes will provide a better experience for all users, and we’re looking forward to introducing more features on both sides of the fence in the future.

WordPress Toolkit for cPanel and Future Plans

The team has been working on the cPanel release for more than a year, starting last September. I’m happy to say that the wait is over – WordPress Toolkit is finally available on cPanel! So, let’s go over the key points of this release.

WordPress Toolkit for cPanel is basically the same product, functionality-wise, just on cPanel. There are some minor discrepancies, but most of them will be either addressed in the next WordPress Toolkit releases or will have to wait until corresponding features are fully available in cPanel.

Unlike Plesk, WordPress Toolkit for cPanel is licensed on a per-account basis. Our first release is limited to a hand-picked selection of VIP partners, who will have exclusive access to WordPress Toolkit.

What’s Next?

Speaking about the future, our next release will be a shorter one to coincide with the cPanel v92 launch. We’ll focus on supporting the alternative licensing model for the public WordPress Toolkit 4 cPanel launch, introducing CloudLinux support on cPanel, and adding things like localization support (again, on cPanel). WordPress Toolkit 5.1 will also include customer features and bug fixes for existing Plesk customers, so don’t worry about the Plesk side of things, we’ve got that covered as well.

…So, once again, I want to thank the whole WordPress Toolkit development team for their fantastic work. And also thank you for your attention. If you have anything you’d like to share with us, let us know in the comment section below. See you next time!

 

All You Need to Know About the Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.10 Release

We’re happy to announce the release of The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.10, the last major release of the WordPress Toolkit 4.x line. Don’t worry, we’re not abandoning the project. This is simply our way of saying that the next big WordPress Toolkit version is going to start with number 5 – hooray!

Discover the Plesk WordPress Toolkit

WordPress Toolkit 4.10 is also the last major WordPress Toolkit release that supports Plesk Onyx 17.8. Although we’ll continue to release security updates for Plesk Onyx customers until its End of Life. However, if you want to keep getting major new features and improvements, it’s time to update your Plesk. WordPress Toolkit 5.0 will only be available for Plesk Obsidian.

With that said, let’s see what’s new in the Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.10.

Site Backup

Users have been asking us for a long time to introduce a simple tool for quickly backing up a single WordPress site. Plesk has a great Backup Manager tool that works wonders in the majority of cases, but it might be overkill sometimes. 

Specifically, the issue some customers have with Backup Manager is that it backs up the whole subscription with all its sites and data instead of a single site. This can be particularly annoying if you have several sites on a subscription – for example, one staging site and one production site. 

Backing up such a subscription requires much more time and disk space than needed if you want to back up just your production site, for example.

WordPress Toolkit 4.10 introduces a tool for backing up and restoring individual WordPress sites to address this issue. 

This link has been previously directing users to Plesk Backup Manager for the corresponding subscription. Now it opens a new window for backing up a particular site:

Backing up a site is as simple as clicking Back Up, no configuration or setup is required. A separate directory in the user’s webspace stores all site backups. When you use Plesk Backup Manager to perform a scheduled backup or to back up your stuff to cloud storage, these site backups made by WordPress Toolkit will be usually included.

In addition to backing up your site, you can download backup files to safely store them elsewhere or upload them on a different server. Restoring a backup could actually be quite destructive for a website since its data will be rewritten. So a corresponding warning is shown. Hesitant users are given the option to back up their site before doing a restoration, as a helpful suggestion.

Backup is a very complex and involved topic. So we had to make some compromises to efficiently use our resources. Clicking download icons will take you to File Manager, while in the future it’ll start the download process immediately. We’ll also relax some restrictions on supported backup file names and metadata to make sure that a wider range of WordPress backups is supported for restoration purposes. And the restoration process itself is more user friendly.

Right now, the feature is focused on backing up and restoring data in the context of an existing website hosted in the same place. Working with WordPress Toolkit-made backup files uploaded to a different server is a difficult process now. And we’re looking into improving that in the nearby future.

There aren’t immediate plans to introduce features like cloud backup or scheduled backup – users can employ Plesk Backup Manager for that. The goal of this feature is a quick and effective creation of WordPress site backups for further processing outside of WordPress Toolkit. And this is the direction we’ll be focusing our improvements on in the next releases.

cPanel Support

Our efforts to make WordPress Toolkit work on cPanel are coming to a happy end soon, as the project is going through its final lap already. We still need to fix some issues and add a couple of things, but we’ve already hosted several demos for large hosters, getting very positive feedback.

The product will first launch with the novel pay-as-you-go licensing – available exclusively to a number of hand-picked partners. After a short period of time, it’ll become available to the general public, with a more traditional licensing scheme based on license tiers. Stay tuned for a special announcement to learn more about this landmark event.

Bug Fixes and Multisite Support

Our colleagues in cPanel helped us uncover a couple of potential security issues, which we have promptly addressed. We have also fixed several annoying customer bugs. As far as research goes, we needed to figure out the existing limitations of multisite support in the WordPress Toolkit, so we could improve it in the future releases. Extensive research into multisite support was conducted, and a lot of new information was unearthed. 

Now, we have a clear understanding of what we should fix to make WordPress Toolkit work better with multisites.

Future Plans – What’s Next?

The team is already working hard on WordPress Toolkit 5.0, which will also be the first public WordPress Toolkit release for cPanel. This version increase also warrants changes in WordPress Toolkit UI to make sure it focuses on important things and stays responsive, flexible, and useful. 

After the release of WordPress Toolkit for cPanel the team will have more free hands to work on feature requests and various improvements. So we expect a lot of interesting things to be released until the end of the year. Keep your feedback coming, and we’ll keep the releases going! 🙂

Once again, many thanks to the whole WordPress Toolkit team for their hard work. And thank you for your attention. If you have a question related to the Plesk WordPress Toolkit, please let us know in the comment section below. Until next time!