Junking the dev team indicates to me that Symbiosis and BigV are doomed. As the company now thinks the most important people there are the finance director and the HR person and all the techs are down the bottom of the page, I also expect the rest of Bytemark’s high standards and values to be eroded. Looking into Plan Bravo seems a common sense precaution.


I think Bytemark contribute hosting to OpenStreetMap, e.g. tile servers, Manjaro’s forums, etc., as contributions to the community. Does anyone recall statements about how that would be continuing when news of the sale to IOMart broke?


After receiving a bit of an initial slating I’m pleased to read that some of you are pragmatic enough to engage on the topic of the unmentionable ie Plan Bravo!

I’ve also been taking a look at:

I have yet to find an alternative host that offers anything comparable to Symbiosis.

Keep the alternative hosting contingency suggestions coming!


I have yet to find an alternative host that offers anything comparable to Symbiosis

Oddly enough from a recommendation posted elsewhere on this forum a while ago, I’ve been investigating Virtualmin which provides a ready made virtual hosting setup while still allowing ssh access and is free (though there’s a paid for ‘pro’ version with more bells and whistles)
You can install it on any suitable cheap unmanaged VPS over a fresh OS install (Debian 9 is one of the preferred platforms, but there are many others). The installation and web based admin page are quite neat.


Virtualmin is the closest you’ll find to symbiosis. Free version is almost certainly good enough.


Do you have ssl and let’s Letsencrypt certs working seamlessly with Virtualmin and are you able to send and receive mail using the domain for the mail-in/out settings rather than the server FQDN?


Yes that’s possible if you need it. I receive mail for the various domains and then forward it on to end users. You can connect via IMAP, POP too, if you want to store your mail on the server. That’s what I do at home.

If you want signing and encryption you’d need to do that manually.

I setup the Letsencrypt stuff manually and then it auto renews as necessary. Virtualmin does claim to handle letsencrypt from within its configuration, but I don’t use its tools. I forget why. I would guess that I was using LE before the Virtualmin LE module came out, and it would need to work slightly differently, and I didn’t want the hassle.

Webmin/Virtualmin is just a GUI interface (mostly) for (in my case) a straight Debian system.

A true idiot proof system is not possible though. You do need to understand what’s going on under the hood. Webmin just makes the boring repetitive stuff easier and less error prone.

Virtualmin is excellent at sorting out multiple domains with multiple websites though.


Although Symbiosis is great for many things, I’m increasingly finding I’m learning and using fairly stock Debian/Apache (etc.) tools anyway, so really I don’t think it’s a massive issue in itself. Sadly, Symbiosis has already lagged behind in some areas, and as others have alluded to, the noises being made suggest it’s not going to get better.


I was always under the assumption that Symbiosis was open source… If that’s indeed the case another hosting company offering vm/sym could scoop up quite a few clients.


It is.

Presumably, anyone could also install Symbiosis on any appropriate server of their choice.


I’ll think about that later when I’m dealing with the cat’s litter tray. :slight_smile: More seriously, you’re right, there’s an opportunity - especially when bytemark remain silent during the transition - but it’s got to remain open source. And, it’s always possible that some other good people will fork the project.


Yup, they can and do. There’s been talk about decoupling bytemark-specifics over the years and some action, I think. I’ve only briefly run a local instance but I’m assuming that, as it stands, dns management would be the big miss.


It can indeed.

I run 3 production non-Bytemark symbiosis servers.

While symbiosis still generates the DNS files, it knows it’s not on BM’s network and won’t upload it. So I use external DNS at the minute, but it wouldn’t take much to do DNS from within symbiosis.


The thing is … unless someone forks and continues to develop and adapt to new versions of Debian, it will become not much more than a distant memory very quickly.


There has been talk of that and I believe there have been a couple of forks of the repo already.


A statement about whether IOMart is able to perform security updates on the existing infrastructure would be interesting; now they’ve lost all the Bytemark devs.


Anyone seeing a dip in the support since the buyout?

Tickets seem to take longer to get answered now and I’ve had a request to upgrade my managed dedicated server to Stretch passed to sales…

Is it time to look for a new suplier?


I don’t raise many tickets so can’t really compare.

A colleague raised a ticket last week and it was answered within an hour or so, although it was a very simple issue anyway.


I raised this support request last week: Enabling SNI for Exim and Dovecot

It took a day or so for support to come up with a solution which I haven’t tested yet. I need to move a couple of domains this week so I’ll monitor when I raise the request for the change of dns auth.

Noteworthy, Ian Eilorat appears to respond to the majority of forum questions. On another note there’s plenty of mileage left in SymStretch but I’m wondering whether the abridged support team has enough expertise to further develop Symbiosis into a future Debian distro?

So I’m looking for a plan B should things go belly up with Bytemark (MythicBeasts, BrightBox and BitFolk). To date I’ve been unable to find anything comparable to Symbiosis and I may have to revert to Webmin and Virtualmin. To that end I’d welcome suggestions Sir?


@proberts2 : Take a look at