What Is Plesk Hosting?
Hosting companies sell their packages based on performance and resources. But for many customers, the control panel offered is a critical factor.
Plesk is one of the most common branded control panels you'll come across when shopping for a new web host.
Plesk is the shortened name for the Parallels Plesk Panel, a control panel used in web hosting. It offers host customers a user-friendly graphical interface that makes website management easier for novice users.
The way it's designed also makes web hosting simple. That has given Plesk longevity among resellers, too.
History of Plesk
Plesk was originally developed by a company of the same name in 2001 before it was sold to SWsoft, which in turn sold it to Parallels, a maker of virtualization software. Plesk was spun off into its own entity in 2015.
Plesk's name often pops up when talking about cPanel, which is no surprise. We will cover this competition further down the page!
Control panel interfaces have drastically improved in recent years, making competition tighter.
Plesk Versions and Platform Support
There are versions of Plesk for various Linux distributions (including Red Hat, Debian, and Ubuntu), plus various versions of Windows Server. It also supports platforms like Ruby on Rails, Apache, Tomcat, and more.
Note that the various platform-specific versions of Plesk are not exactly the same, although users of one should be able to use the other without issues.
Why A Control Panel?
It is possible to administer your website using nothing but the command line over SSH. While it works, this can be tedious for new users and it's a manual process.
Even worse, a lot of hosting plans, especially shared hosting plans, don't include SSH access at all. Even for expert users, managing servers via the command line requires memorizing commands.
Control panel software like Plesk makes managing your websites easy by offering a graphical interface.
If you don't know what the command is for a task, you won't be able to do it. With a web-based interface, you can see all the options at a glance.
This means you'll often have to manage your website through a control panel anyway. For smaller teams with lack of development knowledge, easy-to-use dashboards are a lifesaver.
Plesk vs. the Competition - 6 Features to Look Out For
On Linux hosting, Plesk's main competitor is cPanel. On Windows, Plesk's rivals include DirectAdmin and some smaller, lesser-known applications.
All have their own quirks. Some hosts have developed custom control panels unique to their own hosting packages.
Personal Preference of Control Panels
We're often asked whether Plesk or cPanel is 'better'.
In truth, they are both very capable, although quite different. The choice comes down to personal preference, to a point.
Both support common software packages and scripts, such as WordPress. Plesk does have the advantage of being modular, which means it's easy to extend. But there are a few caveats:
- Migrating Hosts
- Exporting and Importing Data
- Working Offline
- Server Type
Moving hosts is not straightforward at the best of times, and it can be very problematic if you don't stick with the same control panel.
If you plan to grow your site and may need to move in the future, it's best to go with a branded panel like Plesk so you don't have to learn everything from scratch.
Exporting and Importing Data
Plesk data cannot be exported and imported into cPanel, or vice versa. This may make it difficult to migrate data from one account to another, or from one host to another.
Similarly, you cannot export backups from Plesk into any other tool. This could be an issue if you're migrating to another host and they do NOT have Plesk support.
Plesk is only online and functional if your web server is fully functional as well. If something goes wrong and your site breaks, Plesk stops working. That means it can be difficult to recover from a catastrophe without the help of your host.
cPanel is arguably easier for a beginner to navigate since all options are available with a single click from the homepage, although Plesk also has a tidy user interface.
Plesk is geared for shared hosting, but it can run on dedicated servers as well. cPanel and WHM offer a similar ability to manage dedicated servers.
Ultimately, the choice between Plesk and cPanel, as with a lot of things in technology, comes down to a matter of taste. It's like the choice between Mac and PC.
Plesk For Resellers
There's one big difference between Plesk and cPanel, and that's the server management aspect. If you resell web space to clients, this could make a big difference.
cPanel is dedicated to the management of individual sites, and it's installed with a separate application for managing accounts - WHM.
Easier Management with Plesk
In Plesk, these two functions are integrated into the same browser-based interface. This makes it easier to quickly manage a server alongside individual accounts.
However, for regular cPanel users, this combined system can be confusing, even though it makes a lot more sense 'on paper'.
Even so, there are definite advantages for reselling with Plesk, such as:
|Reselling with Plesk:||Reseller companies provide support for you||Time reduction and elimination of manual admin||Monitor uptime and response times||Divide resources as you wish, depending on your offered plans||Upgradable account to increase resources|
Extra Revenue Due to Options
Plesk also has the option of offering software and scripts for sale. This can help resellers bring in extra revenue alongside the price of their hosting plans, and that could help them increase revenue and offer a more professional service.
Plesk can also help automate billing for their customers using packages like Plesk Billing. This package contains a variety of common operations:
- Domain registration
- Digital certificates
- Shared web hosting
With Plesk Billing, it's easy to resell web hosting with your own branding.
5 Factors When Choosing a Web Host with Plesk
Still, it's important to keep these five factors in mind when choosing your host:
- Management and Support
- Type of Hosting
- Type of Server
It is important to know how often Plesk updates their existing versions. Moreover, it's useful to know how often entirely new versions are released for public use. Be cautious of beta versions.
Management and Support
Ask yourself about your team's capability to manage your website or project. How much do you rely on your host's support with Plesk? Some hosts provide significantly more support with control panels than others.
Looking for an excellent deal on Plesk hosting?
A2 Hosting scored #1 in our recent speed and performance tests. Their Windows plans come with Plesk and unlimited storage. Use this special discount link to save up to 50% on these plans.
You can never have enough extensions with a control panel. Does your selected host provide Plesk extensions and tools? Some use cases could be encryption, DDoS protection, or website builders.
Type of Hosting
Opting for a package and then realizing its inability to upgrade is terrifying. Ensure your host supports Plesk throughout every hosting plan you may possibly rely on.
Type of Server
Will you be running on a Linux or Windows host? Windows servers exist, but Linux support is more widespread in the industry.
A control panel is nice to have, but it likely won't be at the top of the list of features for your web host. Some people might prefer cPanel, but the choice of the control panel will likely be dictated by the service you're running.
A shared hosting plan might have a choice they prefer, whether Plesk or cPanel, that you won't be able to change unless you have root access on a dedicated server.
Still, having Plesk preinstalled is a lot more convenient than purchasing and installing it yourself.
3 Best Hosts with Plesk Control Panels
Plesk is well-supported in the web hosting industry, so you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding a host that offers it.
Remember, you should also look at other things like pricing, features, and support. The control panel is only a small part of your hosting experience.
Plesk with A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting's Plesk plans start at $12.99 per month.
You can install popular extensions through Plesk, including WordPress and MySQL.
Plesk with Liquid Web.
Liquid Web is a host that offers either cPanel or Plesk across its managed hosting plans.
Liquid Web is geared toward dedicated servers.
This is a good provider if you want the control that a dedicated server can offer you.
You can also choose cloud VPS hosting.
Plesk with Blacknight Hosting.
Blacknight is another host that offers a choice of control panels for its dedicated servers. Our users have given Blacknight high marks for its support, uptime, features, and value, so we rate it as another good choice for a dedicated server with Plesk.
Other features in Control Panels
Looking for serious Plesk hosting?
Liquid Web provides high-performance Windows hosting with superb technical support. Use this special discount link to save up to 50% on their plans.
Plesk Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Plesk?
Plesk is a web hosting control panel that is most associated with the Windows operating system. It offers pretty much the same features as cPanel. Plesk users can manage thousands of virtual hosts on a single server.
The Plesk control panel can be used with VPS, shared, and dedicated web hosting. Plesk automates tasks that allow web hosting providers to reduce resources and operating costs.
- Why do people use Plesk?
Plesk control panel is 100% automated and includes features that make it easy for you to manage your server and domains.
Unique features include migration manager, key auto-update mechanism, auto-component updater, and web-based installation assistance in managing your server and domains.
Plesk is a highly stable control panel and is capable of supporting many domains on a single server.
- What are the alternatives to Plesk?
The most direct 'alternative' to Plesk is cPanel.
Some people claim that getting used to cPanel is easier, as most web hosting service providers install cPanel for their clients. cPanel has powerful tools that perform essential tasks easily and quickly.
However, cPanel is not available on Windows. Other Plesk alternatives include open-source control panels like Zpanel, Zentyal, and Vesta.
- What are the system requirements for Plesk?
Plesk requires Windows Web Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012. It supports a number of Linux distributions.
- Do I need to be concerned about installation?
Not usually. Most popular web hosting companies will install Plesk for you without any additional charges. Customers may be given an option between Plesk and cPanel upfront.
- Can I use Plesk in the cloud?
Plesk is compatible with the cloud as long as it is supported by the operating system that is running.
- Can I monitor my servers using Plesk?
Plesk offers mobile monitoring to let you monitor your servers 24/7 so that you can fix issues as soon as they arise.
You can log into Plesk by pointing your mobile browser to post 8443 of your website.
- Can I upload data without FTP clients?
Yes. Plesk provides a built-in file manager, so you can manage, upload, move, copy, download, and modify all the files on your hosting package. You can also package several files into a zip archive.
- Is the admin panel similar to cPanel?
cPanel has WHM (Web Host Manager). The cPanel side is for the domain owner, whereas the Web Host Manager is for the server administrator. These two systems have separate logins.
Plesk, however, has a single login for domain owners and administrators. The options are different and switching from one system to another may cause confusion at first.
- Does Plesk support all major CMS platforms?
Plesk features an internal application installer that makes it easy to install and manage most CMS platforms, including Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and Magento, in just a few clicks.
The application installer can also be used to install ecommerce applications like a shopping cart.
Also, any of the applications can be uninstalled directly through the control panel.
- Can I customize Plesk?
Yes. Plesk can be customized with the "Virtuozzo" software to create a variety of templates.
Professional web hosting providers and webmasters can customize the Plesk user interface to make it consistent with their brand's look.
- What can I do with Plesk at the client level?
Plesk allows you to set limits, generate a complete report of your accounts, view assigned IPs, and set up your custom buttons, logos, and directories at the client level.
You can also set up domain templates and view traffic stats with the press of a button.
- What can I do with Plesk at the domain user level?
Plesk allows you to control everything associated with your domain at this level. Resellers can give this level of access to their clients.
Features include one-click install of popular scripts, password management, DNS management, and SiteBuilder.