Cloud hosting frequently asked questions

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Our YO26 Data Centre is also powered by 100% renewable energy, as certified by Total Gas & Power.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Do I need Windows or Linux Hosting?

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

Get started with Bytemark Cloud today

Try our cloud hosting platform for free for 7 days. You will be able to test out the system and see how our superior infrastructure can benefit your business. After the free trial you will be billed monthly for your server.

Bytemark Cloud used to be called "BigV"—nothing has changed except the name! We’re hiring! Please visit to find out more.