How to install NextCloud 15 on Ubuntu 16.04/17.04/17.10/18.04

NextCloud Ubuntu Logo

NextCloud is a Dropbox-like solution for self-hosted file sharing and syncing. Installing NextCloud 15 on Ubuntu is trivial. Whether you want to backup, have file-syncing or just have a Google Calendar alternative, this guide is for you.

What is NextCloud? Is it like a “cloud”?

cloud computing

If you stumbled here by chance and don’t know what NextCloud is, here is an article explaining its principal features and advantages/disadvantages. In this other article you can find NextCloud 15 new features. To tell you the truth, NextCloud is a SaaS cloud, if you want to know more about cloud types you can read this article.

In this article we will cover the installation of the server (not the client).

What’s the newest version?

The newest version of this tutorial is the following:

Looking for an earlier version of this tutorial?

Step 1: Install software

I take NO responsibility of what you do with your machine; use this tutorial as a guide and remember you can possibly cause data loss if you touch things carelessly.

The first step in order to install NextCloud 15 is to install a web server and PHP. Although you can adapt this guide for many Ubuntu versions I suggest you to stick with Ubuntu 18.04 or higher since PHP7 is included. PHP7 brings many improvements over the past versions and will boost NextCloud too, as a matter of fact PHP7 is required since NextCloud 11. You will need root access during this procedure. The following procedure will install apache as webserver. Input the commands one by one to avoid errors!

Ubuntu >= 18.04Ubuntu >= 16.04

Open a terminal and input the following commands:

# apt-get install apache2 php7.2 bzip2
# apt-get install libapache2-mod-php php-gd php-json php-mysql php-curl php-mbstring
# apt-get install php-intl php-imagick php-xml php-zip

Open a terminal and input the following commands:

# apt-get install apache2 php7.0 bzip2
# apt-get install libapache2-mod-php php-gd php-json php-mysql php-curl php-mbstring
# apt-get install php-intl php-mcrypt php-imagick php-xml php-zip

Step 2: Database selection

Now that you have set up the environment, all that is left is to choose a database that will support the installation. You have three choices:

  • SQLite: is a single-file database. It is suggested only for small installations since it will slow NextCloud down sensibly.
  • MariaDB/MySQL: are popular open source databases especially amongst web developers. It is the suggested choice.
  • PostgreSQL: a popular enterprise-class database. More complicated than MySQL/MariaDB.

Now, this choice won’t really alter the functionality of NextCloud (except if you use SQLite), so pick whatever you know best. If you’re unsure pick MariaDB/MySQL.


Install the software:

# apt-get install sqlite3 php-sqlite3

Install the software:

# apt-get install mariadb-server php-mysql

Or if you prefer MySQL:

# apt-get install mysql-server php-mysql

During the installation you will be prompted to choose a root password, pick a strong one. If you’re not prompted to choose a password, the default one will be blank. (This is potentially insecure, change it!)

Now you need to enter the database (you will be asked the password you just set):

$ mysql -u root -p

Now that you are in create a database:


Now you need to create the user that will be used to connect to the database:


The last step is to grant the privileges to the new user:

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON nextcloud.* TO 'nc_user'@'localhost';

When you’re done type Ctrl-D to exit.

Install the software:

# apt-get install postgresql php-pgsql

Now you need to enter the database:

$ sudo -u postgres psql

Now that you are in create a database:


Now you need to create the user that will be used to connect to the database:


The last step is to grant the privileges to the new user:


When you’re done type \q and press enter to exit.

Step 3: Install NextCloud

The last step is to actually get the software, configure it and run it.


With these step we download the software and extract it:

# cd /var/www
# wget -O nextcloud-15-latest.tar.bz2
# tar -xvjf nextcloud-15-latest.tar.bz2
# chown -R www-data:www-data nextcloud
# rm nextcloud-15-latest.tar.bz2

Now we need to create a new file in /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf . Feel free to use whatever editor you feel comfortable with and add the following lines:

Alias /nextcloud "/var/www/nextcloud/"

<Directory /var/www/nextcloud/>
  Options +FollowSymlinks
  AllowOverride All

 <IfModule mod_dav.c>
  Dav off

 SetEnv HOME /var/www/nextcloud
 SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/nextcloud


Once done it’s time to enable the new site and enable apache mods that are needed by NextCloud:

# a2ensite nextcloud
# a2enmod rewrite headers env dir mime
# systemctl restart apache2

Step 4: Configuring firewall

This step is essential when your firewall is enabled. If your firewall is enabled you won’t be able to access your NextCloud 15 instance; on the other hand if it isn’t enabled you shouldn’t have any problems and you can simply skip this step. 

Keep in mind having a firewall enabled is a good security practice and you should already have one enabled.

In order for the firewall to work, it must be enabled. This guide will not include this part. When you enable a firewall many things can go wrong, e.g. you’re using SSH, you enable the firewall and your connection is cut and can’t connect otherwise, hence you should carefully review the documentation from your distribution.

To open the ports needed by NextCloud 15 follow these steps:


UFW is the default firewall in Ubuntu, if you’re using one, you’re probably using UFW.

# ufw allow http
# ufw allow https

IPtables is an older firewall (still widely used), if you’re not using UFW you can use IPtables directly.

# iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
# iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT

Step 5: Install

Once you’re done with selecting the database, it’s time to install everything. Head to http://YOUR_IP_ADDRESS/nextcloud/ and you will be facing the following screen:

NextCloud 15 Installation
NextCloud 15 Installation

Select an administrator username and password, then you can select the data folder, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s best if you leave it with the default value. Then click on “Storage & Database” to select the database you chose during step 2. Fill everything and if you’ve followed all the steps correctly you should be seeing the following screen:

NextCloud 15 Welcome screen
NextCloud 15 Welcome screen

Step 6: Enable Caching (suggested)

NextCloud is good but it can be very slow if you don’t configure a caching solution. There are two caching solutions covered in this guide:

  • PHP OPcache: a PHP inbuilt cache solution that speeds up scripts execution.
  • Redis server: a fast in-memory key-value store that speeds up everything in NextCloud.

Enabling OPcache


Open a terminal and input the following commands:

# apt-get install php-opcache

Now you need to edit a file located at /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d/10-opcache.ini . Replace 7.2 with the version of PHP you have installed. With your favorite editor, edit the file adding the missing lines:

; configuration for php opcache module
; priority=10

These values are suggested by NextCloud, but you’re free to tweak them to suit your needs. Once you’re done you can restart apache:

# systemctl restart apache2

Installing and configuring Redis


Open a terminal and input the following commands:

# apt-get install redis-server php-redis

Now you must configure NextCloud to use Redis. To do so you need to edit the NextCloud configuration file located at /var/www/nextcloud/config/config.php . The file will look like this, add the highlighted lines:

$CONFIG = array (
  'instanceid' => '',
  'passwordsalt' => '',
  'secret' => '',
  'trusted_domains' =>
  array (
    0 => 'YOUR_IP',
  'datadirectory' => '/var/www/nextcloud/data',
  'dbtype' => 'mysql',
  'version' => '',
  'overwrite.cli.url' => 'http://YOUR_IP/nextcloud',
  'dbname' => 'nextcloud',
  'dbhost' => 'localhost',
  'dbport' => '',
  'dbtableprefix' => 'oc_',
  'dbuser' => 'nc_user',
  'dbpassword' => 'YOUR_PASSWORD_HERE',
  'installed' => true,
  'memcache.locking' => '\OC\Memcache\Redis',
  'memcache.distributed' => '\OC\Memcache\Redis',
  'memcache.local' => '\OC\Memcache\Redis',
    'redis' => [
      'host' => 'localhost',
      'port' => 6379,
      'timeout' => 3,

These settings will enable NextCloud to use Redis for caching and file locks. Of course these settings are just an example, you can tweak them to suit your needs.

Lastly, restart the webserver:

# systemctl restart apache2

Step 7: Expose NextCloud to Internet (optional)

Hosting applications available to the Internet is potentially dangerous. In order to keep your applications safe you need to be proficient in system security and to follow security best practices.

Most people will want to access their files from whatever location they are. To do so, your newly created NextCloud instance needs to be connected to the Internet.

Given that you need to take care of port-forwarding (if you’re a home user) and domain configuration (which varies according to your provider), here you can find the instructions to create a virtual host with Apache.


Using your favorite text editor, edit the file we created previously at /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf . And make it look like this:

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerAdmin [email protected]
  DocumentRoot /var/www/nextcloud

  <directory /var/www/nextcloud>
    Require all granted
    AllowOverride All
    Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews
    SetEnv HOME /var/www/nextcloud
    SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/nextcloud

It is important to set ServerName according to a domain you own and have configured correctly. Now you need to add YOURDOMAIN.TLD to the trusted domains in the NextCloud config file. You can do so with the following command:

$ sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ config:system:set trusted_domains 2 --value=YOURDOMAIN.TLD

Once you complete this step you won’t be able to access NextCloud through http://YOUR_IP_ADDRESS/nextcloud anymore. Instead you will be able to access it through http://YOURDOMAIN.TLD (notice /nextcloud is gone).

Lastly, restart the webserver:

# systemctl restart apache2

Step 8: Get a free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt! (SUGGESTED!)

Now that you have your NextCloud instance up and running you’re good to go, but beware: you’re not safe. Internet is a dangerous place for your data and you will most likely need an SSL certificate to ensure your communications are encrypted. Provided you own a domain name you can get one for free using Let’s Encrypt! No catches, free forever.

Let’s Encrypt has rate limits in place to prevent inappropriate usage of the CA. There’s a limit on the numbers of attempts you can do before getting a temporary ban. During this setup, if things go wrong, I suggest you to use the –staging option to avoid the temporary ban. The –staging option will use a testing server and will not issue valid certificates. When you have completed the procedure against the test server successfully, you can remove the –staging option to obtain the real certificate.

Open a terminal and input the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository universe
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache 

Now you will run the command to install a certificate, follow the procedure and you will get everything configured out of the box:

$ sudo certbot --apache

Lastly, restart the webserver:

# systemctl restart apache2

If you need further help you can follow my other tutorial on Let’s Encrypt on Ubuntu (the apache part).

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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8 Responses

  1. sn00p says:

    Good article about bad product. Clunky PHP and no direct links to files -> RIP

    • mark says:

      Hello sn00p, thank you. NextCloud is currently the leader in its field, and PHP jokes are slowly dying out. About the “direct link” I think it is obfuscated by default to avoid external users to be able to download files without the owner’s permission.

  2. Thanks for your how-to. It’s very useful.

  3. Alek says:

    Having some issues with Step 7 (Expose NextCloud to Internet). Followed all the steps as per your guide. Made the changes to /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf, got my own FQDN, but after bouncing the apache2 service I am getting only default Apache site (“It works!” one) …any idea how to fix that?

    • mark says:

      Hello Alek, my apologies: the config file is missing the “DocumentRoot” directive. I have fixed the guide, probably Gutenberg/Crayon are still fighting each other behind my back.

  4. torrabsolute says:

    Mark, great guide. I’ve made it all the way through every step and when trying to sign in, I get an ‘Internal Server Error’. Any ideas? Before exposing to the internet in Step 7/8, Nextcloud was up and running with no problems. After step 7/8 of changing the .conf and making an SSL cert, I’ve run into the snag. Any help?

    edit: never figured it out and just reinstalled everything. everything works now!

    • mark says:

      Hello torrabsolute, sorry for the delay in my replay, I’m glad you found the solution! I would speculate about the error lying in either Apache or NextCloud configuration, since you were able to see the login page SSL couldn’t be the culprit.

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