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Discussion of plesk ui usability

Discussion in 'Plesk Suggestions and Feedback' started by IgorG, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. IgorG

    IgorG Forums Analyst Staff Member

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    Our UI designers would like to get feedback from real Plesk users. They are interested in any problems that maybe not related to Graphic UI (form, color, icon), but more related to understanding of how the system works, why it behaves this way and how it should behave, inconveniencing of performing some important scenarios and so on. Thus they are especially interested in issues of usability of Plesk interface.

    Please write in this thread all you think about the convenience or inconvenience of the Plesk interface, about usability of Plesk interface. Each review will be carefully considered and analysed by our UI designers.

    Thank you for your attention and cooperation.
     
  2. Mshaker

    Mshaker Basic Pleskian

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    Some areas that need work

    Here are some areas that need some work:

    1. Creating a domain forwards (I had to hunt to find this now).
    2. SSL certificate installation and setup is confusing.
    3. Email user management. (Changing a password for an email is in two different places depending on if its linked to a user account or not).
     
  3. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    Mshaker, thank you for feedback. Can you please answer some questions so we can better understand these problems and implement proper solutions.

    1. Domain forwards
    You mean Add New Domain screen and Forwarding option for Hosting type?

    2. SSL certificate installation and setup
    Can you describe how you're doing it, step by step. It will help us in understanding how we can redesign it to get rid of confusion.

    3. Email user management
    Ok, I got it no questions here.
     
  4. Mshaker

    Mshaker Basic Pleskian

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    For both 1 and 2 I guess it just sin't apparent that specific tasks are only available by clicking on the subscription -> "websites and domains" -> click on the domain -> Now you have access to enable ssl etc. It seams that most tasks were a lot less clicks in plesk 9 (and even less clicks in plesk 8). I've been administrating plesk servers for over 10 years now and I spent a serious amount of time searching for how to handle specific tasks pin plesk 10 and 11.

    Eg forwarding:
    Plesk 9: Choose domains -> create domain -> choose hosting type "forwarding" -> finish.
    Plesk 10 and 11: Click on domain or user subscription that user is apart of -> click "websites and domains" -> Scroll to the bottom -> Click add new domain -> choose hosting type "forwarding" -> done.
     
  5. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    Ok, I see. It is not exactly about domain forwarding and certificates but navigation problem in general, regarding all domain specific tasks.
     
  6. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    Parallels...

    I have to agree with the sentiments, made, this is what I posted on another thread and was referred to this one...

    Over the years, Parallels has become 'God' and in my case (and I suspect for many others from conversations with other users), is fast becoming a real PAIN IN THE AR**E to use...!!!

    As a Web Hosting Company, we host for Individuals and Businesses that are 'End Users' and don't want any contact at all with their website, they PAY US to design, host and manage their services so they can get on and run their business...

    Plesk 10 & 11 are a nightmare, I don't have the need for 'USER ACCOUNTS', I don't have the need for 'SUBSCRIPTIONS' and I certainly don't PLESK to be able to install WORDPRESS and then TELL ME what it should be called with NO ability to 'define' the database name created... more importanlty I don't want to have to trawl through multiple pages to set up the Domain, DNS, E-Mail, Databases etc.... it appears to me (and I have worked in IT since 1982 and educated to Ph.D Level), that Parallels are assuming that the PLESK CONTROL panel in its current format is the 'way to go', when in fact, I am now looking at ALTERNATIVES.

    Why can't you release a 'LITE' Version so web hosts like ourselves can log in, create a domain and everything it needs without having to leave that page, only creating a unique username and login for FTP and file updates?

    There is nothing worse in any aspect of business when SOFTWARE Designers think they know MORE about MY BUSINESS and how it operates or how THEY want me to operate...

    Examples:

    You cannot migrate in a domain with an 'A' record for the 'www' as Plesk Designers have decided it should use a CNAME contrary to historical preferences. So instead of 'www' A 109.104.xx.xx they want it to have www CNAME www.domainname......! This causes a failure to migrate the domain, despite the fact it imports the mail accounts but you can't see them unless you look in the USERS option.

    With an ALIAS domain, it DOES NOT correctly configure domainname CNAME conicalurl so the alias does NOT work and guess what - within PLESK it WILL NOT permit you to CHANGE the DNS on the ALIAS Domain... DUH!

    My customers pay ME to design, host and maintain their websites, they don't want a user account or subscription so all I need is to login, create a domain with its config choices, set up their e-mails, a database if required and then log out...

    What I DON'T need is having to trawl through so many pages and links to set up one domain - what used to take 10-15 mins can now take up to an HOUR!

    With a LITE version of Parallels Control Panel, I should be able to login and do EVERYTHING on ONE (1) page, the full version of the Control Panel is designed really for large hosting companies SELLING shared hosting....
     
  7. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    DemonLee, as I understand, you also do not need "Customers" - you'd like Plesk to have just you (server admin) and your clients’ websites (domains).

    Have you tried Power User mode? It is specially designed to hide all service provider functionality (service plans, subscriptions, customers) and most probably will suit you very well. You can see demo of the mode at http://www.parallels.com/products/plesk/demos/ .
     
  8. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    Parallels 'LITE'

    Hi, yes I did, but this is what happened.

    1. I only got access to the DEFAULT domain we are forced to create - why do we even NEED a default domain?

    2. So you select the default domain and guess what, you get a nice little page of LINKS to take you to another page to configure each section of the domain... whats wrong with having it ALL on one page, it's not like there is a lot to configure - url, dns, database (maybe), e-mail accounts...!!!

    3. All the other domains are under the tab marked 'Web Spaces' and all the config options had disappeared...!

    What Parallels are not taking into account is that we don't need a set-up such as the type webfusion would use on a shared server where each client gets their own log-in account, what we need is simple.

    A. To create an Administrator Account.
    B. For that Administrator to be able to set up multiple domains they manage under their own 'root' (not site1 etc.)
    C. To have a SINGLE page for config.

    When the WWW first became available, up until around 5yrs ago, to set up a domain, including E-mails, FTP Access, databases etc would take me 15 mins max- now I would be lucky to complete 1 an hour due to the amount of times you are going back and forth through screens. I will draw up a page of what I would EXPECT to see for an Admin like myself and post it up in the next couple of days.
     
  9. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    Thank you for explanation, but still not so clear for me - how it has happened that all other domains on Webspaces tab, and not on Websites & Domains? How did you add them?
     
  10. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    Parallels 'LITE'

    Uhhhm, I added them as the Control Panels demands we add them, either by creating a 'subscription' or by creating a 'webspace'....!!!!!

    We 'used' to be able to click on 'Domains' and just add a 'domain', but now, that option is no longer available to us...!
     
  11. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    No, you do not have to create webspaces for each domain.

    Here is description from Webspaces tab - Webspace is an isolated piece of hosting resources which will run your websites and mail. Every webspace is designated for multi-domain hosting, but you will need more than one to isolate different applications and limit user access: Each webspace has individual access credentials (linked to a system user account), which allows you to limit user access to websites over FTP and SSH. Also, each webspace is associated with an IP address and an SSL certificate. So, you might want to have several webspaces if you need your websites to be hosted on different IPs, or if several websites should be properly secured with SSL.

    It means that if you do not need different accesses/IPs/SSL you can have several domains inside one webspace. See attachments where to find add new domain link.

    ---

    Btw, you can switch from one webspace to another via Webspace dropdown located at the top header (between left logo and search). For example, you can stay on Websites & Domains tab (where the most of domain hosting management operations are) and switch between webspaces. It may be handy if you have separate webspaces for each domain.
     

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  12. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    You are not getting it are you?

    1. Switch to Power User View, Home Page now only shows DEFAULT DOMAIN.
    2. Select 'Add Domain' and down the foot of the page it states: 'Hosting Settings' /site1 - I don't want to start calling websites by any other name or to have /site1 /site2 etc, I just want to ADD A DOMAIN...!!!

    3. Go to Websites and Domains - only Default Domain & Aliases/sub domains listed.

    4. Go to Webspaces - finally get a list of domains!

    5. Select a Domain, get only 'Resources' & 'Hosting Options - no config panel!

    6. Go to Mail, only mail accounts showing for main default website.

    7. Select Domain, get another page of 'home' page options, select Website and Domain, ooops, back to config for default domain.

    Guys - this is a COMPLETE MESS, at least in Parallels 9 I could just log in and create domain after domain without having to spend 2 days looking for config options.... I would NOT HAVE UPGRADED but you as a Company REFUSED to issue NEW 100 DOMAIN LICENCES on my 3 SERVERS.

    Now, as a CUSTOMER I have been paying for three (3) 100 Users Licences for hosting 300 Websites on 3 Servers.... I have recently upgraded TWO of the Servers both had to have PLESK 11 and SIX (6) weeks later I am still no closer to migrating them over to the new servers than I am to winning the lottery.

    Another issues is the migration of Wordpress Websites, we have 100 sitting on one server and CANNOT migrate them across because PLESK does not migrate over the FILE PERMISSIONS, but if we set up the new domain and install WORDPRESS from the PLESK Control Panel you will NOT let us defne the database name and so potentially I will end up with 100 defunct databases as I will have to create NEW ones manually to import from the existing custom made databases from the old servers... and then we cannot DELETE the old database the PLESK WORDPRESS INSTALL created...
     
  13. Nik K

    Nik K Plesk UI Design Staff Member

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    "5. Select a Domain, get only 'Resources' & 'Hosting Options - no config panel!"
    Click on "Switch to webspace", not on domain name. Or you can switch to another domain any time from any tab via "webspace" dropdown at the top, as I mentioned earlier. See attached screenshot.

    ---

    Yes, I see, this UI is not so suitable for this kind of scenarios, and we definitely should improve it.
     

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  14. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    Nick,

    Lets look at the options and what they say....



    .

    Power User view
    This view is intended for enabling a single, simplified interface for server administrators to manage their own websites, e-mail accounts, and other services.
    .

    Use Custom view
    Select this option to limit the number of actions the administrator can take in the Power User view. To change the availability of the actions, go to Tools & Settings > Custom View Settings.
    ...

    Service Provider view
    This view offers interfaces for use by the server administrator, resellers, and hosting end-users. Service Provider is the only view that includes integration with Customer and Business Manager, the billing system for automatically invoicing and charging your customers. Even if you use an external billing system, but require an interface for your customers to control their hosted services, you should use this view.
    .

    Open hosting operations in Server Administration Panel
    Select this option if you want to perform hosting operations directly from Server Administration Panel. This option is convenient for people who upgraded from previous Panel versions and are accustomed to work in a single panel. If the option is cleared, hosting operations will be available in Control Panel (new window).

    When, in reality, it does NOT matter what option you choose, you are faced with having to go from page to page to page to configure an entire domain... when it could ALL be on one page!

    You have taken a simple function and created a control panel that 99% of users will simply NOT use, I speak to other hosting companies and we all feel the same.... we want to be able to login, create a domain and logout again, we don't want or NEED umpteen pages to do a simple task.

    http://www.demonlee.com/wp-downloads/single-page.jpg
     
  15. paulieG

    paulieG Regular Pleskian

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    Hi,

    I can appreciate your frustration, but I think your solution is both counter-intuitive and quite confusing. It looks like the form from hell and would put not sell Plesk. I don't really find the fact that each sub-component of hosting lives on its own page, though I do find it irritating that some require 2 clicks (Advanced Operations), but then I am used to it as it's been the way Plesk has worked going back at least as far as Plesk 7, which is as far as my first hand experience goes.

    I think your specific use case is addressed completely by using the command line utilities and automating the whole process (or using the API to achieve the same). Some investment of time here would reap massive rewards for you i feel.

    In my opinion the changes in interface from 9 to 10 were a bit half-arsed and its taken a long time to make the changes start to actually work well but I do think that with Plesk 11 its getting there. I really appreciate the two different views as it suits us very well since we offer shared, vps and physical server hosting packages, with different views suiting different applications.

    Going back to your migration issue, we have never experienced file permission or ownership problems after a migration, however we've also only done a few migrations to Plesk 11, is this something new you're seeing in Plesk 11? Also you should be able to fix the file permissions post-migration through the shell.

    And finally going back to the original purpose of the thread i think there needs to be much clarity on the differences between between adding a domain on Websites And Domains and adding a domain on Webspaces. I understand the difference but I don't relish explaining it to our VPS customers and I think the Webspaces tab should have greater prominence.

    Paul.
     
  16. DemonLee

    DemonLee Basic Pleskian

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    Plesk lite

    Paul,

    You have missed the main points of this topic.

    1. Our clients don't want to have an account to login and manage their website, they pay us to do it.

    2. Installation of Wordpress in Plesk is a joke, you cannot even define a database name, one I had to install today created the name of 'wordpress_f' and then it will not let you change it.. if you create another name to match the domain you want to migrate over, oops, the whole system crashes.

    3. Even when you install the 'application' of Wordpress, PLESK fails to create the correct default file permissions required on a Wordpress Website so it expects you to install themes, plugins etc all via PLESK.

    4. I do not want to trawl through 'x' pages to create a domain, e-mail etc, 1 page is more than enough (even PLESK 9) virtually allowed us to do this.

    5. We pay a lot of money for 100 User Plesk Licences on our servers, a little consideration in ASKING what web hosts need would go a long way instead of the designers believing they know more about hosting than we do. Even that is a pain in the arse having to upload the damn licence every 3 months!!!!

    6. What 99% of us DON'T want or NEED is software that takes 10 tasks or page moves when we used to be able to do it in ONE.

    7. When you look at USERS, you get the list for EVERY account instead of the account you are looking at.

    Paul, the list could go on and on and I am seriously considering removing plesk completely - I am the server admininstrator, not PLESK and sometimes, you set up an account and then it tells you that you do not have the permissions to change the permissions on FILE MANAGER.

    Seriously, on a scale of 1-10, PLESK 11 would in my professional opinion be lucky to get a '1'....
     
  17. Hostasaurus.Com

    Hostasaurus.Com Regular Pleskian

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    I have to agree with DemonLee, every version gets worse and worse from a managed hosting provider's perspective, the bugs get more and more, and nothing ever gets fixed, we just get told to upgrade to the next version to fix one thing and break 10 others. Plesk seems to be heading towards high churn, low to no support, no retention environments; i.e. providers who are mostly concerned with setting up 5000 virtual machines on a single processor server so they can hand off $30/month virtuozzo VM's with a Plesk install to give to a customer who has no business managing a server to begin with but now all the sudden they can add and remove ip addresses, shutdown, reboot, etc. all using the gui, and if they cancel, who cares, sign up the next one.

    If that's not the case, why does the 'service provider' view, even when hooked to the billing system, have an admin user, or a customer, and nothing in between. When was the last time you saw a service provider who gives root access to all their systems to the tech support staff who was hired a week ago to the senior engineers? Well, in Plesk's version of 'service provider' that's the only choice you have if you want people to be able to do their jobs. Related to that, you can't even remove the reboot and shutdown buttons or the button that allows whomever is logged in to purge the action log.

    Echo'ing previous poster's concerns about adding new domains, I agree wholeheartedly there too. Locking a 'customer' into the power user view forces them to create domains in a very stupid way; just create a bunch of random directories under one 'subscription', some have their own cgi bin, some don't, who knows, I'm sure the customer will remember, not likely.

    Adding ipv6 addresses makes the incorrect assumption that they're /128's unless you specify /64, even if there are already /64's on there that cover the same network.

    Still getting sick of all the ads I have to dismiss from the admin that I pay to use.
     
  18. paulieG

    paulieG Regular Pleskian

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    Hi,

    I'm not really sure what I missed :

    Thats why I suggested you deploy through the shell or API where its easier to script deployment.

    We don't use the application installer, we use Installatron. Are you installing these applications pre-migration so that the application vault "knows" the domain has an installed app? I'm not sure there's any gain in doing that, does APS even allow you to upgrade applications?

    It sounds like you're creating all domains with PHP being provided through mod_php (Apache Module). I agree with you here that the application vault should know this and set permissions of wp-content accordingly. If you were to switch to fastcgi for PHP this problem would go away (however fastcgi is generally significantly more resource intensive on a shared hosting environment). We have built mod_ruid2 into the templating system to allow us to continue to use mod_php and not require permissions changes post-install.

    Judging by a Parallels survey lurking in these here forums you can expect mod_ruid2 as a default in Plesk 12.

    It doesn't feel noticeably worse for me. Your mock up made my eyes bleed though :) As said previously, if you're not doing this often and you're the one always doing it do it through the command line where you can script it all.

    Well I do think Parallels have learned a little from Plesk 10 and do now ask (this thread being an example). I do think they learned a little too late and lost a lot of loyalty with Plesk 10, and the initial implementation of Plesk 10 was woeful in terms of the things it couldn't do because they merged several different philosophies (Plesk, SMB and concepts from other panel acquisitions).

    I also think the whole concept of subscriptions was not thought through, its madness that mail for all domains in a subscription are either on or off and that all domains in a subscription must share the same IP. The solution for us is one subscription one domain.

    We don't need to upload a new licence every 3 months, do you disable access to the Plesk licensing server?

    You are to an extent probably right here, I believe that Plesk 11 defaults to the power use view because the outcome of Parallels' user interface survey was that most people use Plesk for individual VPS hosting not for (Service Provider View) shared hosting.
    But I haven't found it noticeably slower to do things. I should qualify that and say that I also haven't (that I recall) created an entire hosting / mail / database setup from scratch in Plesk 11.

    I haven't experienced this but (I think) users can by multi-account so this kind of makes sense?

    My opinion is that Plesk 11 is better than Plesk 10. I can understand why some of the features that caused so many issues for people were added in Plesk 10 and I agree that they were added badly with apparently too little thought about their implications. I still think that Parallels don't adequately test their products before release as similar things have happened in Plesk 11.

    I also agree with just about everything Hostosaurus says, and given the choice I would prefer that Parallels resources went towards addressing the issues he raises over yours (but thats just my personal opinion as I'm not as affected by the issues you raise).

    Paul.
     
  19. Slavik

    Slavik Basic Pleskian

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    My thoughts.

    Overall, it works well. However there are issues with specific sections that I think could be improved.

    Panel Login
    A 2 factor authention here would be much appreciated for the extra security.

    Panel homepage
    Mostly functional, would be good to have an "upcoming tasks" taking the next 10 things that would be coming up, domain renewals, updates etc to have them organised so I can see quickly what I may have to do in the next week.

    Customers
    would be great to collapse customers down to show their providers only, then expand down if we want to see them. as far as im concerned, the people who my resellers sell to arnt my customers, I don't need to see them. I only need to see the resellers.

    Domains
    A way to order the list by bandwidth used would be nice.

    Individual subscriptions
    I wish there was a "real" easy way to extend an expiring subscription, eg A button to just "extend or renew hosting" and then you enter the new date.

    Backups
    A way to manage individual backups for all domains individually in bulk would be nice. I would like to set backups for every single domain, however aside from "server wide" there is no easy and quick way to configure each account individually.

    Integration with amazon glacier is a must.
     
  20. Javier P.

    Javier P. Regular Pleskian

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    In old plesk when create a subdomain, after set setting, can choose new directory or a phisic path. And in the form appear a button to see all directorys likes (httpdocs,subdomains,private, etc ...) and this button not appear now and it is usefull.

    It is possible to add again ?



    I attach an example of old versions and new version.
     

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