Help Understanding Plesk?

April 29, 2019 298 views
DigitalOcean

TL;DR: Is Plesk simply a control panel? Or does it take the sting out of (web) server management?

I manage a few Wordpress sites for myself and a couple clients. I used to host them on a small Ubuntu VPS, but I migrated to shared hosting since I was afraid I would neglect to do something on my VPS and end up with an insecure or poorly-performing webserver.

I love the horsepower per dollar ratio of a VPS. Somebody mentioned Plesk to me as something of a middle ground between a standalone CLI-based VPS and a shared hosting account.

My question is: What exactly is Plesk? Is it just a control panel? Other than having a GUI to use, does it actually take the sting out of managing a (webserver) VPS?

My issue with a VPS-based webserver wasn’t the issue of having to do things via CLI, per se, but rather that I, as a Linux and Sysadmin novice, was afraid of doing something negligent.

Does Plesk sound like a solution for a guy who wants a good bang-per-buck webserver but doesn’t have a wide range of Linux knowledge?

2 Answers

Hi friend,

Plesk does position their product for the kinds of needs you describe, and it’s very popular. They recently published an article on our blog that you may find interesting: https://blog.digitalocean.com/how-to-10x-your-web-wordpress-agency/

And you can get started in a few seconds with Plesk on the DigitalOcean Marketplace if you like the idea: https://marketplace.digitalocean.com/

  • Thanks for your response. Are you able to explain what exactly Plesk does. I understand that it provided a GUI, which is great, but I don’t understand what it actually does for me other than that.

    I will check out the article.

    Also, in the event that I decided to go with a Plesk setup, could you recommend me an appropriately-sized VPS and as well as which Plesk plan/extensions would work best?

    I currently host a local job board and a local blog for my small town, as well as 6 small client websites - all on Wordpress.

    • Besides the GUI, it provides you the full stack on the server side to run and host your websites. It is doing “the same” as any hosting provider would run on their side for a shared hosting infrastructure. With the only difference that you are “admin” :)

      That includes Linux, Domains, virtual hosts, Apache, NGINX, PHP, mySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL and many other things, even eMail. 100s of components on the same machine. All automated. Then you have a built-in extensions catalog with many free and paid extensions - so you have a light setup but can extend later if you need.

      You can easily start with the free edition - but you may want to upgrade to the Web Pro edition by buying a license here in case you have a total of 6 client websites: www.plesk.com/upgrade.

      It should be enough to go for 20-40$/month droplet depending on how much load your sites have.

      For importing your existing sites - you can use the free Plesk migrator extension that will help you to get this done.

Hello,

Lukas here from Plesk here - I’m not a developer :-) . Yes - I have been afraid of running VPSs as well in the past. But since a few years, I have 3 different Plesk servers running on DigitalOcean and I almost never need to contact our own support. And I’m definitely not a good sysadmin - I can do a few shell commands on bash, but that’s it. And I never needed anything more for running my WordPress websites.

*What makes me so sure about this? *

  • DigitalOcean DNS is integrated at one-click. If you then use ns1 and ns2.digitalocean.com as nameservers, all DNS records are kept in sync automatically, whatever you change inside Plesk.
  • Plesk is managing ALL operating system components and keeps them up2date
  • We are just about to switch to completely automated updates of the system within the next few weeks or it has already happened (we do a gradual roll-out)
  • Plesk is secured by default (Firewall, Fail2ban, Web Application Firewall etc. are pre-installed and pre-activated)
  • SSL via Let’s encrypt is one-click
  • WordPress security can be fully automated
  • If something would ever fail, you can use the free “Repair Kit” extension to check and auto-fix your configurations - that helped me in 99% of the cases
  • etc. etc. :)

If you run WordPress, Plesk is the way to go. It includes the WordPress toolkit also in the free edition that you can get on the marketplace for up to 3 domains:
https://marketplace.digitalocean.com/apps/plesk

If you have more than 3 domains and/or need the full WordPress Toolkit functionality, you could either upgrade to a Web Pro or a Web Host edition license as mentioned here: www.plesk.com/upgrade

for further questions, please reach out!

www.plesk.com/support (first 30 days of support are free included with the free edition)

enjoy :)

  • I appreciate the input.

    How does support work with Plesk? Suppose something goes with (with the server-related software, not the site itself). Am I on my own?

    Does it automate in a snapshot-like fashion backups of both databases and site files?

    What about re-seller management? Does it offer panels for clients? Can I re-sell domains?

    • You are definitely not on your own - never :)

      1. The free Plesk edition with up to 3 domains comes with free 30 days support. Afterwards you either can update your license to a Web Pro or Web Host edition through www.plesk.com/upgrade and have free support included.

      2. Our support is available 24x7x365 and has fast response times through tickets and/or chat - to help you with all server related tasks including system administration tasks. If you need help with migrations, our support team can help with that also. There is also a new Plesk extension that even allows the Plesk support team to access your server without sharing any login information and revoke access at any time - it’s called “Support SSH Access”.

      3. In case you need reseller management - yes, this is fully supported in the Web Host edition of Plesk - including panels for your clients, customer/plan management and so on. If you plan to get even bigger as an agency or hosting company, Plesk also connects to systems like www.whmcs.com (with some advanced modules from www.modulesgarden.com) or alternatively www.hostbill.com . So you could automate your hosting business or agency even more. That would then also be your path to integrate with various domain registrars so you could also resell domains.

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