How-To

How to install and configure NextCloud on Centos 8 and LEMP

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In this guide, we are going to set up NextCloud on a Centos 8 server hosted with Nginx and php (LEMP stack). We will be using Mysql 8 and PHP 7.4 for this guide.This will also work for RHEL derivatives like Alma Linux 8, Rocky Linux 8 and RHEL 8.

Nextcloud is an Open Source suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting services. It is a  a free self-hosted cloud storage solution similar to Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. With Nextcloud, you don’t have to worry about the pricey alternatives and since you will host your own files, you don’t have to worry about privacy or someone collecting your data.

NextCloud can be installed on a private home server or a virtual private server in the cloud. Files can then be uploaded and then synced to a local desktop, laptop or even a smartphone. This way you have full control of your data.

Features of NextCloud

  • NextCloud has sync clients for Linux, Mac OS, Windows, Android and IOS
  • End to end encryption – files are encrypted while being uploaded to the server
  • NextCloud is free and Open Source
  • Can be integrated with an online office suite (Collobora, OnlyOffice) so you can create and edit your doc, ppt, xls files directly from NextCloud.
  • The app store contains hundreds of apps to extend functionality (like calendar app, notes-taking app, video conferencing app, etc).

Prerequisites

To follow along this guide, ennsure that you have:

  • An up to date Centos 8 Server
  • Internet access

Table of Content

  • Ensure that the server packages are up to date
  • Disable SELinux
  • Installing mysql
  • Creating mysql user for NextCloud
  • Installing PHP
  • Install Nginx
  • Download and configure Nextcloud
  • Configure Nginx to serve NextCloud from a virtual host
  • Update PHP Configuration
  • Accessing Nextcloud from the web url

Ensure that the server packages are up to date

Let us make sure that our server packages are up to date with this command:

sudo dnf -y update

Disable SELinux

Next, let us disable SELinux. We are going to set SELinux to permisive. Edit this file:

vim /etc/selinux/config

Then update this line:

SELINUX=permisive

Installing mysql

Mysql is a popular relational managementn system. It is available in the default repositories as mysql-server.

Install it with this command:

sudo dnf install mysql-server

You will need to start and enable to ensure its always started when the server starts.

sudo systemctl start mysql
sudo systemctl status mysqld

Once the mysql service is running, you need to secure it. Mysql provides a commandline utility that will do that:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

The above command will take you throuh prompts to secure and set a root password for the mysql instance.

Check more info on Installing and setting up mysql in this guide here

Creating mysql user for NextCloud

It is always recommended to have a dedicated user for each app that connects to the DB. Check out this guide on managing mysql permissions here. We will set up a database, user and password to be used by nextcloud:

Connect to mysql server:

mysql -u root -p

After Supplying your password, enter the following to the mysql prompt:

create database nextcloud;
create user 'nextcloud_user'@'%' identified by 'S0mStrongPa$$word';
grant all privileges on nextcloud.* to 'nextcloud_user'@'%';

Now that we have configured our mysql connection, lets go to the next section where we install and configure PHP and Nginx.

Installing PHP

NextCloud works fine with PHP 6.4. To install php 7.4, we need to enable remi repository so we get the latest version.

Enable Remi repo with this command:

sudo dnf install dnf-utils http://rpms.remirepo.net/enterprise/remi-release-8.rpm

Enable php 7.4 using dnf module:

sudo dnf module enable php:remi-7.4

Then install php and dependancies

sudo dnf install -y php php-gd php-curl php-zip php-dom php-xml php-simplexml php-mbstring php-intl php-json

For more info on setting up Apache and PHP, check this guide here. Check out about the remi release here.

Installing Nginx

Next, let us install Nginx in our system. Use this command to install nginx

sudo dnf install -y nginx

Start and check the status of Nginx

$ sudo systemctl start nginx
$ sudo systemctl status nginx
● nginx.service - The nginx HTTP and reverse proxy server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
  Drop-In: /usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service.d
           └─php-fpm.conf
   Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-10-15 17:33:39 UTC; 7s ago
  Process: 1138614 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 1138607 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 1138605 ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/rm -f /run/nginx.pid (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 1138615 (nginx)
    Tasks: 3 (limit: 23800)
   Memory: 5.3M
   CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
           ├─1138615 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx
           ├─1138616 nginx: worker process
           └─1138617 nginx: worker process

Oct 15 17:33:38 test-app-server systemd[1]: Starting The nginx HTTP and reverse proxy server...
Oct 15 17:33:39 test-app-server nginx[1138607]: nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok

Active: active (running) indicate that the service is now up and running.

Download and configure Nextcloud

Now that we have successfully configured the LEMP server in our system, let us download and set up NextCloud. You can get the latest version of NextCloud from the NextCloud installation page. Use this command to download the server NextCloud:

cd /tmp
curl -LO https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-22.2.0.zip

Now let us change into a directory path to serve NextCloud in /var/www then extract the downloaded file there:

cd /var/www
sudo unzip /tmp/nextcloud-22.2.0.zip
sudo chown -R nginx:nginx nextcloud
sudo chmod -R 755 nextcloud

Nextcloud required a directory to keep its data. So create a data directory and set the proper permissions on nextcloud directory

sudo mkdir -p /var/nextcloud/data
sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/nextcloud
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/nextcloud

Configure Nginx to serve NextCloud from a virtual host

We managed to download the NextCloud content to /var/www/nextcloud. The next bit it to set up Nginx to serve it.

Let’s create virtual site in the directory that nginx serves content here /etc/nginx/conf.d:

sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/nextcloud.conf

Add the following content:

server {
    listen 80;

    server_name nextcloud.citizix.com;
    root /var/www/nextcloud;
    index index.php;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
    }

    location = /favicon.ico {
        log_not_found off;
        access_log off;
    }

    location ~* \.(js|css|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|ico)$ {
        expires max;
        log_not_found off;
    }

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

    location ~ \.php$ {
        include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php-fpm/www.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    }
}

Updating PHP Configuration

Next let us take care of some php config. We are using php-fpm to serve our php content. It is configured to work with apache by default so let’s update the user and group in the file /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf to nginx.

Edit the file

vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

Then update these

user = nginx
group = nginx

Let us also change the session directoory for us to login. Update PHP session directory to be owned by nginx:

sudo chown nginx.nginx -R /var/lib/php/session/

Once the abve changes have been made, we need to restart the nginx server and the php-fom server. Use these commands in the terminal to achieve that.

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm nginx

Accessing Nextcloud from the web url

Then head to your set domain, http://nextcloud.citizix.com/nextcloud for me. You will be asked to create the user account. Ente the username and password to be using for the new user:

Create a Nextcloud account

Then enter the Database Details:

NextCloud Enter Database Details

After that Click Finish. You will be redirected to the login page where you will use the details for the created user to login. On Successful login you will get the Dashboard.

Conclusion

In this guide, we managed to set up LEMP on Centos 8 to serve Next cloud.

I am a Devops Engineer, but I would describe myself as a Tech Enthusiast who is a fan of Open Source, Linux, Automations, Cloud and Virtualization. I love learning and exploring new things so I blog in my free time about Devops related stuff, Linux, Automations and Open Source software. I can also code in Python and Golang.

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