How to Install and Configure ownCloud Server


This article was updated in Feb 2016 to reflect the changes in ownCloud installation.

It is difficult to read any tech news and not see something about “the cloud”, cloud computing, cloud hosting, or at least something that mentions the word “cloud”. Many businesses have moved their entire software operations into the cloud, and many individual users rely on cloud service providers for email, documents, and file storage.

There are a plethora of file storage and file sharing services available on the web. Many of them are free for a limited amount of space (often around 2 to 5 GB). For a lot of people, this type of service is sufficient, but if you want your own file storage system, need a lot more space, do not want to pay a third party service, and already have your own web hosting account for your website, ownCloud is a free and open source option you should definitely consider.

Note: For Windows users, you can install Owncloud in Windows as well.


ownCloud is a simple PHP web application that will work on most Linux and Unix servers. A typical installation server will have Apache HTTP Server and MySQL or SQLite (if you do not want to use a database server). If you are running your own dedicated server or VPS, your Linux distribution may already have the ownCloud packages in its default repository.

To install in Ubuntu 14.04, simply type:

wget -nv -O Release.key
sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install owncloud

Note: For other distro or other version of Ubuntu, you can go to its Download page to get the installation instructions.

It will automatically install dependencies, such as Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Once the installation is complete, you can point your browser to “http://yourdomain/owncloud”, or in your local machine “http://localhost/owncloud”.

On the first run, it will prompt you to create an admin account. Enter your admin username and password.


By default, SQLite will be used as the database. You can easily switch to MySQL or PostgreSQL by clicking on the “Storage & database” link. You can also change the path of OwnCloud storage folder.


Lastly, click “Finish Setup” and you are done installing ownCloud.

Configuring ownCloud

In the Admin panel, you can click on your login name at the top right hand corner and select “Admin” in the dropdown. This will bring you to the Settings page. There are tons of things that you can configure here, including security setup, file handling, sharing options, cron jobs, email server, etc.


Using ownCloud

ownCloud browser file manager

The software for ownCloud was developed by some of the developers of KDE and is designed to work with free and open source operating systems, unlike some proprietary cloud storage services. You can use your web browser to upload and manage files, but you can also use WebDav to connect to your files directly from your desktop file manager.

In Nautilus, follow these steps:

1. Click “File -> Go to Server”.


2. Enter the following URL to the “Server address” field. Remember to change “” to your own domain name.


Note: If you are using HTTPS, change dav to davs

3. You will be prompted to enter your username and password. Once connected, you should see the ownCloud directory in your File Manager.


Other than Webdav, you can also access your ownCloud server via mobile app. There are app for both iOS and Android that you can install on your phone.


Cloud Freedom

ownCloud gives you the freedom to use the cloud on your terms however you want. You can access your files from anywhere, just as you would with a proprietary cloud service, but the files and software are yours. You will not have to worry about privacy or the safety of your data. For more information about ownCloud in general, visit the project’s website. For more detailed install instructions, including those for other operating systems and web servers, see this page.

Tavis J. Hampton

Tavis J. Hampton is a freelance writer from Indianapolis. He is an avid user of free and open source software and strongly believes that software and knowledge should be free and accessible to all people. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching, spending time with his family, and playing with gadgets.

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