Getting started with a Plesk reseller account

Plesk 12.5 and newer come with some extremely powerful reseller account controls. Unlike cPanel (and WHM), it’s not necessary to learn how to use two completely different panels, Plesk integrates everything beautifully into one easy to manage panel. That said there are a few things to know about the feature set and best practices for organisation of hosting plans.

Billing

Plesk does not include a billing solution. If you wish to also provide complete web hosting automation from order straight through to login to Plesk without your intervention, then you’ll also need to order a billing solution, like WHMCS. With WHMCS you’ll be able to set up order forms, client accounts, invoices, and recurring hosting plans that connect to your Plesk reseller service plans. This way, when a client orders, their chosen product will be automatically provisioned to your reseller account.

If you do not set up a hosting-friendly billing solution, you’ll need to manually create invoices for your clients with software like Square or PayPal, then manually create and manage their hosting plan.

Service Plans

In Plesk, Service Plans are basically templates and restriction controls for the hosting plans you create. If you’ll be offering your clients more than one plan, like one with 5GB storage and one with 20GB, then you’ll want to create one Service Plan for each.

You can also do neat things with service plans that apply from a templating perspective. For example, you can specify particular configurations, like enabling gzip caching in nginx, to your Service Plan and it will be automatically applied to any newly created subscriptions created from the Service Plan.

If you haven’t customized your subscriptions after creating them, then you’ll also have the option of syncing any changes you make to your Service Plan, with all previously created Subscriptions.

Customers, Subscriptions, & Domains

Customers are pretty straightforward. For each client you have you should create a Customer in Plesk. Even if they don’t want access now, they might at some point in the future, and ensuring you provide them with their own customer account early on, makes providing that access simple for you later on down the road. Plus, from a usability perspective, it’s often simpler to find accounts later on when they’re organized cleanly from the start.

Customers own one or more subscriptions that they have access to.

Subscriptions are ‘live’ versions of a Service Plan. They typically start with one Domain — the primary domain — and can have as many add-on domains, subdomains, aliases, email accounts, ftp accounts, etc, as you’ve specified in the Service Plan it was provisioned from.

When you add domains to a subscription, they all share the same home folder and are all accessible to subscription-level users. Email addresses across all domains within a subscription appear when you visit the list of Email Accounts.

The key to remember is that domains that share the same subscription are very difficult to separate, particularly when they have email addresses set up.

You have the option of setting up each Customer with one or more subscriptions, which begs the question: if a customer has two domains, should I set them up with two subscriptions (one for each domain) or one subscription that houses both domains?

We prefer to tackle this decision by answering these two questions (which are really different versions of the same question):

  1. Is there’s a chance the domains will need to be separated later? It’s much simpler to do so if they’re separate subscriptions, so if the answer is yes, then use separate subscriptions!
  2. Are the domains actually related? For example, if the primary domain is BestBuy.com and you’re setting up a careers site at bestbuy-jobs.com, then you should absolutely add bestbuy-jobs.com to the BestBuy.com subscription. On the flip side, if they want to set up a website for their CEO HubertJoly.com, it would be best to set that up under its own subscription, as he could move on to a different company in the future and separating that domain would then be important.

That’s pretty much all there is to it! You create your Service Plans as templates to provision to Customers’ Subscriptions, which house your domains.

Jordan is a computer, security, and network systems expert and a lover of all things web and tech. Jordan consults with project management for software companies. Jordan is a founder and managing partner at Websavers Inc.

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