How to install Plesk Panel on Windows Server 2016

How to install Plesk Panel on Windows Server 2016

In this article, we will learn How to Install Plesk Panel for Windows Server 2016 hosted on Google Cloud Compute Engine?
We will cover the following key points in this article, 

  • Create a new VM Instance for Windows Server 2016 on Google Cloud Compute Engine.
  • Install Plesk Panel on Windows Server 2016.
  • Port and Firewall Rules for Plesk Panel.

Step 1: Create a new Windows Server 2016 VM Instance.

We will use a fresh installation for Window Server 2016 to install Plesk Panel. Open Google Cloud Compute Engine VM Instance page to create a new VM Instance for Windows Server 2016. Following are the inputs for our new Windows Server 2016 VM Instance
Name: windows-server-1
Region: us-central (Iowa)
Zone: us-central1-c
Machine type: 1 vCPU, 3.75 GB Ram
Boot Disk: Windows Server 2016 Datacenter with 50 GB SSD
Firewall: Allow HTTP and HTTPS traffic

Above is our VM machine setup. You may change the required values. For example, for the region, we selected the US. If your audience is from India, please select the India region.
Create a new VM Instance. Wait for the VM to start. Next, we need to create a password to access the VM.

Step 2: Create VM Password

Click on the newly created VM instance. On the next windows, select the set password option. On the set, password dialog box provides the username and then click on set. Google will generate a password for you. Copy and Save the password for future use. 

Copy and Save Password

Step 3: Connect to Server using Remote Desktop Connection

Next, to access our Server we need to download the RDP. To download the RDP, click on Drop down and select Download the RDP file.

Once the file is downloaded, double-click on the RDP file. On RDP Connection windows, select "Don't ask me again for connections to this computer" option. Also, under show details section, select Clipboard. You may also select the printer if you need to use it. Finally, click on the connect button to connect to the server.

In the Windows Security dialog enter the password which we generated in the step number 2.

Next, Remote Desktop Connection warns about the certificates. You can ignore this warning. Click on "Don't ask me again for connections to this computer" option and finally, click on Yes button.

Step 4: Edit Internet Explorer Security Options

Once we are on our server, the first thing we need to use the Internet Explorer to Download the Plesk panel installer. For this, we need to use internet explorer. To download the files, we need to change the internet explorer security options. Open Internet Explorer, from the settings, select Internet Options. On the Internet Options Dialog, select the security tab. 

Under the security, tab unchecks the "Enable Protected Mode (require restarting Internet Explorer)" option.

Under the Custom level, enable the JavaScript and File Download option. Click on the “Ok” button to apply the changes. If required restart the Internet Explorer.

Step 5: Register for the Free Trial
For this article, we will register for a free Plesk Panel Trial. At registration, we will receive a free trial key. We need to enter the trial key after the Plesk panel setup. For trial registration, we need to visit https://page.plesk.com/plesk-onyx-free-download. On this page, we need to complete the registration form.

After successful registration, you will receive the trial keys. Save the keys. We need to enter the trial keys after the installation. Following are the keys for us. 

As shown in the above image we have three different keys for three different editions. At the time of writing, this article following is the key difference between all the editions.

Compare all the editions and install it as per your requirement. In this article, we will install Plesk Web Hosting Edition.

Step 6: Download and Install Plesk Panel

We register for the trial. We have the trial keys. Next, we need to download and install Plesk Control Panel on our Windows Server 2016. To download the Plesk Installer visit at https://page.plesk.com/plesk-onyx-free-download. Scroll down and download the Plesk Installer in interactive mode. You have other options too, but we will use interactive mode to install Plesk panel. Download the installer and launch it. If the user account control asks for your permission to install the Plesk panel, click on the Yes button to continue.

After this, the Plesk panel installer opens the Internet Explorer. First, we need to provide the admin user account details. Enter the password for the account.

Next, on Install and Update page select Install and Upgrade Product option.

On the next page, we need to select the Plesk Panel Version. We selected "Plesk Onyx 17.8.11 (Stable)". Click on continue to go on the next page.

The next page is for the installation type, we need to select the installation type; we are using full installation type. Feel free to select your own installation type.

Component Selection Page: On this page we need to select the components we need to install. We are installing almost everything, for our demo, we selected the following additional components 

  • SQL Server 2017
  • Node.js
  • myLittleAdmin
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • .net Core
  • Asp .net Core

Once the component selection is down clicked on Continue for the next options.

On the next page, we need to select the directories. In our Google Cloud Compute engine Windows Server 2016 VM we only have one drive. Because of this, we are not changing the default locations. If you have multiple drives, feel free to use your desired location. On the same page, in the end, we need to provide the Plesk administrator password. Once done, click on the continue button.

Once you will click on the Continue button, the actual installation will start. Wait for the installation to finish.

When the installation is complete click on OK button.

Let’s visit our Server IP address. If everything is fine, you can check the Plesk default html page.

Next, try to open the Plesk Control Panel URL. At the time for writing this article, the Plesk control panel is available at https://:8443/

For us, the above URL is not working. Why? To allow requests on port number 8443 we first need to allow it from the server firewalls. We are using Google Cloud Compute Engine, so we will use the firewall rules available under Network services.

Step 7: Firewall rule for Plesk Control Panel

Open the firewall rules page. Create a new rule with the following information.

  • Name: plesk8443 (You can use any unique name here)
  • Targets: All instances in the network. (We are opening port 8443 for all the instances. You can specify a single instance also).
  • Source IP range: 0.0.0.0/0
  • Protocols and Ports: Specific protocols and ports > TCP to port 8443

Create the rule with the above information.

Once the firewall rule is created, try to visit the URL one more time. On visiting the URL, it is blocked due to invalid SSL certificates. You can see a different message based on the Antivirus installed in your machine. Simply, click on allow or "I understand the risk and wish to continue".

 

Next, we will see the Plesk Control Panel Login Page. To access this control panel, use admin as a username and the password which we set in the last step at the time of installation.

On Successful login, we will redirect on initial Plesk configuration. Here we need to provide our contact information, new admin password and license key. Provide the appropriate options and then click on the Enter Plesk button.

Finally, our Plesk panel installation is completed successfully. Next, we will add our first domain.

Step 8 Add a Domain

We are on Websites & Domains. Click on Add a Domain button to add our first domain.
Enter your domain information. We need to add vlemon.ooo. The following information is based on vlemon.ooo domain. 

Click on Ok to add the domain. If your name servers and DNS records are not updated you will see a warning message. To resolve the issue, we need to create a DNS zone, update the name servers and add some A RECORD for our domain. You can refer this article How to map a Domain with Google Cloud Compute Engine? It is a step-by-step guide to map a domain with Google Cloud Compute Engine.

DNS Zone for our domain vlemon.ooo

Step 9 Sub Domains for mail, SQL Admin and Other

With Plesk, we will use Mail and my little admin. To use both the services we first need to create the appropriate subdomains records in DNS. Following image for a DNS entry for webmail.vlemon.ooo. You need to create the same for your domain.

After adding a valid entry, you are able to access webmail on your domain.
Definitely to use webmail you first need to create an email account.

Note: For Google Cloud Compute engine, users you are not able to send email outside your domain.

Following image for myLittleAdmin. To access it you need to create a DNS entry for mssql.vlemon.ooo. Here vlemon.ooo is our domain.

Step 10 Install Word Press

We are almost done with everything. Finally, we will install WordPress on our new domain. To install WordPress, click on Install Apps button. From the featured applications select WordPress. Wait for the installation to finish. 

We are done with the Word Press installation.

Step 11 Plesk Panel Advisor

We are almost done with the Plesk Panel installation. What is next? Next visit the Plesk Panel advisor page to install and configure the recommended plugins. It is important things to be done after the Plesk Panel installation.

Conclusion

We are done with the basic of Plesk Panel installation. There are lots of things we still need to configure before start using the Plesk Panel. We will cover all those in our upcoming articles. 

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