WordPress Toolkit

WordPress Toolkit is a single management interface that enables you to easily install, configure, and manage WordPress. It is available if the WordPress Toolkit extension is installed in Plesk.

Note: WordPress Toolkit can install, configure, and manage WordPress version 3.7 or later.

Note: The WordPress Toolkit extension is commercial. It is included in the Web Pro and the Web Host Plesk editions by default, and is available as a premium extension in the Web Admin edition.

Installing WordPress

To install a new WordPress instance, go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click Install. The following installation options are available:

  • For an express installation, click Install (Quick). The latest version of WordPress will be installed, and the default settings will be used.
  • If you want to change the default installation settings, click Install (Custom). This enables you to set up the administrator user, select the desired WordPress version, specify the database name, select auto-update settings, and more.

Note: To install WordPress, WordPress Toolkit retrieves data from wordpress.org. By default, if WordPress Toolkit cannot establish connection in 15 seconds, wordpress.org is considered to be unavailable. If you experience connectivity issues (for example, due to the poor quality of the Internet connection), consider increasing the timeout value. To do so, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, specify the desired value in the “HTTP timeout for retrieving data from wordpress.org (in seconds)” field, and then click OK.

The installation path of the installed WordPress site has the https prefix by default.

To view a list of all installations attached to the WordPress Toolkit, go to Websites & DomainsWordPress.

Adding existing WordPress Installations to WordPress Toolkit

All WordPress installations added using the WordPress Toolkit or through the Applications page appear in the WordPress Toolkit automatically; those installed manually need to be attached to the WordPress Toolkit. If you have upgraded from an earlier version of Plesk and you used WordPress, we recommend that you attach all existing WordPress installations to the WordPress Toolkit. To attach WordPress installations to the WordPress Toolkit, go to Websites & DomainsWordPress and click Scan. Note that if you install new copies of WordPress manually after the scan, these WordPress installations will not be attached to the WordPress Toolkit.

To detach a WordPress installation from the WordPress Toolkit, go to Websites & DomainsWordPress, click the WordPress installation name, and then click Detach. Note that a detached WordPress installation will be attached to the WordPress Toolkit again after you perform a new scan for WordPress installations.

You can completely remove any installation, no matter how it was installed: using the WordPress Toolkit, through the Applications page, or manually. To remove a WordPress installation from the WordPress Toolkit, go to Websites & DomainsWordPress, click the WordPress installation name, and then click Remove.

Importing WordPress Installations

You can use the "Web Site Migration" feature to migrate WordPress websites owned by you but hosted elsewhere to Plesk. When you migrate a WordPress website, Plesk copies all its files and the database to your server. Once a website has been migrated, you can manage it using WordPress Toolkit.

To migrate an existing WordPress website, go to Websites & Domains > WordPress, click Import, and then follow the instructions here.

Managing WordPress Installations

To manage the settings of a WordPress installation, go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress installation.

WP_overview

On the opened page, you can do the following:

  • Change the database user name, the administrator's email, the site name, or the interface language for a WordPress installation, by clicking Preferences.
  • Log in to a WordPress installation as an administrator, by clicking Log in to Admin Dashboard.
  • Change the administrator's access credentials, by clicking change password. In the opened Access credentials dialog, you can specify the password for the administrator account of the WordPress installation - it will be used to log in to WordPress from Plesk. If more than a single administrator account has been created for the WordPress installation, select the one that will be used for logging in to WordPress from the list. If you do not remember the password for the administrator account, you can reset it here.
  • If you have changed any settings directly in WordPress, click Refresh to re-read the installation data and display these changes in the WordPress Toolkit user interface.
  • To open a WordPress site in a browser, click Open Site.
  • To manage the site files in the File Manager, click Manage Files. The folder where the WordPress is installed will be opened.

    Note: Files cannot be managed if the subscription is suspended.

  • View the current security status of the WordPress installation in the Security section. Click change to view and edit the security settings. For more information, refer to Securing WordPress.
  • Check if updates for WordPress and installed themes and plugins are available and set automatic updates in the Updates section. For more information, refer to Updating WordPress Installations.
  • Manage the database associated with the WordPress installation and change the database user name in the Database section.
  • Manage WordPress plugins and themes. For more information, refer to Managing Plugins and Managing Themes.
  • Clone the WordPress installation (for details, refer to Cloning a WordPress site).
  • Synchronize WordPress data with another installation (for details, refer to Synchronization of WordPress Sites).
  • Back up the WordPress installation by clicking Back Up / Restore. The Backup Manager will be opened.
  • If your website is not yet ready for public viewing, deactivate the Search engine indexing option to make sure that search engines do not show your website in the search results. Deactivation of this option enables the "Discourage search engines from indexing this site" option in WordPress, which in turn adds the "noindex, nofollow" tags to your website's header and adds the Disallow directive into the virtual robots.txt file.
  • If you are installing WordPress for testing or development, enable the Debugging option. This will allow you to manage the native WordPress debugging tools in the opened Debug Settings dialog. You can select the following debug options:
    • WP_DEBUG - enable the main debug mode in WordPress. When this option is selected, you can select the following options:
      • WP_DEBUG_LOG - save all errors to the debug.log file inside the wp-content directory.
      • WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY - show debug messages inside HTML pages.
    • SCRIPT_DEBUG - force WordPress to use non-minified versions of core CSS and JavaScript files. This is useful when you are testing changes in these files.
    • SAVEQUERIES - save the database queries to an array that can be displayed to help analyze those queries. Note that this will have a noticeable performance impact on your site, so it is not recommended to leave this option enabled if you are not debugging.

    More information on the debug options can be found here. Debugging is shown as enabled if at least one debugging option is selected.

Next in this section:

Preinstalling WordPress on Customers' Domains

Updating WordPress Installations

Managing Plugins

Managing Themes

Addendio

Securing WordPress

Cloning a WordPress Site

Synchronization of WordPress Sites

Restoring a WordPress Instance

Protecting the Website with a Password

Maintenance Mode

Access WP-CLI

 

Preinstalling WordPress on Customers' Domains

Watch the video tutorial

With Plesk WordPress Toolkit, you can have WordPress preinstalled on newly created domains. In addition, you can have predefined lists of plugins and themes installed on those domains as well.

For every hosting plan, you can choose among the following options:

  • Do not preinstall WordPress.
  • Preinstall WordPress only.
  • Preinstall WordPress with a predefined set of plugins and themes.

If you choose the second and the third option, WordPress will be automatically installed on the first domain of every subscription based on the hosting plan (main domain).

To preinstall WordPress on newly created domains:

  1. Go to Service Plans.
  2. On the “Hosting Plans” tab, either click Add a Plan to create a new plan, or click the name of an existing plan to edit it.
  3. Go to the “Additional Services” tab.
  4. Choose whether to preinstall WordPress only or WordPress with a predefined set of plugins and themes:
    • To install WordPress only, select “Install WordPress” under “WordPress Toolkit”.
    • To install WordPress with a predefined set of plugins and themes, select “Install WordPress with the ... set” under “WordPress Toolkit”.
  5. Click OK (or Update & Sync if editing an existing plan).

Now every time you create a new subscription based on this hosting plan, WordPress will be installed automatically on that subscription's main domain. Existing subscriptions based on this hosting plan will not be affected.

Managing Sets

A set is a predefined list of WordPress plugins and themes. When you configure a hosting plan to enable the preinstallation of WordPress, you can also choose to add a single set. If you do, all plugins and themes included in the set are installed together with WordPress. WordPress Toolkit comes with two preconfigured sets, and you can always create more.

By default, every set you create becomes available to customers. Customers can see which plugins and themes are included in a set, and they can select a set to install together with WordPress when performing a custom installation. If you do not want customers to install sets on their WordPress instances, go to WordPress > the "Global Settings" tab, and clear the “Allow customers to use sets when they install WordPress” checkbox.

To create a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, go to the “Sets” tab, and then click Create Set.
  2. Give your set a name and click Create.
  3. Click Add Plugins, and then click +Add Plugin. Search for the desired plugin, select it from the list, and then click Add. When you have added all desired plugins, click Close.
  4. Repeat the previous step for themes.

Now you can select the set as a preinstallation option in the hosting plan.

To add plugins and themes to a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, and then go to the “Sets” tab.
  2. Click Add Plugins for the set you want to modify, and then click +Add Plugin. Search for the desired plugin, select it from the list, and then click Add. When you have added all desired plugins, click Close.
  3. Repeat the previous step for themes.

Adding plugins and themes to a set does not affect existing subscriptions to which this set has been applied.

To remove the selected plugins and themes from a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, and then go to the “Sets” tab.
  2. Click the number displayed under the “Plugins” or “Themes” columns (for example, 2 total) to show the list of plugins or themes currently included in the set.
  3. Click the icon next to the names of the plugins or themes you want to remove.

    1

To remove all plugins and themes from a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, and then go to the “Sets” tab.
  2. Click the row corresponding to the set you want to modify, click either Remove All Plugins or Remove All Themes, and then click Yes.

    3

Removing plugins and themes from a set does not affect existing subscriptions to which this set has been applied.

To rename a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, and then go to the “Sets” tab.
  2. Click the name of the set you want to rename, type a new name, and then click OK.

    rename a set

To remove a set:

  1. Go to WordPress, and then go to the “Sets” tab.
  2. Click the row corresponding to the set you want to remove, click Remove Set, and then click Yes.

    remove a set

Removing a set does not affect existing subscriptions to which this set has been applied. For all hosting plans that used the removed set, WordPress preinstall settings are reset (on the “Additional Services” tab, “WordPress Toolkit” is set to "None").

 

Updating WordPress Installations

You can update your WordPress installations manually or automatically.

You can use different update settings depending on the situation. For example:

  • You maintain a publicly available (production) website you want to keep secure, but you are concerned that applying updates automatically may negatively affect it in some way. In this case, you can configure WordPress Toolkit to only install security updates automatically.
  • You maintain a non-public (staging) version of a WordPress site you want to keep up-to-date to ensure that, should an update break something, it happens to the staging installation and not to the production website. In this case, you can configure WordPress Toolkit to install all updates automatically.

Note: To ensure the security of your site, we recommend you keep your WordPress instances up-to-date by switching automatic updates on.

WordPress Toolkit uses WP-CLI for updating instances and sending you notifications.

To check if updates for WordPress and installed themes and plugins are available:

Go to Websites & DomainsWordPress and click Check for Updates.

To update one or more WordPress installations:

Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress, select the checkboxes corresponding to the WordPress installations you want to update, and click Update.

To set up automatic updates for one or more WordPress instances:

Go to Websites & DomainsWordPress, click Auto-Update, select the WordPress instances for which you want to set up automatic updates, and click one of the buttons:

  • Off (not recommended) - Install no updates. This option is the least secure of the three.
  • Minor - Install minor (security) updates only (for example, install 4.7.1, but not 4.8). This option is used by default and should not disrupt the correct operation of plugins.
  • Major & Minor - Install all (minor and major) updates (for example, to install 4.7.1 and 4.8). Please note that installing major updates may affect the operation of WordPress plugins.

    WP_autoupdate_buttons

To edit automatic update settings of a particular WordPress instance:

Go to Websites & DomainsWordPress, click the name of the WordPress instance, and click change next to Automatic updates.

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On the opened page, select one of the options:

  • Do not install updates automatically (not recommended)- Install no updates. This option is the least secure of the three.
  • Automatically install only minor (security) updates - Install minor (security) updates only (for example, install 4.7.1, but not 4.8). This option is used by default and should not disrupt the correct operation of plugins.
  • Automatically install all (minor and major) updates - Install all (minor and major) updates (for example, to install 4.7.1 and 4.8). Please note that installing major updates may affect the operation of WordPress plugins.

    WP_autoupdate

Auto-Update settings after upgrading WordPress Toolkit

When you upgrade the WordPress Toolkit extension to version 2.0 from an earlier version, the value of the Automatic Updates option will depend on two factors:

  • The previously configured value of the corresponding option in WordPress Toolkit.
  • The value of the WordPress constant WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE defined in the wp-config.php file (find more information here). The table below describes this dependence.
WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE before upgrade Automatic Updates option in WordPress Toolkit before upgrade Automatic Updates option in WordPress Toolkit after upgrade

None

Off

Minor

None

On

Major & Minor

Minor

Off

Minor

True

Off

Major & Minor

False

Off

None

True, Minor, False

On

Major & Minor

Important: Do NOT change the value of the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant manually because this value will not be synchronized with the corresponding WordPress Toolkit settings.

 

Managing Plugins

A WordPress plugin is a type of third-party software that adds new functionality to WordPress. With WordPress Toolkit, you can install and manage plugins.

Installing Plugins

In WordPress Toolkit, you can install plugins on one or more WordPress instances.

You can search for and install plugins found in the wordpress.org plugins repository. You can also upload custom plugins, which is useful if:

  • You cannot find a suitable plugin in the wordpress.org repository.
  • You need to install your own plugin.

Note that any plugins you upload become available for installation by customers.

To install one or more plugins:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Plugins” tab and click Install.
  2. Search for plugins, and then select the plugins you want to install.

    Note: Selecting one or more plugins and then performing a new search without installing the selected plugins resets the selection.

  3. By default, newly installed plugins are activated immediately. You can prevent this by clearing the “Activate after installation” checkbox.

    pdf

  4. You can install the plugins on:
    • All WordPress instances hosted on the server. To do so, click Install on all … instances.
    • A particular WordPress instance. To do so, click the arrow, click Select instances, select the instances on which you want to install the plugin, and then click Install plugin.

To upload a plugin:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Plugins” tab, and then click Upload plugin.
  2. Click Choose File and browse to the location of the ZIP file containing the plugin you want to upload.

    set

  3. You can add the uploaded plugin to a set. To do so, select the set from the drop-down list. If you do not want to add the uploaded plugin to a set, keep the "None" option. You can read more about sets in Managing Sets.

At this point, the uploaded plugin has become available for installation by customers. You can also install the uploaded plugin on your own WordPress instances.

To install an uploaded plugin

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Plugins” tab.
  2. Click Install next to a plugin you have uploaded.

    sett

  3. Select the WordPress instances on which you want to install the uploaded plugin.

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  4. By default, a newly uploaded plugin is not activated. You can activate it by selecting the “Activate after installation” checkbox.
  5. Click Install.
Removing Plugins

You can remove plugins from a particular instance or from all instances hosted on the server.

To remove plugins from a particular instance:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress.
  2. Under “Plugins”, click … total corresponding to the instance from which you want to remove plugins.
  3. Click the icon next to the plugin you want to remove. You can remove both active and inactive plugins.

    remove

  4. Click Yes.
  5. Repeat the steps 2-4 until you no longer want to remove any plugins from the instance, and then click OK.

To remove plugins from all instances hosted on the server:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains WordPress > the “Plugins” tab.
  2. Select the plugins you want to remove, click Uninstall, and then click Yes.
Activating and Deactivating Plugins

You can activate or deactivate plugins installed on a particular instance or on all instances hosted on the server at once.

To activate or deactivate plugins for a particular instance:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress.
  2. Under “Plugins”, click … total corresponding to an instance for which you want to activate or deactivate plugins.
  3. To activate a plugin, select the plugin you want to activate. To deactivate a plugin, clear it.
  4. Once you have activated or deactivated all desired plugins, click OK.

To activate or deactivate plugins for all instances hosted on the server:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Plugins” tab.
  2. Select the plugin you want to activate or deactivate.
  3. Click Activate or Deactivate.
Updating Plugins

WordPress Toolkit informs you if a new version of a plugin is available and suggests updating it.

To update a plugin:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Plugins” tab.
  2. Click Update to version … next to the plugin you want to update. To learn more about the update, click View Details. This will take you to the plugin's page on wordpress.org.

    admin

  3. Click Yes.
 

Managing Themes

A WordPress theme determines the overall design of your website including colors, fonts, and layout. By selecting a different theme, you change the look and feel of your website without changing the content. With WordPress Toolkit, you can install and manage themes.

Installing Themes

In WordPress Toolkit, you can install themes on one or more WordPress instances.

You can search for and install themes found in the wordpress.org themes repository. You can also upload custom themes, which is useful if:

  • You cannot find a suitable theme in the wordpress.org repository.
  • You need to install your own theme.

Note that any themes you upload become available for installation by customers.

To install one or more themes:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Themes” tab and click Install.
  2. Search for themes, and then select the themes you want to install.

    Note: Selecting one or more themes and then performing a new search without installing the selected themes resets the selection.

    Install

  3. You can install the themes on:
    • All WordPress instances hosted on the server. To do so, click Install on all … instances.
    • A particular WordPress instance. To do so, click the arrow, click Select instances, select the instances on which you want to install the themes, and then click Install theme.

      Install2

To upload a theme:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Themes” tab and click Upload theme.
  2. Click Choose File and browse to the location of the ZIP file containing the theme you want to upload.

    admin_upload

  3. You can add the uploaded theme to a set. To do so, select the set from the drop-down list. If you do not want to add the uploaded theme to a set, keep the "None" option. You can read more about sets in Managing Sets.

At this point, the uploaded theme has become available for installation by customers. You can also install the uploaded theme on your own WordPress instances.

To install an uploaded theme

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Themes” tab.
  2. Click Install next to a theme you have uploaded.

    admin_upload - Copy

  3. Select the WordPress instances on which you want to install the uploaded theme.

    admin_upload - Copy - Copy

  4. By default, a newly uploaded theme is not activated. You can activate it by selecting the “Activate after installation” checkbox.
  5. Click Install.
Activating a Theme

You can activate a theme installed on a particular instance or on all instances hosted on the server at once. A WordPress instance can have only one active theme at a time.

To activate a theme for a particular instance:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress.
  2. Under “Themes”, click the name of the theme corresponding to an instance for which you want to activate a different theme. In the example below, you click the theme ColorMag, which is currently active.

    admin_upload - Copy - Copy - Copy

  3. Select one theme you want to activate and click OK.

To activate a theme for all instances hosted on the server:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains WordPress > the “Themes” tab.
  2. Click Activate next to the theme you want to activate.

    admin_upload - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy

Removing Themes

You can remove themes from a particular instance or from all instances hosted on the server. Note that you cannot remove an active theme. Before removing a currently active theme, activate another theme first.

To remove themes from a particular instance:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains WordPress.
  2. Under “Themes”, click the name of the theme corresponding to an instance from which you want to remove themes. In the example below, the name of the theme is ColorMag.

    admin_upload - Copy - Copy - Copy

  3. Click the icon next to the theme you want to remove.

    remove

  4. Click Yes.
  5. Repeat the steps 2-4 until you no longer want to remove any themes from the instance, and then click OK.

To remove themes from all instances hosted on the server:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Themes” tab.
  2. Select the themes you want to remove, click Uninstall, and then click Yes.
Updating Themes

To update a theme:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress > the “Themes” tab.
  2. Select the themes you want to update, and then click Update.
 

Addendio

Addendio is a service that makes it easier to find WordPress plugins and themes. Its advanced filters narrow down your search and provide more relevant results. Additionally, it reduces the number of clicks necessary to find the desired theme or plugin.

By default, WordPress Toolkit is integrated with Addendio, and Addendio search is used in place of the default WordPress Toolkit search when installing plugins and themes.

4

In addition, the Addendio PLUS plugin is automatically installed on new WordPress instances. The plugin makes it easier to search for and install plugins and themes from the WordPress admin interface.

5

To disable the automatic installation of the Addendio PLUS plugin on new WordPress instances, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, clear the "Automatically install the Addendio PLUS plugin on each new WordPress instance" checkbox, and then click OK.

To disable WordPress Toolkit integration with Addendio, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, clear the "Enable integration with Addendio" checkbox, and then click OK. This will also disable the automatic installation of the Addendio PLUS plugin on new WordPress instances.

 

Securing WordPress

You can view the security status of your WordPress installation and change the security settings.

The security status of a WordPress installation is displayed in the S column at Websites & Domains > WordPress.

To check and secure WordPress installations:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To check the security of all WordPress installations, click Check Security.
    • To secure a single WordPress installation, click the icon in the S column next to the name of the desired WordPress installation.
    • To secure two or more WordPress installations, select the checkboxes for the corresponding WordPress installations and click Check Security.
  3. Select the checkboxes corresponding to the security improvements you want to apply, then click Secure.

    WP_check_security

Caution: Keep in mind that not all security improvements can be rolled back. It is recommended to back up the corresponding subscription before securing WordPress installations.

A complete list of WordPress security improvements
  • The wp-content folder. The wp-content directory may contain insecure PHP files that can be used to damage your site. After WordPress installation, PHP files can be executed from the wp-content directory. The security check verifies that the execution of PHP files in the wp-content directory is forbidden. Note that custom directives in the .htaccess or web.config files might override this security measure. Also note that some of your plugins might stop working after securing the wp-content folder.
  • The wp-includes folder. The wp-includes directory may contain insecure PHP files that can be used to damage your site. After WordPress installation, PHP files can be executed from the wp-includes directory. The security check verifies that the execution of PHP files in the wp-includes directory is forbidden. Note that custom directives in the .htaccess or web.config files might override this security measure. Also note that some of your plugins might stop working after securing the wp-includes folder.
  • The configuration file. The wp-config.php file contains credentials for database access and other sensitive information. After WordPress installation, the wp-config.php file can be executed. If, for some reason, processing of PHP files by the web server is turned off, hackers can access the content of the wp-config.php file. The security check verifies that unauthorized access to the wp-config.php file is blocked. Note that custom directives in the .htaccess or web.config files might override this security measure.
  • Directory browsing permissions. If directory browsing is turned on, hackers can obtain information about your site (what plugins you use and so on). By default, directory browsing is turned off in Plesk. The security check verifies that directory browsing on the WordPress installation is turned off.
  • Database prefix. WordPress database tables have the same names in all WordPress installations. When the standard wp_ database table name prefix is used, the whole WordPress database structure is not a secret and anyone can obtain any data from it. The security check changes the database table name prefix to something other than wp_. The maintenance mode is turned on, all plugins are deactivated, the prefix is changed in the configuration file, the prefix is changed in the database, the plugins are re-activated, the permalink structure is refreshed, and then the maintenance mode is turned off.
  • Security keys. WordPress uses security keys (AUTH_KEY, SECURE_AUTH_KEY, LOGGED_IN_KEY, and NONCE_KEY) to encrypt information stored in the user's cookies. A good security key should be long (60 characters or longer), random and complicated. This security check verifies that the security keys are set up and that they at least contain both alphabetic and numeric characters.
  • Permissions for files and directories. If permissions for files and directories do not comply with the security policy, these files can be used to hack your site. After WordPress installation, files and directories can have various permissions. The security check verifies that the permissions for the wp-config.php file are set to 600, for other files to 644, and for directories to 755.
  • Administrator’s username. When a WordPress copy is installed, by default there is a user with administrative privileges and the username admin. As a user's username cannot be changed in WordPress, one only needs to guess the password to access the system as the administrator. The security check verifies that there is no user with the administrative privileges and the username admin.
  • Version information. There are known security vulnerabilities for each WordPress version. For this reason, displaying the version of your WordPress installation makes it an easier target for hackers. The version of an unprotected WordPress installation can be seen in the pages' meta data and readme.html files. The security check verifies that all readme.html files are empty and that every theme has a functions.php file which contains the line: remove_action(\'wp_head\', \'wp_generator\');.
 

Cloning a WordPress Site

Cloning a WordPress site involves creation of a full website copy with all website files, the database, and settings.

You may want to clone your WordPress site in one of the following situations:

  • You maintain a non-public (staging) version of a WordPress site on a separate domain or subdomain, and you want to publish it to a production domain to make it publicly available.
  • You have a publicly available (production) WordPress site and you want to create a non-public (staging) copy of it, to which you can make changes without affecting the production site.
  • You want to create a “master” copy of a WordPress site with preconfigured settings, plugins, and theme, and then clone it to start a new development project for a client.
  • You want to create multiple copies of a WordPress site and make different changes to each one (for example, to show them to a client so that he or she can choose the one he or she likes best).

Clone a WordPress site:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains and click WordPress in the menu on the right.

    Subscription_Wordpress

  2. Click the Clone button next to the name of the WordPress installation you want to clone.

    WP_Clone_2

  3. Click new subdomain to select the destination where your WordPress site will be cloned.

    WP_Clone_3

    Select one of the available options:

    • “New subdomain” - WordPress Toolkit suggests creating a new subdomain with the default staging prefix. You can use it or type in a desired subdomain prefix.

      Note: You can change the default subdomain prefix. To do so, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, specify the desired prefix in the “Default subdomain prefix for cloning” text field, and then click OK.

    • "Existing domain or subdomain" - use an existing domain or subdomain on the same or another subscription. Select the desired domain or subdomain from the list.

      WP_Cloning_subdomain_name_1

      Note: Make sure that the domain or subdomain selected as the destination is not being used by an existing website. During cloning, website data existing on the destination may be overwritten and irrevocably lost.

  4. During cloning, a database will be created for the WordPress installation being created. Click the automatically generated database name (for example, wordpress_9) to change it. If multiple MySQL servers are registered in Plesk, you can select which one will host the database.

    WP_Cloning_database_name

  5. When you are satisfied with the selected destination and the database name, click OK.

    WP_Cloning_Progress_2

When the cloning is finished, the new clone will be displayed in the list of WordPress installations.

 

Synchronization of WordPress Sites

You can synchronize the content of your WordPress site including files and database with another WordPress site.

Let us say you maintain a non-public (staging) version of a WordPress site on a separate domain or subdomain and a publicly available (production) version of this site on a production domain. You may want to synchronize your WordPress sites in the following situations:

  • You want to copy the changes you have made to the staging version to the production version.
  • You want to copy the data from the production site to the staging site to see how the changes (for example, a new plugin) work with the production data. After checking that everything works fine, you may copy your changes to your production site.
  • You have made some changes (for example, installed a new plugin) to the staging site, and these changes resulted in new tables being added to the database. You want to copy only these tables to the production site without affecting other data.
  • You have upgraded the staging site to a newly released version of WordPress and fixed the post-upgrade issues (if any). You now want to push these changes to the production site.
  • You can choose to synchronize the WordPress files, the WordPress database, or both the files and the database. When synchronizing the database, you can choose to synchronize all tables, or tables that are present on the source server but absent from the destination server, or you can specify individual database tables to be synchronized.

When performing the sync, keep in mind the following:

  • The selected data are copied from the source site to the destination site. Any files and/or database tables present both on the source and the destination that are not identical are copied from the source to the destination. Files and database tables present only on the destination are not affected.
  • During synchronization, the destination site enters maintenance mode and becomes temporarily unavailable.
  • If the WordPress version on the destination site is earlier than on the source site, WordPress Toolkit first upgrades WordPress on the destination site to match the version installed on the source site, and then runs the synchronization.
  • If the WordPress version on the source site is earlier than on the destination site, synchronization is aborted. To synchronize data, you need to upgrade WordPress on the source to the version installed on the destination or a later version.
  • If the database prefix on the source and the destination differs, WordPress Toolkit will change the database prefix on the destination site to match that on the source during sync.
  • Synchronization of data between a regular WordPress instance and a multisite one is not supported. We recommend using cloning instead.

Caution: During synchronization, files and database tables copied from the source overwrite those present on the destination. Any changes made to the files and database tables on the destination prior to synchronization will be discarded and lost without warning.

To synchronize a WordPress site data with another site:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains and click WordPress in the menu on the right.

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  2. Click the Sync button next to the name of the WordPress installation you want to synchronize.

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  3. Under "Destination WordPress Installation", select the destination WordPress installation you want to synchronize the data with. This WordPress installation may be related to the same or another subscription.

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  4. Under “Select Content to be Copied”, select which data you want to synchronize with the destination WordPress site:
    • “Files Only” - synchronize only the website files, including the WordPress core files and the files related to themes and plugins. By default, the files .htaccess, web.config, and wp-config.php are not synchronized, as modifying these files may disrupt the operation of WordPress. You can have WordPress Toolkit synchronize the wp-config.php file by selecting the "Synchronize wp-config.php" checkbox. To make the checkbox visible, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, select the "Allow to copy wp-config.php during file synchronization" checkbox, and then click OK.

      Note: Even if you choose to synchronize the wp-config.php file, the information related to the database will not be synchronized. This prevents the target WordPress instance from corruption. Custom settings specified in the wp-config.php file on the target instance will be overwritten with those from the source instance.

    • “Database Only” - synchronizes only the database. You can select to import all, new, or selected database tables (for details, see the “Database synchronization” section below).
    • “Files and Database” - synchronizes both the website files and the database. You can choose to import all, new, or selected database tables by selecting the corresponding option (for details, see the Database synchronization section below).
  5. If you selected “Files Only” or “Files and Database” during step 4, two more options become available:
    • "Replace files modified on target" - by default, when synchronizing WordPress instances, if a file with the same name exists both on the source and the target instance and the file on the target instance is newer, the file from the source instance is not copied to the target instance, even if their contents differ. Select this checkbox to always overwrite files on the target instance with the files from the source.
    • "Remove missing files" - by default, when synchronizing WordPress instances, if a file exists on the target instance but is missing from the source instance, the file is untouched. Select this checkbox to remove files on the target instance that are missing from the source.

    You can hide these options, making them unavailable to yourself and your customers. To do so, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, clear the "Use rsync for file synchronization operations" checkbox, and then click OK.

  6. When you are satisfied with the selected destination and the content to be synchronized, click OK.
  7. Before synchronizing WordPress instances, WordPress Toolkit suggests creating a restore point. You can use it to roll back the changes made during synchronization. If you do not want to create a restore point, clear the "Create a restore point" checkbox. Learn how you can recover your WordPress instance using the restore point in the "Restoring a WordPress Instance" section below.

    Caution: Every WordPress instance can only have a single restore point. Creating a restore point overwrites the existing restore point, if any.

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  8. Click Start to begin synchronization.

The synchronization of WordPress instances has started.

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When the synchronization is finished, you will see a page displaying the settings of the source WordPress instance. On the page, you can see the last time synchronization was performed. You can click the “Visit the target instance.” link to see the target instance page opened in a new tab.

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Database synchronization

When you choose to synchronize databases (that is, you have selected either the Database Only or the Files and Database option), you need to specify which database tables you want to synchronize:

  • "All Tables" (the default option)
  • "New tables"
  • "Selected tables" - if you select this option, you can see the list of available database tables and select which ones you want to synchronize. If you want to synchronize all changes except for pages, posts, and users, you can select all database tables except the tables with the _postmeta, _posts, _username, and _users suffixes, by clicking the corresponding link.

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Restoring a WordPress Instance

When you update or synchronize a WordPress instance, WordPress Toolkit suggests creating a restore point before beginning the operation. If you are not happy with the results, you can use the restore point to roll back the changes and restore your instance to the state it was in before the operation.

By default, a restore point contains only the data that will be affected when synchronizing or updating. You can have WordPress include all the target instance data, both files and the database, in the restore point. To do so, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, select the "Always make full instance snapshots" checkbox, and then click OK. Full restore points provide the maximum chances of successful recovery, but take longer to create and take up more disk space than regular restore points.

To restore a WordPress instance from a restore point:

  1. Go to WordPress and click the instance you want to restore.
  2. Click Roll back.

    restore point2

  3. Click Continue.

The restoration will begin. Your instance will be restored to the state it was in before the operation.

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The restore point takes up disk space which is included in your allowed disk space quota. After you have restored your WordPress instance, or once you have determined that all is good and there is no need to restore, you can remove the restore point by clicking Remove the Restore Point.

Caution: Every WordPress instance can only have a single restore point. Creating a restore point overwrites the existing restore point, if any.

It is important to note that a restore point is not the same as a backup. Making any changes to the target instance after you synchronize or update it may make restoring from the restore point impossible. If you are synchronizing or updating a live production WordPress instance, consider backing up your subscription beforehand in addition to creating a restore point.

Note: WordPress Toolkit suggests creating a restore point only when you update a single WordPress instance. You can do this by clicking the Update to … button from WordPress, the “Installations” tab

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or from the WordPress instance page.

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Protecting the Website with a Password

You can set a password to protect access to your WordPress website. Anyone visiting a password-protected website must enter the valid username and password to view the website content.

pass

Password protection is useful in the following cases:

  • The website is under development and you do not want anyone else to see it.
  • You want to show a demo version of the website only to certain visitors.

To protect a WordPress website with a password:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance you want to password protect.
  2. In the Access Info section, click the change link next to Password-protected access.
  3. Fill in the required fields and select the Restrict public access to this website checkbox, and click OK.

To switch off password protection, clear the "Restrict public access to this website" checkbox and click OK.

 

Maintenance Mode

When a WordPress website enters maintenance mode, the website's content is hidden from visitors without being changed or otherwise affected. Visitors accessing your website when it is in maintenance mode see a maintenance screen webpage instead of the website content.

Switching on the maintenance mode

Your WordPress website enters maintenance mode automatically when you are:

  • Upgrading your WordPress instance.
  • Synchronizing WordPress instances via WordPress Toolkit.

If you are making changes to your website and want to temporarily hide it from visitors, you can manually put it into maintenance mode.

To put a WordPress website into maintenance mode:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance you want to put into maintenance mode.
  2. In the Developer tools section, click the change link next to Maintenance mode.
  3. Select the Enabled radio button in the Maintenance mode section, and click OK.

To take your website out of maintenance mode, select the Disabled radio button, and click OK.

Configuring Social Networks Links of Maintenance Page

The maintenance page can feature links to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

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You can set the default URLs for each social network. This way, when a WordPress website is put into maintenance, clicking one of the buttons displayed on the maintenance page takes the visitor to the specified URL (unless the URL was changed when customizing the maintenance page).

To do so, go to WordPress, go to the "Global Settings" tab, type the desired URLs under "Maintenance Mode", and then click OK.

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Customizing the maintenance page

Plesk WordPress Toolkit allows you to change certain attributes of the maintenance page to make it more informative. For example you can:

  • Change the text displayed on the maintenance page.
  • Add a countdown timer.
  • Provide links to social network pages.

To customize the maintenance page:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance whose maintenance page you want to customize.
  2. In the Developer tools section, click the change link next to Maintenance mode.
  3. In the Screen Text section, you can change the text displayed. Use HTML tags to format the text's appearance.
  4. In the Timer section, you can set up and switch on the countdown timer that will be displayed on the maintenance page.

    Note: The timer is only meant to inform visitors about the estimated duration of the remaining downtime. Your website is not taken out of maintenance when the countdown is finished; you must do that manually.

  5. In the Social Network Links section, provide or remove links to social network pages.
  6. Click OK.

If you have coding skills, you can customize the maintenance page beyond the options described above. You can do this for a particular WordPress website or for all WordPress websites hosted on the server.

To customize the maintenance page for a particular website:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance whose maintenance page you want to customize.
  2. Click the “template” link at the top of the screen and edit the maintenance page template in Code Editor.
  3. Click OK.

To customize the maintenance page for all WordPress websites hosted on the server:

  1. Edit the server-wide maintenance page template:

    (Plesk for Linux) /usr/local/psa/var/modules/wp-toolkit/maintenance/template.phtml

    (Plesk for Windows) %plesk_dir%\var\modules\wp-toolkit\maintenance\template.phtml

  2. When you put a WordPress website in maintenance mode for the first time, the customized maintenance page template is applied automatically.

The customized server-wide maintenance page template is applied only to WordPress websites that had never been put in maintenance mode before. To apply it to a WordPress website that had already been put in maintenance mode, do the following:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance to which you want to apply the customized server-wide maintenance page template.
  2. Click the “restore” link at the top of the screen.

This replaces the website-specific maintenance page with a copy of the server-wide template.

Restoring the default maintenance page

If necessary, you can restore the default maintenance page. You do it differently depending on whether you have customized the server-wide template or not.

To restore the default maintenance page if the server-wide template has not been changed:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance whose maintenance page you want to reset to default.
  2. Click the “restore” link at the top of the screen.

To restore the default maintenance page if the server-wide template has been changed:

  1. Revert the changes made to the server-wide maintenance page template by replacing the file:

    (Plesk for Linux) /usr/local/psa/admin/plib/modules/wp-toolkit/resources/maintenance/template.phtml

    (Plesk for Windows) %plesk_dir%\admin\plib\modules\wp-toolkit\resources\maintenance\template.phtml

    with the following file:

    (Plesk for Linux) usr/local/psa/var/modules/wp-toolkit/maintenance/template.phtml

    (Plesk for Windows) %plesk_dir%\var\modules\wp-toolkit\maintenance\template.phtml

  2. When you put a WordPress website in maintenance mode for the first time, the default maintenance page template is applied automatically.

The default server-wide maintenance page template is applied only to WordPress websites that had never been put in maintenance mode before. To apply it to a WordPress website that had already been put in maintenance mode, do the following:

  1. Go to Websites & Domains > WordPress and click the name of the WordPress instance whose maintenance page you want to reset to default.
  2. Click the “restore” link at the top of the screen.

This replaces the website-specific maintenance page with a copy of the default server-wide template.

 

Access WP-CLI

WP-CLI is the official WordPress command-line interface for managing WordPress sites. More information can be found here .

You can access WP-CLI directly from the Plesk command-line interface using the wp-toolkit utility with no need to install WP-CLI on the server.

Read more about the wp-toolkit utility.

To call a WP-CLI command via the Plesk command-line interface:

Connect to your Plesk server via SSH (on Linux) or via RDP (on Windows) and, in the command line, run the command:

plesk ext wp-toolkit --wp-cli -instance-id [ID] [command] [options]

where:

  • [ID] is the ID of the WordPress installation in Plesk. To learn the ID, go to WordPress and click the name of the WordPress installation. The ID will be displayed at the end of the URL in the browser. For example, if the URL ends with /id/2, then the ID=2.
  • [command] is a WP-CLI command prefixed by -- (for example, -- core).
  • [options] is the list of the WP-CLI command's options.

The full list of WP-CLI commands and their options can be found here .

Examples:

To get the main WordPress information (a blog name, a web site URL, a version, an update version, plugins, and themes):

plesk ext wp-toolkit --wp-cli -instance-id 4 -- core info

To get help for the core command:

plesk ext wp-toolkit --wp-cli -instance-id 4 -- help core

To install and activate the latest version of the bbPress plugin from wordpress.org:

plesk ext wp-toolkit --wp-cli -instance-id 4 -- plugin install bbpress --activate

Note: To make the changes performed by running a WP-CLI command visible in the Plesk user interface, go to WordPress, click the name of the WordPress installation, and then click Refresh.

 

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