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Plesk 12: Review of Tools & Settings

By Matthew Setter
Plesk 12: Review of Tools & Settings

Synopsis:

This is a review of the Branding, SSL Certificates, Server Components and Event Handlers interface available in Plesk 12.

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Some previous experience with server administration, including SSL certificates,
  • Some previous experience with Plesk

Recently here on the Conetix blog, we've been taking a comprehensive look at Plesk 12, primarily because it's quite a marked improvement over the previous versions bringing together a much more fluid and comprehensive vision for the product.

Today I want continue the Plesk 12 tour, taking you through some further aspects of Plesk, specifically showing you

  • How to brand your installation
  • How to manage SSL Certificates
  • How to scheduling tasks

So long as you're basically familiar with the Plesk interface, you won't need a lot of special knowledge to work through today's post. If you have any questions, make sure you check out our support site, where you can find a lot more information.

Branding Your Installation

Plesk12 Branding Your Installation Screenshot - Conetix

There's a variety of reasons and circumstances why you may need to customise your Plesk installation. For example, you may need to white-box the installation before handing off some control to external staff or you may want to personalise it for a more consistent look and feel across the administration tools which you and your staff use on a daily basis.

Branding in Plesk is composed of largely 3 core areas:

  • Core Branding
  • Language
  • Interface Management

Core Branding

Plesk 12 Core Branding Screenshot - Conetix

Starting with core branding, here you can change three aspects of the standard Plesk interface, these are:

  1. Title text
  2. Logo image
  3. Custom themes

Let's step through the first two now, replacing the default logo with the Conetix logo and adding "Powered by Conetix.com.au" to the end of the title text. Click Tools & Settings, then click Plesk Branding under Plesk Appearance in the lower right hand side. This will bring you to branding page, which you see in the screenshot above.

From there, uncheck Use default next to Title text and add in "Parallels Plesk 12.0.13 - Powered By Conextix.com.au" in the field, then download the Conetix logo and upload it as the Logo file.

Finally, click Value and add in http://www.conetix.com.au/ as the Logo URL value, and click OK. When the page reloads, you'll now see that the logo and page title have changed, as in the screenshot below.

Plesk12 Branding Screenshot Adding Your Logo - Conetix

If something went wrong, or you just want to reset to the default configuration, re-enable the Use default checkbox for the Title text, specifying None for the Logo URL resets these options. Separately, clicking Default Logo will reset the logo.

Languages

Plesk 12 Changing Languages Screenshot - Conetix

Languages, or language packs, allow Plesk to be internationalised, making it available to users in a wide variety of languages. Plesk 12 ships with 13 language packs available and enabled in the standard installation, supporting the most widely spoken languages around the world.

To see the available list of languages, disable, enable or make one the default, click Tools & Settings, then click Languages under Plesk Appearance in the lower righthand side. This will bring you to the Languages tab of the Interface Management screen, which you see in the screenshot above. As a further aid:

  • All languages which have a green tick are enabled
  • Languages without a green tick are disabled
  • The default interface language is bolded and italicised, in this case, US English

To use any of the languages, when a user logs in, they can either accept the default or pick from the Interface language list, as below, which will then use that language pack for their session.

Plesk 12 Default Language Screenshot - Conetix

Interface Management

Plesk12 Interface Management Screenshot - Conetix

Different users have different needs. Some users are power users, others just need to see a specific set of options and would likely be overwhelmed by having too many options. So in Plesk 12 there's the option to tailor the interface, which provides two modes:

  • Power User: Designed for users to manage a single site, email accounts and related services
  • Service Provider: Designed for server administrators, resellers and hosting end-users

By default, the interface uses the Service Provider mode. However, it's quite simple to change it to Power User. Click Tools & Settings, then Interface Management under Plesk Appearance in the lower right hand side brings you to the Interface Views tab of the Interface Management screen, as in the screenshot above.

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So in the screenshot below, you see the two interface styles side-by-side. On the left, you see the Service Provider view, which we've been using throughout today's article.

On the right, you see the much simpler Power User view. Depending on the user either you are, or who you're configuring Plesk for, choose accordingly.

Plesk 12 Power User Screenshot - Conetix

SSL Certificates

Plesk 12 SSL Certificate Screenshot - Conetix

If you're hosting an e-commerce site or need to secure logins to your application, then you'll want the protection of SSL certificates. Through the Server Management section in Plesk 12, you're able to do this, by clicking on Tools & Settings, then clicking SSL Certificates.

After doing so, you'll see the SSL Certificates page, as in the screenshot above. In this example, you can see that a certificate is already loaded in the table at the bottom. From this screen, we can:

  • Add & remove certificates
  • View existing certificates
  • Set the default certificate
  • Download Plesk's certificates
  • Secure Plesk

Let's step through a couple of these now, specifically adding a new certificate and securing Plesk.

Adding a New SSL Certificate

Plesk 12 Adding a new SSL Certificate - Conetix

From the main SSL Certificate management screen, click Add in the main navigation bar. This will allow you to add a new certificate, specifying the following details:

  • Certificate name
  • Certificate address details, domain name and email address
  • The private key, certificate and Certificate Authority (CA) file by either uploading them, or pasting the contents into the respective text fields.

When this is done, you will see the new certificate listed in the certificates table, indicating that the private & public keys, CA file and certificate are present for this record. Alternatively, if you don't have an existing set of files, you can buy one or request a self-signed certificate.

Securing Plesk

With a new certificate in place, let's look at securing Plesk. From the main navigation toolbar, first click the checkbox next to the first certificate, then click Secure Plesk. Doing so will use that certificate to secure communications, by default, to the server.

Managing Events

Plesk 12 Managing Events Screenshot - Conetix

Plesk provides the ability to create handlers for a range of pre-defined events which occur in the normal running of a system. Examples of these are:

  • Service: ail, specifying the contact and company name of the new account, using two of the predefined event parameters for the Reseller account created event.Stopped, Started or Restarted
  • IP Address: Created, Updated or Deleted
  • Reseller Plan: Created, Updated or Deleted
  • Domain: Created, Updated or Deleted

When any of these occur, one or more commands can be initiated by any one of the system users with an accompanying priority level.

Creating a New Event Handler

Let's assume that we want to notify an office admin account when a reseller plan is created. Let's step through the process of adding an event in the system which will handle this for us now.

Plesk 12 Tools and Settings Screenshot - Conetix

Under Server Management in the left-hand side navigation menu, click Tools & Settings, then click Event Manager under Tools & Resources. This will bring you to the Event Manager screen you see in the screenshot above, where there's one existing event listed.

Plesk 12 Event Handler Properties Screenshot - Conetix

From here, clicking Add New Event Handler, takes us to the new Event Handler Properties page where we can enter options for: Event, Priority, User and Command. Change Event to "Reseller account created", leave Priority and User with their default values and add the following for the command:

echo "A new reseller account has been created for ${NEW_CONTACT_NAME} at ${NEW_COMPANY_NAME}." | mailx -s "Reseller Account Created" office-admin@your.company.com

This will send a simple email, specifying the contact and company name of the new account, using two of the predefined event parameters for the Reseller account created event.

If you'd like to know more about the predefined event parameters, check out the Event Parameters Passed by Event Handlers section of the Plesk 12.0 administrator's guide.

Deleting An Event Handler

Now that the new event handler is in place, I want to cover deleting event handlers, as it's not immediately obvious as to how to do it. So let's step through it, in case you found it a bit confusing at first, as I did.

Plesk 12 Event Manager Screenshot - Conetix

From the existing event handlers list, first select the event handler which you want to remove from the list, then click Remove in the search box above. Alternatively, if you had a large list of event handlers, you could enter part of the handler's name in the search box to filter down the list of available handlers, then step through deleting them.

Wrapping Up

And we're done. After today's tutorial, I hope you feel comfortable branding your installation, managing SSL certificates and scheduling tasks. Whilst today's run through hasn't been exhaustive, it's definitely been thorough.

Have I missed anything? Is there any more information you need? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments, or get in touch with us today. We're more than happy to help you out with any Plesk related questions.