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I love Plesk – it’s a work of art that makes my life easier. Rather than a “programme” as such, it’s a web interface that takes control of several thousand services on a web server and makes administering domains and hosting a breeze.

Since 2012 I’ve been a certified Parallels Plesk Automation Technician.

  • Jay Versluis 8:41 am on September 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts, WordPress ( 36 )

    How to use the WordPress Toolkit in Plesk 12 

    In this screencast I’ll show you how to use the WordPress Toolkit in Plesk 12.

    I’ll demonstrate how to update WordPress Core, Plugins and Themes selectively and across the entire server directly from within Plesk.

    Among many other features I’ll also show you how to secure WordPress instances, install and remove themes, and how to exclude WordPress instances from mass management.

     

     
  • Jay Versluis 8:13 am on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    Managing Email Accounts in Plesk 12 

    In this screencast I’ll explain how to setup Email Accounts in Plesk 12. I will show you how to setup mailboxes, use forwarding and create aliases. I’ll also show you the Spam Filter and Auto Responder.

    This all happens in Plesk, there’s another video which will show you how to check email from an external client and via webmail.

     
  • Jay Versluis 7:01 am on August 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Health Monitor   

    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    How to adjust Health Monitor Alarms in Plesk 

    In this screencast I’ll show you how to adjust the Health Monitor thresholds. Those are the ones that tell Health Monitor when to send an email and when to display a “Needs Attention” or “Problem” message.

    Health Monitor works with XML configuration files which can easily be changed to suit your needs.

    In this example, one of my servers has seen an increase in Apache CPU usage and has been bombarding me with emails because the “Problem” threshold is set to trigger at 25%. After investigating the issue I’ve increased this value to 95% and now I can sleep a little easier.

     
  • Jay Versluis 7:32 am on August 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    How to upgrade from Plesk 11.5 to Plesk 12 on CentOS 

    In this screencast I’m showing you how to upgrade from an older version to Plesk 12. Specifically, I’m showing this with a Plesk 11.5 installation, but the principles still apply from Plesk 10.x onwards.

    Plesk 12 comes in four flavours, and depending on the previous license you’ve held you’ll be upgraded to one of the new types – check them out here:

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:16 pm on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk ( 36 )

    How to find out which user ID belongs to which domain in Plesk 

    Plesk-LogoThe other day I found that one of the domains on a busy server was sending unsolicited spam mail thousands of times a day. It happens: the nature of open source scripts is that they will get hacked if they’re not updated regularly.

    The clue was a full-up mail queue and Gmail no longer accepting mails from the IP in question.

    When I examined one of the spam mails I found a line like this:

    X-PHP-Originating-Script: 10040:listr3b.php

    Good to know the spam was sent from a PHP script… but from which domain? All we have here is the user ID of the domain in question (10040) but that doesn’t mean much to the average human administrator.

    Here’s how to translate that Plesk User ID into the domain it’s coming from:

    grep 10040 /etc/passwd
    
    evilusername:x:10040:505::/var/www/vhosts/evildomain.com:/bin/false

    Replace the user ID with your own, and the result is the user name, as well as the domain path in question.

     
  • Jay Versluis 5:56 am on April 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    Moving WordPress with Plesk 11.5 

    Plesk-LogoIn this screencast I will show you how to move a WordPress website from one Plesk server to another without the Migration Manager.

    We’ll extract the files on the source server and export the database. Then we’ll create a new WordPress instance on the destination server and upload the files and import the database. All that remains is to point the domain to the new IP.

    I’m doing this without the Migration Manager because the source server is an Amazon EC2 instance and does not allow root access with a password (which the Migration Manager needs – and Plesk doesn’t yet have a feature that allows me to use a keyfile instead).

    The workflow is entirely web-based and you won’t need anything other than your favourite web browser.

    Enjoy!

     

     
  • Jay Versluis 10:49 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    Best Practices to Extend Plesk using the SDK 

    Apple_Podcast_logoThis is a presentation Andrey Kugaevskiy and I gave at Parallels Summit 2014 in New Orleans. We’ll show you what the SDK is and what it can do for you.

    If you would like to change the way Plesk behaves, or you want to integrate your application or service deep into the Plesk interface, then this session is for you. We’ll discuss the best practices for creating extensions that can be used to differentiate your services from everyone else or to promote your service to all Plesk instances online today.

    Links from the video:

    You can also check out my previous article on how to create an Extension in Plesk.

    Enjoy!

     

     
  • Jay Versluis 5:15 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts ( 36 )

    How to replace an Amazon EC2 instance running CentOS and Plesk 

    Apple_Podcast_logoIn this video I will show you how you can replace a running EC2 instance with a larger one. You may want to do this if you find that you need bigger and better hardware to serve your website, or to move from a development system to a more powerful production system.

    In this example my EC2 instance is an M1 Small which hosts a single WordPress website with about 500-700 hits per day. In the screencast I’m replacing it with an M3 Medium instance which really isn’t big enough to cope with the traffic.

    I have since found that a C3 Large is a better fit. The total downtime to perform this depends on how big your current instance is. You can bring up a larger instance alongside a smaller one and then swap the Elastic IP over for minimum downtime.

    Links referenced in this video:

    If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

     

     
  • Jay Versluis 7:12 pm on March 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Linux, MySQL, Plesk ( 46 )

    How to log into MySQL as root user in Plesk 

    Plesk-LogoYou may have noticed that there is no MySQL root user on servers running Plesk. That’s because Plesk renames this user into “admin” by default – for security reasons.

    The password for the admin MySQL account is the same as for the Plesk Panel admin account.

    Even so, when you try to login to MySQL – remotely or locally – you may be puzzled to find that your admin password doesn’t seem to work. Let me assure you of your sanity and your keyboard skills: it’s because Plesk encrypts the password in the database.

    It is the encrypted version that you must present to MySQL, not the clear version. For example, if your password was indeed “password”, then the following command will not grant you access to MySQL:

    mysql -u admin -ppassword

    You can check your unencrypted password by issuing the following command (on Linux servers):

    /usr/local/psa/bin/admin --show-password

    In our example, it will indeed show “password” – so why doesn’t it work? It’s because that command will unencrypted the password for us. MySQL however needs the encrypted version. Here’s how we can extract this from Plesk:

    cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow
    
    // will show you something like
    $AES-128-CBC$w78TYgIfzDsKjOvEqkg/nQ==$O4xPUtsQe1TI3P601wQgYw==

    This will give you a weird looking output as shown above. Believe it or not, that’s your MySQL admin password!

    If you’re already logged into your server as root and want to issue a MySQL shell command, you can login to MySQL like so:

    mysql -uadmin -p`cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow`
    
    Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
    Your MySQL connection id is 4231837
    Server version: 5.5.36-cll-lve MySQL Community Server (GPL) by Atomicorp
    
    Copyright (c) 2000, 2014, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
    
    Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its
    affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective
    owners.
    
    Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.
    
    mysql>

    If you’re attempting a remote connection to MySQL then simply paste that cryptic looking password you got in the earlier step.

     
  • Jay Versluis 9:05 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Plesk, Screencasts, WordPress ( 36 )

    How to install WordPress in Plesk 11.5 

    Apple_Podcast_logoIn this video I will show you the two ways of installing WordPress in Plesk 11.5: the “one-click” way and the “custom installer” way.

    Both options have their advantages: the first offers extremely fast deployment, and the other offers very fine grained control, all courtesy of the WordPress APS package.

    This screencast was inspired by a the on the Parallels Forum:

     

    If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below, or add it to the forum post.

     
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