Complete Walkthrough for Installing Nextcloud on Ubuntu 24.04

It’s time to install Nextcloud! Nextcloud is the best platform for building your very own self-hosted collaboration platform, complete with features such as online document editing, file synchronization, calendar, contacts, and countless plugins. In this video, you’ll be walked through the entire process, and by the end you’ll have your very own Nextcloud server that’s completely set up and ready for action by the end.

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Note: This is the same process as the previous video, but updated for Ubuntu 24.04.

Commands and code samples

Initial server setup

Adding a user

After setting up Ubuntu Server, create a user for yourself if you don’t already have one:

adduser <username>

Adding the user to the sudo group:

usermod -aG sudo <username>

After creating your user, be sure to log out from root, log in as that user.

Minimum Practices

Note: Mention minimum practices, and “every server” video here, link to it…

Updating packages

Before continuing, let’s make sure all installed packages are up to date.

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade

Clean up orphan packages (if there are any):

sudo apt autoremove

Updating the hostname

Edit the following files, and be sure they include the proper hostname or domain name for your server:

sudo nano /etc/hostname
sudo nano /etc/hosts

Reboot your server so that all the changes we’ve made so far will take effect.

sudo reboot

While that’s rebooting, update DNS for the domain name if you have one, so that can replicate while we finish the other steps.

Downloading Nextcloud

We’ll need to grab the Nextcloud zip file, which contains the necessary files we’ll be needing. Click here to open the download page, then copy the URL for the zip file.

On the server, download the Nextcloud zip file using the URL that you copied from the site:

wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/latest.zip

Note: If that URL doesn’t work (it can change at any time) grab the URL from the Nextcloud site.

MariaDB Setup

Setting up the database server

First, let’s install the mariadb-server package:

sudo apt install mariadb-server

Check the status of the mariadb service:

systemctl status mariadb

Running the secure installation script

Although there’s many tweaks and adjustments you can make to secure MariaDB, running the following command and answering the prompts will give us a decent starting point:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Follow the prompts to set up some very basic security defaults for the database server.

Creating the Nextcloud Database

Next, we’ll create the database we’ll be using for Nextcloud. To do this, we’ll need to access the MariaDB console:

sudo mariadb

Then, we’ll create the database and set up permissions with the following commands:

CREATE DATABASE nextcloud;
SHOW DATABASES;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON nextcloud.* TO 'nextcloud'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'mypassword';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

CTRL+D to exit the MariaDB shell.

Apache Webserver Setup

Installing the required packages to support Apache:

sudo apt install libmagickcore-6.q16-6-extra php php-apcu php-bcmath php-cli php-common php-curl php-gd php-gmp php-imagick php-intl php-mbstring php-mysql php-zip php-xml

Check the status with of Apache:

systemctl status apache2

Enable the recommended PHP extensions:

sudo phpenmod apcu bcmath gmp imagick intl

Install zip and unzip the Nextcloud zip file:

sudo apt install unzip
unzip latest.zip

Now that we’ve unzipped the files, let’s move the files to where they’ll be served from and also set the permissions as well:

mv nextcloud nc.learnlinux.tv
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data nc.learnlinux.tv
sudo mv nc.learnlinux.tv /var/www/

Also, let’s disable the default web page that ships with Apache since we won’t be needing it for anything:

sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

Creating a host configuration file for Nextcloud

Next, we’ll set up a config file for Apache that tells it how to serve Nextcloud.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/nc.learnlinux.tv.conf

Add the following contents to the file (be sure to adjust the file names to match yours):

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv"
    ServerName nc.learnlinux.tv

    <Directory "/var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/">
        Options MultiViews FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all
   </Directory>

   TransferLog /var/log/apache2/nc.learnlinux.tv_access.log
   ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/nc.learnlinux.tv_error.log

</VirtualHost>

Enable the site:

sudo a2ensite nc.learnlinux.tv.conf

Configuring PHP

Almost there! The next step will have us change some PHP options. First, edit the following file:

sudo nano /etc/php/8.3/apache2/php.ini

Find the options in the following list, and ensure they equal the values shown here. Some may already be set to the appropriate value. Also, be sure to remove the semicolon that may be in front of one or more of these options, because we want to ensure none of these are commented out:

memory_limit = 512M
upload_max_filesize = 200M
max_execution_time = 360
post_max_size = 200M
date.timezone = America/Detroit
opcache.enable=1
opcache.interned_strings_buffer=16
opcache.max_accelerated_files=10000
opcache.memory_consumption=128
opcache.save_comments=1
opcache.revalidate_freq=1

Enable the following PHP mods for Apache:

sudo a2enmod dir env headers mime rewrite ssl

Let’s also enable the apcu module within PHP as well:

sudo nano /etc/php/8.3/mods-available/apcu.ini

Add the following to the end of the file:

apc.enable_cli=1

Restart Apache to ensure the new PHP settings take effect:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Tuning MySQL

Next, let’s add some indices that Nextcloud needs, but also doesn’t add during installation (for some reason). But first, we need to mark the occ file executable:

sudo chmod +x /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/occ

Then, we can use it to add the missing indices:

sudo /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/occ db:add-missing-indices

After that, let’s remove the executable bit we added earlier (for security purposes):

sudo chmod +x /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/occ

Acquiring a TLS certificate

Let’s set up Let’s Encrypt and obtain a certificate for our Nextcloud installation. The following steps will guide you through the process.

Note: Instructions are taken from this link, which you may want to visit in case the instructions change in the future.

Ensure snapd is installed:

sudo apt install snapd

Install the core snap:

sudo snap install core; sudo snap refresh core

Install Certbot:

sudo snap install --classic certbot
sudo ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot

Attempt to obtain a certificate (DNS must have already propagated):

sudo certbot --apache

Answer the prompts carefully, and as long as you didn’t overlook everything you should have your very own TLS certificate!

Misc. Tweaks and Adjustments

Correct the permissions of the config.php file

We definitely wouldn’t want the config.php file to fall into the wrong hands, as it contains valuable setup information regarding our Nextcloud setup. Let’s adjust the permissions to better protect it.

sudo chmod 660 /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/config/config.php
sudo chown root:www-data /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/config/config.php

Enable memory caching

Edit the Nextcloud config file:

sudo nano /var/www/nc.learnlinux.tv/config/config.php

Add the following line to the bottom:

'memcache.local' => '\\OC\\Memcache\\APCu',

Also add the following line after the previous in order to set your default phone region:

'default_phone_region' => 'US',

Note: Be sure to change “US” in the above example to your two-character country code, if yours is not US.

Enabling Strict Transport Security

Edit the SSL config file for our Nextcloud installation:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/nc.learnlinux.tv-le-ssl.conf

Add the following line after the ServerName line:

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
    Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15552000; includeSubDomains"
</IfModule>

Finally, restart Apache again:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

There’s more you can do in order to improve security, and tweak Nextcloud overall. But now you have a Nextcloud server of your own, and with a pretty decent set of defaults to begin with!

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