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What’s New in Parallels Plesk 12

By Jamin Andrews
What’s New in Parallels Plesk 12

In case you missed it, Parallels Plesk Panel was recently upgraded to version 12, focusing on one simple goal:

Make Plesk a better, more reliable, and more secure tool for both Web hosts and Website owners

In this post, we’ll take a birds eye view to a number of the updates and enhancements since the last version. Specifically, we’ll look at the following areas:

  • Mail
  • Outgoing Spam Protection
  • Security Core
  • Word Press Mass Management Toolkit
  • Mobile Friendly Panel Interface
  • Reseller Management
  • Presence Builder 12.0

This way you’ll be in the know, both about the key features which underpin this release, as well as why it’s a worthy upgrade. This is the first article of quite a number, covering the version 12 release.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be exploring just about every nook and cranny of the new release, covering all the key aspects that you need to know. So stay tuned for lots of great information — there’s so much in store.

Mail

The first of three key improvements is Mail. Specifically, Plesk 12.0 introduces quite a number of enhancements, including:

  • Protection from Outgoing Spam
  • The Dovecot Mail Server
  • Protection from Email Interception

Protection from Outgoing Spam

Each of these threats can be dealt with by limitation of outgoing email messages per hour. Limits can be defined in a number of ways, specifically:

  • server-wide
  • by service plan
  • by domain
  • by mailbox

Mail can also be disable per/domain and domains can be added to a blacklist. In addition to this, even greater flexibility is provided by allowing all sources of sent mail to be tracked.

Specifically, this can be implemented through SMTP, PHP & Web scripts and that sent by Cron scripts. If there are issues, suspensions can be made at one or more of these specific levels.

Dovecot Mail Server

In version 12, Plesk has replaced Courier for IMAP and POP3 with the Dovecot mail server. Dovecot is an email server supporting IMAP and POP, designed with security, speed and simplicity firmly in mind.

Additionally, Dovecot supports server-based email filtering and out-of-office replies, as well as the Horde and Roundcube webmail programs.

Protection from Email Interception

If you weren’t aware, malicious users can set up domain names which are identical to yours. In certain cases, this would allow them to receive email messages sent by your customers. To protect against this type of scam, you can prohibit the setup of domain names which you’ve already registered.

Security Core

The second of the key improvement areas is security, which includes support for well known third-party security applications Fail2Ban and ModSecurity.

ModSecurity

ModSecurity is a free, web application firewall (WAF) which is designed to help detecting and preventing common attacks on web applications, such as Cross-site Scripting (XSS) and SQL Injection.

It does this by detecting and preventing attacks, in real-time, by using a set of customisable filter rules (including OWASP, Atomic Free, Atomic Full and Comodo) and appropriate responses, based upon the server component being attacked.

Fail2Ban

Fail2Ban is a service which scans log files and bans IPs which show malicious signs, such as too many password failures. Fail2Ban is able to update firewall rules to reject the IP addresses for a specified amount of time, along with other, configurable, actions.

Fail2ban provides for the creation of rules to detect if a malicious user is attempting to break in to your site and how to respond if they are. What’s more, whether it’s your main website, FTP and Email accounts, you’re covered.

Word Press Mass Management Toolkit

Plesk 12.0 has introduced the WordPress Toolkit. This enables administrators to manage one or more Wordpress installations with relative ease.

From only a few simple screens, administrators can:

  • Install and uninstall multiple Wordpress installations
  • Administer Plugins, Themes
  • Keep Wordpress installations up to date both manually and automatically
  • Run Security Checks and Scans

Whether it’s one install or 20, new themes and plugins can be installed, configured and activated; existing ones can be deactivated or removed. It really has become a point and click affair.

Though Wordpress already has a lot of this functionality, by integrating it into the Plesk Administration interface, it makes it really simple to learn and use.

The existing knowledge of administering Plesk Panel need only be slightly augmented to take account of this new functionality. So if an administrator’s not used Wordpress before, then this keeps the learning curve to a minimum.

Presence Builder 12.0

One of the great features in version 12 is that it goes beyond installing and administering sites into giving sites a great look and feel.

For the most part, customers aren’t concerned with what underpins a site and keeps it live, they just want to know that it works and that it gives their customers the proper impression of their business.

So baked right in to version 12 is Presence Builder 12.0. This is a simple tool which helps you build a professional online presence. It does this in a number of ways, specifically:

Range of Great Designs

Whether you’re a hair stylist, beautician, lawyer, doctor, photographer, architect or hobbyist, Presence Builder 12 provides a number of themes right out of the box; amongst these is likely to be one which will directly suit your needs, or will do, with a bit of customisation.

Design Customisation Tools

What’s more, you don’t need to know any HTML or CSS to customise the look and feel, once you’ve found a theme which works for your business.

Presence Builder 12 has inbuilt support for managing padding, margins, shadows, backgrounds, body text colour and mModule visibility settings as well as for more advanced features, such as corner radius and background transparency.

Multi-language Support

In addition to this, if you’re running an international or multi-language business, localisation and internationalisation support is also built in and easy to setup and configure.

Mobile Friendly Panel Interface

The mobile web, that is websites viewed from mobile computing devices, now accounts for over 28% of all website traffic globally. And it’s great to know that the interface in version 12 has been updated to account for this growing trend.

The interface is now fully mobile friendly or responsive, allowing you to administer your sites no matter what device you have, whether you’re on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

And if you’re on a smartphone, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using iOS, Android, or Windows OS. So whatever device you’re using, you’ll be able to administer your sites with relative ease.

Reseller Management

Plesk 12.0 makes it simple to move customer accounts from one reseller to another, and convert them to and from resellers. Troubleshooting and assistance tasks are made easier for administrators, because they can work on behalf of their resellers and their customers.

Wrapping Up

So that’s the rundown on the key features in version 12 of Parallels Plesk 12.0. I hope you see just how feature packed a release it is, how it simplifies the work of being a webmaster for one or more sites, despite the wide array of work which can be involved.

Did I miss anything? Is there something you want to see more of? Add a comment and let’s have a discussion about the new release.

UPDATE: Conetix now sells Plesk12 license keys, run Plesk12 on your own server. See here for more information.