Chapter 2. About Plesk Server Administrator

The flagship product of Plesk is Plesk Server Administrator, or PSA. This server management software makes use of a graphical user interface (GUI) which allows users to perform a wide array of administrative tasks simply and easily. With PSA, a user does not require advanced knowledge of the operating system or hours of work to create domains, add e-mail accounts or check site statistics. Instead, PSA makes server management accessible and easy for the average computer user. This manual deals with PSA 5.0.

Who Should Use Plesk Server Administrator

Plesk Server Administrator (PSA) is designed to be used both by experienced administrators and users with little or no server administration or programming experience. Typical users and customers include:

  • Web Hosting Companies

    PSA can dramatically reduce a Web hosting company or an ISP's support workload. Customers or "clients" no longer need to call their support staff to perform various routine or complicated tasks; PSA makes those tasks accessible to the customers enabling them to support themselves. Clients are empowered by PSA to manage their own accounts, allowing the hosting companies to focus on more complex issues. Because the Plesk database is structured around a customer (not a domain), PSA lets a hosting company run its reseller programs immediately after installing the software. PSA increases customer satisfaction and reduces the support workload.

  • Server Hardware Manufacturers

    Server manufacturers can include PSA as a pre-installed feature to add value to its products and to diversify its product lines. When PSA is installed, the server is ready for immediate use; it only needs to be networked.

  • Small Businesses

    Many small businesses do not have a full-time system administrator to maintain their company's Internet server. Limited technical skills or the high cost of outsourced hosting need not limit a business's online presence. PSA empowers a business's existing staff to manage all email and hosting requirements; the web-based interface empowers the average computer user.

Plesk Server Administrator Capabilities

Plesk Server Administrator (PSA) provides three tiers of administration:admin, client, and domain. All can perform tasks at remote locations via any standard Internet browser. The following capabilities exist for each type of user:

  • System Administrator - Admin

    • System Management

      • Hardware Reboot and/or Shutdown

      • IP aliases management

      • System time setting

      • Server level statistics retrieval

      • Master feature, when supported by your key license - allows to access and manage other PSA servers networked

    • Services Management

      • Set up server-wide mail limits

      • Set up allowable mail relay capabilities and mail blockers

      • Enable external mail abuse prevention system (MAPS)

      • Set up DNS server default zone template

      • Start, stop or restart system services

    • Control Panel Management

      • Co-brand using company logo and link

      • Set up control panel access security and adjust sessions time settings

      • Allow discounted domain registration and SSL certificate purchasing

      • Set up screen paging options

      • Set control panel language; currently English is set by default (other language packs are available in accordance with your key license)

      • Customize appearance of your control panel by means of skins

      • Add customizable buttons to the Domain Administration page

      • Adjust the server-wide statistics calculation to better suit your needs

      • Set up additional services

      • Enable and configure the notification system, which will let you be aware of the ongoing events, such as: creation of new client, new domain, and client quotas exceeded

      • Set up system-wide domain templates which will simplify domain creation for a client with automatic assignment of all necessary restrictions

    • Client Management

      • Create, edit, and delete system clients

      • Allow reseller capabilities

      • Set up client level limits on domain creation by means of configurable domain templates

    • My.Plesk.Com Service Management

      • Access to additional server tools purchasing

  • Client Administrator

    • Multiple Domain Management

      • Create, edit, and delete domains and/or hosting accounts

      • Set up FTP and/or anonymous FTP services

      • Set up web server allowances

        • Traffic limits

        • Scripting - PHP, SSI, CGI, mod_perl, and/or Apache ASP

        • FrontPage server extensions

        • SSL support

      • Set up domain level limits

        • Create and manage domain templates, including settings for traffic and disk space limits

        • Mail accounts

        • User accounts

        • Databases

        • Manage DNS zones

      • Manage log files and configure log rotation schedule

      • Handle all your files and directories in a more convenient way by means of File Manager

      • Access FrontPage directly from the control panel

      • Set up domain tools

        • Webalizer

        • IMP webmail

    • My.Plesk.Com Service Management

      • Domain registration and management services

      • SSL Certification purchasing and management services

      • Access to additional domain tools purchase

    • Control Panel Management

      • Co-brand using company logo and link

      • Set up screen paging options

      • Set control panel language; currently limited to English only

  • Domain Administrator

    • Mail Account Management

      • Create, edit, and delete POP3 mail boxes / quotas

      • Create, edit, and delete mail redirects

      • Create, edit, and delete mail groups

      • Create, edit, and delete multiple configurable autoresponders

      • Utilize IMP webmail service

    • Domain Report Management

      • Review domain services

      • Access domain statistics

    • Web User Management

      • Create, edit, and delete domain web users

      • Set up scripting capabilities for web users

    • Protected Directory Management

      • Create, edit, and delete protected directories

      • Set up access with SSL or standard http

      • Manage directory users

    • SSL Certificate Management

      • Create CSR or self-signed certificate

      • Install SSL certificate

    • FTP Service Management

      • Change passwords

      • Utilize anonymous FTP service

    • Database Management

      • Create, edit, and delete multiple databases

      • Manage database users

      • Direct access to databases through PhpMyAdmin

    • Manage log files and configure log rotation schedule

    • Handle all your files and directories in a more convenient way by means of File Manager

    • Access FrontPage directly from the control panel

Compatible Operating Systems

The Plesk Server Administrator (PSA) 5.0 is available for the following platforms:

  • FreeBSD® 4.4

  • RedHat® Linux 7.1

  • RedHat® Linux 7.2


For RedHat® systems you can choose either the self-extracting package or the RPM version.


Theoretically, PSA should work on all versions of Linux (e.g. Caldera OpenLinux, Debian Linux, et cetera), but Plesk Inc. has not tested the software on all versions and cannot guarantee the product's performance. The current release runs on RedHat® Linux. Future releases of PSA may run on other Linux versions.

System Requirements

Minimal hardware requirements for the PSA 5.0 installation are the same as that of the operating system being installed for use with PSA 5.0

Server Side:

Table 2.1. Recommended hardware configuration

Number of domainsAmount of RAMProcessor
100256Pentium II
500512Pentium III
15002000dual Pentium III
20004000dual Pentium 4

Client Side:

Supported browsers:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0

  • Netscape v 4.5 for Windows/Unix

  • Netscape v 6.2 for Windows/Unix

Supported mail clients:

  • Eudora v 5.1 for Windows

  • Microsoft Outlook Express v6.0 for Windows

  • Microsoft Outlook 2000 for Windows

  • Netscape 4.5 for Windows/Unix

  • Netscape 6.2 for Windows/Unix


By default PSA is entirely installed into the /usr/local/psa directory. It is important to partition the hard drive accordingly.

Additional Benefits

Ease of Use

You do not need to know Unix or Linux or be a programmer in order to use the Plesk Server Administrator. Also, the PSA software is easy to install. PSA must be installed on a clean server in one dedicated host. The installation procedure is semi-automated, informing you of system changes and your progress at each step. There are no complex commands to learn and no technical information to know.

As soon as PSA is installed, both administrators and clients are ready to manage the system. PSA provides great flexibility to the user, enabling him/her to remotely access and administer servers at anytime. The default settings provided for opening accounts and domains can be changed with the click of a button. With PSA, each client can create his/her own settings and make his/her own adjustments.


The Plesk Server Administrator (PSA) uses extensive security measures to assure your system of the highest possible integrity and protection. It should be noted however that this is limited to PSA and the software it installs. The security of the server operating system is considered the responsibility of the system administrator and is not part of the PSA installation and/or set up:

  • PSA uses the secure HTTP (HTTPS) protocol. All documents and communications between users and the server are fully encrypted and secure.

  • PSA provides a generic secure socket layer (SSL) certificate that enables secure transactions between a remote user and PSA. However, this certificate will not be recognized by the web browser as being valid for your control panel URL, which results in warning messages. Certificates can be purchased directly through the PSA control panel or by contacting a certificate-signing authority directly.

  • When creating an FTP account on the server, the login shell is set to /bin/false, preventing any Telnet-like programs from accessing the account.

  • When creating physical hosting with PHP support, you are unable to start an external program from the PHP script. It is impossible to read or write files above the user's home directory.

  • PSA uses the suexec feature of the Apache web server for secure CGI operation.

  • On FreeBSD and Linux systems, PSA uses the chroot feature on the FTP server, preventing clients from changing their home directories to another directory.

  • PSA applies a chroot to the named process to eliminate any possibility of gaining system access through named.

  • PSA has chosen the Qmail mail system and ProFTPd ftp system both of which maintain the highest security standards in their respective fields of service.

  • There is a possibility of entering different IP-addresses for A domain record and domain hosting address (which is added into Apache configuration file) to ensure that the server functions properly behind the firewall.

to top