The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury
The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury

How to set up and run with Bytemark’s Symbiosis Part 1

how to draw an Owl.
how to draw an Owl.
How to draw an Owl.

For the last long while my personal blog, Professional Site, and Tamarisk have all been run on Vor, a Machine running Zpanel CP. With Zpanel being superseded by Sentora, its time to upgrade vor, and move some things around.

I plan on moving This site, the others mentioned above, and some others to new servers. At the same time I plan to migrate Just Vigilantes and the other remaining sites to Sentora on Ubuntu (yes I know Ubuntu is ancient African for can’t install Debian).

The new Layout will be:

  • Vör – Sentora on Ubuntu hosted with zVPS containing JV, Self managed and Re-Seller accounts.
  • Sága – Symbiosis on Debian hosted with Bytemark‘s BigV, Tas’ Server.
  • Irpa – As Sága, My Project Server.
  • Syn – As Sága and Irpa, contains fully managed hosting accounts.

This post will mostly talk about the setting up of Irpa, but Irpa and Syn will mostly be set up about the same eventually.

Getting a server

  1. head on over to
  2. Sign up / Log in (you will win £30 of test credit).
  3. under the BigV Network section choose “Add virtual machine”
  4. Try the following settings:

    Bytemark Virtual machine setup
    Bytemark Virtual machine setup

  5. Bytemark will tell you what your root users password is while it is building your machine, and once it has finished creating your machine. take a copy of it, and write it down somewhere safe (they wont tell you what it is again!).
  6. Your machine will come up at the end of the process and you will be told how to find it {myname}.{groupname}.{username}

Setting up your machine

  1. now you have the details from the previous post, grab a copy of the Symbiosis manual (HTML / PDF).
  2. Log into your server either using FTP, or SSH (I am going to assume you have connected via SSH).
  3. Check everything is happy, check for all being up to date.
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo apt-get autoremove
  4. Because I am lazy I don’t like typing in passwords in too often I will be using SSH Keys (I use a mac, Linux users should be about the same as me, I am not a windows user, but check this out).
    1. Follow the instructions here for generation of SSH keys.
    2. Copy the content of ~/.ssh/id_rsa to the remote server
      cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh [email protected]{yourip} "mkdir .ssh && cd $_ && touch authorized_keys && cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"
    3. At this point I will install mosh (needs installed on your computer too)
      sudo apt-get install mosh
    4. Now you should be able to log in without requesting a password, and now because I am even more lazy than that! I like to be able to log into machines just by typing their name in the terminal, so on my mac I type:
      echo "alias {servername}='mosh [email protected];clear; echo {servername} Disconnected'" >> .bash_profile
      echo "alias {servername}s='ssh [email protected];clear; echo {servername} Disconnected'" >> .bash_profile

      Because the firewall doesn’t like outgoing connections to ip addresses it doesn’t know, you will need to get every IP address you use white listed by using the SSH connection then using the Mosh connection

    5. Now I can walk between machines without typing passwords, and stay connected for hours even across changes in network it is wise to know which machine you are on, and make other pretty changes to the terminal, write the following to ~/.bash_profile:
      # If not running interactively, don't do anything
      [ -z "$PS1" ] && return
      # don't put duplicate lines or lines starting with space in the history. See bash for more options
      # append to the history file, don't overwrite it
      shopt -s histappend
      # for setting history length see HISTSIZE and HISTFILESIZE in bash
      # check the window size after each command and, if necessary, update the values of LINES and COLUMNS.
      shopt -s checkwinsize
      # Sorts out the prompt
      export PS1="\[\033[36m\]\u\[\033[m\]@\[\033[32m\]\h:\[\033[33;1m\]\w\[\033[m\]\$ "
      # Sets up the colours of my Terminal,
      export CLICOLOR=1
      export LSCOLORS=ExFxBxDxCxegedabagacad
      # Gives ls and ll a load of flags by default
      alias ll='ls'
      alias ls='ls -GFhlsA'
      # Make a directory and change into it in one go
      mkcdir ()
          mkdir -p -- "$1" &&
            cd -P -- "$1"
  5. Because I think Squirrel mail is ugly, I replace it with Round Cube as soon as possible.
    1. Run
      sudo apt-get install symbiosis-webmail-roundcube

      and follow the instructions, it will ask you for your MySQL root username and password (root and the system password).

      • Configure database for roundcube with dbconfig-common? – Yes
      • MySQL

      Now Roundcube has replaced Squirrel Mail on all domains, so // is the webmail URL.

  6. some other nice things to install and set-up
    sudo apt-get install php5-imap

    and enable

    sudo php5enmod imap

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