Setting up a Nextcloud Instance


What is Nextcloud?

logoNextcloud is a free and open source solution for cloud storage. However it can also do other things, such as manage your email, notes, calender, tasks, and can even connect to the Fediverse (think Mastodon and Pleroma). Pretty much every service that Google has to offer has a much better alternative as a Nextcloud app and this is a must-have for anyone wanting to get away from Google services but still wants a traditional cloud experience (in the likes of Google Services, anyways).


We should upgrade the system and then install packages that we might need. Run the following command:

apt-get full-upgrade -y && sudo apt-get install mariadb-server php-mysql php php-gd php-mbstring php-dom php-curl php-zip php-simplexml php-xml php-fpm -y

Next, we need to set up our SQL database by running a Secure Installation and creating the tables that will store data that Nextcloud will need. Run the following command:


When it asks for root a password, say yes and input a new and secure password. The root password here is just for the SQL database, not for the GNU/Linux system.

Answer the rest of the questions as follows:

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

Next, sign into the SQL database with the new and secure password you chose before. Run the following command:

mysql -u root -p

We need to create a database for Nextcloud. Follow the instructions below and change some of the placeholders as you wish:

GRANT ALL ON nextcloud.* TO 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Now we need to configure PHP. Let's start my making sure that the PHP user is set to www-data and if that is not the case, add the www-data user if needed and set the correct variable in nginx.conf. Make sure this line is at the beginning of /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.

user www-data;

Check for the www-data user by running id -u www-data. If a number is output from that command, then the www-data user exists. If not. add the user simply by running useradd www-data

Next, we need to ensure that we have SSL certificates generated for your website. If you have not already done this, refer to this guide.

In /etc/nginx/sites-available/ we need to make a new configuration for Nextcloud (example: /etc/nginx/sites-available/nextcloud). Create it and open it, modify, and add the following lines:

upstream php-handler {
    server unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    return 301 https://$server_name$request_uri;

server {
    listen 443      ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
    ssl_certificate     /etc/letsencrypt/live/ ;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/ ;

    root /var/www;

    location = /robots.txt {
        allow all;
        log_not_found off;
        access_log off;

    location ^~ /.well-known {
        location = /.well-known/carddav { return 301 /nextcloud/remote.php/dav/; }
        location = /.well-known/caldav  { return 301 /nextcloud/remote.php/dav/; }

        location /.well-known/acme-challenge    { try_files $uri $uri/ =404; }
        location /.well-known/pki-validation    { try_files $uri $uri/ =404; }

        return 301 /nextcloud/index.php$request_uri;

    location ^~ /nextcloud {
        client_max_body_size 512M;
        fastcgi_buffers 64 4K;

        gzip on;
        gzip_vary on;
        gzip_comp_level 4;
        gzip_min_length 256;
        gzip_proxied expired no-cache no-store private no_last_modified no_etag auth;
        gzip_types application/atom+xml application/javascript application/json application/ld+json application/manifest+json application/rss+xml application/vnd.geo+json application/ application/x-font-ttf application/x-web-app-manifest+json application/xhtml+xml application/xml font/opentype image/bmp image/svg+xml image/x-icon text/cache-manifest text/css text/plain text/vcard text/vnd.rim.location.xloc text/vtt text/x-component text/x-cross-domain-policy;

        add_header Referrer-Policy                      "no-referrer"   always;
        add_header X-Content-Type-Options               "nosniff"       always;
        add_header X-Download-Options                   "noopen"        always;
        add_header X-Frame-Options                      "SAMEORIGIN"    always;
        add_header X-Permitted-Cross-Domain-Policies    "none"          always;
        add_header X-Robots-Tag                         "none"          always;
        add_header X-XSS-Protection                     "1; mode=block" always;

        fastcgi_hide_header X-Powered-By;

        index index.php index.html /nextcloud/index.php$request_uri;

        location = /nextcloud {
            if ( $http_user_agent ~ ^DavClnt ) {
                return 302 /nextcloud/remote.php/webdav/$is_args$args;

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

        location ~ \.php(?:$|/) {
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
            set $path_info $fastcgi_path_info;

            try_files $fastcgi_script_name =404;

            include fastcgi_params;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
            fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $path_info;
            fastcgi_param HTTPS on;

            fastcgi_param modHeadersAvailable true;
            fastcgi_param front_controller_active true;
            fastcgi_pass php-handler;

            fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
            fastcgi_request_buffering off;

        location ~ \.(?:css|js|svg|gif)$ {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$request_uri;
            expires 6M;
            access_log off;

        location ~ \.woff2?$ {
            try_files $uri /nextcloud/index.php$request_uri;
            expires 7d;
            access_log off;

        location /nextcloud/remote {
            return 301 /nextcloud/remote.php$request_uri;

        location /nextcloud {
            try_files $uri $uri/ /nextcloud/index.php$request_uri;

Enable the site by running this command:

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/nextcloud /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Next, we need to download the latest release tarball of Nextcloud. Go to and copy the URL of the .tar.bz2 tarball from the More Downloads dropdown menu then go to your server's shell prompt and download the tarball with wget. Here is an example:


Now we need to extract the Nextcloud tarball. Run the following command:

tar -xjf nextcloud*.tar.bz2 -C /var/www

If you have multiple Nextcloud tarballs in the current working directory you might want to manually specify which one you wish to extract.

Let's correct the ownership and permissions of those files. Run the following commands:

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

Start and enable the php-fpm and the mariadb services (the name of the php-fpm service may have a version number ahead of it, use bash's tab autocomplete to help you out with that):

systemctl enable php7.4-fpm
systemctl start php7.4-fpm
systemctl enable mariadb
systemctl start mariadb

Reload the nginx service:

systemctl reload nginx

Now we need to head to Nextcloud's web interface. Go to your web browser and go to your website, but go to the subdirectory "nextcloud" instead. Go to This will launch the configuration wizard.

Congratulations, you have set up your own Nextcloud instance.

What's Next?

Now you may be wondering: What do I do now? Here are some suggestions:

Enjoy your cloud services in freedom.

Written by Matthew "Madness" Evan