Plesk users explained


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  • Applies to: DV
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: Plesk administrator access
  • Applies to: DV 4.0
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: Plesk administrator access

Overview

Plesk 11 incorporates a few different kinds of users. Some are specific to the Plesk control panel suite, while others are used on web servers everywhere. Understanding the kinds of users, and what they do, will help you administer your server more efficiently.

Plesk logins

These users have access to at least one type of Plesk panel - the Power User Panel, the Server Administration Panel, and the Control Panel. The panels provide an array of server administration features - to users with the appropriate level of access. Common features are shown here for your convenience, but they are not listed exhaustively. To read more about these different kinds of Plesk panels, see this article:

The users have a nested relationship with one another; that is, a higher-level user will have the same access as a lower-level user, plus some additional powers. Here's a quick summary of the user relationships:

  • admin/root
    • Reseller
      • customer/subscriber
        • Control Panel user

So, for example, a customer has the same access as a Control Panel user, plus some additional access.

Really, the only user you need to access everything in Plesk is admin. Additional users are a convenient way for you to grant restricted or simplified access to other people.

admin

The standard user that comes with the Plesk control panel suite is admin. It is activated by default when you purchase your server. This user has the powers of all the other types of users and can access everything in Plesk.

Panel access:

  • Power User Panel
    • reboot server
    • start and stop web services
    • view resource alerts
    • cannot make changes to files owned by root
  • Server Administration Panel
    • create Resellers and customers
    • create and assign subscriptions/domains
    • change server hostname
    • IP allocation
    • master SSL certificate settings
    • master database access
    • mailing lists
    • migrations
    • backups
    • firewall settings
    • server-wide email and spam settings
    • plus all Reseller abilities
  • Control Panel
    • access via warp (no direct login)
    • webmaster tools - see Control Panel user for details

Permissions modified by: (none)

This user also has the access of these additional users:

  • Reseller
  • customer/subscriber
  • Control Panel user

Web server, non-Plesk function(s):

  • admin is the root user for MySQL. The username is admin, but it functions exactly like root on other MySQL servers.

root

NOTE:

admin and root are very similar users. Most tasks do not need root access. We suggest using admin where possible.

root is the highest-level user, but with that power comes the opportunity to change your server configuration in unsupported ways, which might break Plesk. admin is a safer user for most tasks.

root is the highest-level user. This user has the powers of all the other types of users and can access everything in Plesk.

Panel access:

  • Power User Panel
    • Reboot server
    • Start and stop web services
    • View resource alerts
    • Can make changes to all files in the File Manager
  • Server Administration Panel
    • Uses the admin account when in this panel
  • Control Panel
    • access via warp (no direct login)
    • uses the admin account when in this panel

Permissions modified by: (none)

This user also has the access of these additional users:

  • Reseller
  • customer/subscriber
  • Control Panel user

Web server, non-Plesk function(s):

  • root is the highest-level Linux user and SSH user. To learn more about these types of users, go to the Linux users section.
  • create more Linux users
  • change server configuration files
  • install software manually

Reseller

The Reseller allows you to grant someone else access to your Server Administration Panel with a separate login. This user will be able to access the panels listed below. Depending on how you customize the Reseller settings, this user will also be able to perform various server administration tasks, as well.

The idea behind the Reseller is that you can resell your server's physical resources, such as disk space and RAM, and then give your purchaser free reign over as many administrative controls as you think they will need. It enables a very hands-off type of reselling.

Username and password: Set in the Server Administration Panel.
Created by: admin - see How do I add a reseller in Plesk? for instructions.

Panel access:

  • Server Administration Panel
    • add subscriptions/domains for self or for customers under that Reseller
    • add customers with subscriptions
    • IP address settings
  • Control Panel
    • access via warp (no direct login)
    • webmaster tools - see Control Panel user for details

Permissions modified by:

  • admin

This user also has the access of these additional users:

  • customer/subscriber
  • Control Panel user

Web server, non-Plesk function(s): (none)

Customer and subscriber

Customers and subscribers are the same thing. A customer is a mid-level Plesk user who can be assigned subscriptions. Subscriptions allow you to host one or more domains, set up email and FTP, etc.

Username and password: Set in the Server Administration panel. Created by: admin or a Reseller

Panel access:

  • Control Panel
    • switch between subscriptions
    • plus webmaster tools - see Control Panel user for details

Permissions modified by:

  • admin
  • Reseller

This user also has the access of these additional users:

  • Control Panel user

Web server, non-Plesk function(s): (none)

Subscription

A subscription is not a type of user, but it's relevant to the concept of a customer/subscriber. Customers can "own" one or more subscriptions, and log into the Control Panel for each subscription they own. The admin user can also have subscriptions and warp into the Control Panel for any of his/her own subscriptions.

A subscription has at least one main domain, and can have additional domains. These domains are grouped together in a single instance of the Control Panel. If you have more than one subscription, you can toggle between them in the Control Panel to access different groups of domains.

For any one subscription, you can set up:

  • additional domains
  • email addresses for any domain in the subscription
  • additional FTP users with custom access to a specific folder within the subscription
  • databases and database users
  • Control Panel users
  • Application Vault software

All of the above tasks are performed from within the Control Panel as admin, a customer, or a Control Panel user.

You can also change the server-level settings for the subscription, such as the amount of disk space that it can use, or the total number of email addresses allowed. You will make these changes in the Server Administration Panel.

All of the web content for a single subscription belongs to the same Linux user. See the Linux users section below for more detail.

To see how to add or edit a subscription for the main admin user, go to this article:

Control Panel user

A Control Panel user has access to the Control Panel for the set of domains under a single subscription. These users are highly customizable, and access to certain features can be mixed and matched as desired.

Username and password: Set in the Control Panel. Created by: admin, Reseller, or customer. See Control Panel user for instructions.

Panel access:

  • Control Panel
    • domains
    • email users
    • FTP users
    • databases
    • create additional Control Panel users ("admin" Control Panel users only)

Permissions modified by:

  • admin
  • Reseller
  • customer

This user also has the access of these additional users: (none)

Web server, non-Plesk function(s): (none)

Web server users

Linux users

A Linux user is a user with an account in the operating system itself. It can have permission to read, write, and/or execute a particular file or set of files. These permissions play an important role in email, FTP, and SSH, because these three services all modify files on the server in some way or another. For more about file permissions, go to this article:

root is the highest-level user. It can change every file. If it doesn't have access to a file, it can grant itself access.

There are several system users that should not be used by a person. apache, for example, is the user for the web server. These users may show up in internal error logs, but otherwise should not greatly affect your personal server experience.

All of the web content in a subscription belongs to one Linux user. This user is typically called domainuser in examples, but its name can be whatever you want. The name is set when you create a subscription.

SSH users

SSH allows you to control your server via command line. SSH users are always Linux users, although not every Linux user has SSH enabled.

SSH access is a prerequisite for a particular user to have SFTP access.

By default, the only SSH user on the system is root.

For security purposes, you can disable root:

Plesk also enables you to enable SSH access for the default FTP user for each subscription. You can read about how to do this in the Step 7 of this article (the section on SFTP):

You can add more SSH users outside of the Plesk interface (unsupported) by following this article:

FTP users

FTP users allow you to upload content to your server.

Every subscription has at least one FTP user, domainuser in the examples. This is also a Linux user and can have SSH access enabled.

You can create additional FTP users with custom access to a particular folder or domain as well.

Tip: If you need to upload high-level files, root works as an SFTP user (but not FTP). Don't use root for website files, though, or you will run into permissions problems.

Email users

Email users allow you to log into a specific mailbox to read mail, and to send email through the server.

Database users

Database users allow you - or your applications (think WordPress) - to log into the MySQL server and access your databases.

admin is the root MySQL user. You can use admin to perform high-level database tasks (don't use it to make databases for your domains, though).