Alternative to dropbox, google drive and co – Owncloud

owncloud logo version 6 blueIf you are looking for a good alternative to dropbox or google drive to install on your own server (or simply using a 3rd party service), Owncloud is probably the most famous one and can help you to build your own cloud \0/

Owncloud is quite different from Pydio (Previously known as Ajaxplorer) as presented before here on freedif.

They both provide a platform to easily view and manage your files through a web interface (or WebDAV), Pydio will only do that and will do it the best (A lot of features toward file management, file sharing, …) but won’t go much further, but Owncloud does.


Owncloud also provides a platform to view and sync your contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all your devices. It also includes a music player, a to do list and  have a large set of community based plugins to extend its features…

Owncloud also provides official desktop sync for Windows, Linux and MacOS that will perform like dropbox client and also an Android client that can be very useful if you want to sync your camera’s pics with others devices for example.

A demo is available to let you have a look of its interface and features.

They are currently working on a version 7 (Currently in Alpha) but their V6 is already a good piece of work!

Let’s see how to install it:


You obviously need a working web server with PHP, if you don’t have that, please read my previous article on this.

3 installation methods are described on the official Owncloud installation page, basically, directly using your distribution’s repository or using the archive to install manually or using their web installer if you only have an access to a shared hosting.

If you have your own server, I recommend you to use directly the linux packages as they maintained repositories for the most popular linux distros (CentOS, Debian, Fedora, OpenSuse, RHEL, SLE and Ubuntu). Easier and well maintained, it will takes care of all dependencies.

You can find the installation steps for each different distributions here.

If you are using a different flavour of Linux, it’s very likely that your distribution also includes it (The case of Sabayon and Gentoo for example)

If you wish to use their archive instead for a manual installation, they have a very well explained tutorial. I will only describe the Linux Packages type of installation.

1) Add the repository to your source.list and install Owncloud

If you are using Debian, like me, simply run as root:

echo 'deb /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list 
apt-key add - < Release.key
apt-get update
apt-get install owncloud

2) Go to HTTP://yourIP/owncloud to finish the installation

You will have to create an admin user/password, you will also be able to change the data folder and database (SQLite, MySQL or PostgreSQL) type in the advanced settings.

If you don’t plan to have many users (3 to 5), no need to change the database type, SQLite will do a good job and be simpler.

And press “Finish”. Indeed, that’s all it’s done and you can start using it!

But let’s say you don’t want to access everytime to HTTP://YourIP/owncloud but use instead a dedicated domain name or subdomain like own.domain.tld, you can simply create a virtualhost to do so.


Virtualhost configuration

You will need to:

1) Create a A redirection in your DNS server/registrar from own.domain.tld to your IP

2) Have SSL certificate ready. If not you can read this tutorial. (Optional, but I presume you do!)

3) Create your virtualhost as following:

In /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/, create a file called owncloud (In root):

nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/owncloud

and paste/adapt the following content:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.tld
        ServerName own.domain.tld
        Redirect / https://own.domain.tld


<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:443>
        SSLEngine on
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/myblog.pem
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/myblog.key

        ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.tld
        ServerName own.domain.tld

        DocumentRoot /var/www/owncloud
        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride All
        <Directory /var/www/owncloud>
                Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride All
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all

Adapt the content (Servername, webmaster, SSL certificate and directory, …).

When done, save the file (CTRL+X then Yes) and reload apache: (In root)

/etc/init.d/apache2 reload

You should now have access in HTTPS to your Owncloud using own.domain.tld URL.

And voila!!


You are neither using Owncloud nor Pydio/Ajaxplorer to manage your file/cloud, just share your solution in the comments!


Loves to discover web-based apps to install on his own server@home and write articles about it


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