How to Setup a Raspberry Pi Nextcloud Server

For this project, we will be showing you how to setup and configure a Raspberry Pi NextCloud Server, this can act as your own personal “cloud” storage system.

Raspberry Pi Nextcloud Server

As time goes on the protection of your own privacy with 3rd party companies becomes harder and harder. This is where software like Nextcloud comes in hand, as it gives you full control over your files with no 3rd party controller.

It is important to remember that since your data will be stored on your local network you will end up using a lot of bandwidth when uploading and downloading files from outside your local network. If your internet connection is not great then you may not get the best experience if you plan on using it outside your local network.

If this looks familiar then that’s because it likely is, Nextcloud is an actively maintained fork of the owncloud software that I have previously covered. The longer it’s in development the more different these two software packages will likely become, I suggest looking into both and then deciding on which one to go with.

If you want to learn more about Nextcloud, you can check out the nextcloud website.

Note: The USB ports on a Raspberry Pi are typically unable to power an external hard drive. If you find this the case and your hard drive doesn’t use an external power supply then I recommend looking into buying a powered USB hub for the Pi.

Equipment List

You can find all the bits and pieces that I used/recommend for this Raspberry Pi nextcloud tutorial right below.

Recommended

Raspberry Pi 2 or 3

Micro SD Card or a SD card if you’re using an old version of the Pi.

Power Supply

Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle (Pi 3 has WiFi inbuilt)

External Hard drive or USB Drive

Optional

Raspberry Pi Case

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

Installing Apache and PHP

To run Nextcloud on the Raspberry Pi we will first need to install and setup Apache and PHP. We won’t be going too in-depth into installing these as they are a minor components to this tutorial. If you want to learn more about setting up a Web Server, then be sure to follow our tutorial on how to do this.

For the best performance I recommend using Raspbian lite but just normal Raspbian will also work just as well. If you need information on how to set this all up check out the guide in the Pi operating systems section.

For this tutorial, we will only be utilizing PHP 7.

1. To get started let’s first update our package repositories with the following command:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

2. With that done, let’s now install apache with the following command:

sudo apt-get install apache2

You can check to make sure Apache2 is successfully up and running by going to your Pi’s IP address, this should load a default Apache Page. If you are unsure on what your Raspberry Pi’s local IP address is then type in hostname -I into the terminal.

3. With Apache2 now installed onto the Raspberry Pi we just need to install PHP and several of its packages, for this tutorial we will be using PHP7.3, this will require that you have Raspbian Buster installed.

You can upgrade to Raspbian buster by following our guide.

To install PHP and the packages we need, run the following command.

sudo apt-get install php7.3 php7.3-gd sqlite php7.3-sqlite3 php7.3-curl php7.3-zip php7.3-xml php7.3-mbstring

4. With Apache and PHP now installed there is one final thing we need to do, and that is to restart Apache. You can do this with the following command:

sudo service apache2 restart 

Installing Nextcloud

Installing Nextcloud to the Raspberry Pi is quite simple, it mainly involves downloading the script from their website, extracting the zip and then going to your Raspberry Pi’s IP address.

1. To get started let’s first move to our html directory with the following command:

cd /var/www/html

2. Now we can run the following curl command so we can download and extract the latest version of Nextcloud in one go.

curl https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-18.0.1.tar.bz2 | sudo tar -jxv

3. We now need to create a data directory for Nextcloud to operate in, for the initial setup of Nextcloud we must make this folder in our html/nextcloud directory. Do that with the following command:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/nextcloud/data

4. Now let’s give the correct user and group control over the entire Nextcloud folder and everything inside it by running the following command.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/nextcloud/

5. Finally we need to give it the right permissions, again run the following command:

sudo chmod 750 /var/www/html/nextcloud/data

6. Now that we have finished with that we can now finally go to Nextcloud itself and begin its installation process. To begin go to your Raspberry Pi’s IP address plus /nextcloud. For example, the address I would go to is the following:

Remember to replace my IP Address with that of your Raspberry Pi’s.

192.168.1.105/nextcloud

7. You will now be greeted with the following screen, here you will need to type in the Username and Password (1.) that you intend to use for your admin account. If you plan on allowing your Nextcloud file service to be accessible from outside your network, make sure that you use a long and secure password.

Once you are happy with this, press the “Finish Setup” button (2.), please note this can take some time to complete as it finalises your setup.

Nextcloud Login Screen

8. After this you should now be greeted with the following welcome screen, this just lays out the various programs you can use to connect with your Nextcloud installation. Just press the X button in the top right corner to continue.

Nextcloud Welcome Screen

9. Now you can finally see the interface of the Raspberry Pi Nextcloud, you should take some time to familiarize yourself with all the functionality of Nextcloud’s interface.

We won’t go too in depth on how to use the Nextcloud interface, if you need more information then I recommend checking out the support section on nextcloud. We have however highlighted some of the key areas to check out in the screenshot below.

Nextcloud Files Screen

Moving Nextcloud’s data folder

With Nextcloud now safely installed we can now tweak the setup to both be more secure and a bit more useable, one of the first things we should do is move the data directory so it does not sit in our web accessible directory.

This is also the same way you would move your Nextcloud data directory onto a larger external hard drive rather than putting increased load onto the Raspberry Pi’s SD Card.

1. To get started let’s make our new directory for where we will store our data files, to make it easy we will make a new folder at /var/nextcloud and move our data folder into there.

Create the folder by running the following command:

sudo mkdir -p /var/nextcloud

2. With our new folder we created we will now move our data directory into it, this is easy to do thanks to the mv command. Please note that your Nextcloud system will be out of action while we move the file then adjust the configuration file.

To begin the move type in the following command:

sudo mv -v /var/www/html/nextcloud/data /var/nextcloud/data

3. Now with the files moved over we can now modify the datadirectory configuration to point to our new directory. First, let’s change to the config directory for Nextcloud with the following command.

cd /var/www/html/nextcloud/config

4. We can now copy the config file to make a backup of the file, we can do this with the following command:

sudo cp -p config.php config.php.bk

5. Finally let’s open up the config.php file for editing using nano.

sudo nano config.php

6. Within this file we need to change the following line:

'datadirectory' => '/var/www/html/nextcloud/data',

To

'datadirectory' => '/var/nextcloud/data',

7. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl+X then Y and then Enter.

You should be able to now refresh your web browser and all your files should be showing exactly as they were previously.

Increasing Nextcloud’s max upload size

By default, PHP has a very low upload limit, so low it’s only 2 MB. To change this, we need to modify the php.ini file and increase the limit. A cloud storage system wouldn’t be very useful if you could only ever upload 2mb files.

1. To get started we need to begin editing the configuration file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/php/7.3/apache2/php.ini

2. Now we need to find and replace the following two lines.

post_max_size = 8M
upload_max_filesize = 2M

To

post_max_size = 1024M
upload_max_filesize = 1024M

Of course, you can set the file size limits to something that is much higher than 20M, so feel free to change that number to whatever you think is the maximum size file you will upload to your Nextcloud.

3. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl +X then pressing Y and then Enter.

Now we need to restart Apache2 to force it to read in the updated configuration file. We can do that easily with the following command:

sudo service apache2 restart

4. You should now be able to restart your web browser and begin a new upload to see that the maximum upload size has been increased successfully.

Allowing the .htaccess override

Next, we need to deal with the .htaccess file for Nextcloud. Since we installed Nextcloud into the default Apache2 directory /var/www/html, we will need to change some settings in Apache2 to allow the .htaccess file to override settings.

1. To get started we can begin editing the file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

2. With the file now open we need to find the following block, you can also use Ctrl + W to help find the block.

<Directory /var/www/>        
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
        Require all granted
</Directory>

To

<Directory /var/www/>        
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted
</Directory>

3. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl +X then pressing Y and then Enter.

4. Now we need to restart Apache2 to force it to read in the updated configuration file. We can do that easily with the following command:

sudo service apache2 restart

5. You can check whether the changes have successfully worked by going into the settings page on Nextcloud. Any warning about the .htaccess file not working correctly should now be gone.

Setting up SSL for Nextcloud

Now we should really work on setting up your Raspberry Pi Nextcloud server so that it runs through HTTPS and not plain HTTP.

For this tutorial, we will assume that you do not have a domain name, so we will be generating our own self signed certificate and not utilizing one from a free service such as Letsencrypt.

1. Before we go modifying our Apache2 configuration we will first generate the self-signed certificate, luckily, we can do this all in one command thanks to OpenSSL.

Remember that a self-signed certificate will throw errors in your web browser and is not as secure as a properly signed certificate but it is better than nothing. It is also the only option if you’re not utilizing a domain name.

Before we generate the certificate, let’s first make a directory to store it.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/apache2/ssl

2. Now let’s generate the certificate itself by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.key -out /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.crt

If you want to know exactly what these command arguments do, then read our little description below.

req: This specifies a subcommand for X.509 certificate signing request (CSR) management.

-x509: This option specifies that we want to make a self-signed certificate file instead of generating a certificate request.

-nodes: This tells the openssl application that we don’t want to specify a passphrase, a passphrase will require us to enter it every time Apache is restarted which is painful to deal with.

-days 365: This specifies the amount of days we want the certificate to remain valid for, after this amount of days you will have to generate a new certificate.

-newkey rsa:4096: This will create the certificate request and a new private key at the same time. You will need to do this since we didn’t create a private key in advance. The rsa:2048 tells OpenSSL to generate an RSA key that is 2048 bits long.

-keyout: This parameter names the output file for the private key file that is being created.

-out: This option names the output file for the certificate that we are generating.

After pressing enter you will be presented with the following options to fill out.

Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:
Locality Name (eg, city) []:
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:
Email Address []:

3. Once you have filled out all that information we can then proceed on with setting up Apache2 to run SSL and to also utilize our newly generated certificate. This is a simple process but an important one.

First let’s enable the SSL module for Apache with the following command:

sudo a2enmod ssl

4. Now we need to modify the default-ssl.conf file so it will utilize our new certificates and not the default ones that are generated by OpenSSL on installation.

To begin modifying this file run the following command:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/default-ssl.conf

5. Within this file we need to change the two lines below to point to our new certificates we generated into our /etc/apache2/ssl folder.

Change

SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key

To

SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.key

6. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl+X then pressing Y and then Enter.

7. We can now enable the default-ssl configuration and restart Apache to load in our new configuration. We can do this with the following two commands.

sudo a2ensite default-ssl.conf
sudo service apache2 restart

8. You can test to make sure this is working by going to your Raspberry Pi’s IP address with https:// in front of it. It will give you a warning about it potentially being an invalid certificate. This is normal as it is an unsigned certificate.

For instance to make sure my own copy of Nextcloud is now running behind SSL I would go to the following.

https://192.168.1.105/nextcloud

Steps 9, 10, 11 and 12 are all optional and don’t need to be completed.

9. An optional extra step to ensure that you have the best security for your Nextcloud setup is to enforce SSL so no connection can be made over HTTP, if a connection is made it will redirect you to HTTPS.

We can do this by making some changes to our apache configuration, to begin let’s edit the default file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf

10. Replace all the text in this file with the code below. This will basically redirect all HTTP traffic to its HTTPs equivalent.

<VirtualHost *:80>
   ServerAdmin example@example

   RewriteEngine On
   RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
   RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}$1 [R=301,L]
</VirtualHost>

11. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl +X then pressing Y and then Enter.

12. Now before this will work we need to enable the redirect module and restart apache. We can easily achieve this by running the following two commands:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo service apache2 restart

Now going to your Raspberry Pi on HTTP should automatically redirect to the HTTPS version. For example, if I go to http://192.168.1.105 it will redirect to https://192.168.1.105

Port Forwarding Nextcloud

Finally, onto the section about port forwarding Nextcloud. We won’t go into too much depth on the ins and outs of port forwarding for your router but we will tell you what ports need forwarding. We will also mention what changes need to be made to Nextcloud for this to work.

Before we get started with this section you need to know that Nextcloud will only operate under specifically specified trusted domains. Which means you will need to either specify a domain name that you want to use for your connection or use your public IP address.

Since most home public IP addresses are dynamic you will need to look into setting up a dynamic DNS service, you will find our tutorial on how to setup a dynamic DNS service for your Raspberry Pi very handy.

1. To add your domain/IP we need to modify NextCloud’s configuration file, we can do that by running the following command:

sudo nano /var/www/html/nextcloud/config/config.php

2. Within this file you will see a block of text like below. This is an array of all trusted domains that you allow Nextcloud to operate through. For now, it should only include your Raspberry Pi’s local IP address. We will add our new domain/IP onto the end of this array.

'trusted_domains' =>
array (
    0 => '192.168.1.105',
),

For our example, we will be adding nextcloud.pimylifeup.com to the array. This means we need to increment the array ID and add the domain name. Once you have added a new one it should look something like below. Repeat this procedure for any new IP’s or domains you want Nextcloud to be able to operate through.

'trusted_domains' =>
array (
    0 => '192.168.1.105',
    1 => 'nextcloud.pimylifeup.com',
),

3. Now we can save and quit out of the file by pressing Ctrl+X then pressing Y and then Enter.

4. Finally you will need to port forward two ports to finally have Nextcloud up and running. These two ports being Port 80 and Port 443. The protocol required for these is TCP.

Hopefully by now you should have a fully operational Raspberry Pi Nextcloud Server. If you come across any issues or have some feedback related to this tutorial, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

53 Comments

  1. Jakub on

    Hey, I have trouble with downloading nextcloud server. I had entered the directory /vat/www/html and then tried to download nextcloud with this curl command. I’ve received text : “0bzip2: (stdin) is not a bzip2 file.
    tar: Child died with signal 13
    tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now
    curl: (23) Failed writing body (4096 != 16384)”
    I have RPi 2B, 32GB card, newest Raspbian lite, updated before action.

    1. Emmet on

      Hi Jakub,

      It appears as if you nextwork is dropping out while the Nextcloud file is downloading and you arent recieving the full file.

      Cheers,
      Emmet

  2. Fico on

    Hey guys. I’m stuck super early trying to install PHP 7.3 and it keeps telling me that the packages couldn’t be located or found. I copied and pasted the code above and it is not working.

    1. Emmet on

      Hi Fico,

      Are you running Raspbian Buster?

      If you are try running sudo apt update again before running the install command. The php7.3 packages should be available from the Raspbian Buster repository.

      Cheers,
      Emmet

    2. Matha Goram on

      On RPi3 Buster:

      sudo apt-get install php7.3 php7.3-gd sqlite php7.3-sqlite3 php7.3-curl php7.3-zip php7.3-xml php7.3-mbstring

      sudo apt install libapache2-mod-php7.3
      sudo apt install php7.3-gd php7.3-json php7.3-mysql php7.3-curl php7.3-intl php-imagick

  3. agarwape on

    That was a great tutorial. Followed step-by-step and voila… Now I have a NextCloud storage server running on Raspberry Pi 3.
    Thanks for making it so easy.

  4. Dirk Gaudian on

    Wow – that was easy! Simply followed the tutorial step by step, switched on my brain when it came to let’s encrypt (I have a forwarded sub-domain on one of my play sites), tested, tweaked and it all works.
    Next I’ll swap the Pi 3B+ for a Pi 4 with 2 GB and once I have that running I’ll move the data folder to an external drive or maybe even to the NAS.
    I failed miserably on “NextCloudPi” earlier today, so this tutorial saved my day (night).

  5. Nathan on

    First off I would like to say great article! One mistake I found along the way though was under where you change the max upload size. It says to use the command

    sudo nano /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini

    when it appears it should be

    sudo nano /etc/php/7.3/apache2/php.ini

    Also I think it would be nice if under the part of the article about adding HTTPS if you were to add a link to your let’s encrypt article. Of course this is just optional, but it is a nice option.

    1. Gus on

      Hi Nathan,

      Thank you for picking up that mistake! We have fixed it now. (Missed it when we updated the tutorial for 7.3)

      Also, thank you for the suggestion about Let’s Encrypt! I have now added a link to the tutorial.

      Cheers,
      Gus

  6. Paul Mitchell on

    Hello

    I’ve followed the instruction to the letter but when I to to IP/nextcloud I get this long list of errors:

    [SNIPPED]

    Please ask your server administrator to restart the web server.

    I’ve reinstalled PHP several times and tried several comment suggestions but no luck! Running Buster if this is a problem?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance

    1. Emmet on

      Hi Paul,

      Can you try running the following command. It looks like PHP 7.0 was removed in Raspbian Buster.

      sudo apt-get install php7.2 php7.2-gd sqlite php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-curl php7.2-zip php7.2-xml php7.2-mbstring

      Cheers,
      Emmet

    2. Paul on

      Thanks for the reply. After several times removing it and reinstalling it I managed to get it to work by using the more up to date nextcloud install, so all good now 🙂

    3. Emmet on

      Hi Paul,

      Im glad you managed to get it to work in the end. We have updated our tutorial so it should work with Raspbian Buster a lot better now.

      Cheers,
      Emmet

  7. Martin on

    An excellent guide! In the ‘Increasing Nextcloud’s max upload size’ part, I’d also suggest changing ‘upload_tmp_dir’ to somewhere you have enough free space, because it uses RAM by default. If you increase the max file size to let’s say 8GB, you’re gonna run into problems if you don’t change it.

    1. paeore on

      Would you still run into problems if the sd card is 32Gb capacity?

    2. Emmet on

      Hi Paeore,

      If you have a ton of free memory on your SD card you should be fine not touching that option.

      By default it will use your systems default temp directory.

      Cheers,
      Emmet

  8. Pierce on

    Do I need to do the Port forwarding if I don’t need to access my Pi outside the network?

    1. Gus on

      Hi Pierce,

      No, you don’t need it. Port forwarding is only required if want access outside your local network.

  9. symgym on

    Awesome! Thanks. I installed NextCloud along side of Freedombox. Most of the apache configuration including LetsEncrypt carried over from the Freedombox installation.

    Really great, easy to follow and no missing step.

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