WordPress Toolkit 4.6 is Now Available

WordPress Toolkit 4.6 is Now Available - Plesk

We’ve just released the WordPress Toolkit 4.6 update – the second update in 2020. Read on to learn about the new things we introduced. Including Website URL updates, Cloning and Data Copy CLI, and other improvements. Plus, a heads up on further plans regarding WordPress Toolkit and cPanel.

Discover WP Toolkit

Website URL Update

One of the frequent cases our partners encounter is the migration of websites to their server 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’ve added the ability to perform this action with a couple of clicks straight from WPT UI.

This feature is called ‘Update Site URL‘ and it’s available in the ‘hamburger’ menu on a WordPress site card:

wordpress-toolkit-4.6-update-website-url - Plesk

When the WordPress admin clicks the link, WordPress Toolkit checks the actual site URL. Basically, what you’re seeing in the site card header. And then compares it to what WordPress thinks is the site URL. If these two URLs match, all you can do is close the window and live happily ever after.

wordpress-toolkit-4.6-update-site-url-2

If the URLs don’t match, WordPress Toolkit offers you a one-click update site URL in WordPress. Synchronizing it with the actual URL where the site is currently hosted (according to the control panel.)

wptk-4.6-update-site-url-3

The process is quite quick: we’re looking for the “wrong” URL in WordPress database and wp-config.php file, replacing it with the “right” URL:

wptk-4.6-wordpress-website-url-4

However, there are certain edge case limitations to this feature. For example, it’s not available for multisite installations (yet). So, we’ll take a look at our customer feedback before deciding our next steps. Meanwhile, this feature should be a time-saver for hosters and agencies who deal with migrated websites on a regular basis. It should also help non-professional users who’re scared of running wp-cli or modifying their site’s database directly.

Cloning CLI

We’re officially introducing CLI for cloning procedures in WordPress Toolkit 4.6. This feature provides access to a full range of cloning options via the command line interface. Here’s the brief usage info:

plesk ext wp-toolkit --clone

   -source-instance-id INSTANCE_ID

   (-target-domain-name DOMAIN_NAME | -target-domain-id DOMAIN_ID)

   [-target-path PATH]

   [-target-db-name DB_NAME]

   [-target-db-server-id DB_SERVER_ID]

   [-target-db-user-login DB_USER_LOGIN]

   [-force-overwrite yes|no]

   [-format raw|json]

   [-show-progress yes|no]

You may notice there are no commands for creating a new subdomain during cloning – something that’s actually available in the UI. We’re talking about CLI, which is used for integration and automation. So, there are assumptions that server administrators will use panel CLI/API to create subdomains before running the cloning CLI.

Data Copy CLI

WordPress Toolkit 4.6 also introduces the CLI for data copy feature. Thus, allowing server administrators to perform everything they need via the command line interface. Here’s some brief usage info below:

plesk ext wp-toolkit --copy-data

   -source-instance-id SOURCE_INSTANCE_ID

   -target-instance-id TARGET_INSTANCE_ID

   [-data-to-copy all|files|db]

   [-files-replace-modified yes|no]

   [-files-remove-missing yes|no]

   [-db-tables-copy-mode default|all|new|selected]

   [-db-tables COMMA_SEPARATED_LIST_OF_TABLE_NAMES]

   [-exclude-db-tables COMMA_SEPARATED_LIST_OF_TABLE_NAMES]

   [-create-restore-point yes|no]

   [-show-progress yes|no]

WordPress Toolkit 4.6 Bugfixes and Improvements

We’ve revised our bug backlog to make sure we’re addressing multiple customer issues in this release. To improve our team efficiency, we have started to use Amazon AWS to run some of our tests. We’ll continue investing in improving our development and testing process. All to make sure we can deliver more things with higher quality in time.

WordPress Toolkit for cPanel and Future Plans

We’ve made a lot of progress on the cPanel front with regards to WordPress Toolkit 4.6. Particularly the development of WordPress installation function and providing full CLI support. We also addressed a lot of fundamental UI integration questions, and even cooked up a prototype of the cloning functionality. We have already switched to the “make it work everywhere” paradigm when developing new features. So, our new ‘Update Site URL’ feature is also available in the current cPanel build.

wordpress-toolkit-4.6-in-cpanel

In light of our next release, we’re planning to continue working on the cPanel integration. This includes: finalizing cloning, introducing Smart Updates, and starting to catch up on the additional security measures. Our next release, WordPress Toolkit 4.7, will also include fixes of customer-reported bugs and some long-awaited user features and improvements.

Thanks again to the whole WordPress Toolkit team for their hard work, and thank you for your attention. Until next time!

How to Create a WordPress Website

How to Create a WordPress Website - Plesk

Two-thirds of small businesses haven’t even invested in their own WordPress business website. Depending on your type of business, site complexity, and in-house expertise, it can be costly and time-consuming to set up and manage. You may know how to create a WordPress website. However, the more time you spend on website admin and management, the less you have to code or create content. Or execute tasks that directly grow your business.

To help build, secure and manage WordPress sites, apps and instances, Plesk introduced the WordPress Toolkit. We have continual updates and a close partnership with WordPress. Making the Plesk WordPress Toolkit one of the most complete, secure, and versatile WordPress platforms available today. In this guide, we’ll explore the key benefits of using the WordPress Toolkit to create a WordPress website.

What is the WordPress Toolkit?

WordPress Toolkit

We created the Plesk WordPress Toolkit for developers, hosters and small business owners. We learned about their workflows, requirements, and their biggest time wasters. Thus, the main purpose of the Toolkit is to save you precious time. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the Toolkit simplifies a variety of development workflows, automates tasks, and manages instances. All from one dashboard.

As an extension to the Plesk platform, it allows you to:

  • Deploy a new WordPress instance
  • Apply common security measures to a WordPress instance
  • Install plugins and themes on a WordPress instance
  • Update a WordPress instance and enable automatic updates
  • Create a staging/acceptance sandbox from a production WordPress website
  • Sync code and/or database changes from a staging/acceptance sandbox to a production WordPress website

The Toolkit requires a Plesk Web Host or Web Pro Edition license to enable all its features. But the Web Admin addition license does enable features such as one-click deployment, plugin/theme management, and manual updates.

How to create a WordPress website using WordPress Toolkit

One of the most loved features is the ability to deploy a new website with a one-click installation in three ways:

  • You can create a brand-new website by deploying a new instance;
  • Import an existing WordPress website from another server; or
  • deploy a WordPress website manually.

Deploying a new instance

If you want to create a new website, you can deploy a fresh instance of WordPress and start uploading your content within minutes. This video shows you how to deploy a new instance in three simple steps:

  1. First click Install under WordPress on the Websites & Domains overview screen
  2. Go to My CMS and change the title of the website in Preferences
  3. Click Loginto open the WordPress admin interface and start creating your website

Importing a website from another server

If you have an existing WordPress website on another server, you can easily import it to your new site. You’ll need the free Site Import extension installed on the Plesk server and the FTP login details of your old site. This video below shows the simple five-step process for using the WordPress toolkit to import a website from another server:

  1. Go to Website Importing found in the Plesk control panel. Important: You must have the free Plesk Migrator extension
  2. Enter your old website’s URL, FTP username and password. ClickOK.
  3. Select the WordPress instance and click Start Import.
  4. After the import is complete, go to the imported instance’s settings and reset the WordPress admin password. This is necessary to log into WordPress directly from the Plesk interface.
  5. Click Log Inand your site is now ready to use.

Deploying a WordPress website manually

You can also manually deploy a WordPress website from a ZIP archive or via Git. You can find out more information about manually installing and detecting a WordPress installation here. Go to section “Adding existing WordPress Installations to WordPress Toolkit”.

Installing Plugins with the WordPress Toolkit

Once you’ve created/installed your WordPress website, the next step is installing plugins which facilitate site or content management. Within the Toolkit, there’s a powerful plugin and theme engine that lets you find, filter, and install WordPress plugins. As you can see in the screenshot below, we’ve decided to install Google Analytics to learn more about the audience visiting our website.

wptk 1 - plugins and themes

If you want to use custom plugins or themes that aren’t available in the WordPress catalog, you can upload them. Then use them from the Plugins tab/Themes tab. If you want to update them, you can simply upload a new version. The old version will indicate a new version is available, and you can update all plugin instances at once.

Security and Updates

Many web pros spend hours monitoring and updating their websites to ensure they’re secure against vulnerabilities and threats. WordPress Toolkit automates this process, so you don’t have to worry about potentially losing your business data and credibility. All installations you deploy using WordPress Toolkit have critical security improvements applied already. You can also apply essential updates to your WordPress installations with one click so that they’re always secure.

One of the ways the WordPress Toolkit helps you manage security is with the security status feature. Four labels indicate the following:

  • Unknown: The instance has not yet been scanned or security issues
  • Danger: Critical security measures have not yet been applied to the instance
  • Warning: Only critical security measures have been applied. This is the default security level for WordPress instances deployed by WordPress Toolkit
  • Secure: All (critical and recommended) security measures have been applied.

We then check the security status of all instances every day, so you don’t have to. If you recently imported a new instance, or you see instances with status “unknown”, you click Check Security to update. Timely updates are the most important aspect of security. This is why we pay so much attention to monitoring your WordPress websites and keeping them updated.

An exciting extension of the Toolkit is the Smart Update feature which using AI to further enhance your website security. Smart Updates is available from Plesk 17.8 onwards and requires an additional license to unlock.

wordpress toolkit - security - Plesk

How Smart Updates Works

  • Runs a trial update of a cloned WordPress website and then comparing the before and after results to calculate the change score. If the change score is within the selected threshold, the update is considered safe.
  • For additional safety, WordPress Toolkit creates a pre-update restore point. If something goes wrong, you can always roll back to the working version of your website. WordPress Toolkit keeps only one restore point for each installation. This restore point will be replaced by a new one on the next update.
  • Once you make sure that the website works perfectly after the update, you can remove the restore point by clicking delete.

Starting from WordPress Toolkit 3.4, you can update multiple WordPress instances at once. With Smart Updates enabled, the update will only install if the number of changes detected is below the configured threshold.

Staging and Production

Every business needs to make changes and updates to their website. For example, updating the website’s theme, installing and testing a new plugin, or redesigning the home page. Usually, this means taking your production site offline and putting it into maintenance mode, resulting in lost business and a negative experience for new and existing customers.

But it also typically means a lot of time and work. To safely edit and update a production website, you need a staging environment. Basically, a full copy of your production website where you can experiment without the risk of breaking your public website. Creating a staging environment and syncing changes across your production site is complex. But WordPress Toolkit has single-click cloning so you can do it with zero hassle.

To make a copy of a WordPress instance using the Toolkit, simply click Clone in the Websites & Domains overview dashboard.

wordpress toolkit 4 - staging and clonging

By default, a new instance will be created on a staging <domain> subdomain. Click on “a new subdomain” to choose, or you can create another staging subdomain or use a separate domain.

Wordpress Toolkit 5 - Clone a WordPress website - Plesk

You will then see a loading screen showing that the files and database are copying, and the configuration files are updating.

Next, you’ll be able to edit the new staging instance’s properties. From WordPress Toolkit 3.4, search engine indexing is automatically disabled on all new cloned instances. You can change this on the WordPress Toolkit > Global Settings screen. Here you can also change the default prefix of the subdomain.

It’s also a good idea to password protect your staging environment to limit access to new and experimental content and settings. And if you’re testing a new plugin or piece of code, you might need to enable debugging. As well as using the cloning feature to create a staging environment to safely update your WordPress website, you can also use it to do the following:

  • Publish a website you were developing to the public after reaching a development milestone
  • Create multiple versions of a single website so a client can choose the best option
  • Clone an existing website to use it as a template for a new project

Once you’re satisfied with your changes to the staging environment, you need to apply them to your production site. Thankfully, you can use the WordPress Toolkit to do this with a single click.

WordPress Toolkit 6 - How to Sync from staging to producction - Plesk

Apply changes on your staging site to your production site with these simple steps:

Click Sync on your staging website.

WPTK 7 - Clone 2

Select your target production WordPress instance.

Before overwriting the target instance’s files and database, WordPress Toolkit offers to create a restore point. If something goes wrong, you will always be able to safely roll-back to the working copy of your production site. After you review the production instance to make sure it works, you can then safely remove the restore point. The sync is complete!

Automatic Installation

You’ll often need to install WordPress on new websites, using the same sets of plugins again and again. The WordPress Toolkit cuts out all unnecessary work by automating the provisioning of WordPress and plugins. It ensures you can install the latest version of WordPress with a pre-defined set of plugins and themes onto new hosting subscriptions. Here’s how you can use the Toolkit to automate the provisioning of new WordPress sites.

Sets

First, create a set of plugins to automatically install on new websites. This is an optional step as you can choose to install WordPress without any plugins.

WordPress Toolkit 8 - Sets

Click Sets on the WordPress Home dashboard. Click Create Set. The set is now ready. You can click to add some plugins to the set. Sets can include both plugins and themes.

WPTK 9 - Sets-2

Service Plans

It’s now time to create a service plan, which you can use to provision new hosting subscriptions and automatically install WordPress with plugins.

Click Service Plans in the left-hand panel.

How to create service plans with WordPress toolkit - Plesk

Click Add a Plan.

Now all that remains is to create a new subscription based on your new service plan. Once you create the subscription, two background tasks will start working immediately. The first task will install the latest version of WordPress on the site, and the second will install all plugins in the set.

Note: WordPress and plugin sets are provisioned only on new subscriptions. Switching an existing subscription to a new service plan will not install WordPress or your selected plugins on the website

You can further automate configuration and post-deployment actions of a WordPress instance by using Plesk’s event handlers and the WP CLI. For example, you can define the following event handler to set a custom permalink structure for all new WordPress installations.

And there you have it! You have learned how to use the WordPress Toolkit to create a safe, secure, and efficient WordPress website in just a few quick and easy steps.

WordPress toolkit - WP CLI - Plesk

Do you find the WordPress Toolkit helps save you time and resources in creating and managing your WordPress websites? Let us know in the comments below.

WordPress Toolkit 4.5 Update Features Website Labels Among Improvements

WordPress Toolkit 4.5 Features Website Labels Among Improvements - Plesk

We’ve just released the first WordPress Toolkit update of 2020: WordPress Toolkit 4.5. The first of many coming up this year. Let’s see what’s in there for you.

Website Labels in WordPress Toolkit 4.5

Websites nowadays are usually more than just a single site you see in your browser. Developers often host separate copies of their website for various purposes. One for development, one for testing, and so on. We’ve been thinking about properly supporting development workflow for quite some time now. And so, introduction of website labels is our first shot at it.

Every site registered in WordPress Toolkit 4.5 can now have its own label:

WordPress Toolkit update - 4.5 - Website labels -1

Labels act as a helper for identifying the role of a particular installation. This is why the selection of labels is predetermined. Users can choose from Production, Staging, Testing, Demo, and Development labels. Obviously, labels are optional, and you can change or remove a label at any time.

WordPress Toolkit update - 4.5 - Website labels -2

We expect this change to help you quickly identify their WordPress installations, making life a bit easier. It’s only a first step towards having proper project management in WordPress Toolkit. But that’s a tale for a different time. 😉

WordPress Toolkit for cPanel?

The majority of our time was spent developing WordPress Toolkit for cPanel. We’ve had a very good start with this ambitious project. Constantly keeping in touch with cPanel team, who continue to be very helpful, sharing their knowledge and offering advice. The first installable prototype will be shared soon, and we’re expecting more feedback after. We’ll then continue to focus mainly on WordPress Toolkit for cPanel until at least the first public release. This is expected in the middle of 2020.

Latest Bugfixes and Improvements

Most of the issues nagging our customers were addressed in the minor WordPress Toolkit 4.4.1 update in December. So there wasn’t much left for WordPress Toolkit 4.5. Yet we still fixed a couple of bugs reported by customers and our support team. We’ve also cleaned up some translations again, and now we’re looking into improving the speed and quality of our translations.

Future WordPress Toolkit Update and Plans

The team is already working on the next WordPress Toolkit update, targeted at the end of February. Our main focus continues to be the development of WordPress Toolkit for cPanel. However, we’re also planning to spend some time introducing customer-focused features like CLI for cloning and data copy.

Stay tuned for the next update. In the meantime, do you have any questions or feedback? Let me know in the comments below.

WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know About

WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know - Plesk

Each year, seasoned WordPress developers, agency owners, WebPro experts and beginner users come together at WordCamps. From around the world, we connect, learn, and celebrate all things WordPress. WordCamps have grown from the one held by Matt Mullenweg in 2006, San Francisco – to hundreds all over the globe. Each with their own flavour, speakers, sessions, and communities. It’s only natural that we want to get more WordPress Community Insights.

As we create many WordPress-related products, we’re proudly involved in the community that makes WordPress and make regular appearances at WordCamps. We support WordCamps both with sponsorship and by showing up with a booth, speakers, games, special offers, raffles, and interviews. In November 2019, we attended WordCamp US and joined the thousands of other WP enthusiasts and experts. Celebrating and evolving the thriving WordPress ecosystem, hosting educational and engaging games and raffles with special prizes.

In exchange for the grand prize (that any techy would love), we took the opportunity to gather answers to a few burning questions for the WP community. We collated the responses from over one hundred respondents in the infographic you see below. Now we’re going to dive into these findings in a bit more detail and discuss a few patterns and trends we noticed.

Community Insights from WordCamp US 2019

WordPress is such a diverse and flexible platform that it’s used daily by a million different people in a million different ways. To be exact, there’s over 75 million people using WordPress in over 50 different languages. Powering over 172 million websites (around a third of the entire web). And those numbers are still growing.

So who are the WordPress Community?

From our survey of WordCamp attendees, we discovered that, as you would expect, most of them are developers — nearly half at 42%. The rest are a diverse bunch of bloggers, graphic designers, agency owners, marketers, SEOs, freelancers, security researchers, software developers. There are also prospective dev students or small business owners who are newbies to the WordPress world.

As you can see, there’s a real mix of people using WordPress for everything. From personal projects and their own career development to running businesses and supporting client projects. This is reflected in the reasons as to why people were attending WordCamp US.

Most of the respondents were at the event for both personal and professional reasons. With overall the biggest attraction being the opportunity to network, make connections, and simply have interesting conversations with like-minded people.

Of course, some people were there because they were running a session or because they simply wanted the free swag. But even so, they may have been meeting up with someone they met online or were otherwise benefiting from the strong WP community. Similarly, when we asked what they hope to take away from the weekend, respondents mostly mentioned making new friends, contacts and connections.

Other top takeaways included new knowledge/learning, feedback, contributing to the community and learning new solutions for current WP challenges. Many also want to improve accessibility of websites, or get a clearer idea of hosting options and new features out there. And, of course, grab some swag while they’re at it.

How The Community Uses WordPress

When you get a bunch of WP aficionados together in the same place, you can’t not ask them about their experiences with WordPress and the tools they’re currently using. Starting at the top with hosting options, over a third of people (39%) preferred Managed WordPress Hosting, with Cloud and Shared Hosting following at 17%.

In line with these results is what they voted as the most important factors when working with WordPress. Speed and performance took the crown with nearly two-thirds of the vote. While 45% were happy enough to have WordPress work well. However, 44% also wanted stability, and 36% were looking for a user-friendly design.

With over 50,000 plugins available, the WordPress plugins marketplace is booming. Many look to WordCamp for insights into plugins to announce development of their latest ground-breaking product. Maybe even to improve the efficiency of their sites, or simply discover what’s out there.

Interestingly, SEO plugins like Yoast are the most-used WordPress tools, with 55% of respondents using them over others. Second were analytics tools with 37%, security tools at 31%, and page builders, CSS and email marketing plugins coming up the rear.

This shows a clear focus of WP users to quantify and boost their site performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) as much as possible.

Doing Our Bit For The WordPress Community

To finish off the survey, we asked the WordCamp US attendees a few more questions, including if they had any WP-related goals, and if so, what they were. The results revealed that WordCamps have a feel of being about socialising and educating people. However, they’re also pivotal for those serious about pushing their business goals forward.

Some of the respondents’ top WordPress-related goals were:

  • making their products known to the world
  • growing their WordPress client base
  • becoming web developers
  • blogging more consistently
  • building non-profit websites
  • Building awesome sites in general
  • teaching more
  • Increasing their traffic and scaling
  • Getting all the clients and dominating the world

To help fellow members of the WordPress community to achieve these goals, we’ve built a variety of WordPress tools like the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. The WP Toolkit is a single interface for easily installing, configuring, and managing WordPress, jam-packed with features.

We asked the community if they thought the Plesk Toolkit would benefit their work. Nearly half of respondents chose “yes”, with just under a quarter choosing “I think so.” A few of the things that are holding people back included the price. Some were also not sure if it would integrate well. And a few would not go for it, simply because they don’t like change.

Looking Ahead to The Next WordCamp

Go for the speakers, the opportunities, the insights, the lego prizes, swag – or all of the above. Attending a WordCamp is a great way to meet awesome people and stay in touch with everything WordPress.

There has been over 700 WordCamps in 70 cities around the world to date. We plan to attend more in 2020 to continue supporting the WP community and development of the incredible open source platform. Starting with WordCamp Asia in February. To find a WordCamp near you, or even set up your own, visit WordCamp central.

Will you be attending WordCamp Asia in February 2020? What content would you like to see us cover from the event?

Did You Know Plesk is Now on Udemy?

Plesk is Now on Udemy - Free Courses Released - Plesk

Over 10,000 students have already enrolled in our Plesk University courses. And with the announcement of our new cloud hosting course series, we’re expecting that number to rise much, much higher. The Plesk Udemy courses cover how to set up your own cloud server with Plesk. Then how to deploy or move a WordPress or other website across five major cloud providers.

1
Plesk on DigitalOcean Udemy Course
Plesk on DigitalOcean Udemy Course
2
Plesk on Amazon Lightsail Udemy Course
Plesk on Amazon Lightsail Udemy Course
3
Plesk on Hetzner Udemy Course
Plesk on Hetzner Udemy Course
4
Plesk on Google Cloud Platform Udemy Course
Plesk on Google Cloud Platform Udemy Course
5
Plesk On Linode Udemy Course
Plesk On Linode Udemy Course

So far, we have DigitalOcean, Linode, Google Cloud, Hetzner Cloud, and Amazon Lightsail. Read on and we’ll explain exactly who the courses are for, what they contain, and ultimately, help you decide if they’re right for you.

Are Our Plesk Udemy Courses For You?

Shared hosting accounts can be incredibly convenient and cost-effective. That’s what makes them ideal for people and businesses with small websites, and equally small budgets. But for growing and large businesses who need things like performance and scalability, they can be incredibly limiting and slow.

Shared hosting means sharing all your server resources — bandwidth, disk, storage space — with many other websites on one single physical server. In contrast, cloud hosting is when your website is hosted on a physical server connected to multiple other servers joined in a cluster (or cloud).

Many people and businesses move to cloud hosting when they need better performance, security, reliability, and scalability. But as a new but increasingly popular option, some are hesitant to do so, believing the process is more difficult than it’s worth. The truth is setting up your own private virtual server is quick and easy. Not only that, but when using the right platform it can make WordPress hosting much simpler and help you offload many tedious and time-consuming tasks like deployment, maintenance, updates, and staging.

Can our five new Plesk Udemy courses help?

Our ‘Make WordPress Hosting Easy’ course series guides you through how you can do all the above and more using the Plesk hosting platform and your choice of five major cloud hosting providers.

All the videos within the courses are accessible and contain step by step instructions which you can follow even if you have minimal technical experience. They’re ideal for everyone from beginners who’re curious about website hosting to web professionals interested in moving from a shared hosting setup to a private virtual server in the cloud.

Five Reasons to Enrol in Our Udemy courses

Before getting into the details, you might be thinking what makes Udemy so special. After all, you could probably find all this information on various websites and forums if you really wanted to.

Well, Udemy is home to Plesk University: a free online training and certification resource that features a range of courses for learning all about Plesk and its extensions. You can find out more Plesk University here.

And so to give you a better idea why we love Udemy and these courses are so great, here are five reasons you may want to enrol today:

1. Up to 1 hour on-demand video

The courses include up to an hour of pre-recorded video lectures. Meaning no waiting around for the webinar of online course to start — you can watch them instantly, in whichever order you like, and all at your own pace.

2. Full lifetime access

Once you’ve completed the course you can go back and revise or re-watch the whole thing or specific lectures whenever you feel like it. There’s no cut-off time.

3. Access on mobile and TV

You can access the courses on desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV. All you need is the Udemy app, which can be easily download via your app store or the Udemy website.

4. Certificate of Completion

On completing the course, you’re awarded with a Certificate of Completion to acknowledge your achievement and for use in your professional portfolio.

5. It’s free!

Arguably the best reason to participate in one of our Udemy courses is that they cost absolutely nothing. You can even enrol to try a few lectures out and see if you like it — there’s zero commitment required.

The Five Free Udemy Courses

“A wonderful course for wordpress admins and web admins who make wordpress on a day-to-day basis.”

Mustafa Karrokhi, Course participant

Each of our courses is presented by university instructor and corporate trainer Chase Raz. Chase is a clear and engaging instructor with a decade of experience in teaching business and technology to a wide range of students.

The courses range in length from just over thirty minutes to an hour. Each includes everything you need to know to set up your private virtual server and deploy or move a website with Plesk, whilst also being short and concise enough to watch on the go or in between migrations.

One requirement  is that you have a basic understanding of concepts such as “website,” “IP address,” “firewall,” “server,” and “DNS”. And for some, a web browser and SSH terminal (e.g., PuTTY). Other than that, you’re ready to dive in.

Make WordPress Hosting Easy with Plesk on DigitalOcean

Learn how to set up your own DigitalOcean scalable virtual server, otherwise known as a droplet, in our web hosting course for DigitalOcean.

You’ll also learn how to use the Plesk Hosting stack on this droplet to power your WordPress and other websites. The course content includes a brief introduction, a bonus lecture on Plesk Obsidian, and sections on Deploying a DigitalOcean Droplet, Getting Started with Plesk, and Managing WordPress Websites with WordPress Toolkit.

In total, the course has 21 lectures that come to a run time of 41 minutes, and an impressive average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Simplifying WordPress Hosting with Plesk on Linode

In this course you’ll learn how to set up your own private server on Linode and deploy a new WordPress website or move your existing website to Linode quickly and easily.

You’ll also learn to master the WordPress Toolkit. The course consists of five sections: Introduction, Deploying a Plesk Server on Linode, Getting Started with Plesk, Managing WordPress Websites with WordPress Toolkit, and a brief conclusion. All in all, the course has 19 lectures and a total run time of just under 39 minutes.

WordPress Hosting Simplified with Plesk on Hetzner Cloud

Learn everything you need to know for setting up and running a website on very own Hetzner cloud server using Plesk, with our WordPress Hosting Made Easy course for Hetzner cloud.

Through the course’s 21 lectures, you’ll be guided by Chase through five sections: Introduction, Deploying a Linux Server on Hetzner Cloud, Getting Started with Plesk, Managing WordPress Websites with WordPress Toolkit, and a Conclusion.

You can complete the 4 out of 5 star rated free course in a little under 50 minutes — and access it at anytime once you’ve completed it.

Easy WordPress Hosting with Plesk on Google Cloud

On this course you will learn how to set up your own private server with a Compute Engine virtual machine running on Google Cloud Platform, otherwise known as Google Cloud or GCP.

You’ll also discover how to use the Plesk hosting stack on the virtual machine to power your WordPress and other websites. The course sections include: Introduction, Bonus Lecture on Plesk Obsidian, Deploying a Google Cloud Instance, Getting Started with Plesk, and Managing WordPress Websites with WordPress Toolkit.

The 20 lectures have a run-time of 45 minutes, an average rating of 4.1 out of 5, and over 4,000 students who have already enrolled.

Simpler WordPress Hosting: Plesk on Amazon Lightsail

On our final course for Amazon, learn how to setup your own private server on Amazon Lightsail using the Plesk hosting stack.

The course’s 21 lectures cover five main areas: Introduction and Bonus Lecture on Plesk Obsidian, Deploying a Lightsail Instance, Getting Started with Plesk Onyx, Managing WordPress Websites with WordPress Toolkit, and Conclusion. The course has a run-time of 36 minutes, over 4500 enrolled students, and an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

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Ready to move from a slow and limited shared hosting account and set up your own lightning-fast cloud server?

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The WordPress Toolkit 4.4 Update

WordPress Toolkit 4.4 Update - Plesk

We’ve just released two WordPress Toolkit updates at the same time: v4.3.5 and v4.4.0 – for different Plesk versions. WordPress Toolkit 4.3.5 is a “maintenance only” fork of WordPress Toolkit for Plesk Onyx 17.0 and 17.5. Meanwhile WordPress Toolkit 4.4 is available for Plesk Onyx 17.8 and Obsidian 18.0.

WordPress Toolkit 4.4 is where we’re introducing the most changes to the product. The new functionality helps us spend less time supporting old Plesk versions. Thus allowing us to use newer, better technologies in order to work faster and more efficiently than before.

WordPress Toolkit 4.4 UI and Settings Redesign

We had to make sure WordPress Toolkit GUI is not using any Plesk-specific frontend code, so it can work as a product separate from Plesk (spoiler alert!). Plugins, Themes, and Sets tabs are now using the Plesk UI Library, as well as the WordPress Toolkit Settings screen.

The changes are relatively minor and don’t introduce new features or possibilities. However, they do make our interface faster, more responsive, and more consistent. This gives us a great base for doing the actual redesign of old WordPress Toolkit screens. Which is something we’re planning to do next year.

WordPress Toolkit 4.4 UI and Settings Redesign Plesk

We’ve also modified the presentation of WordPress Toolkit Settings. Previously, they appeared as a form on a separate navigation tab, which was inconsistent with the rest of the interface. To address this, we moved the Settings tab contents to a separate screen, which you open by clicking the Settings button next to the WordPress Toolkit title.

the WordPress Toolkit title - Plesk

Installing Sets on Existing Sites

Plugin/Theme Sets should be addressing new WordPress sites pre-populating with a bunch of out-the-box plugins and themes. However, some time ago hosters have flagged another important case. When a user migrates their existing site, their new hoster wants to enrich it with their own plugins and themes.

Hosters told us that they mostly wanted this ability for the server administrator, because in 80-90% of cases, they are the one doing this. So now Sets addresses this request via the Install Set button on the drop-down for each set on the tab.

existing admin interface for working with sets - Plesk

Clicking the button next to the corresponding set opens a dialog window. There, you can select one or several sites for the set to be installed on. Installing the set takes some time, especially for multiple sites. So the installation task launches in the background asynchronously to avoid blocking admins from doing other stuff in the panel.

doing other stuff in the panel - Plesk

Action Notifications Behavior Change

Remember the floating thingies notifying you of the results of your actions? We decided to change the way these notifications behave if the action was successful. While working in WordPress Toolkit, you don’t want to see these notifications cluttering your screen.

Action notifications behavior change Plesk

So, we decided notifications of successful actions (the “green” ones) should automatically close after three seconds. All other notifications displaying errors or warnings will continue to behave as usual. This is because we believe it’s important that users notice them and explicitly acknowledge them by clicking close.

WordPress Toolkit 4.5 and Other Plans

As Plesk Obsidian marches through servers, we’re planning to create another “maintenance only” fork, this time for Plesk Onyx 17.8, sometime next year. Since this Plesk version still uses an outdated Plesk UI library, it prevents us from providing you with quality interface improvements. This release means only Plesk Obsidian will get all the new WordPress Toolkit features and changes. Both “maintenance only” forks will only receive critical security updates, so you should really update to Plesk Obsidian.

The team has also cleaned up several translations and a number of nagging customer bugs and issues – See our Changelog. Our next major release will be WordPress Toolkit 4.5 – out in January 2020. While it will obviously include customer features and bugfixes, we’re also planning to spend a lot of time on WordPress Toolkit for cPanel, working closely with the cPanel team. Stay tuned for the announcement next year!

There will even be more features our current WordPress Toolkit users should look out for. In the meantime, let’s give a big thanks to the team for all the WordPress Toolkit versions released this year. Six versions since the last major 4.3 release. We hope to stay as productive in 2020, and wish the same to you all!

We’d love to get your feedback on this latest release. Let us know what you like, or if you encounter any frustrations below!

Duetsoft Profits Grow by 25% Using Plesk WordPress Toolkit & DigitalOcean

Duetsoft success story with Plesk and DigitalOcean - Plesk

Khandaker Ikrama, owner of Duetsoft web development agency, sheds light on how Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit helps his agency work effectively. Managing custom development and web design for WordPress on multiple customer websites. Read the story of Duetsoft, Plesk and DigitalOcean below.

Why we partnered with Plesk

Why Duetsoft partnered with Plesk

My agency began as a very small company two years ago. At that time, the agency’s ability to deliver services was wholly dependent on me and my skills. However, I soon made the decision to scale my business.

The problem was that all my customer’s had different site and maintenance priorities. And, unfortunately, I didn’t have a team large enough to cover all of their needs well. So I needed to find a reputable company to outsource all of these maintenance tasks.

Plesk came into the picture when I read a piece of content on WPMayor about How To Manage Multiple WordPress Sites Efficiently.

When I realized I could keep over a dozen websites simultaneously updated and supported with Plesk, I was relieved. Now I could put that extra time towards other activities – ones which might net the company a higher profit margin.

“Automation is a term I was familiar with - in this context it simply means having software or a tool that can perform a routine job automatically, without the need for constant input.”

Moreover, the fact that, with Plesk, I wouldn’t need to hire and manage a lot of freelancers was a bonus.

Duetsoft’s smooth transition to Plesk

Duetsoft's smooth transition into Plesk

“Plesk is super easy to install and configure on DigitalOcean in just a few clicks.”

Getting started with Plesk was as easy as 1-2-3: We used the Plesk One Click App from the DigitalOcean Marketplace. Then started with one website on DigitalOcean. The first test website went really well, and it just grew from there. The transition going forward was just as smooth as the test and startup phase.

I can honestly say that testing new plugins, features and design ideas is easy with the WordPress Toolkit Extension. You simply test everything in a sandbox before publishing live on the website. Furthermore, you don’t need any extra plugins or separate servers for this – the WordPress Toolkit in Plesk manages everything.

“The WordPress Toolkit is an agency dream, giving you an array of tools for customization, management, security, hosting, and automation for all your websites and the infrastructure they rely on.”

Overall, our partnership with Plesk has been one of honesty and transparency. And we always receive timely responses. This enables my agency to make sure our clients always have support on everything from basic requests to Remote Management or Smart Updates powered by AI from Plesk’s Extension Catalog.

Business benefits for Duetsoft

Business Benefits

The initial goal in using Plesk and the WordPress Toolkit was to automate and offload WordPress maintenance tasks. However, I got much more than I originally bargained for. There were three key areas in which Plesk helped my agency grow:

1. Revenues increased with more clients

‘’Since we started working with Plesk on DigitalOcean, revenue has increased - a lot!”

It wasn’t only about making various WordPress maintenance tasks easier and automating them as much as we could. But also about having the capacity to no longer turn clients away. Now, I can capture them all.

2. Profitability has gone up with investment in automation

The total amount of revenue coming in isn’t the only way I’m reaping the rewards either. Profit margins are much higher now, too. With the WordPress Toolkit, agency team members can now focus on tackling tasks that play to their strengths. It’s this investment in automation and task orchestration that’s made my operations run much more efficiently.

3. Greater functionality gave added value to customers

Since Plesk are WordPress specialists, and provide so many different features and functionality, I now feel as though my customers are truly taken care of. It’s this added value from features like Smart Updates powered by AI or Remote WordPress Management that has contributed to my agency’s growth.

Future goals for our Plesk partnership

Last year, a lot of our goals were based on basic financials. Now we want to move forward in 2019 (and beyond). We anticipate to continue to experience the same level of growth.

Khandaker Ikrama owner of Duetsoft Plesk

“My agency experienced a 25% increase in profitability”

I also hope to expand further on our value-added services. Managed services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses around the world. eCommerce, in particular, is an area that I hope to do more with, as it’s a particular niche with a lot of ongoing needs. However, I believe that my agency, in conjunction with Plesk managed services, can easily take care of them.

Managing WordPress for one website or thousands doesn’t have to be a chore. And it shouldn’t be something that holds your company back from scaling, or generating a solid profit margin either. If you want to give the best to both your customers and your agency, then you need to work with an infrastructure provider and partner you can rely on. Thankfully I found trusted partners in Plesk WordPress Toolkit and DigitalOcean.

About Duetsoft

About Duetsoft Plesk

Duetsoft is an intentionally small web development agency based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They focus on custom development and web design for WordPress, the CMS of choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether they are individuals, resellers, ISVs, SMBs, or enterprises.

Why Smart Updates Has Jumped in Value

How Smart Updates makes you money and saves time - Plesk

Our development team put lots of effort into the new features of WordPress Toolkit 4.3, which mostly benefit our Smart Updates users. Thanks to our new algorithm, we can reduce the time all updates take. Moreover, new checks and a more transparent process have improved your user experience and stopped the Smart Updates blackboxing! But more importantly, Smart Updates is essential to:

  • Prevent WordPress hacking
  • Save you time
  • Earn you money

Since Smart Updates is so important, now more than ever, we’re giving new users a special offer “first month free” offer to try it out.

New Smart Updates for WordPress Toolkit

Keeping your WordPress up-to-date is the most efficient way to protect it against automated hacking. A hacking attack usually exploits known security breaches in older versions of WordPress and plugins. So that’s why it’s crucial to keep your WordPress, themes and plugins always updated. The top benefit you get with Smart Updates is the Automated updates by AI.

New Smart Updates for WordPress Toolkit - October 2019

Not only does it perform updates on your behalf, but also ensures your updates do not break the live site. How? By using an algorithm that you set. If it is not met, the site does not update until you accept manually. Don’t worry there is also an option to update manually if you wish to retain control.

Find out more about how AI handles Smart Updates right here. 

Plus, we’ve also enhanced the reliability and performance of Smart Updates for the WordPress core, plugins and themes. When we launched Smart Updates for WordPress in March 2018, we whitelabeled the API from Perfect Dashboard, which we now deprecated. What this means is that we can now offer you a free month of auto-updates & AI-powered regression testing tools! Click below to get yours.

Make Money & Save Time with Smart Updates

Save Time and Make Money - Smart Updates - Infographic 2019

Statistically, there can be up to four WordPress updates a month on average. That means that keeping one website updated with the proper procedure takes 8 hours per month. This is super time-consuming, not to mention boring. Manual updating and testing websites will eventually take a toll, if it hasn’t already. But not with Smart Updates, this then just takes minutes.

You can earn 160% more, working 90% less

Assuming the hourly rate is €20 per hour, the cost of keeping the website up-to-date would add up to €160 monthly. Consequently, in order to generate a reasonable margin, the total cost for updating a simple WordPress website properly is €250 for the customer.

With Smart Updates, keeping one website updated via automation takes 40 minutes a month (versus 8 hours). That means that you can provide the service of the same, or even better, quality while working 90% less. Because now, based on the same hourly rate, your website updates are maintained for just €13.33 a month. Therefore, a web professional can still charge €250 per month and boost their margin by almost 160%.

The second opportunity here is of course, keeping the same margin, but offering the same service at a much more affordable price. This in turn makes you more competitive in your market and opens up many more prospects. Those who previously couldn’t afford manual updates, but can now afford automated ones.

How to Activate Smart Updates for WordPress Sites

Go to WordPress Overview and activate the Smart Updates switch. That’s it! It’s all you need to do because everything is now in that single switch on the main card of each WP Instance.

We plan to introduce more Smart Updates enhancements further down the line. Even more importantly, one of the changes should dramatically change your Smart Update experience and make it more transparent. So try Smart Updates for WordPress while offer still lasts.

How do you think Smart Updates would benefit you? Let us know in the comments below.

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 Reveals Radical Improvements to Smart Updates Premium

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 Reveals Radical Improvements to Smart Updates Premium - Plesk

We’re happy to announce WordPress Toolkit 4.3 is now publicly available. This release focuses on radical improvements to our premium Smart Updates. Namely user experience, checks, and more usability features like sitemap and switch.

New Smart Updates User Experience

The main complaint about Smart Updates was that it worked as a black box. It took its time to clone and analyze the site (performance was also addressed in WordPress Toolkit 4.2). Also, after analysis, users wouldn’t get any proper info, which understandably made you doubt us. Therefore, the main way to combat this issue was full process transparency.

Upon performing the cloning and the subsequent analysis, Smart Updates will show our users all the details. The Website Summary tab will list pages checked and mention all issues found, while also informing users what it was looking for. You can even download a full test summary as a text file – Handy for update issues you want to investigate further. While the forecast tells you if the update is safe to execute or not.

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 - Smart Updates - test updates results ux

If at least one new issue is found during the test, Smart Updates warns you of the dangers. Hence, you should address issues before running the update – or, if they’re not serious, update anyway and fix them after.

What’s really cool about the new Smart Updates though, is it alerts you of site issues – even those unrelated to the update. The system may detect an issue before the update which then persists. The tool will tell you that although the update’s safe, the site has a pre-existing issue you should check. If Smart Updates finds issues on a page, you can switch to the Page Details tab to see what exactly is wrong on that page.

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 - Smart Updates - Test updates results - page details

As you can see, if a page has a new issue, you’ll get a red dot. The aspects with issues also have a red dot on the Page Details tab.

New Smart Updates Checks

As you can see from the above screenshots, the system is now also checking for PHP errors, warnings, or notices. Such issues typically indicate a broken plugin or a theme, so you shouldn’t take them lightly. Speaking of plugins, Smart Updates is also looking for any Plugin shortcodes on a page (WP-specific pieces of code that various plugins widely use).

When a shortcode is inserted in a post or on a page, WordPress dynamically replaces it with the corresponding content upon generating the page. This means if the actual shortcode appears on a page instead of the content, something went horribly wrong and the site admin needs to intervene.

Using Sitemap to Analyze Pages

The page limit is currently set to 30 URLs to avoid overloading both our screenshot-making service and the servers where Smart Updates is used. We’re now monitoring the Smart Updates load in order to fine-tune this limit. Meanwhile users can create a special custom sitemap that tells Smart Updates which pages to check. This is useful if you have a large site with over 30 URLs and you’re worried about certain pages more than others. (Docs for this feature are coming soon.)

The Smart Updates Switch and Screen

Before, you could only enable Smart Updates on the Updates screen, which you may have missed if you enabled auto-updates. So, to ensure Smart Updates is visible to everyone, we added a Smart Updates switch on the website card.

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 - Smart Updates - Switch screen

A red dollar sign appears if you have not purchased the feature. Server Administrators see the Upgrade button in the prompt, since they can install the license key in Plesk. Other users will be prompted to contact their server administrator to buy the feature.

The Updates screen also got some love when we trimmed off unnecessary descriptions of plugins and themes. Or rather moved them to small pop-up windows which you open by clicking ( i ) next to each plugin/theme. The current and available version of WordPress core, plugins, and themes also went into a separate column for better visibility.

WordPress Toolkit 4.3 Smart Updates - Updates Screen

Outdated PHP Notifications on WordPress Toolkit 4.3

You’ll see a warning if your PHP is earlier than 5.6 because these websites may not be manageable via WordPress Toolkit soon. We’re planning to update wp-cli soon, and the new version of this truly invaluable utility requires WordPress sites to use at least PHP 5.6.

Outdated PHP Notifications on WordPress Toolkit 4.3

More WordPress Toolkit 4.3 Stuff

This release also includes multiple smaller enhancements (see Release Notes), like the Smart Updates Results page. It used to open after following the link in the notification email, but it’s now branding-neutral. So hosters no longer need to worry about unexpected Plesk branding displayed in odd places.

The team has also fixed dozens of bugs, including a bunch reported by you – our users. Most were related to Smart Updates or the update procedure anyway.

We’re also currently running a 30 day free trial period for those who have not yet checked Smart Updates out.

Our next WordPress Toolkit release will be a small 4.3.1 update for last-day Smart Updates fixes and improvements. Our team will then focus on the changes we need to launch our remote initiatives. Such as WordPress Toolkit for cPanel, Remote Management functionality and other endeavours. So stay tuned for more WordPress Toolkit updates this Fall and join me in celebrating another impressive release. Cheers!