Choosing Your Cloud Sites Technology Setup

Behind Cloud Sites, racks full of both Linux and Windows servers power over 100,000 sites and applications. Every Windows-based page is served from clusters built and optimized especially for Windows, and every Linux-based page is served from clusters built and optimized especially for Linux. We use advanced load balancing technologies to automatically detect the type of technology you are running and route each request to the proper pool of servers.

This is a great example of the power of cloud computing, since you no longer have to make a hosting choice between Linux and Windows. Both PHP and .NET are included, allowing you to choose the technology you need site by site.
Continue reading “Choosing Your Cloud Sites Technology Setup”

How to Configure Cyberduck for Use with Storm Object Storage

Storm Object Storage delivers a durable, secure, highly available solution for storage needs of virtually any size. With object storage access occurs via API calls to the object storage cluster, which replaces the need to rely on additional servers for dedicated storage.

Here we use the client Cyberduck to interact with Storm Object Storage. Cyberduck is available for download from https://cyberduck.io/?l=en.

Pre-Flight Check
  • These instructions are intended specifically for configuring Cyberduck for use with Storm Object Storage.
  • I’ll be working from a Microsoft Windows 8 desktop with Cyberduck already installed.

Continue reading “How to Configure Cyberduck for Use with Storm Object Storage”

What Is a web.config File?

If your server uses IIS, you can use web.config files to control your website’s configuration without editing your server configuration files. You can even apply different settings to different directories within your website.

You can easily create a web.config file by creating a plaintext file and uploading it to your server. If you have multiple web.config files, remember that files higher up in the filepath always take precedence. If you want to make a configuration change to your whole server, we recommend editing server-level IIS settings instead.

Before making any changes to configuration files, we strongly recommend you take a backup of the file.

Some common uses for web.config files include:

  • redirecting URLs to be more easily readable (e.g., mysite.com/product/shirt instead of mysite.com/prodid=1234)
  • loading custom error pages (e.g., 404 pages)
  • forcing your site to use https instead of http.
  • password protecting certain directories
  • preventing hot-linking

If you have a server that uses Plesk, we recommend using the Plesk control panel to change these types of configurations instead of web.config files. You can also use the File Manager in Plesk to edit the web.config file.

Log In to Storm VPN using ShrewVPN on Windows 8, 8.1 & 10


Using a VPN connection to manage your server can have a handful of benefits. Generally the most important benefit to using a VPN is security. When you connect to the Storm VPN your internet traffic to the Liquid Web network will be encrypted.

Your computer will be connecting to your server using a local VPN IP address. If your home IP is blocked you can still use your VPN connection to access the server. It’s important to note that Storm VPN connections cannot be used to access servers outside Liquid Web’s network.
Continue reading “Log In to Storm VPN using ShrewVPN on Windows 8, 8.1 & 10”

How To Generate and Renew Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates in Plesk 12.5

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority from the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). It enables anyone to install a free trusted SSL certificate on their website and benefit from the enhanced security an encrypted connection provides. Unlike a self-signed SSL certificate, which also is free and secure (but not verified), a Let’s Encrypt certificate is recognized as fully verified and will display the padlock icon in the address bar of modern browsers.

Beginning with version 12.5, Plesk provides access to both a plugin which interfaces with the Let’s Encrypt CLI client and an extension for use within Plesk. Please note that Plesk’s support for Let’s Encrypt applies to some Linux distributions as well as Windows, and while these instructions may also apply to a Linux server running CentOS 6 or higher, additional configuration beyond the scope of this article may be necessary.

Pre-Flight Check

  • This article is specifically intended for enabling the Let’s Encrypt extension in Plesk 12.5 on a Windows server.
  • You will need to log into Plesk as an Administrator. In this tutorial, we’re using Plesk’s Power User view, but instructions for the Service Provider view are included alongside each step.
  • The domain name on which you want to install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate must resolve in a browser (even if it has no content). You won’t be able to obtain a Let’s Encrypt on a domain name that does not pass validation.
  • If you prefer to use a standard paid SSL certificate, you may refer to our article Windows: How to Generate a CSR and Install an SSL in Plesk.

Step #1: Enable the Let’s Encrypt Extension

  1. Log into Plesk as an Administrator and click on the Extensions menu item, then click the Extensions Catalog button.
    If you’re using the Service Provider view, Extensions is under the Server Management menu item.
  2. In the Extensions Catalog, click the Install button next to Let’s Encrypt to install the extension:

    1ExtMgmtCatalogLetsEncrypt

  3. Once the extension has installed successfully, you will be returned to the main Extensions page, where you’ll see Let’s Encrypt listed:

    2LEInstalled

Step #2: Install the Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate on Your Domain

  1. Click the Websites & Domains item in Plesk’s main menu, and click on the Let’s Encrypt menu item:
    If you’re using the Service Provider view, Domains is listed under the Hosting Services menu item. You’ll need to click on the domain name to access the screen below.

    3OnSite

  2. Enter a valid email address in the field and check the box next to Include www … if you want the SSL certificate to cover the domain both with and without the “www” prefix, and then click the Install button.
    Note: If you do not check the Include www … box, then your certificate will be valid only for yourdomain.com. If you do check the box, both yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.com will be covered.

    4InstallSSL

  3. Once installed, you will be returned to the previous page where a success message will let you know the process is completed.

    5certinstalled

    If the process was not successful, check that the domain name you entered is valid. The domain name you entered in the Let’s Encrypt request form must:

    • be spelled correctly.
    • be registered and active.
    • resolve in a browser.

    If you have just created or added the domain to your server, make sure that you also have added the appropriate DNS records (an A record pointing to your server IP, at a minimum), and give any recent DNS changes time to propagate.

  4. From the Websites & Domains menu page, click on the Hosting Settings link for your domain and ensure that the SSL support box is checked under the Section, and that the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is selected as shown below:
    If you’re using the Service Provider view, Domains is listed under the Hosting Services menu item. You’ll need to click on the domain name, then Hosting Settings.

    6hostingsettings

Step #3: Renewing Your Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate in Plesk

Plesk’s Let’s Encrypt extension makes renewals easy. As long as you generated and installed the SSL certificate using the extension as outlined above, Plesk will automatically renew the certificates with no further action on your part.

By default, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates are valid for 90 days, but Plesk will automatically renew them once a month as recommended by Let’s Encrypt’s developers. The shorter renewal period helps guarantee your security and the process should be completely transparent to you and your site’s visitors. As a bonus, should a renewal attempt fail for any reason, you won’t run the risk of having to race the clock while troubleshooting the failure.

Should you ever need to renew a certificate manually, you can do that from the domain’s Let’s Encrypt menu item under Websites & Domains; the Install button text will change to read Renew if a certificate is already installed.
 

How to Generate a CSR and Install an SSL in Plesk

Pre-Flight Check

  • This article is specifically intended for generating a Certificate Signing Request and installing a standard SSL certificate on a Windows server running Plesk.
  • We’ll walk through ordering the SSL via Liquid Web’s Manage interface, but you can use the CSR you generate in Plesk to purchase an SSL from the vendor of your choice.
  • If your Windows server is running Plesk 12.5 or higher, you can check out our tutorial on Using Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates with Plesk 12.5.

Step #1: Generate a Certificate Signing Request in Plesk

  1. Log into Plesk.
  2. Select Domains from the main menu and click on the domain name to access its settings page.
  3. Click on SSL Certificates to bring up the SSL certificate page:

    WinPleskSSL1

  4. Now click the blue Add SSL Certificate button:

    WinPleskSSL2

  5. Fill out the request form and then press the Request button:

    WinPleskSSL3

    While the fields are self-explanatory, pay special attention to these three required fields:

    • Certificate name: This is how the certificate will be displayed in Plesk. To make it easier to identify later, you’ll likely want to use the domain name.
    • Domain name: If you want your SSL certificate to cover the domain with and without the “www”, you must enter the “www” version here.
      • A certificate for www.yourdomainname.com will cover both yourdomainname.com and www.yourdomainname.com.
      • A certificate for yourdomainname.com will only apply to yourdomainname.com.
    • Email: Plesk will email the CSR and details to this address, although we will walk through retrieving the CSR directly from Plesk in the next step.
  6. Upon submitting the form, you’ll be redirected to the domain’s SSL Certificates page. Click on the certificate name (“Sample” in this example) to return to the certificates page, where you’ll be able to copy the CSR:

    WinPleskSSL4

  7. On the SSL Certificates page for the domain, scroll down to the section labeled CSR, and copy all the text contained in that field:

    WinPleskSSL5

    Important: Leave this window up, as you will return to it once you have ordered and obtained the certificate. You will paste the certificate into the Upload the certificate as text field just above the CSR section on this same page.

Step #2: Order the SSL Certificate in Manage

  1. In a new browser window or tab, log into your Liquid Web Manage dashboard.
  2. Click on the Create button near the top left of the page and select SSL Certificate:

    WinPleskSSL6

  3. On the Order an SSL Certificate page, paste the CSR you copied from Plesk into the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) field.

    WinPleskSSL7

    The CSR Details section will populate with the information you entered in Plesk.

    • Review the CSR details. If you need to correct any errors, go back to Step One and re-generate the CSR.
    • Select the length of time for which you’d like the certificate to be valid.
    • Select a Verification Method. Typically you will want to leave this set to “Automatic”.
    • Click the Purchase SSL Certificate button to order the certificate and have it charged to your card on file.

Step #3: Verify and Obtain your SSL Certificate

  1. Your SSL certificate is accessible from your Manage dashboard.
    • Click on Overview in the left menu of your Manage dashboard.
    • Click on SSL Certificates under the Services section.
    • Click the [ + ] button next to the domain name to expand the window.
    • Click the Dashboard button to access the SSL dashboard.
  2. If automatic verification was successful, you will see a green button next to Verified in the Status column. If automatic verification failed, follow the instructions for verifying the SSL via DNS record, HTML meta tag, or email at Installing an SSL Certificate.
  3. Once the certificate status is displayed as Verified, click the link labeled X509 Certificate to pop up a window containing the certificate. You will need to copy the contents of the certificate in that popup before returning to your Plesk browser window or tab.
    Important: Leave this window up, as you may need to return to it to copy and paste the Intermediate Bundle from this screen into the CA Certificate field in Plesk.

    WinPleskSSL8

Step #4: Install the SSL Certificate in Plesk

  1. Now return to the Plesk browser window or tab you left open in Step #1, and paste the certificate into the Upload the certificate as text field just above the CSR.

    If the CA certificate does not fill in automatically, you will need to copy the Intermediate Bundle from the Manage browser window or tab you left open in Step #3 into the CA certificate field.

    WinPleskSSL9

  2. Now click the Upload Certificate button to add the certificate.

Step #5: Configure the Domain to Use SSL

Now that the SSL certificate is uploaded, all that remains is to enable SSL support for the domain.

  1. In the Plesk menu, click on Websites & Domains.
  2. Click on the domain name.
  3. Click on Hosting Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Security section, select the certificate to use and check the box next to SSL support.

    WinPleskSSL9