“Plesk is used on over 18,000 servers worldwide,” says SWsoft president and CEO Serguei Beloussov. “It’s used to configure websites and FTP, but it’s also used for email. We believe it configures between 30 million and 80 million mailboxes. We therefore decided to add protection from spam and security features.” The company has always been popular with small webhosts–its 18,000 servers are distributed across 2,000 webhosts.
The new version of Plesk simply uses publicly available blacklists, free or not. Admins can add rules of their own. Says Beloussov, “we hope to add the ability to configure filters per domain or even per email user.” The company is also examining building a challenge response system for future Plesk releases.
New security features include better password protection for administrators and end users, remote access using SSH, backup and restore utilities, and the ability to restrict server access based on originating IP address.
The company says the interface has been removed, which should reduce support calls. Plesk 6 also offers features in a category that might be called “user stupidity preemption.” It now has a password reminder feature. It also can prevent users from trying to use more than their allotted hard disk space.
The idea, says Beloussov, is to provide security without creating a complex interface. “Security is a very complicated thing. You can have a great security architecture, but if it’s difficult to configure, then nobody’s using it. Imagine if, in your apartment, you had three metal doors and each door had a lock with a 20 digit password. You’d probably leave two of the doors open all the time.” Or perhaps you’d use the window?
Plesk 6 also, of course, is better integrated with SWsoft’s Vituozzo virtual server architecture. Beloussov says the two companies are a great match for each other. “We were able to significantly lower our joint expenses and increase our joint revenue. Our products are complimentary and our people are complimentary.”
We talk to corporate webhost ServInt. Christian Dawson, ServInt’s director of corporate Internet services, says he was drawn to Plesk because of its integration with Virtuzzo. The company had been using in-house software for years, but needed added functionality from the complex (customer-accessible GUI) to the simple (allowing customers to change their own email accounts without requiring a call to ServInt).
During the Internet boom, ServInt, which was founded out of a college dorm, grew to become an Internet backbone. The company has shrunk back to its roots, which lie in webhosting. “We have customers paying $40,000 per month for 18 servers, top dollar for quality dedicated managed hosting, and he have budget customers as well. Virtuozzo will let us enter the $100 per month market where people need good hosting power but not dedicated managed servers,” explains Dawson.
The company has been working with SWsoft for only two months, and has been testing the product for much of that time. “We would not have gone live with Plesk until we tested it,” asserts Dawson. “We only provide the best to our customers and we think that we have that in this product.”
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