Installing Nextcloud on Ubuntu

Table of Contents

What is Nextcloud?

Nextcloud is a self-hosted solution for storage, communications, editing, calendar, contacts, and more.

This tutorial assumes that you have an Ubuntu server and a domain name configured to point toward the server.

Install Dependencies

To start, you will need to install the packages that Nextcloud requires:

sudo apt install apache2 mariadb-server libapache2-mod-php7.4
sudo apt install php7.4-gd php7.4-mysql php7.4-curl php7.4-mbstring php7.4-intl
sudo apt install php7.4-gmp php7.4-bcmath php-imagick php7.4-xml php7.4-zip

Set Up MySQL

Next, you will need to log-in to MySQL as the root user of the machine.

sudo mysql -uroot -p

Once you've logged in, you must create a new user so that Nextcloud can manage the database. You will also create a nextcloud database and assign privileges:

CREATE USER 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS nextcloud CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON nextcloud.* TO 'username'@'localhost';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
quit;

Download & Install Nextcloud

To download Nextcloud, go the the Nextcloud downloads page, click on Archive File and right-click the big blue button to copy the link.

Then, go to your server and enter the following commands to download, unzip, and move the files to your destination directory. This example uses example.com as the destination, but you can put it wherever you want to server your files from.

wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-23.0.3.zip
sudo apt install unzip
unzip nextcloud-23.0.3.zip
sudo cp -r nextcloud /var/www/example.com

Configure the Apache Web Server

Now that the database is set up and Nextcloud is installed, you need to set up the Apache configuration files to tell the server how to handle requests for example.com/nextcloud. First, open the following file in an editor:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf

Once the editor is open, paste the following information in. Then, save and close the file.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/example.com
    ServerName  example.com
    ServerAlias www.example.com
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

    <Directory /var/www/example.com/nextcloud/>
        Require all granted
        AllowOverride All
        Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        Satisfy Any

        <IfModule mod_dav.c>
            Dav off
        </IfModule>
    </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

Once the file is saved, enable it with Apache:

sudo a2ensite nextcloud.conf

Next, enable the Apache mods required by Nextcloud:

sudo a2enmod rewrite headers env dir mime

Finally, restart Apache. If any errors arise, you must solve those before continuing.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

In order for the app to work, you must have the correct file permissions on your nextcloud directory. Set the owner to be www-data:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/example.com/nextcloud/

DNS

If you do not have a static IP address, you will need to update your DNS settings (at your DNS provider) whenever your dynamic IP address changes.

For an example on how I do that with Cloudflare, see my other post: Updating Dynamic DNS with Cloudflare API

Certbot

If you want to serve Nextcloud from HTTPS rather than plain HTTP, use the following commands to issue Let's Encrypt SSL certificates:

sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install core
sudo snap refresh core
sudo snap install --classic certbot
sudo ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot
sudo certbot --apache

Results

Voila! You're all done and should be able to access Nextcloud from your domain or IP address.

See the screenshots below for the dashboard and a settings page on my instance of Nextcloud, using the Breeze Dark theme I installed from the Apps page.

Nextcloud Dashboard

Figure 01: Nextcloud Dashboard

Nextcloud Settings

Figure 02: Nextcloud Security Settings