Linux

How to install and configure NextCloud on Debian 11 and LEMP

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In this guide, we are going to set up NextCloud on a Debian 11 server hosted with Nginx, Mariadb and PHP (LEMP stack). We will be using Mariadb 10 and PHP 7.4 for this guide.

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).

Related Content

Prerequisites

To follow along this guide, ensure that you have:

  • An up to date Debian 11 Server
  • Internet access from the server
  • Root access from the server or user with sudo access

Table of Content

  1. Ensure that the server packages are up to date
  2. Installing Mariadb 10 in Debian 11
  3. Creating mysql user for NextCloud
  4. Installing PHP in Debian 11
  5. Installing Nginx in Debian 11
  6. Download and configure Nextcloud
  7. Configure Nginx to serve NextCloud from a virtual host
  8. Update PHP Configuration
  9. Accessing Nextcloud from the web url

1. 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 apt update
sudo apt -y upgrade

While at it, let us also install some dependencies that we will require

sudo apt install -y unzip vim

2. Installing Mariadb in Debian 11

Mariadb is a popular Opensource relational management system. It is available in the default repositories as mariadb-server.

Install it with this command:

sudo apt install -y mariadb-server

Mariadb will be installed and started by default in Debian 11. Check the status with this

$ sudo systemctl status mariadb
● mariadb.service - MariaDB 10.5.12 database server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/mariadb.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2021-12-11 14:40:42 UTC; 4s ago
       Docs: man:mariadbd(8)
             https://mariadb.com/kb/en/library/systemd/
    Process: 1937 ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/install -m 755 -o mysql -g root -d /var/run/mysqld (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 1938 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c systemctl unset-environment _WSREP_START_POSITION (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 1940 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c [ ! -e /usr/bin/galera_recovery ] && VAR= ||   VAR=`cd /usr/bin/..; /usr/bin/galera_recovery`; [ $? -eq 0 ]   && systemctl set-environment _WSREP_START_POSITION=$VAR || exit 1 (code=exited, statu>
    Process: 2001 ExecStartPost=/bin/sh -c systemctl unset-environment _WSREP_START_POSITION (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 2003 ExecStartPost=/etc/mysql/debian-start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 1987 (mariadbd)
     Status: "Taking your SQL requests now..."
      Tasks: 14 (limit: 4626)
     Memory: 76.3M
        CPU: 639ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/mariadb.service
             └─1987 /usr/sbin/mariadbd

Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: mysql
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: performance_schema
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: Phase 6/7: Checking and upgrading tables
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: Processing databases
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: information_schema
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: performance_schema
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: Phase 7/7: Running 'FLUSH PRIVILEGES'
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2008]: OK
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2736]: Checking for insecure root accounts.
Dec 11 14:40:44 ip-10-2-40-145 /etc/mysql/debian-start[2743]: Triggering myisam-recover for all MyISAM tables and aria-recover for all Aria tables

To ensure that mariadb starts on boot, enable it with this systemd command:

sudo systemctl enable mariadb

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

3. 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.

4. Installing PHP 7.4 in Debian 11

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

Then install php and dependancies

sudo apt install -y \
  php \
  php-gd \
  php-curl \
  php-zip \
  php-dom \
  php-xml \
  php-simplexml \
  php-mbstring \
  php-intl \
  php-json \
  php-fpm

For more info on setting up PHP and Nginx, check out this guide here.

5. Installing Nginx in Debian 11

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

sudo apt install -y nginx

Nginx will be started by default. Check the status using this command:

$ sudo systemctl status nginx
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2021-12-11 14:42:39 UTC; 29s ago
       Docs: man:nginx(8)
    Process: 13698 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -q -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 13699 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 13780 (nginx)
      Tasks: 3 (limit: 4626)
     Memory: 3.1M
        CPU: 24ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
             ├─13780 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;
             ├─13783 nginx: worker process
             └─13784 nginx: worker process

Dec 11 14:42:39 ip-10-2-40-145 systemd[1]: Starting A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server...
Dec 11 14:42:39 ip-10-2-40-145 systemd[1]: Started A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server.

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

To enable the service on boot, use this command:

sudo systemctl enable nginx

6. 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-23.0.0.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-23.0.0.zip
sudo chown -R $USER:$GROUP 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 $USER:$GROUP /var/nextcloud
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/nextcloud

7. 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/php-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    }
}

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 php7.4-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 Debian 11 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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