Fast Nginx Sites Easy with Plesk

Fast Nginx Sites Easy with Plesk

shared hosting nginx

VIDEO SCRIPT: Do you have problems with slow loading on either the front or back end of your website? Shared hosting could be the cause. Your websites are competing for resources with hundreds or thousands of others.

You can solve this problem by installing your website on your own virtual private server, or VPS. This gives you your own computing resources, all for your own websites. Never run a server before? No problem! There now are a few options available to make the whole process easier for everyone. One of these is Plesk. Plesk lets you install multiple sites per VPS, while helping you secure and manage your server.

To get started, you need a VPS to install your server software on. Today we are going to use Vultr servers, which give you very good bang for your buck. Head to the Vultr website, then enter your email address and a password to get started.

Click the link down below to get a free $10 credit. This should cover your first month. You will need to enter your credit card details to set up the account. But you will pay nothing unless you choose to buy extra credit, after spending your free $10.

After signing up, click Deploy Instance to get started. There are a few options here. We are going to choose the Cloud Compute server. Select a server location closest to where most of your customers are. I’m in Hong Kong, so I will choose Singapore.

We then scroll down and under server type we choose “application”. We scroll down again, and choose Plesk. There is a free version. But for better security, you should choose at least the Web Pro account. You’ll get a free trial for 30 days.

Next, we select our server size. If your site is new or has less than a thousand visitors per day, choose the $5 option to get started. If you are planning to set up an e-commerce website or something more complex, choose the $10 or $20 options.

Today we are just setting up a simple test site. So $5 easily covers our needs. With Nginx caching, even a small server can handle plenty of traffic. In additional features, make sure to set backups. These will be copies of your whole server.

You also need local and remote backups of your sites. This is something I am going to explain in a separate video. For best security, you should add an SSH key to your server. There are separate instructions for that. So for this demo, we will proceed without one.

We can now see that our server is installing. Once the install is complete, we can click in and find out the username and password of our server. The server might not be ready yet. So let’s copy the server IP address.

We then go to Cloudflare and set our domain name records to point to this server. First we are going to add an A record. We enter the @ symbol, which refers to the root domain. Then we add the IP address, and click save. Next we add the www record, as a CNAME, which redirects to the naked domain, your domain name.

That’s now done, we can close that window. and as we see, the Plesk server password, is the root password of our server. So let’s copy the password, before clicking on the Plesk Access URL. Since we have not installed SSL encryption on the server yet, we will get a warning. Ignore that, and click through to visit the website.

We now enter “root” as the username, then paste the password that we copied from the last page. We enter our contact information, and generate a password. Click the eye to view the password, copy it and save it somewhere.

Now we are initialising. Then some notifications. And we see that our Web Application Firewall has installed. We can see all our server info on this page. Now we add our first domain. If it’s for a customer we can check this box and enter the customer info.

This site is for me. So I will add in my own username, and generate a password which I will save somewhere. Then I choose to secure the domain with Let’s Encrypt. Here we get a warning for the domain IP address being wrong. But we know that we just set it correctly. So we can just ignore that.

Next we install WordPress. We click the WordPress link in the menu, click the install button on the WordPress page, and choose our domain. Now we enter our website title. We can make our own username and password or keep the default ones. It’s best to have separate passwords for all your sites.

After installing the site, we can choose to install plugins. We can also choose the theme here. Next, we click into our domain, and scroll down to the “Apache and Nginx” settings. We choose to serve static files directly by Nginx. And we enable Nginx caching. The server is still an Apache server, being proxy cached by Nginx. If you want Nginx only, uncheck the proxy mode option.

As we click from page to page, we can see that the site loads very fast. This will still be the case even after you add themes and content. Do be sure to use a nice light theme, and to optimise all your images.

Congratulations! You are now in control of your own hosting.

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