Plesk SMTP ridiculously slow

If you use a Plesk server as your outgoing SMTP to send email from your client (I like Thunderbird!) you may notice that it takes FOR-EVER to connect and send. After a quick Google search, I found out that you need to disable reverse DNS lookup to speed things along. This page is where I found the fix and it has great info. I’ll dupe it here for the hell of it.

Edit your /etc/xinet.d/smtp_psa (and smtps_psa for secure connetions I assume). Under “server_args” insert “-Rt0” after the equals sign.

Before:

server_args = /var/qmail/bin/relaylock /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd /var/qmail/bin/smtp_auth /var/qmail/bin/true /var/qmail/bin/cmd5checkpw /var/qmail/bin/true

After:

server_args = -Rt0 /var/qmail/bin/relaylock /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd /var/qmail/bin/smtp_auth /var/qmail/bin/true /var/qmail/bin/cmd5checkpw /var/qmail/bin/true

Restart xinetd via /etc/init.d/xinetd restart and you’re done! Test it out, your SMTP should be much faster.

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Plesk Courier-IMAP connections/I love the internet

Found another great example of the reason I started this blog. I was experiencing IMAP connection caching errors in Thunderbird. So I googled “plesk imap connections” and boo-ya there was the fix as the first result. Thank you Google, the internet, and kind Samaritans!

BTW, here’s the fix for increasing Plesk‘s default Courier-IMAP connections. I was receiving the following error in Thunderbird 1.5.0.7 on XP:

Thunderbird IMAP connection error

Unable to connect to your IMAP server. You may have exceeded the maximum number of connections to this server. If so, use the Advanced IMAP Server Settings dialog to reduce the number of cached connections.

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Plesk, httpd.include, httpd.conf, and you

Platform: Plesk 7.5.4 Reloaded, CentOS 4

If you need to make changes to Apache’s httpd.include file on Plesk, your changes will get overwritten. This was driving me mad as I needed to make changes globally, not just on a per-domain vhost.conf basis as is recommended by Plesk. I sent an email to the support department of my hoster, Knownhost, asking where the “raw version” of the httpd.include file was — meaning where was the data for which Plesk was overwritting my changes? My logic was that if I could find where Plesk was pulling this data to overwrite httpd.include, I could modify it to my liking. Andrew from Knownhost told me that the data that overwrites the Plesk config files is hardcoded into the websrvmng binary (this is a utility Plesk uses). Also, Plesk data is strewn about in various databases. Ugh! But, he did offer insight into how to get what I wanted.

The trick is to put your changes in the httpd.conf file which will take precedence over httpd.include (be sure to put it before the httpd.include directive). Well, that was simple. Thanks Andrew and Knownhost!

NOTE: I wrote this post months ago and forgot to post it. In that time I’ve upgraded to Plesk 8.0.1 and I’m really liking it. The above information still applies to Plesk 8, except they’ve moved and renamed httpd.include. No matter, as that file will just be overwritten anyway.

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Decided against WestHost, looking at TekTonic

So I signed up with WestHost, but I’ve decided against them. Of course I slacked and didn’t decide this within the 30 day money back guarantee time frame. Oh well, I only signed up for 3 months so not a huge loss.

The reason I decided against them is that I found a post on their forum saying that they have no package management for their VPS servers whatsoever. Ugh. I’m too much of a novice to not have an RPM or apt-get app. Also, WestHost does not provide root access. They have “near-root” but that sounds like “kinda pregnant” and “sort-of dead” to me. Oh, and WestHost’s “backup” is simply you clicking a button on their Web control panel and downloading the tarball it gives you. I’m not impressed.

I was looking at unixshell again which I mentioned in a previous post. After reading their history a bit, I saw that they are a spinoff of TekTonic.net which is a more user-friendly and supported VPS product. I’m currently sending emails back and forth with them to see if they are a viable solution. I’m intrigued because they have:

  • True root access in a true VPS environment
  • Awesome snap-shot stuff, rebooting takes seconds
  • They backup every day and keep the last 7 days worth of backups. Restores are free
  • DirectAdmin . I’m not super familiar with it, but anything would be better than ugly-ass cPanel.
  • Virtuozzo seems like a cool VPS product. You can perform a manual backup of your VPS whenever you want which is nice.

To be continued…

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Moving to VPS

My company, Prise Design Group, is a Web development firm in Portland, Oregon. We’ve been maintaining our own servers in a colo in downtown Portland for many years now. However, as the sole server administrator, I’m tired of running them. Oh, and they’re windows boxes as well. Quite down everyone!
I’m wanting to move away from Windows for so many reasons (I won’t go into them here). But more importantly, I’m looking at VPS or Virtual Private Servers as the way for me. Why? Well 1) I want control but 2) don’t want to pay for a dedicated server. Enter VPS as a nice mid-way point.

So what about VPS hosts? There are a million of them. Here’s a just a few:

  • ProHosters
    Seemed like a good company. Reliable and whatnot, but I found better prices elsewhere.
  • unixshell
    Great feature list. Ability to install a different distro at the push of a button! Wow. Also you can take a “snapshot” image of your VPS and restore it in minutes. That’s nice if an upgrade goes awry. But they’re very hands-off and I have the feeling you’re on your own. I’m not there yet … maybe in a couple years.
  • BurstNet
    Looked good, but they’re in Pennsylvania. I also hate cPanel as it’s ugly as hell.
  • midPhase
    I wanted to sign up with these guys to test them out, but when you click order a page telling you “we’re not accepting orders due to high demand” pops up. That’s not good. I mean, better they not over sell it, but still.

    * Note: I’ve read way too many negative reports for these guys, so I’ve nixed them from the pool.
  • WestHost
    This one is the most promising. They’re, you guessed it, on the west side of the country (Utah) and they are a good size. An employee told me “40+” which isn’t too small or too big for my tastes. They have good prices and I’ve read mostly good things about their service and support.

The features I desire the most are:

  • Fair price
  • Mid-sized company
  • On the West coast
  • Good support

WestHost seems to provide those things for me. I looked at local Portland hosters and they are just too small to compete price-wise. Seattle faired a little better, but not much. I spoke via “Live Chat” to a couple people at WestHost last night and they were nice and helpful. They have a 30-day money back guarantee so I think I’ll give them a try.

Can anyone out there give me some advice?

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