Using the Plesk Control Panel

Plesk is the biggest player in the Windows web hosting control panel industry and as a Windows hosting customer of Storm Internet, you will be provided with access to Plesk so that you are able to manage your own web hosting account and configure it how you want it to be. Control panels are an integral part of web hosting because without them web hosting providers would be responsible for every aspect of account management, whereas with a control panel system in place most Windows hosting customers are able to manage their account without having to contact their web hosting provider.

Logging In

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Logging into Plesk for the first time is fairly simple. Once your Storm Internet Windows web hosting service has been setup for you, you will receive a welcome email that will contain the link to the Plesk control panel as well as the login details for your web hosting account.

Upon login you will automatically be taken to the Home screen from which you can select the action that you wish to perform:

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We will now go through several basic operations that you are likely to wish to perform at some point with your web hosting account and you will see how using Plesk will allow you to streamline the management of your web hosting account.

Creating an Email Account

If you wish to use email with the domain name that you are hosting on your Plesk web hosting account then you will need to setup either email accounts or forwarders depending on how you wish to use this service. For this example we’ll setup an email account.

The first step is to select the ‘Mail Accounts’ icon from the Home screen.

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You will then be taken to a page that will provide you with a summary of any existing email accounts that you have already created under your web hosting account and will allow you to perform operations of these email accounts if you wish to do so. In order to proceed with the process of creating an email account you will need to select the ‘Create Mail Account’ icon:

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You will then be presented with the following form that you will need to fill out in order to create an email account:

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The following details will need to be entered:

  • Mail account – this will be the name of the email address you want to create, your domain name will succeed this name meaning that “example” will become [email protected] if you are using the domain name example.com
  • Password – any email account should have a password applied to it to protect the contents of the emails that are received
  • Mailbox – checking this box will ensure that the mail account is treated as a mailbox rather than a forwarder or anything else
  • Mailbox quota – if you don’t have a default quota set then you will need to enter a custom amount in megabytes, it is important to set a quota for every mailbox so that a single mailbox doesn’t end up using up all of your web space.

Once you have filled the form out you can then click the ‘Next’ button for extended configuration options or ‘Finish’ to create the email accounts.

Adding a New DNS Record

If you are an advanced user then you may wish to add additional DNS records to your domain’s DNS file to facilitate the use of other web hosting plans or servers under separate sub-domains on your main domain name. In order to maintain your DNS zone you will first need to select the ‘DNS Settings’ icon from the Home screen:

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From there you will then be presented with the different DNS entries that form your domain’s DNS zone; these are effectively the backbone of your domain name and will dictate how other servers around the internet direct users to your website and deal with emails that are sent from your domain name. In order to proceed with adding a DNS record simply click the ‘Add Record’ button:

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You will then need to fill out the following form in order to create your new record:

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The following details will need to be entered:

  • Record type – there are different types if DNS record with simple A records being there just to act a pointer that will map a name to an IP address, whereas MX records will dictate where email for your domain name is sent and which servers handle all incoming mail
  • Name – this will be the name that you wish to precede your domain name and will form the subdomain that will become your new DNS record
  • IP address – if you are creating an A record then you will need to map a name to an address, but if you are creating an MX record then you will need to enter a hostname rather than an IP address.

Once you click the ‘Ok’ button your new DNS record will then be created.

Creating an FTP Account

FTP accounts allow you to transfer files between your desktop computer and web space using the File Transfer Protocol, a standard that many file transfer applications are based around. Plesk, like many control panels, provides support for FTP accounts as standard.

In order to begin the process of creating an FTP account through Plesk, you will need to select the ‘FTP Accounts’ icon from the Home screen:

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You will then be taken to the following summary screen:

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In order to create a new account you will need to select the ‘Add New FTP Account’ icon located at the top of the page.

You will then be required to fill out the following form:

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You will need to enter the following details in order to create your FTP account:

  • FTP account name – you will need to enter a username because this will provide you with a unqiue login identify
  • Password – a password will be required to keep your access to your web space secure
  • Home directory – set this option if you want to limit the access that you can have with a particular FTP account to a certain directory rather than having access to your entire web space
  • Permissions – you may wish to create an account that will only be able to browse your web space via FTP, but you do have the choice to add read and write permissions separately as per your needs.

In conclusion, using the Plesk control panel for the first time shouldn’t be daunting because as an application it will enable you to streamline the management of your Windows web hosting account and to make the most of what Windows web hosting has to offer.

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