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Plesk

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to run, automate and grow applications, websites and hosting businesses. Being an OS agnostic platform, Plesk is running on more than 377,000 servers, automating 11M+ websites and 19M mail boxes. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries, 50% of the top 100 service providers worldwide are partnering with Plesk today.

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Build, secure and run apps and websites

Spend less time spent on tedious admin and manual server tasks. Gain freedom to code, design or grow your hosting business.
 
- Multi Server functionality
- WordPress Management Tools
- Integration with Docker, Git, Node.js
- Full Ruby support

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While Plesk offers many potential benefits to website administrators, including compatibility with Windows Server and other leading technologies, the company has also been working to differentiate it from other control panels for content management system (CMS) users. The headline product of those efforts is the Plesk WordPress Toolkit, a comprehensive integration which organizes and simplifies many processes for setting up and maintaining WordPress websites. The toolkit is widely used, and is installed on almost two-thirds of Plesk servers, according to a ZNetLive blog post.


WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and powers a staggering 28.5 percent of all sites on the internet, for a market share of nearly 60 percent according to w3techs. It is used by bloggers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, media companies, and enterprises to grow their audiences and engage with customers.


There are two versions of the Plesk WordPress Toolkit available. The SE (Special Edition) version is included with Plesk Web Admin Edition, and meant for use by site and server administrators. The full version is included with Plesk Web Pro Edition and Plesk Web Host Edition. The difference is that some of the advanced features in the full edition, such as cloning and syncing instances and staging environments are not included in WordPress Toolkit SE. With the special edition, updates are manual rather than automatic, and while the Toolkit does include 1-click hardening (more on that below), it only does so for instances which it has been used to install.


The Plesk WordPress Toolkit is designed for easy installation and use. It takes two clicks to install WordPress; one to choose the “Domains” menu under “Hosting Services,” and one on “Install WordPress,” toward the left side of the Domains options. The Toolkit is found on the “Extensions” page, which is seen under “Server Management” on the menu.  There it is the first option among the “Featured” extensions on the right side of the window.


Security


There are several key security features of the toolkit, including 1-click hardening through the security check feature. Hardening is defined by the University of Colorado’s Office of Information Technology as a process which “works to eliminate means of attack by patching vulnerabilities and turning off inessential services. Hardening a computer involves several steps to form layers of protection.”


In the Plesk WordPress Toolkit, hardening improves security by applying concepts like the “least privilege principle” and “defense in depth,” testing a number of known and potential attack vectors, reducing risks and attack surface, and layering controls.



To check WordPress security in Plesk Onyx Web Pro Edition, click “WordPress” under “Server Management” in the menu on the left side of the screen, and then from the “Installations” tab selecting those instances that should be checked, or all. When the user clicks “Check Security,” Plesk scans for the WordPress characteristics that hackers most often use in attacks on websites, such as a label indicating which release of WordPress the website uses, the default “wp_” prefix for database tables, and the privileged default “admin” username.


In addition to assessing each element as secure or in need of attention, the tool also identifies those changes that can be rolled back, and those that may affect plugin performance.


The security check can also be activated from the “Domains” page under “Hosting Services” in the side menu. Clicking on a domain name brings up the option in the “My CMS” section of the window.


Auto-Updates


Updating WordPress versions and plug-ins is critical to maintaining website performance and security, but can be time consuming and sometimes difficult to keep up with for administrators.



Like “Check Security,” “Auto-Update” is found toward the top of the “Installations” tab on the WordPress toolkit page. This brings up a page with options for setting up automated major and minor updates, only minor updates, or turning off auto-update for each or every WordPress instance.


Management Features


The Plesk WordPress Toolkit also integrates most common management functions.

Just like “Installations,” the Toolkit simplifies management of plugins and themes by giving them their own tab, with each allowing administrators to install and uninstall, activate, deactivate, and update them.



The full version also includes several advanced management functions. Websites can be switched to maintenance mode to make changes, debugging tools are available for testing and development, and search engine indexing can be turned off or limited.


Many Other Features


There are numerous other tools and integrations in the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. Along with the quick and easy installation of WordPress instances described above, migrating and cloning instances is simplified, with buttons found by scrolling to the far right of each installation. Administrators can choose to synch files, databases, or both.

Other advanced functions in the full version of the toolkit include a staging environment for testing and development in an exact copy of your production environment.


Reducing Problems, Saving Time


The same motivations that lead website owners and administrators to choose WordPress are reasons to use the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. WordPress allows its users to present their content in an attractive, effective, secure and customized way without developing it from scratch, providing a high level of functionality. Site changes are made according to business needs, rather than according to IT production cycles and capability.


Administrators, resellers and customers love the wide range of sites they can create, and plugins they can customize them with. Making changes that are simple for a single site may be time consuming and complex for those running multiple sites, however. Managing WordPress functions from within the control panel with the Plesk WordPress Toolkit extends the ease of use it is famous for, and provides Plesk hosting customers with the tools to make the most of the leading content management system.


Lunarpages provides plesk licensing for Windows shared, VPS Cloud, and Dedicated servers.

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Web hosting control panels were first developed to make it faster and easier for most users to set up and operate websites. The graphical user interface (GUI) allows users to perform tasks by pointing and clicking rather than typing highly specific instructions into the command line. Control panels are therefore generally easy to use, by their nature and by design.


Ease of use is a principle reason Plesk is one of the world’s leading control panels. Its interface is clean and intuitive, particularly for users with WordPress experience, to whom the left-side main menu and function windows look immediately familiar. Plesk divides functions into category pages, accessed by clicking on items in the main menu.


Customizable


Part of what makes Plesk so clean and simple is its approach, providing those tools which are necessary to get started, and those which all administrators need during the lifecycle of a website. In the latest release of Plesk, Onyx, the category pages make it easy to find the action you are looking for. Features that previously required the use of the command line, like system and panel updates, are applied from within Onyx.


Beyond those essential basics found in all Onyx installations, users customize Plesk with extensions which have their own category in the main menu. Once the user has clicked on “Extensions,” the most popular extensions are available on the main page, and others are found by selecting a specific category from the drop-down menu or the scroll-down list.


Popular extensions like Symantec SSL, Plesk Premium Email, powered by Koalab, and Plesk Multi Server can be added to your Plesk Onyx account with three clicks. Users not needing them do not have to pay for them, or navigate around them, keeping the interface clean and the category pages limited to functions that are useful to the administrator using it.



Recent Plesk releases, and particularly Onyx, have also increased its support for developers, with extensions including Git, Docker, Ruby, and Node.js.


The specific number of extensions available to the user depends on different factors, but there are over a dozen categories of extensions, in addition to “Feature Packs” which each include several extensions.


Compatible


Support for a wide range of operating systems, tools and platforms is one of the strengths of Plesk. This is the main reason Plesk is the control panel used with the vast majority of Windows Server installations – because cPanel, the other leading control panel, does not support Windows. Plesk is not restricted to Windows Server, however, but is practically OS-agnostic, supporting all of the leading Linux distributions.


Another strength of Plesk is the ability to work with other platforms and tools, either with out-of-the-box integrations, as with the WordPress extension, which is included with each edition of Onyx, or through extensions.

The developer extensions mentioned above make it easy to build web apps, deploy containers, and publish content using these tools, rather than compromise or devise complex work-arounds.



Other popular administrator tools with Plesk extensions available include ecommerce platform Magento, free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt, CloudFlare CDN, and CMS patch manager Patchman.


Plesk’s compatibility with all leading operating systems, web apps, platforms and tools enables websites to be built and run the way the administrator thinks is best, rather than forcing them to choose between limited options. Allowing users to build capabilities they need into their control panel also keeps Plesk uncluttered, so it continues to be clean and easy to use even when all necessary extensions are added, because they are not competing for space with numerous unused features.


1-Click and Automated Management Tasks


Easy installation and automation are another major strength of Plesk Onyx, significantly reducing the amount of time and effort necessary for website administrators to perform upgrades and common day-to-day tasks.

Plesk itself is easily installed to Windows with an installer GUI, or to Linux with default configuration by running a single command, although for most Lunarpages customers this step is already done. Setting up a website with Onyx is performed from the “Domains” page by clicking on your domain and then choosing from the “Install WordPress,” “Install Apps,” or selecting “Files” or “Databases” to create a custom website. When using a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, it is possible to have a website built, secured, and launched just minutes later, by pointing and clicking to add features and content, without any coding. Many extensions, including Let’s Encrypt, can be added with one-click installation.


Server tasks can be automated by selecting “Scheduled Tasks” under “Tools & Resources” on the “Tools & Settings” page. From there, users can schedule a command or PHP script to run, or a URL to fetch. Tasks can also be scheduled for each domain from that domain’s main page.



Beyond the automations available with Onyx out-of-the-box, extensions like “Perfect Dashboard” enable even more. Perfect Dashboard includes 1-click CMS updating for all websites on the account, automated backup integrity verification, and a “Genuine Test Engine” which checks whether layout changes cause display errors or break social and SEO tags.


Plesk is designed for ease of use by administrators of all experience levels, with its clean graphical interface, basics-plus-extensions structure, and wide compatibility. The Onyx release applies this approach to cover even more capabilities, like multiserver, and tools, like Docker. While some administrators prefer to use the command line, and some grow attached to control panels they have always used, those looking for a full-feature control panel that makes their job easy should consider Plesk Onyx.

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Liquid Web and Plesk discuss how to simplify server management with a single tool in their webinar.
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Plesk

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to run, automate and grow applications, websites and hosting businesses. Being an OS agnostic platform, Plesk is running on more than 377,000 servers, automating 11M+ websites and 19M mail boxes. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries, 50% of the top 100 service providers worldwide are partnering with Plesk today.