Nextcloud & Discourse (2 key tools from offer)
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To have free, open source and consistent intranet-like service for controlled and scalable sharing, synchronizing, storing and backing-up of working information and media, but also communicating, discussing, coordinating and collaborating with coworkers/collaborators in the organization or project using web services via web browser and optionally free mobile apps.

Description of the tool

Nextcloud is an open source client-server software, used as a web service or self-hosted server for file syncing, sharing and collaborating, but also a communication cloud platform. Feature full intranet. Access & sync your files, contacts, calendars & do it across your devices, while staying in control of your data. With the integrated OnlyOffice or LibreOffice, Nextcloud is functionally similar to Dropbox, Office 365 or Google Drive, but can be used on home-local computers or for off-premises file storage hosting. As a platform you can extend it with many existing apps or write your own. With federated sharing, Nextcloud allows you to collaborate with people across different Nextcloud installations. Nextcloud also provides real-time communication through services like and 

Discourse is an open source Internet forum and mailing list management software application that breaks with existing forum software by including features, such as infinite scrolling, live updates, expanding links, and drag and drop attachments. However, the stated goals of the project are social rather than technical, to improve online discussion quality through improved forum software. It serves organizations and projects that communicate asynchronously as a closed group, with a public or in hybrid ways, building user reputation, relations and trust.

Steps of application

Installation on Linux

In case you prefer installing from the source tarball, you can setup Nextcloud from scratch using a classic LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, PHP). This document provides a complete walk-through for installing Nextcloud on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server with Apache and MariaDB, using the Nextcloud .tar archive. This method is recommended to install Nextcloud.


Admins of SELinux-enabled distributions such as CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux may need to set new rules to enable installing Nextcloud. See SELinux configuration tips for a suggested configuration.

If you prefer a more automated installation of Nextcloud and there are no packages for your Linux distribution, you have the option to install the community Snap Package. This includes a full production-ready stack, will maintain your HTTPS certificates for you, and will automatically update as needed to stay secure. You can also use the Nextcloud VM scripts to install directly on a clean Ubuntu Server. It will setup everything for you and include scripts for automated installation of apps like; Collabora, OnlyOffice, Talk and so on. Please note that those two options are not officially supported by Nextcloud GmbH.

This installation guide is giving a general overview of required dependencies and their configuration. For a distribution specific setup guide have a look at the Example installation on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Example installation on CentOS 8.

Prerequisites for manual installation

The Nextcloud .tar archive contains all of the required PHP modules. This section lists all required and optional PHP modules. Consult the PHP manual for more information on modules. Your Linux distribution should have packages for all required modules. You can check the presence of a module by typing php -m | grep -i <module_name>. If you get a result, the module is present.


  • PHP (7.2, 7.3 or 7.4)
  • PHP module ctype
  • PHP module curl
  • PHP module dom
  • PHP module GD
  • PHP module hash (only on FreeBSD)
  • PHP module iconv
  • PHP module JSON
  • PHP module libxml (Linux package libxml2 must be >=2.7.0)
  • PHP module mbstring
  • PHP module openssl
  • PHP module posix
  • PHP module session
  • PHP module SimpleXML
  • PHP module XMLReader
  • PHP module XMLWriter
  • PHP module zip
  • PHP module zlib

Database connectors (pick the one for your database:)

  • PHP module pdo_sqlite (>= 3, usually not recommended for performance reasons)
  • PHP module pdo_mysql (MySQL/MariaDB)
  • PHP module pdo_pgsql (requires PostgreSQL >= 9.0)

Recommended packages:

  • PHP module fileinfo (highly recommended, enhances file analysis performance)
  • PHP module bz2 (recommended, required for extraction of apps)
  • PHP module intl (increases language translation performance and fixes sorting of non-ASCII characters)

Required for specific apps:

  • PHP module ldap (for LDAP integration)
  • PHP module smbclient (SMB/CIFS integration, see SMB/CIFS)
  • PHP module ftp (for FTP storage / external user authentication)
  • PHP module imap (for external user authentication)
  • PHP module bcmath (for passwordless login)
  • PHP module gmp (for passwordless login)

Recommended for specific apps (optional):

  • PHP module gmp (for SFTP storage)
  • PHP module exif (for image rotation in pictures app)

For enhanced server performance (optional) select one of the following memcaches:

  • PHP module apcu (>= 4.0.6)
  • PHP module memcached
  • PHP module redis (>= 2.2.6, required for Transactional File Locking)

See Memory caching to learn how to select and configure a memcache.

For preview generation (optional):

  • PHP module imagick
  • avconv or ffmpeg
  • OpenOffice or LibreOffice

For command line processing (optional):

  • PHP module pcntl (enables command interruption by pressing ctrl-c)

You don’t need the WebDAV module for your Web server (i.e. Apache’s mod_webdav), as Nextcloud has a built-in WebDAV server of its own, SabreDAV. If mod_webdav is enabled you must disable it for Nextcloud. (See Apache Web server configuration for an example configuration.)

Apache Web server configuration

On Debian, Ubuntu, and their derivatives, Apache installs with a useful configuration so all you have to do is create a /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf file with these lines in it, replacing the Directory and other filepaths with your own filepaths:

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

<Directory /var/www/nextcloud/>

  Require all granted

  AllowOverride All

  Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews

  <IfModule mod_dav.c>

    Dav off



Then enable the newly created site:

a2ensite nextcloud.conf

On CentOS/RHEL, create a virtualhost /etc/httpd/conf.d/nextcloud.conf and add the following content to it:

<VirtualHost *:80>

  DocumentRoot /var/www/nextcloud/


  <Directory /var/www/nextcloud/>

    Require all granted

    AllowOverride All

    Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews

    <IfModule mod_dav.c>

      Dav off




Additional Apache configurations

For Nextcloud to work correctly, we need the module mod_rewrite. Enable it by running:

a2enmod rewrite

Additional recommended modules are mod_headers, mod_env, mod_dir and mod_mime:

a2enmod headers

a2enmod env

a2enmod dir

a2enmod mime

If you’re running mod_fcgi instead of the standard mod_php also enable:

a2enmod setenvif

You must disable any server-configured authentication for Nextcloud, as it uses Basic authentication internally for DAV services. If you have turned on authentication on a parent folder (via e.g. an AuthType Basic directive), you can turn off the authentication specifically for the Nextcloud entry. Following the above example configuration file, add the following line in the <Directory> section:

Satisfy Any

  • When using SSL, take special note of the ServerName. You should specify one in the server configuration, as well as in the CommonName field of the certificate. If you want your Nextcloud to be reachable via the internet, then set both of these to the domain you want to reach your Nextcloud server.

Now restart Apache:

service apache2 restart

  • If you’re running Nextcloud in a subdirectory and want to use CalDAV or CardDAV clients make sure you have configured the correct Service discovery URLs.

Pretty URLs

Pretty URLs remove the index.php-part in all Nextcloud URLs, for example in sharing links like, making URLs shorter and thus prettier.

mod_env and mod_rewrite must be installed on your webserver and the .htaccess must be writable by the HTTP user. Then you can set in the config.php two variables:

'overwrite.cli.url' => '',

'htaccess.RewriteBase' => '/nextcloud',

if your setup is available on or:

'overwrite.cli.url' => '',

'htaccess.RewriteBase' => '/',

if it isn’t installed in a subfolder. Finally run this occ-command to update your .htaccess file:

sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ maintenance:update:htaccess

After each update, these changes are automatically applied to the .htaccess-file.

Enabling SSL


You can use Nextcloud over plain HTTP, but we strongly encourage you to use SSL/TLS to encrypt all of your server traffic, and to protect user’s logins and data in transit.

Apache installed under Ubuntu comes already set-up with a simple self-signed certificate. All you have to do is to enable the ssl module and the default site. Open a terminal and run:

a2enmod ssl

a2ensite default-ssl

service apache2 reload


Self-signed certificates have their drawbacks - especially when you plan to make your Nextcloud server publicly accessible. You might want to consider getting a certificate signed by a commercial signing authority. Check with your domain name registrar or hosting service for good deals on commercial certificates.

Installation wizard

After restarting Apache you must complete your installation by running either the graphical Installation Wizard, or on the command line with the occ command. To enable this, change the ownership on your Nextcloud directories to your HTTP user:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/nextcloud/


Admins of SELinux-enabled distributions may need to write new SELinux rules to complete their Nextcloud installation; see SELinux configuration tips.

To use occ see Installing from command line.

To use the graphical Installation Wizard see Installation wizard.

SELinux configuration tips

See SELinux configuration for a suggested configuration for SELinux-enabled distributions such as Fedora and CentOS.

php.ini configuration notes

Keep in mind that changes to php.ini may have to be configured on more than one ini file. This can be the case, for example, for the date.timezone setting.

php.ini - used by the Web server:




or ...

php.ini - used by the php-cli and so by Nextcloud CRON jobs:



Path names have to be set in respect of the installed PHP (>= 7.0, 7.1, 7.2 or 7.3) as applicable.

php-fpm configuration notes

System environment variables

When you are using php-fpm, system environment variables like PATH, TMP or others are not automatically populated in the same way as when using php-cli. A PHP call like getenv('PATH'); can therefore return an empty result. So you may need to manually configure environment variables in the appropropriate php-fpm ini/config file.

Here are some example root paths for these ini/config files:


CentOS/Red Hat/Fedora



In both examples, the ini/config file is called www.conf, and depending on the distro version or customizations you have made, it may be in a subdirectory such as pool.d.

Usually, you will find some or all of the environment variables already in the file, but commented out like this:


;env[PATH] = /usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin

;env[TMP] = /tmp

;env[TMPDIR] = /tmp

;env[TEMP] = /tmp

Uncomment the appropriate existing entries. Then run printenv PATH to confirm your paths, for example:

$ printenv PATH



If any of your system environment variables are not present in the file then you must add them.

Alternatively it is possible to use the environment variables of your system by modifying:


and uncommenting the line:

clear_env = no

When you are using shared hosting or a control panel to manage your Nextcloud VM or server, the configuration files are almost certain to be located somewhere else, for security and flexibility reasons, so check your documentation for the correct locations.

Please keep in mind that it is possible to create different settings for php-cli and php-fpm, and for different domains and Web sites. The best way to check your settings is with PHP version and information.

Maximum upload size

If you want to increase the maximum upload size, you will also have to modify your php-fpm configuration and increase the upload_max_filesize and post_max_size values. You will need to restart php5-fpm and your HTTP server in order for these changes to be applied.

.htaccess notes for Apache

Nextcloud comes with its own nextcloud/.htaccess file. Because php-fpm can’t read PHP settings in .htaccess these settings and permissions must be set in the nextcloud/.user.ini file.

Other Web servers
Installing on Windows (virtual machine)

If you are using Windows, the easiest way to get Nextcloud up and running is using a virtual machine (VM). There are two options:

  • Enterprise/SME appliance

Nextcloud GmbH maintains a free appliance built on the Univention Corporate Server (UCS) with easy graphical setup and web-based administration. It includes user management via LDAP, can replace an existing Active Directory setup and has optional ONLYOFFICE and Collabora Online integration, with many more applications available for easy and quick install.

It can be installed on hardware or run in a virtual machine using VirtualBox, VMWare (ESX) and KVM images.

Download the the Appliance here:

  • Home User/SME appliance

The Nextcloud VM is maintained by T&M Hansson IT and several different versions are offered. Collabora, OnlyOffice, Full Text Search and other apps can easily be installed with the included scripts which you can choose to run during the first setup, or download them later and run it afterwards. You can find all the currently available automated app installations on GitHub.

The VM comes in different sizes and versions.

You can find all the available versions here.

For complete instructions and downloads see:


You can install the VM on several different operating systems as long as you can mount OVA, VMDK, or VHD/VHDX VM in your hypervisor. If you are using KVM then you need to install the VM from the scripts on Github. You can follow the instructions in the README.

Installing via Snap packages

A snap is a zip file containing an application together with its dependencies, and a description of how it should safely be run on your system, especially the different ways it should talk to other software. Most importantly snaps are designed to be secure, sandboxed, containerized applications isolated from the underlying system and from other applications.

To install the Nextcloud Snap Package, run the following command in a terminal:

sudo snap install nextcloud


The snapd technology is the core that powers snaps, and it offers a new way to package, distribute, update and run OS components and applications on a Linux system. See more about snaps on

Installation via web installer on a VPS or web space

When you don’t have access to the command line, for example at a web hosting or VMPS, an easy option is to use our web installer. This script can be found on our server installation page here.

The script checks the dependencies, downloads Nextcloud from the official server, unpacks it with the right permissions and the right user account. Finally, you will be redirected to the Nextcloud installer. Here a quick how-to:

  1. Get the file from the installation page
  2. Upload setup-nextcloud.php to your web space
  3. Point your web browser to setup-nextcloud.php on your webspace
  4. Follow the instructions and configure Nextcloud
  5. Login to your newly created Nextcloud instance!


that the installer uses the same Nextcloud version as available for the built in updater in Nextcloud. After a major release it can take up to a month before it becomes available through the web installer and the updater. This is done to spread the deployment of new major releases out over time.

Installation via install script

One of the easiest ways of installing is to use the Nextcloud VM scripts. It’s basically just two steps:

  1. Download the latest installation script.
    Run the script with:

    sudo bash
  2. A guided setup will follow and the only thing you have to do it to follow the on screen instructions, when given to you.


In order to provide a free software replacement to proprietary storage service providers the development of ownCloud was announced in January 2010. The company was founded in 2011 and forked the code away from KDE to github. Founded by Markus Rex, Holger Dyroff and Frank Karlitschek, has attracted funding from investors. In April 2016 Karlitschek left ownCloud Inc. and founded a new company and project called Nextcloud in June 2016, resulting in the closure of ownCloud's U.S. operations. Some former ownCloud Inc. developers left ownCloud to form the fork with Karlitschek.

The fork was preceded by a blog post of Karlitschek, asking questions such as "Who owns the community? Who owns ownCloud itself? And what matters more, short term money or long term responsibility and growth?" There have been no official statements about the reason for the fork. However, Karlitschek mentioned the fork several times in a talk at the 2018 FOSDEM conference, emphasizing cultural mismatch between open source developers and business oriented people not used to the open source community. While Nextcloud was originally a fork of the ownCloud project, there are now many differences. For instance, ownCloud offers an open-source community edition, but also offers a proprietary Enterprise Edition with additional features and supports subscriptions—Nextcloud instead uses the same public code base for both free and paid users.

Discourse was first released in 2013 by Jeff Atwood, Robin Ward, and Sam Saffron.
It was planned to advance the field of forum software back in 2012 that was not innovating.
The application is written with Ember.js and Ruby on Rails. PostgreSQL serves as its back-end database management system. The business model was to develop open source software and earn revenue from hosting it as a service to companies and enterprises.
With the money the company pays salary for its full-time employees who maintain the software and develop new features which benefits those who are self-hosting the open source software, too. This is an example of an open source software business model where a company sells professional services to willing customers.  

Both NextCloud and Discourse are used as in-house software-services for large and medium sized organizations and institutions in culture (like Berlin’s HKW) and the nonprofit sector, as well as offered as affordable web services for the non-profit sector and individuals by tech NGOs and cooperatives (like Catalan’s

Context of origin

Visual representation




NEXTCLOUD should be picked up by every cultural organization-institution that wants to  have controlled ownership over its content and/or collaboration tools. Ideally it should be introduced at the start of the project and/or joint work as organizing and establishing protocols together makes a huge difference in ease of use. When used as a service (provided by others) it is important to inform and educate all collaborators on file sizes, formats and backup policies, to optimize the amount of data used and avoid useless backups or waste of storage space.

Discourse is a prominent, sophisticated and fast developing forum platform that can help increase quality of many to many communication (avoiding use of mailing list or social media like FB groups) and help organic growth of communities, including recognizing commitments and leaderships, then use software features to making it explicit in diverse system user roles.


Nextcloud GmbH. and community of contributors. Frank Karlitschek, the original ownCloud developer forked ownCloud and created Nextcloud, which continues to be actively developed by Karlitschek and other members of the original ownCloud team.

Discourse was founded by Jeff Atwood, Robin Ward, and Sam Saffron, now running as Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc. with over 45 employees and growing.
All code contributors are listed: