Web Publishing with Web Deploy (Windows)

Web Deploy (Web Deployment Tool) is a Microsoft tool that significantly simplifies the migration, management, and deployment of your websites and web applications. More precisely, you can write a code in your local environment, for example, in Visual Studio® (IDE) or WebMatrix® (development tool), and then periodically publish the updates to your production server by means of Web Deploy.

Differences Between Visual Studio® and WebMatrix®

If you are looking for an environment that allows you to seamlessly publish code updates to your account, it is likely you will choose between Visual Studio® and WebMatrix®.

  • Visual Studio® is a classic integrated development environment (IDE) for writing .NET applications and sites of any scale. It has a variety of plugins that extend its basic functionality. However, to run and debug your applications in Visual Studio®, you should perform extra configuration (such as preparing a database and adjusting environment settings). Thus, this tool is more suitable for advanced users.
  • With WebMatrix® you have a built-in set of application templates and even working applications (WordPress, Joomla) right out of the box. If you wish to instantly add an app to your customer account or run it, you just need to select the app from the list and WebMatrix® will transparently configure it for you. Moreover, you can promptly find and subscribe to a hosting plan for your project without leaving WebMatrix®. Summing up, this tool is suitable even for novice users, and encourages fast development by providing ready-to-run applications and templates. The details on how to install and use WebMatrix® are available at http://www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/.

It is up to you to decide which is better for your project.

How to Configure Web Publishing in Visual Studio® and WebMatrix®

To set up web publishing in your environment, you should open the publishing settings and specify the IP address of your customer account and the username and password you use to log in to the Customer Panel.

In WebMatrix®, the publishing settings are found in Home > Publish. You can provide these settings either manually or as an XML file that Plesk automatically generates. To download the file for a certain website, click on a corresponding Download link in Websites & Domains > <domain_name> > Web Deploy Publishing Settings. The settings are only available if Web Deploy is installed on the Plesk server and is running. If you do not see these settings, contact your hosting provider.

To learn more about publication settings in Visual Studio®, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd394698(v=vs.110).aspx.

Note: You can decide whether to transfer updates securely to your customer account by selecting the corresponding option in the publication settings. If your hosting provider does not have a valid SSL/TLS certificate, you will receive an error message on attempting publication. To resolve the problem, contact your hosting provider for assistance or avoid using the secure connection.

Securing WebMatrix® Publishing Settings

An XML file which keeps WebMatrix® publishing settings may include the password to a customer's account. Administrators have the option to configure Plesk so that it excludes these passwords from the XML files. If the administrators wish to improve the security of the system and prevent stealing the passwords, they can specify to exclude the password from the XML file. The customers then will have to enter the password directly in WebMatrix®. The option is available on the Tools & Settings > Server Settings page.