Plesk Round Two


Getting ready to go live, everything was almost there. The domain name was purchased, just had to do some cleanup. The initial version of this site was installed via the Plesk Panel on another domain, I just had to copy over the web app.

One misguided click and the entire website was gone! Why you may ask, because of Plesk!

What Happened?

For those that have not used Plesk, let me give you a overview. Some of the features that it includes is managing domains and installing pre-configured web applications. I opted to try out the web application you are seeing now, on another domain. After spending two days setting it up and adding initial content, I was ready to go live.

Plesk supports cloning one domain website to another and I assumed, wrongly I might add, that they will be separate instances. I went to the "Installed Apps" panel and removed the app, and everything went dark. The copy of my website was dead in the water, because of a single fatal flaw in the design of the management software, the database.

The software not only included the installation files but also a database. When you clone a website, it does not touch DB! So after clicking remove, it not only removed the files but also the database, which was now being shared by two domains.

This is a major flaw in the design of the Panel, from a usability perspective. When you remove an app, it should ask whether to remove the database! I assumed that it will only remove the files, and leave the database alone. Reality kicked me in the gut!

How I spent my evening...

So there I was, eyes wide open, kicking myself in the leg... Fortunately for me, the entire website that once existed, was loaded in my browser. For the next 3 hours, I spent re-configuring a brand new instance of my website. As I had only two articles written, not a lot of content was lost.. Actually, come to think of it, nothing was lost.

Users beware, if you think you can't royally screw something up with Plesk, you have another thing coming. I bet you there other little gotchas in the software.

Tomasz Bogdal

Engineer by day, hacker at night. I take the road less traveled, dissect the unknown. Give me something new, and I'll master it by the dusk of dawn.

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