Web Hosting - Plesk



Plesk is a proprietary commercial web hosting automation solution by SWsoft. Most commonly found bundled (or available as an optional extra) with VPS and dedicated server packages provided by professional hosting service providers. Plesk provides a graphical web based interface which allows the user to configure the most common server management tasks with only a limited knowledge of the server operating system. Plesk allows a server administrator to set up new websites, email accounts, and DNS entries through a web-based interface. Like other similar commercial packages, there is a strong emphasis on the provision of tools to allow straightforward management of multiple clients and the multiple domains that belong to them - the most popular Plesk licenses are to control 30 or 100 domains on a single server. The administrator can create templates which determine how resources are allocated to the domains and/or clients and these templates can be used to quickly configure new domains.


Plesk is both Linux and Windows based. Plesk for Linux/UNIX aims at supporting several POSIX platforms, including Red Hat Linux/Fedora, SUSE, Debian/Ubuntu, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. Plesk for Windows supports Windows Server 2003 operating system.


Like other web based interfaces, Plesk will appeal to administrators more comfortable with graphical, windows type interfaces than the command line which is the domain of the typical linux system administrator. Most hosts/webdesigners probably start off in a windows background and then identify a need to estabish some control over web servers which are predominantly Linux based. Web based interfaces enable them to establish control over Linux boxes without any real understanding of linux.


Other services managed by Plesk include MySQL and PostgreSQL databases (Microsoft SQL server and Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine under Windows), Tomcat Java server, ColdFusion server, as well as CounterStrike and Battlefield 1942 game servers.


Due to the cross platform standardisation inherent in such a project as Plesk, latest application and security developments are not always accessible and SWsoft sometimes seems slow to roll them out. Scott Shinn, one of the founding programmers of Plesk before it was sold to SWsoft, maintains as an invaluable, unofficial resource for the sys admin who wants to keep on top of security issues and is prepared to deal (minimally) with the command line.


The company behind Plesk, SWsoft, operates principally from Herndon, Virginia.


SWsoft is also responsible for the server virtualization software called Virtuozzo, and is a sponsor of OpenVZ project.




Competing software

  • cPanel
  • DirectAdmin
  • ISPConfig
  • ISPmanager
  • Webmin
  • Lxadmin



Some Plesk users have complained that its data backup and restore functionality is deficient. One shortcoming is the mechanism by which Plesk stores backup files, using server disk space before uploading files to a separate FTP server. Because Plesk backup files can be quite large, this mechanism effectively limits the usable server storage space, forcing administrators to choose between backing up data or leaving large amounts of storage unused.