Plesk on Linux – Quick reference

Plesk Quick Reference… for those of us who hate Plesk.

Update Plesk Version: /usr/local/psa/bin/autoinstaller

Plesk user: (also the name of the init script) psa.

Plesk Daemon: Is actually “sw-cp-server” and logs to /var/log/sw-cp-server/error_log There is an issue with it on 9.0 and the CentOS openssl package.

Mail: qmail.

  • Maildirs are in /var/qmail/mailnames/
  • config is in /var/qmail/control/
  • /usr/local/psa/var/log — error log
  • /usr/local/psa/admin/log/ — status logs.
  • /var/qmail/bin/qmail-qstat — shows how many messages are in the queue
  • /var/qmail/bin/qmail-qread — cats the files of the email

we’re not using Dr. Web (the default Plesk spam filter) we’re using the Atomic Rocket Turtle wrapper, around clamd.

“Many email messages are sent from PHP scripts on the server. How can I find what domains these scripts are running on?”
“The server is saturated with SPAM. There are many messages in the queue. The mail is sent slowly.


Username is admin not root for login. Also there is no /root/.my.cnf by default

DNS: Bind.

  • config is still in /etc/named.conf
  • zone files are in /var/named/run-root/var/ however, plesk doesn’t use standard serial configurations, so if there’s any DNS changes that need to be made, make them through plesk.

Webserver: Apache. Also serves plesk’s pages, so if apache is down I believe that plesk will also report down.

  • logs are in /var/log/httpd
  • Error logs can also be broken down into the individual domains in locations like this: /var/www/vhosts/
  • domlogs are in /var/www/vhosts//statistics/logs/
  • configs are in /etc/httpd/

status should work, but you might have to install links,  and enable it in the apache configuration. It can be a security issue, so make sure you’re limiting access, if you have to set it up.

Firewall: Apf.

Should be running apf, but there is a plesk firewall module that’s installed. Watch for conflicts between the two, in case of oddness.

FTP Server: ProFTPD.

Can add addon ftp users from the Web Users section of the Plesk.
example of the root directory for those users: /var/www/vhosts/[]/web_users/[username]/

Differences between cPanel and Plesk

On the surface Plesk and cPanel are really not all that different. Both are control panels that are used to manage all facets of web hosting for a domain including mail, databases, and add ons. However, the two products go about this in a completely different way.


cPanel integrates tightly with the operating system and forces servers running it to function in a fairly uniform fashion. Examples of this are, configuration files existing in a uniform location on all cPanel servers and using cPanel tools to update server software such as using easyapache to update Apache and PHP. Updating components such as Apache, MySQL, and exim outside of cPanel using tools like yum will cause conflicts on the server.


The username admin is used to log into the Plesk web interface, when using SSH still use the user root.

Plesk works with the operating system to manage the server, leaving the server to manage packages such as Apache, MySQL, and qmail. On CentOS servers this means that Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Qmail will be managed using yum. The advantage to this has a great flexibility to how the services are installed and how they are configured.

Plesk is similar to cPanel in the way that if something can be manged via Plesk, it really should be. For the most part changes and modifications done via Plesk are stored in the Plesk database. If you do tasks outside of Plesk much like cPanel, Plesk will most likely not pick up on these changes and will remove them.

While for the majority of administrative tasks Plesk allows the operating system to handle them, there are a few tasks that should be done in Plesk. A list of these tasks are as follows

  • adding new domains
  • adding new IPs
  • adding new databases
  • adding email addresses
  • making changes to zone files
  • adding RBL’s
  • adding SSL certs
  • modifying accounts/domains

Service Monitoring (chkservd) on Plesk

To setup service level monitoring on Plesk Linux servers, the Watchdog module needs to be added. If installed this module will be available via the Modules section in the Plesk interface.

If this module is not installed, it can be installed via the Updater section in Server in Plesk 8. In Plesk 9 you need to use the Updates option under Help and Support.

Installing and configuring this module does not require any additional licensing from Plesk.

Links to Plesk documentation on the Watchdog service are located here: Plesk 8 and Plesk 9

Plesk Specific Files

  • Location of plesk public key: /etc/drweb/plesk.key
  • Location of key plesk files: /usr/local/psa/ kinda like /usr/local/cpanel
  • The Plesk version installed can be pulled from: /usr/local/psa/version
  • Plesk CP logs located: /usr/local/psa/admin/logs
  • Plesk daemon log: /var/log/sw-cp-server/error_log
  • Contains locations for alot of plesk related files: /etc/psa


On Plesk servers Plesk is installed ether via source or using yum. Below are the default installation locations for a yum install of Apache.

  • Apache conf is located: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
  • Apache logs located at: /var/log/httpd/
  • Location of Virtual hosts directory (where the actual web content lives – it will not be in /home!) /var/www/vhosts
  • Location of Subdomain data /var/www/vhosts/primary domain?/subdomains/subdomain/httpdocs/
  • Location of Apache domlogs and Apache error logs for each domain (Each domain has its own error_log file in this location): /var/www/vhosts//statistics/logs/
  • Location of Mod Security conf: /etc/httpd/conf.d/mod_security.conf
  • Location of default Mod Security rules: /etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/*.conf <—Core rules installed by modsec rpm

/etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/lwrules/*.conf <—These are the custom LW rules To whitelist the wp-admin sub-directory for WordPress:
vi /etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/lwrules/whitelist.conf
SecRuleRemoveById 300015 300016 300017
Then just restart Apache.

  • Location of the webpages: /var/www/vhosts/domainname/httpdocs
  • Location of the VirtualHost container include: /var/www/vhosts/domainname/conf/httpd.include


  • Mail login logs located at: /usr/local/psa/var/log/maillog
  • Location of plesk localdomains file: /var/qmail/control/virtualdomains
  • Location of mail folders for domains: /var/qmail/mailnames

By default Plesk does NOT create a default mailbox.


  • Plesk stores zone files at: /var/named/run-root/var and does not use .db for zone file names

Plesk does NOT follow standards for serial numbers and will revert to its own defaults ignoring other changes. However with plesk 8.6 it is now possible to change how plesk handles serials to use the standard formatting.


  • Location of the php.ini file when installed via yum: /etc/php.ini


  • Location of backups generated via Plesk interface: /var/lib/psa/dumps/

The backups are placed in a subfolder based on their client and domain number as generated by Plesk


  • Location of SSL’s generated via Plesk9 interface: /usr/local/psa/var/certificates


The Plesk Migration Manager does not migrate any stored SSL certificates, you will need to perform this task manually. In the event of server failure or migration, you can backup the SSL certificates in their raw format and transfer them to the new server.

SSL Domains

Plesk stores the SSL related files in a httpd.pem file inside a “cert” folder. Both the RSA private key and Certificate are kept inside this file the path to which is:

  • /home/httpd/vhosts/

Back up the RSA private key from this folder.


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