How to Install NextCloud on Debian 10

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NextCloud is a free and open-source file hosting and file sharing server forked from ownCloud project. It is very similar to other file sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud. NextCloud allows you to store files, documents, pictures, Movies, and Videos from the central location. With NextCloud, you can share files, contacts, and any other media with your friends and clients. NextCloud integrates with mail, calendar, contacts and other features that will help your teams to get their work done faster and easier. You can install NextCloud client on a desktop machine to synchronize files with your Nextcloud server. Desktop clients are available for most operating systems including, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, and Linux.

In this tutorial, we will explain how to install NextCloud and secure it with Let’s Encrypt SSL on Debian 10.

Prerequisites

  • A server running Debian 10.
  • A valid domain name pointed with your server IP. in this tutorial, we will use nextcloud.example.com domain.
  • A root password is configured on your server.

Install Apache, MariaDB and PHP

NextCloud runs on the webserver, written in PHP and uses MariaDB to store their data. So you will need to install Apache, MariaDB, PHP and other required packages on your system. You can install all of them by running the following command:

apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-php mariadb-server php-xml php-cli php-cgi php-mysql php-mbstring php-gd php-curl php-zip wget unzip -y

Once all the packages are installed, open the php.ini file and tweak some recommended settings:

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

Change the following settings:

memory_limit = 512M
upload_max_filesize = 500M
post_max_size = 500M
max_execution_time = 300
date.timezone = Asia/Kolkata

Save and close the file when you are finished. Then, start the Apache and MariaDB service and enable them to start after system reboot with the following command:

systemctl start apache2
systemctl start mariadb 
systemctl enable apache2 
systemctl enable mariadb

Once you are done, you can proceed to the next step.

Configure Database for NextCloud

Next, you will need to create a database and database user for NextCloud. To do so, log in to MariaDB shell with the following command:

mysql -u root -p

Provide your root password when asked then create a database and user with the following command:

MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE nextclouddb;
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE USER 'nextclouduser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Next, grant all the privileges to the nextclouddb with the following command:

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL ON nextclouddb.* TO 'nextclouduser'@'localhost';

Next, flush the privileges and exit from the MariaDB shell with the following command:

MariaDB [(none)]> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
MariaDB [(none)]> EXIT;

Once you are done, you can proceed to the next step.

Download NextCloud

First, visit the NextCloud download page and download the latest version of the NextCloud on your system. At the time of writing this article, the latest version of NextCloud is 17.0.1. You can download it with the following command:

wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-17.0.1.zip

Once the download is completed, unzip the downloaded file with the following command:

unzip nextcloud-17.0.1.zip

Next, move the extracted directory to the Apache web root directory:

mv nextcloud /var/www/html/

Next, give proper permissions to the nextcloud directory with the following command:

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

Once you are finished, you can proceed to the next step.

Configure Apache for NextCloud

Next, you will need to create an Apache virtual host configuration file to serve NextCloud. You can create it with the following command:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
     ServerAdmin admin@example.com
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/nextcloud/
     ServerName nextcloud.example.com

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

     <Directory /var/www/html/nextcloud/>
        Options +FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted
          <IfModule mod_dav.c>
            Dav off
          </IfModule>
        SetEnv HOME /var/www/html/nextcloud
        SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/html/nextcloud
     </Directory>

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file when you are finished. Then, enable the Apache virtual host file and other required modules using the following commands:

a2ensite nextcloud.conf
a2enmod rewrite 
a2enmod headers 
a2enmod env 
a2enmod dir 
mime

Finally, restart the Apache service to apply the new configuration:

systemctl restart apache2

Secure NextCloud with Let’s Encrypt Free SSL

NextCloud is now installed and configured. Next, it is recommended to secure it with Let’s Encrypt free SSL. To do so, first install the Certbot client with the following command:

apt-get install python-certbot-apache -y

Once installed, you can run the following command to install Let’s Encrypt Certificate for your domain nextcloud.example.com.

certbot --apache -d nextcloud.example.com

During the installation, you will be asked to provide your email address and accept the term of service as shown below:

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
Plugins selected: Authenticator apache, Installer apache
Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter 'c' to
cancel): admin@example.com

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about our work
encrypting the web, EFF news, campaigns, and ways to support digital freedom.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(Y)es/(N)o: Y
Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
http-01 challenge for nextcloud.example.com
Enabled Apache rewrite module
Waiting for verification...
Cleaning up challenges
Created an SSL vhost at /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud-le-ssl.conf
Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud-le-ssl.conf
Enabling available site: /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud-le-ssl.conf

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Next, type 2 and hit Enter to download and install a free SSL certificate for your domain. Once the installation has been completed successfully. You should get the following output:

Enabled Apache rewrite module
Redirecting vhost in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/nextcloud.conf to ssl vhost in /etc/apache2/sites-available/
nextcloud-le-ssl.conf

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://nextcloud.example.com

You should test your configuration at:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=nextcloud.example.com
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
IMPORTANT NOTES:
- Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
/etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem
Your key file has been saved at:
/etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem
Your cert will expire on 2019-10-22. To obtain a new or tweaked
version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
your certificates, run "certbot renew"
- Your account credentials have been saved in your Certbot
configuration directory at /etc/letsencrypt. You should make a
secure backup of this folder now. This configuration directory will
also contain certificates and private keys obtained by Certbot so
making regular backups of this folder is ideal.
- If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:
Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/donate
Donating to EFF: https://eff.org/donate-le

Once you are finished, you can proceed to the next step.

Access NextCloud Web Interface

Your NextCloud is now configured and secured with Let’s Encrypt SSL. Next, open your web browser and type the URL https://nextcloud.example.com. You will be redirected to the following page:

NextCloud Login
Configure the database

Now, provide your admin username and password, Data folder, Correct database credentials and click on the Finish setup button. You will be redirected to the NextCloud dashboard in the following page:

NextCloud Dashboard

That’s it for now.

Conclusion

Congratulations! you have successfully installed and secured NextCloud with Let’s Encrypt Free SSL on Debian 10. You can now easily share files, documents, and media with other users using NextCloud web interface.

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