Cron Jobs

Simple, repetitive tasks figure a lot in the day-to-day lives of a web and database server admins. Time and again they are required to make backups or message users with updates.

So, just as a Windows system has its “scheduled tasks”, a Linux box offers an equivalent approach to dealing with these repeating day-to-day jobs, and it calls them cron (as in “chronology” or time) jobs. Since website management is no longer solely the responsibility of experienced admins, cron jobs have also entered the vocabulary of the average user taking care of their own website.

A cron job is a program that lets you schedule when particular tasks will be run. Our web hosting plans feature a Crontab Manager which can do this for whatever action you care to choose.

A cron job is an automatic daemon (which means a process that’s continuously running in the background). It allows for particular commands or collections of commands (scripts) to be run at certain intervals. You can use cron jobs for things like system admin commands, making backups, or actions that need to happen every day, like sending email updates. Another useful word in the vocabulary is ‘crontab’, which is short for ‘cron table’, a table which lists cron jobs.

Cron Job Management without SSH access

Back at the dawn of time (May 1975) when cron jobs were new, you had to use the server’s command line to set them up. There was no other way. As more and more people became involved with managing their sites, they needed to set up cron jobs themselves, but most hosting companies didn’t want to risk giving them SSH access due to security issues. So, it made more sense to add cron management to hosting control panels like Plesk or cPanel. Control panels let you set up cron jobs via an easy-to-use menu-driven interface.

Advanced Cron Jobs

If you are advanced, then you can decide when the cron will run using the “crontab” field. The numbers and the “*” symbol represent the precise time when the cron will be executed.

.—————- minute (0 – 59)
|  .————- hour (0 – 23)
|  |  .———- day of month (1 – 31)
|  |  |  .——- month (1 – 12)
|  |  |  |  .—- day of week (0 – 6) (Sunday=0 or 7)
|  |  |  |  |
*  *  *  *  *

Run once per year 0 0 1 1 *
Run once per month 0 0 1 * *
Run once per week 0 0 * * 0
Run once at midnight, every day 0 0 * * *
Run once per hour 0 * * * *

Firewall

The word Firewall takes its name from the world of architecture, where it means a partition made of fireproof material. In the world of computers and networking, a firewall also helps to stop you getting burned, by keeping outsiders breaking into your website, and metaphorically burning it to the ground.

It’s one of the key technologies that keep your computer or network safe from hackers and malicious software. Firewall software can control the traffic moving between networks and protect home and office networks from all the destructive stuff that’s always circulating on the Internet.

For internal networks, which often connect to the Internet through routers, the router itself provides a hardware solution with some basic Firewall functions. Any computers that connect to a router will also have their own Firewall software—or should do. Windows PCs often comes with freeware or trial Firewall software to get you started, and Windows itself has a built-in firewall application if all else fails.

Firewalls aren’t quite like brick walls. They’re more like intelligent gatekeepers. They have enough flexibility built in to them to either block or allow certain programs from accessing the Internet, specific traffic, sites, or IP addresses. You can even tell them to block certain protocols and ports. Some Firewall software can weed out specific types of media, as well as excluding certain words or phrases or stopping content downloading and uploading. This kind of flexibility means that you can easily set different levels of security for all the computers on your network.

GitHub

In essence, GitHub is an online service that hosts software development projects and project code. If your project is open source, you can use GitHub for free – if you have a private, commercial project you can choose from a number of paid plans. Amongst open source developers and programmers it could be said that GitHub is the most popular way to host projects and the associated code. GitHub uses something called Git version control – which is why it is called GitHub.

It’s easy to sign up to GitHub and create your own repository – the name for a project on GitHub. You can also add your team members or any other user to your GitHub repository. Where a project is open source, GitHub makes it easy to “fork” a project and to create a brand new repository containing existing open source code. This method can be used to submit patches or for individual users to contribute their own code additions to an open source repository. There is always an “owner” for a project – it would be up to them to “accept” any changes.

GitHub is a popular facility for WordPress developers too – many developers of WordPress plugins and themes will put their code on GitHub. As a result WordPress developers can all collaborate on these themes and plugins, assimilating feedback and enabling other team members to view, download and use the WordPress code they developed.

GitHub has become very popular over time so it is no longer just a place to host software development projects – developers and programmers also use GitHub for social networking. Just like any other social networking site, GitHub lets its users follow each other in order to get updates on projects, and GitHub also lets users assign a star rating to fellow users. So, GitHub users can watch and stay up to date with what their collaborators and co-workers are doing.

Note that even though GitHub started as a central hub for software development, it can also be used for a variety of other projects – think documentation, developing learning resources or basically any project where a mix of users can work together online, collaborating towards a common goal.

Joomla! Toolkit

Just like all other content management systems Joomla! is a platform that requires regular maintenance, updates and non-stop protection against security attacks. It’s just the nature of today’s websites. Thankfully the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit makes the process of keeping your Joomla! sites so much easier.

Plesk Joomla! Toolkit Features

Plesk is used to support countless Joomla! sites, and we know what site admins need most from a Joomla! toolkit. We’ve put all these essentials features into the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit, including essential functions that include:

  • Mission control. A single place for you to manage all your Joomla! sites. Joomla! Mission Control lets you build, secure and start up all of your Joomla! instances. We even support a total of 32 languages so wherever you are, you can use our Joomla! toolkit.
  • Better user experience. The latest edition of our toolkit for Joomla! includes a single-click installer to make adding new sites easier. It downloads, initialises and sets up Joomla! from start to finish. We’ve made big steps forward with an improved user interface alongside state filtering and the ability to search for an instance.
  • Joomla!, like all other CMS solutions, is often at the sharp end of cybersecurity attacks. Our toolkit automatically hardens your Joomla! instance while also providing a Backups Manager plus a dedicated security scanning tool. You don’t need to know anything about security to make sure your Joomla! site is safe – thanks to our toolkit’s security features.
  • Automate tasks. The Plesk Joomla! Toolkit lets you easily automate common tasks through Extension Manager, including the installation of templates and extensions. You can also closely monitor the performance of your sites with the audit logs tool – all from one single dashboard.

Clearly the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit has the essential features you need to streamline your Joomla! experience.

How Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you with your Joomla! sites

Let’s take a look at exactly how the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you start and manage your Joomla! websites.

Building new sites

It’s easy to install a new Joomla! site with our toolkit thanks to a one-click installer which completes all the essential tasks for you. Click the installer and the toolkit will:

  • Download the latest edition of Joomla! and install it
  • Create a new CMS database, and manage it for you
  • Configure and harden your Joomla! instance automatically
  • Make sure your Joomla! CMS is ready to use out of the box

Securing your site

You know how important it is to secure your Joomla! site, but often it seems like it requires a lot of effort. Thanks to our Joomla! Toolkit you can immediately harden your website with 1-click hardening, automatically protecting core installations without any manual intervention. Choose items you want to harden and click the “Secure” button. That’s it.

Because we execute all commands locally, we ensure that no back doors exist because data is never passed to a third party server or any external server at all.

Thanks to our one-click security scanner and automatic hardening you can rest assured that your site is safe. You can reduce the cost of securing your site without compromising on security. You don’t need to hire an expensive security team or specialist consultant.

Ongoing Joomla! maintenance

Keeping your sites running smoothly takes a lot of time, but we make it easy for you thanks to a single master view of your Joomla! sites where you can instantly manage and monitor your Joomla! CMS instances – all in one place.

Updates are easy too, as you can update all your Joomla! sites including the latest security updates as well as new Joomla! features. Whether it’s the Joomla! core or specific extensions, you can update it right from our dashboard.

Monitoring the performance of your sites is crucial too, and you can do so easily from our Joomla! Toolkit – across all your sites and covering all the important performance statistics.

On-Demand Services

The concept of on-demand services dovetails neatly with cloud computing, which allows VM or server provision to be accessed cheaply and easily, and once again it’s Linux’s ability to scale quickly at low cost that powers this innovation.

WordPress Toolkit

WordPress is really easy to use and broadly secure but expert website managers will know that WordPress management still requires time, while maintaining full WordPress security is becoming more and more difficult. Besides, as WordPress has grown, the CMS has become relatively complex and beginner users can find WordPress baffling. Plesk WordPress Toolkit aims to solve all of these issues and more.

Introducing Plesk WordPress Toolkit

Plesk knows website hosting inside out and understand where WordPress can be difficult to manage – so we address the biggest WordPress pain points with our toolkit. For a start, our toolkit offers a single-click installer which both initializes and configures your WP instance.

We offer a single dashboard where you can manage all your WordPress websites and which also allows you to test new website ideas in a staging and testing sandbox, without the need to install additional plugins for testing.

In essence, Plesk’s toolkit removes the complexity that is inherent to running WordPress websites – whether you are updating, syncing, cloning or staging. Migration is made easier too, it’s just one click with Plesk toolkit. The result is a more relaxed development environment and less chance of a major problem or data loss.

WordPress security is a big issue, but Plesk’s WordPress toolkit hardens WP sites by default and offers a security scanner too. Updating WordPress and its plugins are also made much easier, it’s all available from one dashboard.

Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit is not just suitable for beginners, we offer plenty of professional tools as well including full control using the WordPress command line interface. Our toolkit also offers search engine management plus full debug facilities. Let’s take a closer look at what’s included with the Plesk WordPress Toolkit.

Using Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit when building a WP site

Everyone can use Plesk WordPress Toolkit to help launch a site, but the toolkit is particularly useful where developers are building a lot of sites.

Installation and staging

Our WordPress Toolkit offers an installer that sets up a new WordPress site with just a single click. The installer downloads the latest edition of WordPress, creates a new database include user credentials and also sets up an admin account for WordPress. Once done it initializes WordPress so users can simply get started publishing right away.

Likewise, staging your WordPress site is made much easier with the Plesk WP toolkit. The toolkit clones your site for you so that you can use it as a staging environment, making it easy to try and now features. Once you are sure everything is working just fine you can synchronize the staging site to your production environment with a single click.

Managing WordPress

In several ways the WordPress Toolkit makes managing your website a lot easier. For example, we make it simple to find and install themes and plugins to one WordPress instance, or indeed across all your WordPress instances. Similarly, you can activate and deactivate plugins on a single or multiple WordPress sites – and you can bulk remove the themes and updates you no longer need.

Now in beta, we also offer remote management of WordPress instances using the Plesk toolkit – version 4.0. With this feature you can bring into your WordPress Toolkit management area any of the WordPress websites that you currently host on a remote Plesk Onyx-based server.

Securing your WP site with Plesk WP Toolkit

Everyone knows how crucial security has become in a world where cyber attacks are no longer the exception to the rule. WordPress is very popular so hackers often target WP sites, but Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

First, we allow you to automatically harden your WordPress instances against the most common exploits with just a single click. The toolkit can scan your sites and identify areas that need to be protected. Simply click “Secure” and the items you checked will be hardened automatically.

It’s not just the basic hardening tactics we offer: we implement all the most important security suggestions from across the WordPress community, including some of the top WordPress security experts and of course the WordPress Codex.

How Plesk’s WordPress toolkit helps with day to day WordPress tasks

Whether you have just one site to manage or hundreds, Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit aims to make managing your WordPress instances far easier.

Backing up and restoring WordPress instances

Regular backups are an essential aspect of good website management: backing up ensures that you can restore your website in case something happens that breaks your website – whether it’s an error, or due to a new feature.

With our WordPress Toolkit you can easily restore your site to a restore point of your choice, putting it back in a fully functional condition with just a single click.

Site indexation management

Don’t want Google and other search engines to index your WordPress site? You can use our toolkit to disable and enable site indexing for every WordPress instance individually.

Debugging and maintenance mode

Plesk’s toolkit allows you to manage all the debugging facilities included in WordPress in a much easier way, allowing you to use a single interface to manage debugging on individual WordPress instances.

We also allow you to activate the useful WordPress maintenance mode whenever you are in the process of updating either the CMS, or specific themes and plugins. You can activate maintenance mode with just one click.

Use the command line

Finally, sometimes the command line is simply the easiest way to achieve your WordPress goals. With the Plesk WordPress Toolkit you have access to the WP command line for every instance so that you can create users, import databases and perform updates.

All-in-all Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit just makes it much easier to manage WordPress. It’s a huge help whether you are in charge of one site or hundreds. Besides, it’s included with Plesk so there’s no reason not to check it out.