Upgrade from Sympl 10 to 11: a few questions

Problem Description

The underlying problem is that my WordPress sites are complaining about an outdated version of MySQL — currently at MariaDB 10.3 whereas WP wants 10.4 — and looking around has made me think that it’s about time I upgraded a bit more than that. It seems to me as though going from Sympl 10 to Sympl 11 will give me most of what I need, but I want to make sure what to expect, so as to avoid problems. I’ve been reading and re-reading Upgrading Sympl - Sympl Wiki but I’m left with a few questions.

  1. Will upgrading from Sympl 10 to 11 mean I end up with MariaDB 10.4, or higher? Or will I have to do more?

  2. I’ve always had issues with SSL certificates for mail. subdomains — basically, mail.mydomain.com isn’t covered by the LetsEncrypt certificate. That’s mostly only been a minor irritation so far, but I think it might be ultimately responsible for some of my emails being refused and bounced recently. My impression has been that this would be resolved in Sympl 11 — can anyone confirm that?

  3. I’m happy to edit /etc/apt/sources.list to replace buster with bullseye but there are several more repository files in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ which I don’t remember noticing before. Some of these refer to stretch still — should I change all references to buster and stretch in this directory to bullseye as well?

  4. The wiki page says This upgrade will move from PHP 7.3 to PHP 7.4… I’m currently running 7.4 in Apache, and 8.2 on the command line. Is this likely to cause any problems?

I’d be so grateful for any words of advice or comfort — I’m happy on the command line but I’m no sysadmin and this stuff makes me nervous!



  • Sympl Version: 10
  • Sympl Testing Version? No
  • Debian Version: Buster
  • Hosted On? Bytemark
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I’m running Sympl 11 (and upgraded from 10 without issues).

mysql --version
mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.5.21-MariaDB, for debian-linux-gnu (x86_64) using  EditLine wrapper

I’m not sure what the problem would be with mail subdomains, I have my certificates set to the MX record (which is actually the VPS hostname) and there are no problems. However, if you’re using mail.example.com you might have issues as the reverse DNS record for the IP address of your host probably doesn’t match (which is why I use the VPS hostname).

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Well, this is very comforting, thank you! It looks as though I am right to be optimistic about this approach, even if it isn’t a silver bullet.

With regards to email, are you saying that for example.com you would set the MX record to example.com rather than, say, mail.example.com? Or are you saying you set MX for every domain on the server to the same thing: on my Bytemark server it would be something like SERVER.GROUP.ACCOUNT.uk0.bigv.io? Then what would the host be, when setting up a mail client? And how would it affect DKIM and DMARC and so on?

Well, I suppose by asking multiple questions in one thread I’ve run the risk of things getting confusing so I won’t say any more about this here. Thanks very much for your reply.

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All my domains have the MX set as the hostname of the VPS, as that host has forward and reverse DNS that match, as well as the right security certificate when connecting from/to. For sending and receiving email I use the domain, e.g. example.org not mail.example.org.

SPF shouldn’t be affected if you use ‘mx’ as part of the SPF record (which saves having to think about including the right IPs or hostnames). DKIM only cares that the emails are signed, not which host you send from - you could send via different hosts and that would be fine provided that they all signed emails with a valid key.

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Thank you so much. I’ll leave this aspect of things until after the upgrade, I think.

It seems to matter that you do need to have a reverse DNS set up, but I don’t think it matters about matching a mail server name.

I have several hundred mailboxes set up with non-matching rDNS names and no apparent issues.