This post shows students and new users the steps to install and configure Nextcloud on Ubuntu Linux with Nginx and the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.

Nextcloud is a true open source self-hosted file syncing and file sharing platform similar to Dropbox, OneDrive, and other proprietary online storage services. It is a fork of Nextcloud and 100% open source.

With the Nextcloud application that can be installed on mobile devices and desktop computers, you can access and synchronize your files, contacts and data on all devices and platforms.

If you’re looking for a true self-hosted file sharing and syncing platform, Nextcloud should be a good place to start. We show you how to install and configure Nextcloud on your own Ubuntu server with a link to the Let’s Encrypt SSL post.

Also, for students and new users learning Linux, the easiest place to start learning is Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is the modern open source Linux operating system for desktops, servers, and other devices.

To start installing and configuring Nextcloud on Ubuntu Linux, follow the steps below.

How to install Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

As mentioned above, we will use the Nginx web server to run Nextcloud. Nextcloud requires a web server to function, and Nginx is the most popular open source web server available today.

To install Nginx on Ubuntu, run the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the following commands can be used to stop, start and enable Nginx services always start every time your server starts.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

To test if Nginx is installed and working, open your web browser and look for the IP address or hostname of the server.

http: // localhost

test the default nginx home page

If you see the above page in the browser, then Nginx is working as expected.

How to install MariaDB on Ubuntu Linux

A database server is required for Nextcloud to work. Nextcloud stores its content in a database and MariaDB is probably the best database server available to run Nextcloud.

MariaDB is fast, secure, and the default server for almost all Linux servers. To install MariaDB, run the following commands:

sudo apt install mariadb-server
sudo apt install mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the following commands can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB services always start when the server starts.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

Then run the following commands to protect the database server with a root password if you were not prompted to do so during installation.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, use the guide below to respond:

If you've just installed MariaDB, and haven't set the root password yet, you should just press enter here.

Enter current password for root (enter for none): PRESS ENTER

Switch to unix_socket authentication [Y/n] n

Change the root password? [Y/n] n

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] y

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] y

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] y

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] y

All done!

To verify and validate that MariaDB is installed and working, log into the database console using the following commands:

sudo mysql -u root -p

It should automatically log into the database server as we started the login request as root. Only root can login without password and only from server console.

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mariadb welcome

If you see a screen similar to the one shown above, then the server installed successfully.

How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux

Also, PHP is required to run Nextcloud. The PHP packages are added to the Ubuntu repositories. Repository versions may not be the latest. If you need to install the latest versions, you will need to add a third-party PPA repository.

In a third-party repository with the latest versions of PHP, run the following commands.

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

At the time of writing, the latest version of PHP 8.0.

sudo apt update

Then run the following commands to install PHP 8.0 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.4-fpm php7.4-imagick php7.4-common php7.4-mysql php7.4-gmp php7.4-imap php7.4-json php7.4-pgsql php7.4-ssh2 php7.4-sqlite3 php7.4-ldap php7.4-curl php7.4-intl php7.4-mbstring php7.4-xmlrpc php7.4-gd php7.4-xml php7.4-cli php7.4-zip

Next, you’ll want to change some PHP configuration settings that work great with Nextcloud. Run the following commands to open the default PHP configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini

Then change the line settings to be somewhat aligned with the lines below. Save your changes and exit.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

How to create a Nextcloud database in Ubuntu

At this point, we are ready to create the Nextcloud database. As mentioned above, Nextcloud uses databases to store its content.

To create a database for Nextcloud, run the following commands:

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called nextcloud

CREATE DATABASE nextcloud;

Next, create a database user named nextclouduser and set password

CREATE USER 'nextclouduser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON nextcloud.* TO 'nextclouduser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

How to download Nextcloud on Ubuntu

We are ready to download Nextcloud and start configuring it. First, run the following commands to download the latest version of Nextcloud from its repository.

Then extract the downloaded content to the root directory of Nginx. This will create a folder called nextcloud.

wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-22.2.0.zip -P /tmp
sudo unzip /tmp/nextcloud-22.2.0.zip -d /var/www

Then run the command below to allow www-data user to own the new Nextcloud directory.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/nextcloud/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/nextcloud/

How to configure Nginx for Nextcloud

We have downloaded the content from Nextcloud in a new folder that we call Nextcloud. Now, let’s configure Nginx to create a new server block to use with our Nextcloud website. You can create so many server blocks with Nginx.

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To do that, run the following commands to create a new configuration file called nextcloud.conf at / etc / nginx / sites-available / directory to host our Nextcloud server block.

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

In the archive, copy and paste the content below in the archive and save it.

upstream php-handler { 
    server unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;
}
server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com;


  location ^~ /nextcloud {

        client_max_body_size 512M;
        fastcgi_buffers 8 4K;
        fastcgi_ignore_headers X-Accel-Buffering;

        gzip off;

        error_page 403 /nextcloud/core/templates/403.php;
        error_page 404 /nextcloud/core/templates/404.php;

        location /nextcloud {
            rewrite ^ /nextcloud/index.php$uri;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:build|tests|config|lib|3rdparty|templates|changelog|data)/ {
            return 404;
        }
        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:.|autotest|occ|issue|indie|db_|console|core/skeleton/) {
            return 404;
        }
        location ~ ^/nextcloud/core/signature.json {
            return 404;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:index|remote|public|cron|core/ajax/update|status|ocs/v[12]|updater/.+|oc[sm]-provider/.+|core/templates/40[34]).php(?:$|/) {
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+.php)(/.*)$;
            include fastcgi_params;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
            fastcgi_param modHeadersAvailable true;
            fastcgi_read_timeout 180;
            fastcgi_pass php-handler;
            fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
            fastcgi_request_buffering off;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:updater|oc[sm]-provider)(?:$|/) {
            try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
            index index.php;
        }

        # Adding the cache control header for js and css files
        # Make sure it is BELOW the PHP block
        location ~ /nextcloud/.*.(?:css|js) {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$uri$is_args$args;
            add_header Cache-Control "max-age=15778463" always;
            add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always;
            add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN" always;
            add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block" always;
            add_header X-Robots-Tag "none" always;
            add_header X-Download-Options "noopen" always;
            add_header X-Permitted-Cross-Domain-Policies "none" always;
            access_log off;
        }

        location ~ /nextcloud/.*.(?:svg|gif|png|html|ttf|woff|ico|jpg|jpeg|map|json) {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$uri$is_args$args;
            add_header Cache-Control "public, max-age=7200" always;
            access_log off;
        }
    }
}

Save the file and close.

After saving the above file, run the following commands to enable the new file that contains our Nextcloud server block, as well as other important Nginx modules.

Restart Nginx after that.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/nextcloud.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Reload Nginx when you have done the above configuration.

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Now that Nextcloud has been downloaded and the necessary services are configured, open your browser and start the Nextcloud installation by visiting your server’s domain name or IP address followed by / nextcloud :

http://example.com/nextcloud

However, we want to make sure our server is protected with free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. So, continue below to learn how to generate Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for websites.

How to configure Let’s Encrypt for Nextcloud

We have written a great post on how to generate and manage Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for Nginx web server. You can use that post to apply here for your Nextcloud website.

To read the post on how to generate Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for the website, click the link below:

How to set up Let’s Encrypt on Ubuntu Linux with Nginx

If you managed to generate a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, you need to reopen the server block for our Nextcloud website by running the following commands.

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

The new Nextcloud server block configurations should look similar to the line below. Take notes on the highlighted lines.

  • The first server block listens on port 80. It contains a 301 redirect to redirect HTTP to HTTPS.
  • The second server block listens on port 443. It contains a 301 redirect to redirect www to a domain other than www.
upstream php-handler { 
    server unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;
}

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;

    include snippets/well-known.conf;

    return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
}

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
    root /var/www;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name www.example.com;
   
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem;
    ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/chain.pem;

    ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
    ssl_ciphers ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384;

    add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000;  includeSubDomains";
    
    include snippets/well-known.conf;

    return 301 https://example.com$request_uri;
}

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
    root /var/www;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name example.com;

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem;
    ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/chain.pem;

    ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
    ssl_ciphers ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384;

    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
    ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:50m;
    ssl_session_timeout 1d;
    ssl_session_tickets off;

    ssl_stapling on;
    ssl_stapling_verify on;
    resolver 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4 valid=300s;
    resolver_timeout 30s;

    ssl_dhparam /etc/ssl/certs/dhparam.pem;

    add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000;  includeSubDomains";


 location / {
        return 301 https://$server_name:443$request_uri;
    }

  location ^~ /nextcloud {

        client_max_body_size 512M;
        fastcgi_buffers 8 4K;
        fastcgi_ignore_headers X-Accel-Buffering;

        gzip off;

        error_page 403 /nextcloud/core/templates/403.php;
        error_page 404 /nextcloud/core/templates/404.php;

        location /nextcloud {
            rewrite ^ /nextcloud/index.php$uri;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:build|tests|config|lib|3rdparty|templates|changelog|data)/ {
            return 404;
        }
        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:.|autotest|occ|issue|indie|db_|console|core/skeleton/) {
            return 404;
        }
        location ~ ^/nextcloud/core/signature.json {
            return 404;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:index|remote|public|cron|core/ajax/update|status|ocs/v[12]|updater/.+|oc[sm]-provider/.+|core/templates/40[34]).php(?:$|/) {
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+.php)(/.*)$;
            include fastcgi_params;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
            fastcgi_param HTTPS on;
            fastcgi_param modHeadersAvailable true;
            fastcgi_read_timeout 180;
            fastcgi_pass php-handler;
            fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
            fastcgi_request_buffering off;
        }

        location ~ ^/nextcloud/(?:updater|oc[sm]-provider)(?:$|/) {
            try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
            index index.php;
        }

        # Adding the cache control header for js and css files
        # Make sure it is BELOW the PHP block
        location ~ /nextcloud/.*.(?:css|js) {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$uri$is_args$args;
            add_header Cache-Control "max-age=15778463" always;
            add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always;
            add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN" always;
            add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block" always;
            add_header X-Robots-Tag "none" always;
            add_header X-Download-Options "noopen" always;
            add_header X-Permitted-Cross-Domain-Policies "none" always;
            access_log off;
        }

        location ~ /nextcloud/.*.(?:svg|gif|png|html|ttf|woff|ico|jpg|jpeg|map|json) {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$uri$is_args$args;
            add_header Cache-Control "public, max-age=7200" always;
            access_log off;
        }
    }
}

Save the file above, then restart Nginx and PHP using the commands below.

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Finally, if everything went according to plan, you should be able to start the Nextcloud setup wizard by navigating to the server’s hostname or IP address via HTTPS.

https://example.com/nextcloud

A Nextcloud setup wizard should appear. Follow the wizard to complete the setup.

  • Create an administrator account and password
  • leave the default data folder
  • Select MySQL / MariaDB
  • Enter the database username
  • Enter the password of the database user
  • Enter the name of the database
  • Leave the database host as local host if Nextcloud and the database server are on the same host.
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Click Finish setup

nextcloud ubuntu install with apache

Wait for the configuration to complete. Then log in and start setting up your environment.

nextcloud after installing the app button

You should do that!

Conclusion:

In this tutorial we have seen how to configure Nextcloud on Ubuntu Linux with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt. If you find any errors above or have something to add, use the comment form below.

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