Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release: Action Log, wp-cron Management Workflow, SSL Support, and More

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - Plesk

WordPress Toolkit v5.4 has been in development for over two months, during which the team has produced four minor product updates. Now, it’s time to present the second major release of WordPress Toolkit in 2021 to the public. Read on to find out more. 

WordPress Toolkit Action Log

A lot of things can go wrong with your WordPress installation for a variety of reasons. Having a detailed log of events that happened to your site could be very helpful if things ever go south.

WordPress Toolkit now saves a log of essential actions it performs on all managed websites to address this need. Logs are written in plain text for each individual WordPress installation. They have a particular naming pattern that uses internal site UID and are stored in a separate folder: 

$HOME/logs/wpt_action_logs/action_log_#SITE_UUID#.log (where $HOME is the home directory of your domain).

For example, in Plesk, you can find the log here:

/var/www/vhosts/mywebsite.net/logs/wpt_action_logs/action_log__4d4a10e8-84b2-423e-8539-b43c97b692ae.log

On cPanel, the same log would be stored here:

/home/admin/logs/wpt_action_logs/action_log__4d4a10e8-84b2-423e-8539-b43c97b692ae.log

 

Log files are accessible via File Manager of your control panel or via ‘Logs‘ link on the site card that opens the corresponding log file in the Log Browser (on Plesk) or File Manager (on cPanel). For convenience, the ‘Logs‘ link is also available as an icon in the site title, so you can quickly open the log for any site in a collapsed site list:

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - WordPress Toolkit Action Log - Plesk

Note that Log Browser in Plesk cannot properly parse the WordPress Toolkit log right now. We will rectify it in the next WordPress Toolkit release.

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - WordPress Toolkit Action Log 2 - Plesk

Not all events are logged at the moment, just the most important ones, but we will expand the list in the next WordPress Toolkit release to ensure that everything WordPress Toolkit does could be found in the log files. We will also introduce the interface for viewing correctly parsed logs in the same Toolkit release. We hope that this feature will help site admins troubleshoot their sites and reduce the number of support tickets we (and our partners) receive.

New wp-cron Management Workflow

The ability to turn off default wp-cron behavior was introduced one year ago in WordPress Toolkit v4.7. Since then, we’ve collected a lot of feedback on this feature, and it was time to put this feedback into action.

First, the option was renamed to ‘Take over wp-cron.php‘. This was done to avoid the classic “enable to disable” confusion, where you are prompted to enable something that says “disable,” and you’re like “ehhh??” 

Second, you now can explicitly choose if a replacement cronjob should be created or not via the ‘Create a replacement task when a takeover is initiated‘ switch:

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - - New wp-cron Management Workflow - Plesk

If you toggle this switch after ‘Take over wp-cron.php‘ is already enabled, it will create or remove the replacement cronjob correspondingly. If the switch is toggled before the takeover is initiated, then the replacement cronjob will be (or won’t be) created when the user enables the takeover.

Speaking of replacement cronjobs, they are now way less strict when it comes to user modifications like task execution frequency. Basically, you can modify every aspect of the cronjob without being afraid that WordPress Toolkit will overwrite the changes. If WordPress Toolkit cannot find its own cronjob, it will not try to recreate the cronjob, concluding that it was knowingly modified or removed by the user. If the user has butchered or removed the replacement cronjob by mistake, it can be recreated by switching off and on the corresponding ‘Create a replacement task…‘ switch.

SSL/TLS Support Status

WordPress Toolkit has been showing the SSL/TLS status on the site card for quite some time, but this status was not particularly helpful, as it merely showed which protocol was used in the WordPress site URL. We’ve redesigned this behavior to be more beneficial to site administrators. Now, the site card features the actual status of what’s going on with SSL/TLS certificates on your site. In particular, WordPress Toolkit now detects and helps address the following situations:

  1. If SSL/TLS support is turned off on your hosting
  2. If there’s no SSL/TLS certificate installed for the domain name used by your WordPress site
  3. If SSL/TLS certificate you’re using is self-signed
  4. If SSL/TLS certificate you’re using is expired
  5. If SSL/TLS certificate you’re using was not issued for the domain name used by your WordPress site
  6. If permanent SEO-safe 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS is turned off on your hosting
  7. If SSL It! extension is not installed in Plesk
  8. If SSL/TLS feature is turned off for your account in cPanel
  9. If there’s a protocol mismatch (HTTP to HTTPS redirect is enabled, but WordPress still uses HTTP)

Example of situation #5 from the list above:

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - SSL/TLS Support Status - Plesk

… and, obviously, we’ll also let you know if everything’s OK with your site in terms of SSL/TLS, displaying your certificate name:

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - SSL/TLS Support Status 2 - Plesk

If you don’t have a certificate, the Toolkit will gently nudge you towards issuing a Let’s Encrypt cert or buying a cert.

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - SSL/TLS Support Status 3 - Plesk

New Cloning Backend

When it comes to cloning, many WordPress-related tools and services claim that they clone WordPress sites. However, the question today isn’t “which tool can do it,” the question is “which tool does it best” – after all, both BMW Isetta and BMW i8 are German cars that can drive on your average road, but there’s a world of difference between them in terms of performance. Our cloning mechanism has been quite complicated (to put it mildly) since its inception. This complexity made things difficult to maintain and improve, so we decided to update it. Specifically, our goals were:

  1. Easier maintainability (a single backend for all supported platforms instead of multiple different algorithms)
  2. Better security
  3. Improved performance
  4. Enhanced reliability

It took us quite some time, but we got it done, and WordPress Toolkit now boasts a new backend that meets all our expectations. We have even managed to test it in battle conditions: a cPanel customer was experiencing weird slowdowns during cloning, so we’ve decided to replace the cloning backend on the affected server to see what happens. The experiment was a resounding success, speeding up the procedure dramatically. Even so, such change could be quite risky when applied on all WordPress Toolkit servers at once, so we’re planning to introduce it gradually – more about that in the next paragraph.

Other Improvements & Bugfixes

WordPress Toolkit v5.4 includes a lot of other minor improvements and multiple bugfixes. Some of the highlights include:

  • AlmaLinux support on both cPanel and Plesk
  • Integration with WHM / cPanel was redesigned and simplified for improved reliability
  • WordPress Toolkit now ships with its own version of UI library on Plesk to make sure that all the latest changes and bugfixes are available to our users as fast as possible
  • Progress display in windows was standardized and unified for better user experience
  • Various warnings and notifications related to problematic PHP versions were improved and made more consistent
  • Minimal WordPress version that can be installed via WordPress Toolkit was increased to WordPress v4.9 (the last major release without Gutenberg for those who refuse to use it)

Finally, the output of ‘–info‘ CLI command now includes the WordPress installation state:

WordPress Toolkit 5.4 Release - Improvements & Bugfixes - Plesk

More Updates on cPanel

E-mail notifications on cPanel

E-mail notifications about updates and quarantined sites are now finally available on cPanel. There’s no UI for managing them now, so they are disabled by default to avoid making users unhappy. To enable the notifications, server administrators need to put the corresponding option in their config.ini file and set its value to true:

cpanelAdminSuspiciousInstanceNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a notification about new suspicious instances to server administrator.

cpanelResellerSuspiciousInstanceNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a notification about new suspicious instances to each reseller.

cpanelClientSuspiciousInstanceNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a notification about new suspicious instances to each client.

cpanelAdminAutoUpdatesNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a digest of newly available and installed updates (WordPress core, plugins, themes) to the server administrator.

cpanelResellerAutoUpdatesNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a digest of new available and installed updates (WordPress core, plugins, themes) to each reseller.

cpanelClientAutoUpdatesNotificationEnabled‘ – sends a digest of new available and installed updates (WordPress core, plugins, themes) to each client.

We’re planning to introduce the UI for managing these notifications in the next major WordPress Toolkit release, at which point we’ll enable all these notifications by default. Until that, hosters and server administrators will have to rely on config file modification to receive helpful information from WordPress Toolkit in their mailboxes.

Leika for cPanel

For those who don’t know yet, we have a service called Leika for rolling out gradual changes and conducting various experiments. This service offers tremendous help controlling the spread of potentially dangerous changes and experimenting with ideas that could positively affect user experience.

Until now, Leika only worked for Plesk, But not anymore as we’ve just made it available for WordPress Toolkit on cPanel too. The cloning backend change described earlier is one of many WordPress Toolkit features to undergo gradual rollout for the whole audience – and it’s the first one (but not the last one) on cPanel.

Future Plans

Many of the plans for the next release were already mentioned above:

  • Add UI for action logs
  • Add the rest of the actions to logs
  • Add UI for e-mail notifications on WHM/cPanel

In addition to these things, we are looking into improving how we handle popular caching plugins during cloning. There’s more exciting stuff coming in v5.5, but I’ll have to keep that under wraps for now – after all, we should always keep some pleasant surprises in store for you 😉

With that said, see you soon, and thank you for your time!

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.3 is Now Available

WordPress Toolkit update 5.3 blog Plesk Header

The first WordPress Toolkit release of 2021 is now publicly available — please welcome WordPress Toolkit v5.3  This release is focused on fixing issues reported by customers, improving performance, and making sure we can properly handle working with both outdated PHP versions and the latest PHP 8. 

Read on to learn what’s new:
 

Updated wp-cli & PHP 8 Support

 

PHP 8 was released two months ago, and already many of you trying to use it for hosting WordPress sites. So, to support this release, we needed to explore the outdated wp-cli component used for managing many aspects of WordPress sites. 

In v5.3 of the WordPress Toolkit, the team has updated  from the previously used (and quite outdated) version 1.4.0 to the latest available version 2.4.1, which finally allows WordPress Toolkit to manage sites working on PHP 8. Note that PHP 8 support in this  version is still kind of experimental (or “beta”, if you wish), so customers are advised to be more vigilant than usual when using PHP 8. As soon as  team announces full and proper PHP 8 support, we’ll immediately work on including the corresponding  update in WordPress Toolkit.

WordPress Toolkit 5.3 Plesk

Identifying Outdated and Unsupported Sites

 
Updating wp-cli resulted in certain unfortunate consequences: WordPress Toolkit now cannot manage sites working on PHP 5.2 (End of Life on 6 Jan 2011, 10 years ago) and PHP 5.3 (End of Life on 14 Aug 2014, 6 and a half years ago). To accommodate for this change, WordPress Toolkit can now identify websites using unsupported version of PHP and display corresponding information in the interface:
WordPress Toolkit Plesk v5.3
 
If your PHP version has reached End of Life but still supported by WordPress Toolkit, you will be notified about this as well:
 
WordPress Toolkit v5.3 Plesk blog

 

Since we’ve started to better differentiate between various site states, WordPress Toolkit now also properly notifies users if their WordPress version is way too old:
 
WordPress Toolkit v5.3 Plesk

 

We’ve also added an extra notification about outdated WordPress core, since some people have complained that existing notifications are not visible enough:
 
Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.3

 

To avoid scaring users, WordPress Toolkit now tries its best to create screenshots even for sites with unsupported PHP or WordPress versions. We hope that seeing a site screenshot will help customers understand that the site itself is working fine, but WordPress Toolkit cannot manage it because it’s so ancient that it should be surveyed by a team of archeologists first.
 

New Autoupdate Defaults in WordPress 5.6

WordPress 5.6 has introduced new default settings for WordPress core autoupdates. New WordPress installations are now configured to automatically install both minor and major updates by default. Existing WordPress installations updated to v5.6 will keep their previous autoupdate settings.
 
WordPress Toolkit now supports this change, so when you install WordPress 5.6 or newer via WordPress Toolkit, the autoupdate settings will be automatically set to “Both major and minor updates“, as opposed to “Only minor updates” option, which was the default before v5.6.
 
 
Due to the new defaults mentioned above, we have also changed the way WordPress Toolkit manages WordPress core autoupdate settings. Previously WordPress Toolkit was using the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant in wp-config.php file to help WordPress understand how it should behave. With changes brought in WordPress 5.6, we have decided to avoid using this constant and use the get_site_option( ‘auto_update_core_major’ ) parameter stored in the WordPress database instead. This parameter is utilized by WordPress itself when site admin switches between “major & minor” and “minor only” autoupdates in WordPress admin area. Using this parameter makes WordPress site management via WordPress Toolkit more natural, transparent, and non-obtrusive for advanced site admins.
 
Existing WordPress installations updated to v5.6 will keep the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant in wp-config.php file until autoupdate settings are changed by the site admin. Note that WordPress Toolkit will still have to use the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant if site admin decides to completely disable all autoupdates.
 
An additional fix related to WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant was also included in WordPress Toolkit v5.3: the constant is no longer added automatically when WordPress Toolkit checks for availability of updates. It can only be added if customer explicitly saves or changes autoupdate settings.

Cloning with defined DEFINER

 
WordPress Toolkit creates a database dump when it clones a site. In certain cases, this dump includes a defined DEFINER clause, which leads to failure of the cloning procedure. You can now rest easy that this problem is finally fixed.
 
Since every site is different, this may not be convenient for you. Therefore, it is possible to turn off the application of this fix by adding the following option to the config file:
 
fixDatabaseDumpDefiner = false

 

Upsell Links Configuration in cPanel

 
WordPress Toolkit on cPanel has two Deluxe upsell links: one in WHM, one in cPanel. Hosters can configure these links in Manage2 or modify WordPress Toolkit config file on the server. To make things easier, we have added the ability to customize these links on the global “Settings” screen in WordPress Toolkit. We’ve also updated the default WordPress Toolkit upsell link to make sure it is pointing to a proper destination.
 

 

For reference, here’s the priority of link customizations: links in UI overrule the links in config file, which overrule links provided by Manage2, which in turn take precedence over the default links shipped with WordPress Toolkit.

Research, Improvements, Bugfixes

 
Based on the research performed in December, we have increased the site list loading speed on Plesk. We have also tested the performance of Smart Updates and regular updates to better understand where and how we can improve our product. 
 
As for bugs, the v5.3 release includes a number of customer-requested bugfixes, particularly those that address cloning-related issues.
 

What’s Next? 

 
We’re also working on a number of exciting new features to continue improving the WordPress Toolkit, based on your feedback and usage. Have you got the latest version yet? What has been your experience with the Toolkit? Let us know in the comments or via your partner account manager!

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.2 is Now Available

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 5.2 is now publicly available! This release focuses on catching up on popular customer requests and fixing various nagging issues. The 5.2 update has something for everyone, so let’s take a look at what’s new!

Sets for Resellers

Allowing resellers to have their own sets is the most popular feature request in the WordPress Toolkit section of Plesk Uservoice. It’s requested not only by legit resellers but also by those who are using reseller accounts as limited Plesk server administrator accounts. Anyway, this feature is finally here:

Here’s what you need to know about this feature:

  • Resellers get the same default sets as server administrators.
  • Resellers can only access and manage their own sets.
  • Customers of resellers can see the sets of their resellers when installing WordPress. They do not see server administrator sets.
  • The global option “Allow customers to use sets when they install WordPress” will also affect reseller sets. If this option is switched off, resellers’ customers won’t see any sets when installing WordPress.
  • Reseller service plans actually include additional services with automatic installation of WordPress (alone or with any of the reseller sets).

Theme Activation in Sets

Another thing that’s been requested a lot recently is the ability to choose which theme should be activated in a set when this set is installed on a WordPress site. This feature allows hosters and web studios to provide more turnkey added value in their WordPress service offerings. So we made it happen.

As a reminder, you can install sets in one of the following ways:

  1. Provision a subscription-based on a service plan with a specific Additional Service that installs WordPress with a particular set.
  2. Install a set together with WordPress when you install a new WordPress site.
  3. Install a set on an already existing WordPress site via Sets tab functionality.

All these ways are available both via GUI and CLI. Your selection of a particular theme that should be activated in a set will be applied regardless of which way the set is installed.

Important notes:

  • This is not the final UI we’re aiming at. We’re planning to redesign the whole Sets tab next year to make it more convenient and user-friendly, and this feature will be a part of the redesign.
  • This ability is also available as a new operation of the –sets CLI command. Usage example: plesk ext wp-toolkit –sets -operation activate-theme -set-id ID -theme-id THEME_ID
  • By the way, plugins in a set can also be configured to be activated or deactivated upon the installation of the set. Since plugins are activated by default, the activation feature is more of a deactivation feature, so it’s not as important (most people would like their plugins to be active right away). Anyway, it was easy to do, so we threw it in as a bonus.
  • Activating and deactivating plugins in a set via CLI is also supported.

Pending Smart Update Notification

Looking at Smart Updates, cPanel team has noticed that there’s no way for users to learn that Smart Updates wasn’t applied automatically due to some issues and that they needed user attention. This happens because WordPress Toolkit is not yet integrated with email notifications in cPanel (something we’re planning to remedy soon). 

It also became clear that the problem is bigger than this. Users who’ve launched Smart Updates but closed the Update window without making a decision could also forget that they needed to either apply the update or reject it. To fix this problem, we have added a visual marker notifying about a pending Smart Update on a site card:

This notification will be displayed whenever there’s a finished Smart Update test run that needs to be reviewed and either applied or rejected by the user. To open the Smart Updates window, users will be asked to click on the Check Updates button.

WordPress Toolkit Deluxe Dashboard… Lite

After the introduction of the second licensing type in WordPress Toolkit for cPanel, we realized that there’s no quick and convenient way for the server admin to check who exactly has access to the paid WordPress Deluxe features. Depending on how the hoster’s packages and feature lists are organized in WHM, this task can range from trivial to quite challenging. 

To make things a bit easier, we’ve added a very basic screen that lists all accounts on a server with access to WordPress Toolkit Deluxe. It can be accessed via a link on the Settings screen:

Lo and behold, this might be the simplest WordPress Toolkit screen in the product history:

Depending on user feedback, we might improve this list, including stuff like redirects to cPanel of a particular user account, and so on. For now, it does what it intends to, and we hope it will prove useful.

Underscore in Slugs

WordPress Toolkit had a long-lasting issue with plugins and themes that use underscore symbol in their slugs (technical names / IDs). Specifically, it was not possible to upload, install, or update any plugin or theme with such a symbol in its slug through WordPress Toolkit. 

For a time, this was not deemed to be a real issue since WordPress directory maintainers do not usually assign slugs with an underscore to submitted plugins and themes, so this symbol is not typically used in such context. 

However, over the years we have discovered that there are several popular plugins that feature underscore in their slugs (js_composer is the biggest culprit). The time has finally come, and we have updated a number of internal WordPress Toolkit routines to properly work with plugins and themes that have slugs with underscore symbol.

Site List Expanding Changes

In WordPress Toolkit 5.0 we have introduced a new list-based interface for sites, which brought not only new features but also new issues with it. 

One particular issue happened when users installed a new site. The interface for managing this site was often collapsed by default even if it was the only site in the list. We’ve investigated the behavior of our new list UI and introduced a number of changes in WordPress Toolkit 5.2. Now, the following logic is used:

  • After a site is installed, it is expanded by default, regardless of how many sites are in the site list.
  • After a clone is created, it is expanded by default, regardless of how many sites are in the site list.
  • If a user only has one site, it should always be expanded by default.

This is just the beginning, though. We continue to look into improving the collapse/expand behavior further in our next releases. In particular, we’d like to remember the user’s choice (which site was expanded, and which was collapsed) and improve the performance of the site list when it has a lot of sites. Both items might seem obvious but are far from trivial in terms of implementation. Therefore they will take some time to address.

CentOS 8 & CloudLinux 8 support

WordPress Toolkit v5.2 supports CentOS 8 and CloudLinux 8 on both Plesk and cPanel. Note that the CloudLinux team has not officially announced CloudLinux 8 support for Plesk and cPanel, but WordPress Toolkit works fine on it, as far as we can tell.

Web Server Rules Description

WordPress Toolkit adds specific rules to web server config files when it applies certain security measures. If you look at these rules, it’s not apparent who added them and why. To make things more transparent for admins, we have added short descriptions for each rule right in the webserver config files (except for IIS, where it’s not so easy). 

It’s a small change, but we’d like to think it can help users better understand the value brought by WordPress Toolkit and help debug things if something goes wrong.

Research, Improvements, and Bugfixes

During this release, the team did a lot of research on topics we’d like to address in the future. Here are some of the things we’ve investigated:

  • How to properly clone and copy the content of a specific WordPress site if another WordPress is located inside the first site’s subdirectory.
  • How to properly clone and copy the Elementor plugin.
  • What are the most frequent and important issues with cloning functionality?
  • Why Smart Updates sometimes provide false negatives on websites with a large number of posts.
  • How we can ship a specific version of the UI library in WordPress Toolkit for Plesk.
  • How broken WordPress Toolkit will be after we perform a very belated and very major wp-cli update.
  • What issues related to PHP module requirements might turn up if WordPress Toolkit is using ea-php or alt-php when installed in cPanel working on CloudLinux 6 & 7.
  • How to improve site list performance and WordPress Toolkit performance in general on cPanel.

Some of these research tasks resulted in an immediate item resolved in the 5.2 release. Such was the case for cPanel performance research. The team has significantly improved the performance right away in v5.2 and identified several good improvement opportunities for the upcoming WordPress Toolkit 5.3 release. 

Future Plans

Our next major release will be out in January 2021. As mentioned above, we’ll continue our efforts to fix and improve existing functionality. WordPress Toolkit 5.3 will have an increased focus on improving our cloning feature, updating wp-cli utility to the latest version, and improving site list performance on both cPanel and Plesk. 

We’re still looking into what else we fit into the next release, so expect some surprises later down the road. Thanks for reading and see you next year!

Setting up Your Ideal Web Development Environment With Plesk Essentials

Morning beverage ready. Mail and calendar checked. Daily meeting with the team done – It’s time to start your engines and crack on with your project. If you’re familiar with this sequence, it’s because you’re also immersed in the web developer’s everyday routine.

Carrying out your daily tasks might be an easy-peasy chore. But when it comes to beginning a new project from scratch. And setting up your web development environment, you might need to add on a few more steps. Before starting cooking up a new project, you must have all the ingredients sorted. That is, for example, prepare all the data and tools you’ll need along the way.

And indeed, there’s a significant amount of web development tools out there. But what tools are suited to web developers? How do you decide which ones to have in your toolbox? In this article, we’ll bring you some prime extensions and toolkits that will make your web development experience even better. Let’s get ready to know some of Plesk’s essentials for web development, DNS, security, SEO, server, and backup.

Organizing Your Toolbox

At Plesk, our goal is to make web development simple and easy. And its integrated platform with full development and deployment capabilities allows you to build, secure, and run servers and websites. But if what you want to know is how to level up your skills with great tools, here are some excellent examples. Let’s dig deeper:

DNS, Security, and Web Plesk Extensions for Web Developers

Plesk DNSSEC

The DNSSEC acronym stands for Domain Name System Security Extensions. It’s a set of DNS protocol extensions that sign DNS data to secure the domain name resolving process.

The Plesk DNSSEC extension helps make the Internet safer. Let’s see what it allows you to do:

  • Configure the settings used for key generation and rollover.
  • Sign and unsign domain zones according to the DNSSEC specifications.
  • Receive notifications related to DNSSEC records and keys.
  • View and copy DS resource records and DNSKEY resource record sets.

Docker

Docker is a handy software technology that provides containers. That means an extra layer of abstraction and automation of operating-system-level virtualization. As a flexible Plesk tool, Docker can help you perform a wide variety of tasks. But that’s not everything. Docker also removes the obstacles to adapt to new technologies digitally as it uses existing technologies. This way, it acts as an assistant between different operating systems and developers.

The extension also frees applications from system infrastructure. Allowing expansion in capacity through collaboration. Here’s more of what you can achieve with Docker for Plesk:

  • On-demand access to a vast range of modern technologies.
  • Upload a custom image or choose one from a catalog.
  • Deploy and manage Docker containers straight from the Plesk interface.
  • Install Docker containers locally or to a remote node registered in Plesk.

Web Presence Builder

If you’re a beginner in web development, Web Presence Builder is the right tool for you. It doesn’t require great HTML knowledge or graphic design skills. This tool helps you create professional-looking websites not bad, huh?

Web Presence Builder also provides a simple visual editor and a broad set of templates for different websites. Pick a page design that you like and your content template. And then add your text to the pages and publish the website. Here’s what you can do with this tool:

  • Create web pages.
  • Add a wide variety of content (text, images, video, scripts, and more).
  • Edit website settings (website name, keywords, icons, and so on).

Joomla! Toolkit

Up next it’s the Joomla! Toolkit. A complete toolkit to power Joomla! websites. With this toolkit, you can mass-manage, secure, and automate all your instances, extensions, and templates running on a server managed by Plesk. All from one single entry point. Here’s more:

  • One single dashboard to control, maintain and monitor all your instances.
  • One-click installer to download, initialize, and configure Joomla! from start to finish.
  • It hardens your site against all types of cyberattacks with its robust security scanner.

Plesk WordPress Toolkit

As a developer, you’re probably craving lots of features and intelligent tools that make your daily workload easier to digest. Well, we’re proud to say that our beloved Plesk WordPress Toolkit is definitely one of them. With this toolkit, you can focus on core tasks and automate the mundane ones. And substantially increase productivity, security, and efficiency too.  

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit is by far the most complete tool for WordPress admins seeking pre-configured solutions for the best possible performance. As well as an intelligent tool that helps to always keep their WordPress sites secure and up-to-date without breaking a live site. In case you’re not falling yet, here’s why using this tool is not only a smart idea but also a rewarding experience: 

  • Manage all WordPress sites on the server simplifying admin tasks.
  • Install, activate, update, and remove plugins and themes from one single dashboard.
  • Keep the highest level of security selectively securing websites.
  • Clone and stage websites to simulate changes before going live. 
  • Synchronize the changes between files and databases of different sites.
  • Optimize SEO for higher traffic and manage WordPress search engine indexing.

Smart Updates

A great addition to the Plesk WordPress Toolkit is the Smart Updates feature. This power-tool combo automatically updates WordPress core, plugins, and themes using AI. Here’s more:

  • Smart Updates clones and simulates your WordPress updates before performing them.
  • It mitigates the risk of hacked sites by running updates in a secure staging environment without affecting production. 
  • You can activate Smart Updates in WordPress Toolkit with a switch, as well as automate update analysis email notifications.

SEO, Backup, Cloud, and Server Plesk Extensions for Web Developers

SEO Toolkit

Along with the performance, a thought-out SEO strategy is fundamental to improve your search engine rankings. And with better rankings, more visibility, traffic, and conversions. 

Organic search can become your primary source of clicks, traffic, and revenue for your business. With the SEO Toolkit, you get all the tools you need to give your customers a chance to find you online. And help them pick your website over those of your competitors. We’re listing some reasons why you should use SEO Toolkit for your website:

  • Track SEO KPIs and check your website’s Visibility Score to measure your success.
  • Site Audit analyzes your site and gives you tips on how to enhance optimization.
  • SEO Advisor provides you a to-do list to improve your performance based on your Site Audit and Visibility Score.
  • Log File Analyzer will crawl your site and pages to help search engines rank and index them accordingly.
  • Check each of your keyword’s performance and compare it directly to your competitors’.

Google PageSpeed Insights

As explained above, one of the main worries for web developers is site performance. Because after all the work you’ve put into your web development, you just want it to work smoothly and without any issues. But don’t panic – Here’s what you need to know to achieve good visibility in search engines. 

First of all, you need to create websites that are fast, useful to your visitors, optimized for all traffic, and most importantly, mobile-friendly. And secondly, you should monitor your sites with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. It will help you analyze your website’s content and its performance to suggest specific improvements. Here’s how the PageSpeed Insights extension works:

  • Analyzes the performance of websites hosted on your Plesk server.
  • Assigns every website a desktop and mobile score depending on its performance.
  • Generates a report based on the results of the analysis and displays suggestions to optimize your websites’ performance.
  • Provides links in the extension UI to the suggested tools aimed at improving websites’ performance (for example, the mod_pagespeed Apache module).
  • Gives already compressed files to reduce the size of static files (free API key required).
  • Installs the mod_pagespeed Apache module and lets you configure it for your needs.

Plesk Cgroups Manager

Often, web developers suffer what’s known as the ‘noisy neighbor’ problem. For those who aren’t familiar with this concept, this issue occurs when a website on a shared hosting consumes all system resources and disrupts the performance of other websites.

To avoid this common problem, we recommend using the Plesk Cgroups Manager extension. This solution helps you deliver reliable and continuous availability. The Cgroups Manager lets you control the amount of CPU, RAM, and disk read/write bandwidth resources each subscriber or tier of subscribers gets. You can use Plesk Cgroups to:

  • Prevent consuming of resources of your server by some of the subscriptions on your shared environment.
  • Automatically set a limit of resource consumption, monitor it, and send email notifications when it exceeds a certain level.
  • Set limits at two levels – subscriber service plan level or subscriber level.

Backup to Cloud Pro

Last but not least, we find the Backup to Cloud Pro extension. This solution is for all web professionals that want to set up different backup schedules to the cloud effortlessly. What’s more, it allows you to focus on more exciting and innovative tasks as it automates your backup management. It’s easy to set up and you can secure your domains with Google Drive, Amazon S3, DropBox, DigitalOcean Spaces, and Microsoft OneDrive:

  • Back up the entire server, individual user accounts with websites or individual subscriptions.
  • Schedule backups.
  • Restore data from backup archives.

CyberDeals Sale – 50% Off Selected Plesk Extensions and Toolkits

Thank you for reading up to this point – As a reward, we want to share with you a sneak peek of what’s coming soon this November. From Friday 27th until Monday 30th, we’re giving 50% off all the extensions listed in the article as part of our CyberDeals sale. So if you don’t want to miss out on these unbeatable offers, stay on the lookout for new updates. And catch them before they fly! 

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!

Tech Skills for a Changing World: The 5 Most Popular Plesk University Courses

The world is ever-changing, especially when it comes to technology. Gaining tech skills strengthens your resume and teaches you expertise in your chosen area of specialization. Online courses can help orient you by providing knowledge and expertise in specific technology fields. These courses also bring you close to real-world scenarios you can encounter so you get a practical understanding of how to troubleshoot problems. There are many reasons why training in technology skills works for your benefit. Let’s take a look at these reasons.

Why Should You Specialize in Tech Skills?

Specializing in tech skills proves that you are striving for both personal and professional development. It can help you irrespective of your current career level. If you’re just starting out, then you can undergo training to show your passion for learning and your interest in a particular tech field. If you’re more experienced, then advanced training will help you move forward in a changing world.

Tech training programs can help broaden your network as you will be in contact with both young aspirants as well as experienced professionals. Exposure to a broad network will open new opportunities for you.

Organizations always look for individuals who bring value to their company. Successful companies appreciate a continuous training mindset. Enrolling in tech training, taking tests or earning any certificates shows companies that you’re highly trained in a particular area. Your track record of learning new skills will help you establish professional credibility.

Plesk University offers many courses that can give you the ins and outs of different Plesk products. With some courses, you can also earn certifications. Check out our leaderboard of companies that have Plesk certified professionals. Did you know that access to all courses and exams in Plesk University is free? So, set yourself apart from your peers, choose your area of expertise, and join one of our most popular Plesk University courses. If you’re uncertain of what to choose, we’ve prepared a guide into 5 of our top courses and how they can benefit you.

The Top 5 Plesk University Courses

1. The Plesk Professional Course

In the Plesk Professional interactive course, you learn how to install Plesk Obsidian and use it to provide hosting services to your customers. You may as well ask what value will this add to your life, business, or resume. But don’t be dismissive – there are many reasons why knowing how to work with server management platforms is important. And it’s proven by a whopping 1,767 course completions.

First of all, technology has completely changed the way businesses work today. However, if you have a small business or are a solopreneur, you can’t always afford to have a separate IT department to manage all your digital processes. Who upgrades and monitors the servers and who troubleshoots problems as they arise? To ease these processes, you can either go to server management professionals who help in setting up and monitoring these crucial processes or you can learn the skills on your own. 

Let’s look at how server management is useful in more detail. You can use server management platforms to cut down costs. Instead of hiring people separately to manage servers, monitoring and management can be done by the platform. Hiring people can also be a challenging task for small businesses as finding the right staff always takes time. Depending on different pricing packages, using server manage platforms can result in comparatively lower skilled human resource costs. The best server management platforms also often provide you with the best support. On-call support with the best response time is usually included in the packages offered.

Additionally, as your company grows larger or if you’re planning to scale, the need for more servers grows. More staff is required to maintain and monitor server activities. Server management platforms are specifically dedicated to maintaining a greater number of servers. Knowing how to work with server management platforms saves you time, cost, and increases efficiency. An optimized server management platform automates regular administrative tasks, which can be time-consuming. This helps free your time up to perform other essential tasks.

2. The Plesk Associate Course

In the Plesk Associate course, you learn how to bundle infrastructure, Plesk, extensions, and services to create a managed WordPress hosting solution. Let’s take a look at how Managed WordPress solutions are a crucial add-on to the portfolio of services you can offer your customers. Or maybe you want to host your own WordPress. Either way, this is the course that can teach you the skills to do so and 1,461 course graduates agree.

Why is it useful to have Managed WordPress solutions? You need Managed WordPress to use WordPress efficiently as these solutions have the required resources and technology to maintain and update WordPress websites. The WordPress market share is 35% of all websites in the world. So, companies big or small want the management team that specializes in that Content Management System (CMS). Managed WordPress offers you many benefits, the most important of which are security, performance, and expertise on the platform. 

Ever hosted your own WordPress and woke up one day to find all those warnings and notifications for updates? Expertise is a crucial attribute when using WordPress. You may face extremely sophisticated security threats and down-time, which will ultimately affect your online presence and website performance. Managed WordPress acts like your hosting expert and takes care of these problems for you in the least possible time so that any losses are minimized. Wouldn’t it be great if you could gain this expertise?

The above points bring us to the next top Plesk University course:

3. The WordPress Toolkit Course

In the Plesk WordPress Toolkit course, you learn how easy it is to deploy, secure, and maintain a WordPress website with the WordPress Toolkit extension for Plesk. 

When talking about WordPress hosting, one of the first critical issues to address is security. A good Managed WordPress solution will provide you with the best security. Regular security helps in removing any malware present on your website. Hackers, bots, and other threats are tackled with the help of a specialized environment. The WordPress Toolkit is configured to do all of this for you with very little action needed from you. This is also a benefit when you want to offer Managed WordPress to your customers.

Additionally, if your business is growing or your customers are rapidly scaling, website traffic is going to fluctuate rapidly as well. Most likely you will require resources to keep the website running smoothly and avoid downtime if you’re scaling. Managed WordPress solutions take care of the smooth running of websites in such conditions. Crashing and downtime of the site can result in the loss of money and reputation of your brand and you want to avoid that at all costs. 

Last but not least is the issue of regular WordPress updates. WordPress releases updates on a regular basis. Keeping up with these updates is crucial for the high performance of your website. Excellent hosting management will help your site to cope with the updates and monitor how each update is impacting the website through automated tests. You’ll know if any issue is detected and have some action steps to follow to avoid downtime or security threats. Regular software updates also ensure high security for your website.

So, if you go for the WordPress Toolkit course, you’ll learn the tools to deal with the three most important issues – security, avoiding downtime, and regular updates – both for yourself and your business or your clients and customers.

4. The Plesk Obsidian: What’s New Course

The fourth course on our list is the Plesk Obsidian: What’s New course. This course is regularly updated and it showcases all the new features and changes in Plesk Obsidian. 

If you’re using Plesk every day and it’s a big part of your role, then this is the course for you. And if you haven’t kept up to date about Plesk Obsidian, now’s your chance. So, if you want to take a look at all the new features on Plesk Obsidian before signing up for the course, you can check out this guide

And so, on to the last course.

5. The SEO Toolkit Course

The fifth and final course on our list is the SEO Toolkit course. In this course, you learn how to use the SEO Toolkit extension to make your websites more visible by improving their search engine optimization (SEO).

Why is SEO important for your online presence? SEO helps in creating more visibility for your website or business. Good SEO management can drive more traffic to your website and a higher rank on search engines. SEO experts study and observe patterns that lead to higher rankings and the correct SEO tool can give you insights about developing better SEO strategies. Higher rankings lead to increased brand awareness, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing your sales revenue. With SEO tools, you also observe your site analytics, helping you to know your customers better and aligning your offers with their needs. You can also get to know where your SEO game is lacking.

So, there you have it. A wrap-up of the top 5 Plesk University courses for you to take this year. Build your skills and add more pizazz to your resume to take you to the next level! If you’ve taken any Plesk University course, let us know in the comments below. 

Until next time, arrivederci.

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.9 Release – What’s New?

We’re happy to announce that the Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.9.0 release is now available for the general public. As most of you probably know, this year we’ve been pretty busy working on WordPress Toolkit for cPanel. And even though 4.9 is not a huge update in terms of customer features, it certainly brings some long-awaited surprises in store. So, let’s deep dive into details to see what’s new.

Find out more about the Plesk WordPress Toolkit

Limit the Number of WordPress Installations in Service Plans

Hosters could always limit the access to WordPress Toolkit or some of its functionality through Plesk Service Plans. However, it wasn’t possible to set a limit on how many WordPress sites any given user could manage via WordPress Toolkit. This made things unnecessarily harder for some people. Because many Managed WordPress hosters do have these site limits as a part of their business. We’ve decided to address this glaring omission in WordPress Toolkit 4.9 and added this limit on the Resources tab of a Service Plan management screen:

Now, it’s possible to directly customize a particular subscription and change the limit. Service Plan add-ons also have this limit available. So, most kinds of possible upsell scenarios are covered.

The website limit will affect the ability to install WordPress sites via WordPress Toolkit. Add new sites using the Scan feature and create clones of existing sites. Note that so-called “technical” installations – e.g. clones made by Smart Updates don’t count towards the site’s limit, as they’re not visible to users in the interface.

By default, the limit is set to Unlimited. So nothing will change for users out of the box after the update to WordPress Toolkit 4.9. Some of you may ask what happens if the hoster defines a limit that’s lower than the number of sites the customer already has at the moment. In this case, the user won’t be able to add more sites. But existing sites won’t suddenly disappear from the interface. 

However, if the user removes or detaches a site, it won’t be possible to add another site back if the limit is reached. In other words, you can reduce the number of sites as you see fit. But you can’t increase it beyond the limit set for your subscription:

Configure Default Database Table Name Prefix

WordPress Toolkit generates a random prefix for database table names every time someone installs a new WordPress. This is to alleviate the impact of automated bot attacks looking for vulnerable WordPress databases using the default table prefix. For some users – especially WordPress developers, this behavior is quite annoying. So we added the ability to configure a specific default prefix for database table names whenever someone installs a WordPress on a server:

Here comes the tricky part. Generating a random prefix for database table names is a security measure in WordPress Toolkit. That it’s applied automatically during the installation of WordPress. If you set the default prefix back to ‘wp_‘, WordPress Toolkit will respect your choice and will not change this prefix. But it will set the site security status to ‘Danger‘ to tell you that this isn’t secure. This shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge, like any other predefined prefix (be it ‘wp‘ or ‘wp___‘, or whatever else that is not ‘wp_‘) won’t trigger the security warnings.

If users want to return to the old behavior with a randomized prefix, all they need to do is to leave this field empty. This small QoL (Quality of Life) improvement should provide a number of users with more control over their WordPress Toolkit experience.

Working on WordPress Toolkit for cPanel

We’ve been doing a lot of work on the WordPress Toolkit for cPanel front during the development of WordPress Toolkit 4.9. For instance, we’ve added the capability to update the product in cPanel. And we started to really dig into the security and performance aspects. Addressing a lot of issues that both WordPress Toolkit and cPanel teams found. 

Features like Sets and Reseller support were also added in the scope of the current release. We’re actively working on licensing and test infrastructure at the moment. And while there’s still quite a lot of stuff left to do, we can already foresee a finishing date. Our WordPress Toolkit for cPanel will be good enough to be ready for a demo very soon. And we’re already seeing a lot of interest from various partners – woohoo!

Testing Amazon AWS Infrastructure and Other Stuff

There’s another hidden but very important activity going on behind the scenes for quite some time. And that’s the initiative of moving our regression testing to Amazon AWS infrastructure for extra speed, flexibility, and on-demand availability. This should allow us to test WordPress Toolkit on cPanel as often and as thoroughly as WordPress Toolkit on Plesk. 

Using AWS for testing should also allow us to run a suite of tests per each developer commit in the future. Bringing us closer to our goal of “green master” initiative – or in other words, having a product that could be released in a production-ready state at any given time.

Speaking of improving the product, some of the security and performance improvements done in the scope of WordPress Toolkit for cPanel should also affect WordPress Toolkit for Plesk in a positive way. WordPress Toolkit 4.9 includes a number of important customer bugfixes as well.

Future Plans

Our next major release will be Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.10, tentatively scheduled to be launched by the end of summer 2020. This upcoming release coincides with the peak of the vacation season. So we won’t have the manpower to push any groundbreaking changes – they’re reserved for the next upcoming releases. 

However, you can rest assured that WordPress Toolkit 4.10 will include some in-demand customer features, bug fixes, and other interesting stuff on top of changes required for cPanel support. We’re also planning to release a small WordPress Toolkit 4.9.1 update very soon with a couple of new CLI utilities as a part of the CLI completeness initiative. The future of the product looks very busy, so stay tuned for updates – and especially, stay healthy! 

…So that’s all for the Plesk WordPress Toolkit 4.9 release. Remember that our teams are always on the lookout for new features to implement or bugs to crash. And here’s where your feedback is essential. You can share your suggestions or ideas for new functionalities to one of our channels – Uservoice, Plesk Community Discussion Forum, and Plesk Online Community

Or while you’re here, you can also leave your feedback in the comments below – our teams have eyes everywhere! Once again, thank you for reading. And cheers from the whole WordPress Toolkit team!

Next Level Ops Podcast: Solving the Most Common WordPress Problems with Lucas Radke

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back with the eighth episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In this installment, Superhost Joe and Product Wizard Lucas Radke talk about common WordPress problems and what hosting providers and users can do about them.

In This Episode: Noisy Neighbors, Fixing WordPress Problems, and What Hosting Providers Can Do

What are the most common WordPress problems for hosting providers? In what domains do common WordPress problems fall for most users? How much does WordPress itself mitigate these problems and what can hosting providers and users do? In this episode, Joe and Lucas discuss the three main areas under which WordPress problems usually fall — performance, updates, and security. You can have noisy neighbors when an environment is shared by too many users, impacting your website’s performance. 

Frequent updates are also often a pain point as non-updated plugins and themes can lead to security issues. Hosting providers should ideally provide solutions for this, otherwise it can lead to backdoors that compromise websites. For instance, tools such as Smart Updates for Plesk WordPress Toolkit analyzes WordPress updates and identifies and performs changes without breaking the production site. It also notifies users of any potentially critical updates. 

It’s essential for users to be proactive about potential issues from their side, especially non-savvy tech users. What can users do to ensure that they are taking the right precautions? The first thing is to make sure that they use a trusted web hoster who provides them with a secure hosting environment. Recently, WordPress has also had an increasing emphasis on security and recommends some basic security protections. For example, to make sure that access is limited, keeping backups, regular updates, and installing plugins and themes from trusted sources. For WordPress, security is about risk reduction.

“The great and terrible thing about WordPress is the amount of freedom you have. The freedom to set up whatever website you want considerably cheaply. But also the freedom to cause problems for either yourself, your client or your hosting provider,” says Joe, “Because if you’re on a shared host and your website is compromised, then it’s possible that other websites are compromised as well.”

Key Takeaways

  • What are some of the actions hosting providers can take to fix common WordPress issues? Hosting providers are responsible for how well the site performs. Users may expect high performance without paying the price for it. Many users install plugins to help with the performance or security of their website. The hosting provider has to make sure that plugins are updated and to make sure that there are no open doors for hackers. It’s also essential that hosting providers have a properly trained support team, specialized in solving WordPress issues.
  • What can users do to minimize some frequent WordPress problems? Being proactive is very important for users. Along with being informed about what’s happening in the community from a security perspective. Which plugins are having potential issues? What are some of the security issues coming up in the WordPress community? Trying to get the information that helps users reduce security risks should be a priority, especially for non-tech savvy users.
  • To what extent does WordPress mitigate these problems? WordPress has had a recently increased security focus. It’s forcing stronger passwords; it’s verifying email addresses; it has a site Health Checker and Troubleshooter performing checks on users’ WordPress installations; and other criteria for running WordPress sites securely.
  • Which plugins can mitigate some of the issues? iThemes Security is a useful plugin. Smart Updates for Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit has some cool features. WordPress Toolkit checks for updates for plugins, themes, and core. It can automatically perform updates if you choose to do so. Smart Updates makes sure that the proper changes are identified and implemented without breaking the live site.

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear the rest. If you’re interested in hearing more about WordPress hosting, check out this Next Level Ops episode. We’ll be back soon with the next installment.

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Lucas Radke

Lucas is a Product Manager at Plesk.

Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops.  And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Discovering the Plesk WordPress Toolkit: Behind the Scenes

It goes without saying that WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world today. In fact, 37,8% of all websites use WordPress as a CMS. And considering that in 2020 there are over 1.7 billion active websites globally, almost 40% is quite an impressive figure (right?) That said, it’s no wonder why WordPress also dominates application installations in Plesk, such as our beloved WordPress Toolkit.

Additionally, this month we’re celebrating Plesk WordPress Toolkit has reached more than 1,600,000 WordPress websites throughout all Plesk versions and platforms. And we’re proud to say that for us, this milestone is huge. But, of course, this doesn’t end here. We’re looking forward to increasing this number and continuing its development by addressing our users’ needs. So, if these numbers have stumped you, read the rest of the article for more interesting facts.

Biggest WordPress Toolkit Feature Releases in 2020

Plesk WordPress Toolkit is one of our most treasured products. It might be because its all-in-one solution handles all WordPress installations from one single dashboard. And because it simplifies your daily workload and makes your life as a WordPress user much easier. While making sure your site is updated and protected against cyber threats. We understand – we love it too!

Whereas other abnormalities are still striking in 2020, our super team behind the WordPress Toolkit strives to deliver an enhanced product on every release. Let’s remember the major updates since the beginning of this year:

Developing WordPress Toolkit for cPanel

Whilst 2019 releases were mainly focused on radical improvements to our premium Smart Updates, 2020 has been the year for developing WordPress Toolkit for cPanel. In fact, we had a very good start with this ambitious project. And by the 4.8 release, we had made WordPress Toolkit on cPanel almost feature complete. Nonetheless, we still need to be patient before WordPress Toolkit for cPanel is available for the public. But we can assure you that the finish line is closer every day.

CLI for Smart Updates

After adding CLI for existing features such as cloning and data copy early this year – find out more here, the time for Smart Updates arrived. In WordPress Toolkit 4.8 we added the first part of Smart Updates CLI, allowing hosters to enable and disable Smart Updates on a site.

Website URL Update

One of the frequent cases our partners encounter is the migration of websites to their servers by customers. WordPress stores the website URL in its database – and sometimes, in the configuration file. Therefore, such migrations require some manual tinkering to make the website work as usual. To help users, we added the ability to perform this action with a couple of clicks straight from the WordPress Toolkit user interface. This feature is called “Update Site URL.”

Disable wp-cron.php Execution

To facilitate the ability to disable wp-cron.php, we added a one-click switch on each website’s card. Turning the switch on will automatically create a scheduled task that runs wp-cron.php every 30 minutes. And it will also disable the default wp-cron execution by adding a specific line to wp-config.php file. Pretty useful indeed.

Default WordPress Installation Language

Finally, in 2020 we also delivered this quite handy functionality. Now, server administrators can open global WordPress Toolkit settings and choose a language that should be selected for all WordPress installations on the server by default. Users installing WordPress can choose a different language if they want, obviously.

Did You Know? – The Team Behind It All

All these great achievements wouldn’t have been possible without our technical team. And to recognize their hard work and commitment throughout these years, we want to dedicate some time to them. So, let us introduce you to Andrey Kugaevsky, Product Manager at Plesk – aka the WordPress Paladin. Even though we’re sure you’ve probably heard Andrey before in one of our official Next Level Ops Podcast or read one of his articles in our blog.

Andrey and his team sweat their work out to make WordPress Toolkit the star of the show. With that in mind, we’re inviting you to meet the team behind our beloved product. Let’s hit the play button:

Your Feedback is Also Essential

And of course, our technical team wouldn’t be able to achieve such great achievements if it wasn’t because of our users’ contributions. There are different ways you can use your voice and help Andrey and his team to make the WordPress Toolkit even better. Our Program Managers are in permanent contact with support teams for gathering information before choosing a new product feature for implementation. And for some top features, they test hypotheses on-site or create surveys and send them to customers for review.

If you have feedback on WordPress Toolkit or ideas on how to improve it, making it more useful to you and your clients, you can check out this article to find out more about how to contribute.

Get Started with Our Current Offers

Now that you know a little bit more about what’s going on behind closed doors, you may want to give Plesk WordPress Toolkit a try. Currently, we’re offering 6 months free for WordPress Toolkit on a yearly subscription, including remote management for agencies. Additional details about these offers can be found here.

Or if you’re already familiar with our product and your curiosity got you this far, why don’t you tell us your experience with Plesk? You can let us know in the comments below. We’re all ears!