What is Symbiosis?

Do you want something to make hosting your websites easy and simple, without having to learn about Linux in detail?

Symbiosis is a Bytemark-developed & supported hosting system designed to make it a snap to get your websites online, and to make hosting websites as stress-free as possible. Symbiosis is based on the stable version of Debian GNU/Linux, with a few light touches here and there to make things more convenient to use.

Symbiosis can help you host:

It also comes with automatic daily backups, a firewall and automatic security updates.

If you’re looking at learning about system administration in detail, then we think that Symbiosis is a great place to start. We’ve tried to embed best practice Systems Administration from the start, using our years of expertise looking after servers.

Getting started

The first step to using Symbiosis is connecting to your server. Once connected, then you can move on to setting up a website or adding a mailbox. Other things you can do with Symbiosis are listed in this documentation section. However, if you’re ready to delve a bit deeper into technical documentation, then Symbiosis also has a comprehensive reference manual.

Symbiosis FAQ

Is there a web interface?

All typical day-to-day jobs, such as adding new web sites, or email addresses, or uploading content, can be done using SFTP, i.e. FTP over SSH, by creating files and directories. FileZilla is the recommended program for this.

This should not be viewed as a disadvantage; any confident computer user should be able to manage a Symbiosis system. Effort has been put into making the layout of the various systems as obvious as possible, and making systems just work.

What about command-line access?

Symbiosis has been written by an experienced team of developers and system administrators with the goal of having an easy-to-use hosting system that met their exacting standards.

Unlike other control panel systems, one of the aims of the Symbiosis system is to keep the “magic” as transparent as possible. As far as possible standard tools and techniques have been used to configure the various services on a Symbiosis system. This allows users to tailor these configurations as they need, as well as working through standard distribution updates and upgrades.

Is Symbiosis free software?

Yes! Symbiosis is both Free Software and Open Source software. All the parts Bytemark have written have been released under the GNU General Public Licence, version 2 or later, or the Apache licence, version 2.0. All the source code is available for scrutiny on the Symbiosis project site. There is also a issue tracker to report any problems encountered, or to request improvements.

The documentation is released under the GNU Free Documentation Licence or later. It also has a project site, and issue tracker.

Which versions of software do you use?

Symbiosis is based on Debian 8.x (codename Jessie) or Debian 9.x (codename Stretch), and comes with the following versions of software (Jessie / Stretch):

  • Apache web server 2.4.10 / 2.4.25
  • PHP  scripting language 5.6.17 / 7.0.30
    • NB: this is often the most significant change if you’re upgrading from Jessie to Stretch.
  • MySQL database server 5.5.47 /  MariaDB 10.1.26
    • NB: MariaDB is based on MySQL
  • Exim mail transport agent 4.84 / 4.89
  • SquirrelMail webmail server 1.4.23 / not in Stretch
  •  Roundcube webmail server 1.1.4 / 1.2.3
  • D-Push, the Debian version of Z-Push 2.0.7 , an open-source application to synchronize ActiveSync compatible devices
  • SpamAssassin  spam filtering 3.4.0 / 3.4.1
  • Dovecot IMAP, POP3, and ManageSieve server  2.2.13 / 2.2.27
  • ClamAV anti-virus, 0.98.7 / 0.100.0
  • Prosody XMPP server 0.9.7 / 0.9.12
  • Pure-FTPd FTP server 1.0.36 / 1.0.43

You are currently viewing Symbiosis user documentation. Symbiosis also has a comprehensive technical reference manual.

Updated on October 15, 2018

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