Frequently asked questions

  • What is Bytemark Client?

    Our command-line client is another way of managing your server and is perfect for those who are familiar with the command-line.

    You can do all sorts of things with the command-line client, such as create a new account, image a new Cloud Server, or manage an existing Cloud Server.

    If you’re a programmer, you might also want to integrate with our API.

    Get started now with our installation instructions!

  • What is GiB?

    A Gibibyte (GiB) is a binary Gigabyte.

    Computers use the binary (base 2) number system, whereas humans are more used to the decimal (base 10) number system - which gives nice, round numbers!

    1 Gigabyte (GB) is equal to 109 bytes (1,000,000,000 bytes) 1 Gibibyte (GiB) is equal to 230 bytes (1,073,741,824 bytes)

    Physical computer storage, such as RAM and Hard Drives, is typically sized in decimal units eg. Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB) etc.

    Bytemark measures the resources allocated to its Cloud Servers in binary units eg. Kibibytes (KiB), Mebibytes (MiB), Gibibytes (GiB) etc. Resources measured in binary also happen to be slightly larger than decimal ones, so you are getting more for your money!

    You can find more information on the Gibibyte here:

  • What is clustered hosting?

    Clustered hosting is a type of hosting that can use both dedicated and cloud servers to spread a load across multiple machines.

    This approach is favoured by high-traffic sites who are concerned with increasing availability and decreasing the chances of one service affecting another.

  • What is Symbiosis?

    Symbiosis is an open-source hosting environment developed at by the team at Bytemark.

    Setting up a server from scratch can be fiddly and repetitive. That’s why we created Symbiosis: a simple but powerful way of setting up and managing servers.

    Using Symbiosis to manage your server means there is less time spent setting it up and more time spent developing your applications.

    You can use it to:

    • Quickly set up websites and email in just four steps
    • Simplify complex tasks like firewalling, spam filtering and automating backups
    • Host PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl and MySQL with ease
    • Ideal for beginners and a time-saver for experts
    • System security updates applied automatically

    Symbiosis is built on reliable Debian GNU/Linux. It’s available free with every Bytemark server and is fully documented.

  • What is archive storage?

    Archive storage is an ideal place to store backups as it’s cheap and guaranteed to be on different underlying hardware than your main SSD storage. It’s also useful for log files and other data where performance isn’t critical.

    Read more in our extensive user documentation including a simple way to make your Symbiosis backups more secure.

  • Do I need Windows or Linux Hosting?

    This is completely up to you! We recommended choosing the OS you are most familiar with.

  • What is Cloud Hosting?

    Cloud hosting is a method of providing virtual resources to customers in a way that is cheap and scalable. If you have a Bytemark Cloud Server, you are using Cloud hosting!

    The “cloud” is a collection of virtual servers, spread over several physical machines. These virtual servers are not tied to a single physical machine and are therefore not affected when there is an outage of a single machine.

    This is distinct from “dedicated” hosting, where data is physically tied to one machine.

    In short, we designed our Cloud Servers to stay running; you are not obligated to over-provision for reasonable uptime or to avoid data loss.

    Behind the scenes, we sometimes move your servers between different machines; a process called ‘live migration’. This allows us to perform upgrades and fixes to both software and hardware as needed, without interrupting our customers’ services.

    Most server providers (who don’t do live migrations) tie your server to a piece of hardware. When that hardware fails, these providers may require you to rebuild your server from backups, or wait for hardware to be re-provisioned. Our Cloud Servers can usually be rebooted on new hardware when a failure is detected, shortening down time.

    We also use custom-designed network storage allowing you to add more storage whenever you need, as well as for us to live migrate that storage in case of trouble.

  • What cloud hosting plan should I choose?

    We offer a basic, standard and premium plan as a starting point. You can read more about their example use cases on our Cloud Hosting page.

    But, you can create cloud servers to your own custom specs, so whatever your needs we will be able to accommodate them. You can alter the specs at any time using Bytemark Panel, so whichever plan you choose to begin with it will be able to grow with you.

  • Why choose environmentally friendly cloud hosting?

    We designed our fully-owned, custom-built data centre “YO26” to be as energy efficient as possible.

    Most notably, we minimise the need for expensive air-conditioning by using fresh air cooling. When the external temperature is less than 21.5 C (90% of the hours in the year, here in York!) the data centre can be cooled without the use of air conditioning compressors.

  • Do you offer load balancing?

    Yes! Load balancers are configured within the Bytemark Panel, with no code or complicated configuration required. Simply select your target instances, point your web traffic at the load balancer and we handle the rest. They are also available via the Bytemark Cloud API, enabling dynamic on-demand scaling for our advanced users.

  • Do you offer backups for cloud servers?

    Yes! For servers in both York and Manchester, we offer two ways to take backups: scheduled and manual.

    Automatic scheduled backups can be set to happen on schedules that you configure. You can have up to three schedules for taking backups.

    You can backup your root disc at any time. Manual backups will be stored indefinitely until you choose to delete them.

    Backup pricing is based on storage cost, dependent on the size of your disc and the number of backups you choose to keep.

    We provide 25GiB of backup storage free for every Cloud Server, enough to keep one free backup of a 25GiB disc. Additional backup storage is charged at £2 per month for each 100GiB storage block.

    You can see full documentation on our backups service here:

  • Do you offer Micro VMs?

    Yes! You can set up a Micro VM in Bytemark Panel for just £6/month. All micro VMs have a fast 5GB SSD and 768MB of RAM. They are ideal for Gitlab Runners, small applications with a low footprints or as part of horizontally scaling applications on Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and other platforms.

  • How long does it take to set up a cloud server?

    Cloud servers are extremely quick to provision. In most cases they can be set up in under 5 minutes.

  • Can you move my website from my existing provider?

    Yes! Any of our experienced system administrators can take a quick look for you, free of charge, to help determine how much work it would be to migrate your services across to Bytemark. All we’d need you to provide is a login to your existing server. Once we’ve had a look, we can give you an estimate and if you want to proceed then our standard charge is £100/hour, billed in 15 minute chunks. We’ll establish a plan with you that lets you test the new server just before everything goes live.

    After we’ve migrated your services across, if you’d like us to look after your server then we can do that too! Just let us know and we can talk to you about your options.

  • Can I point my domain names I have with other registrars to you?


    If you’ve bought a domain with someone else, you might one day decide to transfer it to Bytemark (huzzah!).

    There are two different ways to transfer your domain to Bytemark, and it depends on whether or not your domain ends with .uk.

    Please see our full documentation here for further instructions

  • What form of payments do you accept?

    We accept all major credit and debit cards including MasterCard, Visa, AMEX and Maestro.

  • Will taxes be included in my monthly invoice?

    Your monthly invoice will include applicable VAT charges which are clearly indicated on the document for your records.

  • Am I charged when I enter my credit card?

    In order to ensure valid card details are entered, we will initiate a pre-authorisation check by taking payment with the card for £0.66, which is then cancelled.

  • How does daily pricing work?

    We provide daily pricing values to help you budget and compare costs between providers.

    The daily pricing may in reality fluctuate within a small tolerance, as it is based on monthly values.

  • Will I still pay for a server that I've turned off?

    Charges are still applied to powered off servers unless they are deleted and/or purged.

    You can expect your Cloud Servers to be available for 100% of the time — that is to say that once you start a Cloud Server running, it won’t stop running due to hardware faults.

    If there is a failure of a Cloud Server, providing the customer’s machine was “properly configured” at the time of a failure, Bytemark will refund 10% of hosting fees for every full hour that it is down or unreachable. (For more details, please check our Service Level Agreement)

  • How does the free trial work?

    The trial has a limit of £50/month spend which includes Cloud Servers, additional discs, IP addresses and backups.

    It does not include domain registrations, which must be purchased separately.

    The trial lasts for 7 days. You may upgrade at any time during the trial by clicking the ‘Upgrade’ button in Panel.

  • Can I buy cloud hosting without a domain name?

    Yes! We provide cloud hosting, DNS hosting, and domain registration independently from each other. Most people will need a domain name, and DNS hosting: you don’t have to buy them from us, but your sites may be slightly more reliable if you’re not relying on a separate DNS service provider.

  • Can I upgrade and downgrade my hosting package?

    Yes, you are able to increase or decrease your Cloud Server resources at any time and your billing will be updated accordingly.

  • Is there a minimum contract period?

    For Cloud Servers, there is no minimum contract period. We will only bill you for the resources you use.

    However, we do respect long-term commitment and can offer a fair reduction for 2-3 year contracts.

    For dedicated servers, we offer an annual billing option which can save you money.

  • How do cloud servers differ from dedicated servers?

    A dedicated server is a physical machine that is owned by you and used to run your services alone. As mentioned above, this means that your data is physically tied to one machine.

    In contrast to Cloud Servers, your resources are not shared with other users.

    Dedicated Servers are a great option if you’re running a high traffic site or large database.

  • What if something goes wrong with my server?

    When we deliver your dedicated server, you get access to the console shell which allows you to both reboot and access the console of your server. This means that even if your firewall is misconfigured, or you’re investigating a hardware fault, you can keep control of the server.

  • Can I reimage the server?

    Yes you can! If you need to start over, you can use our console shell to reimage your system at any time, without needing to get in touch with us.

  • Do you offer a managed service?

    Yes, we do! Managed hosting from Bytemark lets you focus on what you do best — building your business whilst we build and maintain your hosting.

    Our managed hosting takes care of your initial server setup, migration, ongoing monitoring and reliable backups. Learn more about our managed hosting service.

  • What kind of servers can I ask you to manage?

    We can happily manage Cloud Servers or Dedicated Servers running any current version of Debian, Ubuntu or CentOS.

  • How many system administration hours does the average customer use each year?

    This varies a lot depending on the customer. If you’ve got a small number of simple WordPress websites and just need us to keep them alive, you might use 3 hours or less each year. If you’ve got a more complex server cluster and will often need to lean on us for replication, failover testing and database performance optimization, you might use 16 hours or more a year. Wherever on the spectrum you sit, we can help you plan ahead! Support time is billed at £25 per 15 minutes.

  • How many URLs can I ask you to monitor?

    We run a variety of different checks of server health, both on the server itself and remotely. As part of managing your server, we need to monitor a representative sample of websites running on your server. It’s normally unnecessary to monitor every single website, as if a few are down it’s very likely that the whole server has a problem.

    If you’d like more than 10 URLs monitored, we can happily talk you through what your options are.

  • If I would like to schedule some work for outside business hours, what will it cost?

    Sometimes you might want us to do some maintenance work for you outside of our usual business hours, perhaps to avoid downtime during a busy time of day. We can certainly try to accommodate that! We charge £140/hour for work outside of business hours. We charge £180/hour for work overnight (22:00 to 07:00).

  • Can you help migrate my services from another hosting provider?

    We sure can! We’d start by asking you to provide us some login credentials so that we can assess how much work is required. On a 12-month contract, you get an hour of free system administration time, which is generally enough for us to provision the hardware, configure the server and migrate a few small websites. If it takes longer, we might need to cover that in the quote we give you.

  • If I don’t use the hours on my account, what happens to them?

    Most hosting companies include an hour each month to manage your server, but if you don’t use that hour then it just disappears.

    At Bytemark, system administration hours on your account essentially never expire; they carry every year for the duration of your account with Bytemark. This means you only pay for the support you use.

  • If I need more backup space, what will it cost?

    You receive a free 50GiB of monitored backup space for every server you have managed by Bytemark. If you need more space, every additional 50GiB costs £2/month.

  • What invoicing options are available to me?

    Depending on what works best for you or your business, we can invoice monthly, quarterly or annually. We can include Purchase Order (PO) numbers if you need.

  • Are Docker containers slow?

    Docker containers are essentially as fast as the machine they are running on. Unlike Virtual Machines, there is very little resource overhead for containers.

  • Are Docker containers specific to one operating system?

    In theory, no. However there may be conflicts with certain legacy or niche operating systems. This is why we recommend running Docker on Debian 9, which is the latest stable version of Debian.

  • Are docker containers isolated?

    Docker containers are not as isolated as Virtual Machines, which are isolated at the hardware level. Docker containers running on a machine share the same “host” kernel. However Docker containers do use similar security features to Linux containers. When you start a container, Docker creates a set of namespaces for the container. Each container also gets its own network stack and you can set up Control Groups to limit and account for resources.

  • How does containerisation differ from using Virtual Machines (VMs)?

    VMs work using hardware virtualization; the host OS acts as a hypervisor and presents VMs with virtual hardware that looks real. Guest VMs run their own complete operating system, including a kernel. In contrast, containers share the host OS kernel. This means slightly less isolation compared to VMs, but provides lower resource usage and better performance. You can fit more containers, and therefore services, onto a single server compared to VMs and save on hosting costs.

  • What does a Docker image contain?

    An OS usually consists of at least a kernel along with a set of system libraries and utilities. A Docker image uses the kernel from the host OS, but generally needs its own minimal set of system libraries and utilities required for an OS to function; this set is often taken from Alpine Linux or Debian Linux. This minimal OS image is usually what people use as a starting point for their own images, adding to the image their own applications, sites and services such as a MySQL database or web server software like Apache.