Plesk Functionality Explained

This section contains expanded instructions explaining how to perform other tasks not covered in the tutorial.

In this chapter:

Managing Your User Account

Managing Web Hosting

Uploading Content

Managing Mail Accounts

Managing DNS Records

Managing Web Applications

Viewing Statistics

Managing Backups

 

Managing Your User Account

Changing Your Username for Access to Plesk

Customers do not have the ability to change their user account login name in the Plesk GUI. To change your user account login name, contact your provider.

Changing Your Password for Access to Plesk

To change your password, place the mouse pointer over your username located at the top of the page and click Edit Profile, or go to the My Profile tab. Type in your new password and confirm it.

Change_Password

Changing Your Interface Language

To change your interface language, place the mouse pointer over your username located at the top of the page and click Edit Profile, or go to the My Profile tab. Select the desired language from the Plesk language menu.

Change_Language

Changing Your Contact Details

To change your contact details, place the mouse pointer over your username located at the top of the page, click Edit Profile, or go to the My Profile tab. Then go to the Contact Details tab. Change your contact details and confirm them.

Change_Contact_Details

Logging Out of Plesk

To log out of Plesk, place the mouse pointer over your username located at the top of the page, and click Log out.

Log_out

 

Managing Web Hosting

 

Adding Domains

If your subscription allows it, you can create more than one domain on a single subscription. The newly added domain will share the subscription's resources with all other domains belonging to the same subscription. However, in all other respects the newly created domain will be independent from the principal one - it will have its own web hosting and DNS settings, databases, mail accounts, and so on.

Adding a new domain is helpful in the following scenarios:

  • You want to create an additional website that is unrelated to any of the websites you already own, with its own name, web content, mail accounts, and so on. Note that in this scenario, unless you already have another second-level domain name registered, you will need to register one for the new website. A second-level domain name consists of a proper name and a top level domain suffix (called TLD for short), such as .com or .net. example.com is an example of a second-level domain. You may be able to register a domain name through your provider. Alternatively, you can purchase one from a domain registrar of your choice.
  • You want to transfer a domain already hosted at a different provider. In this scenario you may need to contact your domain registrar to change the authoritative name servers for the domain name of the website you want to transfer to Plesk name servers. You will also need to transfer website content - you can upload it via FTP or the File Manager, as described in the Uploading Content section.
  • You want to set up a website that will redirect visitors to a different website. Some possible reasons for setting up such redirection are listed in the Adding Domain Aliases section. You need a separate domain name for the domain alias.

To add a new domain, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Add Domain.

Create_Websites_1

 

Adding Subdomains

If your subscription allows it, you can create one or more subdomains, or third-level domains, for each of your domains. Subdomains share all the subscription's resources with all the other domains and subdomains belonging to the same subscription. However, every subdomain can have its own web hosting and DNS settings.

Adding a new subdomain is helpful in the following scenarios:

  • You want to logically organize the structure of your website. For example, you can display the information about your company at info.example.com, or have your web store accessible at store.example.com.
  • You want to host a large number of simple websites and do not want to purchase a separate domain name for each of them. For example, you can host personal websites using addresses like johndoe.example.com and janedoe.example.com.

To add a new subdomain, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Add Subdomain.

Create_Websites_3

 

Adding Domain Aliases

If your subscription allows it, you can create one or more domain aliases. Domain aliases do not have any content of their own, but instead redirect to a different website when visited. Note that unless you already have another second-level domain name registered, you will need to register one for the domain alias. You may be able to register a domain name through your provider. Alternatively, you can purchase one from a domain registrar of your choice.

Adding a new domain alias is helpful in the following scenarios:

  • You want to make sure that the visitors can find your website regardless of the TLD they use. For example, you can register example.net and example.org, and use them as domain aliases pointing to your website example.com.
  • You want to make sure that visitors who mistype your domain name can find your website. For example, you can register exmaple.com and use it as a domain alias pointing to your website example.com.
  • You want to change the domain name of your website but also want visitors who use your old domain name to be able to find your website. For example, you want to change the domain name of your website from example.com to anotherexample.com. You can configure the example.com name to be a domain alias pointing to your new website anotherexample.com.

To add a new domain alias, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Add Domain Alias.

Add_domain_alias

 

Setting Up Custom Error Pages

Whenever the web server encounters an error that prevents it from correctly displaying the page of your website a visitor has requested, a special error page is displayed along with the relevant error code. By default, such pages are often generic and may not be sufficiently informative. You can replace the standard error pages with custom ones.

Setting Up Custom Error Pages on Linux
  1. Go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.


    W&D_Hosting_settings_Linux

  2. Select the Custom error documents checkbox and click OK.


    Custom_error_documents

  3. Connect to your FTP account, and go to the error_docs directory.
  4. Edit or replace the respective files. Be sure to preserve the correct file names:
    • 400 Bad File Request - bad_request.html
    • 401 Unauthorized - unauthorized.html
    • 403 Forbidden/Access denied - forbidden.html
    • 404 Not Found - not_found.html
    • 405 Method Not Allowed - method_not_allowed.html
    • 406 Not Acceptable - not_acceptable.html
    • 407 Proxy Authentication Required - proxy_authentication_required.html
    • 412 Precondition Failed - precondition_failed.html
    • 414 Request-URI Too Long - request-uri_too_long.html
    • 415 Unsupported Media Type - unsupported_media_type.html
    • 500 Internal Server Error - internal_server_error.html
    • 501 Not Implemented - not_implemented.html
    • 502 Bad Gateway - bad_gateway.html
    • 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable - maintenance.html

The web server will start using your error documents after it is restarted.

Setting Up Custom Error Pages on Windows
  1. Go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.


    W&D_Hosting_settings

  2. Select the Custom error documents checkbox and click OK.


    Custom_error_documents_Windows

  3. Click Virtual Directories and open the Error Documents tab. The list of error documents for the root web directory will be displayed. These are used for all web pages of the selected site. If you want to customize error pages for a specific virtual directory, navigate to that directory first.
  4. Click the error document you want to change. The following options are available:
    • To use the default document provided by IIS for this error page, select Default from the Type menu.
    • To use a custom HTML document located in the error_docs directory situated in the virtual host directory of the domain, select File from the Type menu and specify the file name in the Location field.
    • To use a custom HTML document located in a directory other than error_docs, select URL from the Type menu and enter the path to your document in the Location field. The path must be relative to the virtual host root (that is, the %plesk_vhosts%\<domain_name>\httpdocs folder).

      For example, you have created a file named forbidden_403_1.html and saved it in the my_errors directory located in the httpdocs directory. To use this file as an error document, you need to type the following path into the Location field: /my_errors/forbidden_403_1.html.

Note: You can use FTP or File Manager in Plesk to upload your custom error document to the server. By default, all error documents are stored in the %plesk_vhosts%\<domain_name>\error_docs\ directory.

The web server will start using your error documents after it is restarted.

 

Setting Up HTTP 301 Redirection

Plesk provides two ways of setting up the search engine friendly HTTP 301 redirection from one website to another. This allows preserving search engine rankings of the website to which visitors are redirected. For example, if you set up HTTP 301 redirection from example.com to www.example.com, search engines will treat both www and non-www versions as the same site. If you use HTTP 302 redirection instead, the www and non-www versions will be treated as different sites. As a result, rankings will be split between them.

To set up HTTP 301 redirection using domain aliases, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Add Domain Alias.

Add_domain_alias

To set up HTTP 301 redirection using forwarding hosting type, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Add Domain.

Add_domain

 

Configuring the Preferred Domain

As a rule, any website is available using both a URL with a www prefix (such as www.example.com) and one without it (such as example.com). We recommend that you pick one and always redirect visitors from the other. Typically, the non-www version is chosen to accept all visitors. As an example, if you configure the non-www version (example.com) as the preferred domain, a visitor will be redirected to example.com even if they type www.example.com in their browser address bar.

To configure or disable the preferred domain, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.

Hosting_Settings

Plesk uses the search engine friendly HTTP 301 code for the redirection. This allows for preserving search engine rankings of your site (preferred domain). If you disable the redirection, search engines will treat both www and non-www versions as different sites. As a result, rankings will be split between them.

 

Setting the Default Homepage

To change the default index page in Plesk for Linux:
  1. Go to the Websites & Domains tab > Apache & Nginx Settings.

    Apache_Nginx

  2. Select the Enter custom value option in the Index files section. Specify the file name or names to be used as the default page. You can specify more than one, separating the file names from each other with white spaces. For example, if you specify "index.htm index.php", the web server will serve index.htm as the default page. If the file with such name is not found, index.php will be served.


    Apache_Index_files

To change the default index page in Plesk for Windows:
  1. Go to the Websites & Domains tab > IIS Settings.


    IIS_Settings

  2. Select the Enter custom value option in the Default documents section. Add or remove file names from the list. The web server will be looking for the default page file starting from the topmost entry in the list and continuing downwards. For example, if you specify "index.htm" with "index.php" right underneath it, the web server will serve index.htm as the default page. If the file with such name is not found, index.php will be served.


    Index_Page_Windows

 

Changing the Document Root Directory

Every domain in Plesk created with website hosting has its own directory created on the server's file system. By default the path to the directory is as follows:

  • On Linux: /var/www/vhosts/<domain_name>
  • On Windows: C:\Inetpub\vhosts\<domain_name>

This folder contains the document root directory, that is, the folder where all the domain's web content is stored. By default it is the httpdocs folder, but it can be changed in Plesk.

To change the document root directory, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.

Hosting_Settings

Then change the directory name in the Document root field.

Document_root

 

Selecting PHP Version

To change the PHP version, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.

Hosting_Settings

Then select the required version in the PHP version menu.

PHP_version

 

Configuring PHP Settings

To change PHP settings, go to the Websites & Domains tab > PHP Settings.

PHP_Settings

 

Selecting ASP.NET Version

To change the ASP.NET version, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.

Hosting_Settings

Then select the required version in the Version menu near the Microsoft ASP.NET support checkbox.

ASPNET_version

 

Setting MIME Types

Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange (MIME) types instruct a web browser or a mail application how to handle files received from the server. For example, when a web browser requests an item on a server, it also requests the MIME type of the object. Some MIME types, such as graphics, can be displayed inside the browser. Others, such as word processing documents, require an external application to be displayed.

By setting custom MIME types you can determine what applications are used to open a particular type of file on the client side.

To configure MIME types in Plesk for Linux, go to the Websites & Domains tab >Apache & Nginx Settings.

Apache_Nginx

To configure MIME types in Plesk for Windows, go to the Websites & Domains tab > IIS Settings.

IIS_Settings

Then specify MIME types associating file extensions with file types. For example: "text/plain .mytxt".

MIME_types

 

Uploading Content

Plesk provides two convenient ways to upload content for your domains:

  • Uploading content using FTP. A program called an FTP client enables you to connect to the server and upload your content.
  • Uploading content using the File Manager. Plesk enables you to upload and edit content using a web interface.
 

Uploading Content Using FTP

To connect to the server using FTP, you need the following information:

  • FTP server address. The FTP address is your domain name, that is, your site’s Internet address.
  • FTP username. It is identical to your system user name. To find what your system user name is, open the Websites & Domains tab and click Web Hosting Access. You will find it under Username. You can change your system user name if you want.
  • FTP password. It is identical to your system user password. If you do not know what your system user password is, open the Websites & Domains tab and click Web Hosting Access. You can reset the password under Password.

You will also require a program called an FTP client. There are many free FTP clients available on the Internet, such as FileZilla or FireFTP. Download and install the client on your computer to connect to the FTP server. Please refer to the FTP client's instructions for information on how to install and configure it.

To change the FTP account username or password, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Web Hosting Access.

Add_Content_1_Web_Hosting_Access

Then specify new username and password for the System User.

Add_Content_2_System_User

 

Uploading Content Using the File Manager

To upload content, go to the Files tab, navigate to the folder to which you want to upload content, click Upload, select the file to be uploaded, and click Open.

Note that when uploading multiple files it is recommended to add them to an archive, upload the archive, and extract the files to save time. Only ZIP archive files are supported at the present time.

Files_upload

To download a file, go to the Files tab, navigate to the location of the file you want to download, click the Box_menu icon next to the file you want to download, and select Download from the menu.

Files_download

To compress files, go to the Files tab, navigate to the location of the file or folder you want to compress, select the checkbox next to it, and click Add to Archive.

Files_add_to_archive

To extract files from an archive, go to the Files tab, select the checkbox next to the file you want to extract, and click Extract Files.

Files_extract

To edit files, go to the Files tab, navigate to the location of the file you want to edit, and do either of the following:

  • To edit the file in the HTML editor, click the icon next to the file you want to edit, and select Edit in HTML Editor from the menu.
  • Alternatively, to edit the file in the text editor, click the icon next to the file you want to edit, and select Edit in Text Editor from the menu.

    Files_edit

 

Managing Mail Accounts

Mail service enables Internet users to send email messages to each other. Plesk can function as your mail server. It also enables you to create mail accounts and manage them, including performing a number of common mail-related operations. Such operations include changing the password for a mail account, enabling automatic replies, and so on.

To create a mail account:

Go to the Mail tab > Create Email Address.

Mail

To access your mail account using webmail:

  • In a Web browser, visit the URL webmail.example.com, where example.com is the Internet address of your website. When prompted, specify your full email address as the username (for example, mail@example.com), and specify the email address password.
  • When logged in to Plesk, click the Mail tab, and in the list of email addresses, click the icon next to the email address you need.

Note: If you cannot open the webmail page, make sure that a webmail solution is enabled. Go to the Mail tab > Mail Settings, click the name of the domain for which webmail is inaccessible, and select a webmail client in the Webmail menu.

To access your mail account using a mail client:

Install a mail client program on your computer and start it. Typically, in such programs you should specify the following settings:

  • Username. Specify your full email address in this field. For example, johndoe@example.com.
  • Password. Specify the password to your email account here.
  • Mail server protocol. This property defines whether you want to keep copies of messages on the server or not. To keep the copies on the server, select the IMAP option. If you do not want to keep them on the server, select POP3. Selecting IMAP also enables you to train the SpamAssassin spam filter on email messages you receive, if SpamAssassin is switched on on the server.
  • Incoming mail server (POP3/IMAP). Specify your domain name here. For example, example.com. The default POP3 port is 110. The default IMAP port is 143.
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP). Specify your domain name here. For example, example.com. The default SMTP port is 25. Specify that the server requires authentication.

For detailed instructions on configuring your mail client, refer to your mail client documentation.

Note: If you cannot access your mailbox following the instructions in this section, this might be caused by mail server settings. For example, mail services may be listening on non-standard ports, or access to them may be blocked. Contact your hosting provider to resolve the issue.

 

Managing DNS Records

A domain name is a human-readable Internet address of a website that can be used to reach the website. The translation of human-readable names into machine-readable ones is carried out by the Domain Name System, or DNS for short. It is very important for the DNS settings for your websites to be correct, otherwise the operation of your services may be disrupted. For example, your domain may become unavailable, or mail may fail to reach your mail server. Plesk can function as the primary (master) or a secondary (slave) name server for your domains. DNS settings are configured automatically, but can be changed from the interface. If the DNS service for your domains is provided by third-party name servers, you can disable the DNS service in Plesk.

 

Adding and Modifying DNS Records

Note: This section is meant for advanced users. Configuring DNS settings incorrectly can negatively affect website and mail accessibility.

For each new domain name, Plesk automatically creates a DNS zone in accordance with the settings configured by your service provider. The domain names should work fine with the automatic configuration. However, if you use Plesk NS server and need to perform custom modifications in the domain name zone, you can do that in your control panel.

To view the resource records in a DNS zone of a domain, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings.

W&D_DNS

To add a resource record to the zone, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings > Add Record.

DNS_add_record

To modify the properties of a resource record, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings and click on the record.

In addition to the resource records described above, there is also a Start of Authority record. This record indicates that this DNS name server is responsible for the domain's DNS zone. It also contains settings that affect propagation of information about the DNS zone in the Domain Name System.

 

Using External NS Servers

If you host websites on your account and do not want to use Plesk as your primary (master) NS server, you have the following options:

  • Use Plesk name server as a secondary (slave) name server. Choose this option if you have a standalone name server acting as a primary (master) name server for your websites.
  • Disable DNS for your domain in Plesk. Choose this option if you have external primary and secondary name servers that are authoritative for your websites.

To switch the Plesk DNS server to a secondary name server, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings.

To revert the Plesk DNS server to the primary name server, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings.

To switch off Plesk's DNS service for a site served by external name servers, go to the Websites & Domains tab > DNS Settings.

W&D_DNS

 

Managing Web Applications

Web applications are software products designed to be installed on websites to add functionality and improve user experience. A wide range of applications covering many different user scenarios are available from the Plesk Application vault, and can be installed from the Plesk interface with a minimum of effort.

To install an application, go to the Applications tab > Install or Install (Custom) or Install Version.

 

Viewing Statistics

Site Visit Statistics

To enable web statistics or change the web statistics application, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Hosting Settings.

W&D_Hosting_settings

To view the web statistics, go to the Websites & Domains tab > Web Statistics.

W&D_Web_statistics

Note: If you do not see any web statistics after following the instructions above, this most likely indicates that they have not yet been generated for the domain in question. Most likely the domain has been created recently, or web statistics have just been enabled. Try following the instructions again after 24 hours. If no web statistics are displayed, contact your provider.

Disk and Traffic Usage Report

To view the disk and traffic usage report, go to the Statistics tab.

Statistics_tab

 

Managing Backups

It is always recommended to keep backup copies of your website content to safeguard against accidents and malicious attacks. Plesk facilitates the creation of backup copies with the backup and restoration functionality. It enables you to create backups of both configuration and content, including website content, mail accounts, databases and more, and restore the data should the need arise. You can also download backup files created in Plesk, as well as upload backup files, even those created in earlier Plesk versions. Created backups can be stored either locally or in a remote FTP storage.

 

Backing Up Account and Websites

To back up all data related to your account and all your subscriptions, go to the Account tab > Back Up Websites.

Account_BackUp

Then click Back Up to create a new backup.

Backup_Manager

 

Restoring Backups

You can restore backups made in Plesk 12 or earlier versions of Plesk, but no earlier than Plesk 8.6. The following restoration scenarios are available:

  • When restoring backups in Plesk 11.5 or earlier, or when restoring backups made in Plesk 11.5 or earlier. All the objects included in the backup file are restored. Objects with the same name already present on the server are overwritten. For example, if you restore a backup file of the example.com domain that includes domain content, the domain content of the example.com domain already present on the server will be overwritten by the data contained in the backup file.
  • When restoring backups in Plesk 12.0 or later and the backup is made in Plesk 12.0 or later. You can select which objects to restore from a backup file. You can restore a particular site, file, database, and so on. This enables you to restore only the objects you want to restore, without overwriting other objects. For example, if you only want to restore a DNS zone of one domain, example.com, there is no need to restore configurations of all other domains.

To restore a backup file, go to the Account tab > Back Up Websites.

Account_BackUp

Then click on the required backup, specify what should be restored and click Restore.

Account_restore

 

Leave your comments on this page

Leave your feedback or question on this documentation topic below. For technical assistance, contact your hosting service provider or submit a request to Plesk support. Suggest new features for Plesk here. Discuss general questions on the Plesk forum. All offtopic comments will be removed.