Ethan Banks On productivity.

I’ve Been Reduced To Plesk


I have my virtual private server (VPS) account opened up, and I’m working on moving my web content over (including this site, eventually). There’s a bigger learning curve than I expected. I’m so used to creating site configurations myself. I build the server, install IIS or Apache as the case may be, hack my way through the GUI or the conf files, install mySQL, install perl, install PHP, install whatever else I need, and start lighting up sites. People, we have HTTP – stand back and let the hypertext flow.

Well, the vendor’s server image pretty much does everything for me. I spent my first night with the virtual private server RDP’ed into the box, manually going through the IIS config and also trying desperately to get mySQL going. Every step was a fight. Authentication issues, mySQL daemon refusing to start, etc. So, I finally starting reading on how the vendor wants me to handle things. Turns out that my VPS vendor gives me “Plesk“. Plesk is integrated into the VPS image, and Plesk owns everything. Plesk is a software layer that manages everything under the hood for you. You thought IIS Manager was simple to use? Forget about it. Plesk does it all now. Plesk even does the mySQL management, which was making me vaguely nauseous and light-headed. “Uh, okay, Plesk. I guess I trust you to build my databases like I want you to. I’ll just…close my eyes…and click the pretty icons. AND PRAY.”

I feel like a n00b. I’ve built dozens of web servers over the years, but it’s been a while – probably 3 years since I last built one. Times have changed. Software has changed. All I seem to have left is an understanding of what the end result is supposed to be. Somewhere, I lost my ability to make it all happen. My vendor has reduced me to using…Plesk. In fact, Plesk is the only way I’m going to get this VPS built and serving content, because Plesk seems to own all the processes to such a degree that I couldn’t do it myself. Thus, I have to learn how to use software who’s only mission in life is to keep me from using the software that I am (or at least used to be) familiar with! ;-)

Ah, well. Perhaps Plesk is wonderful. I can learn to like it. If I can learn to like WinXP, I suppose I can swallow anything.


  • Its so great to see other net pros use the word n00b. I’m so glad I don’t deal with web servers, we leave that to the server team. But I can’t escape patching fiber… When you want to skip something you hate on the job, try screwing with the help desk guy’s ego’s and ask who is 1337 ( in the office.

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

Find out more on his about page.