NextCloud as Self-hosted Dream

Web Server May 30, 2019

I hear about NextCloud from lot of "linux guys" but never tried it. Before I know Docker it was too complicated to begin. Also I already use Syncthing. But a week ago just for curious I installed it on my server.

It was a very good idea to do. Better later than never. So if you don't know what NextCloud is you're welcome.

Syncthing and CryptPad No More

I used Syncthing since the beginning of my self-hosted journey. I just to have a dedicated Raspberry Pi node for it. It worked well but was very limited. Good for simple syncing files between computers. But since I do more stuff on my own infrastructure I needed something better.

Second very good service was a CryptPad. But as I found out I barely used it's functionality and ended up creating a lot of "code" files. It was a bloated note app. Super secure and real-time but still.

Both of those services were put to rest. I moved to the new, shiny thing. A NextCloud self-hosted instance.

Files always online

Having all of my important files always online is very helpful. Easy to share or make a folder for drop files (public upload). If I ever need our logo all I need is a browser to get it.

Sync

NextCloud Desktop sync application

I installed the client on all my computers (and servers). All files are synced and up-to date. Reinstalling by format is also much easier. If you never used sync functionality now it's time to do it.

There's an app for that

At the beginning I wanted just to have a file server. Easy way to sync, share and publish. Then I found the Apps menu. I expanded the NextCloud functionality by a mile and more. Now it's a perfectly fitted workhorse. From calendar to mind-maps.

All my gpx files are shown on a map. I can see details and compare them. I can listen to my music on any on-line device. Gallery and Calendar exactly what you expect.

Talk is a very nice Slack like chat. Useful if you have more users registered.

Last but not least is a Trello like board app called Decks. Once again it's simple but powerful. We (P1X) are using Trello and have few boards there but with recent sellout to Atlasian we might consider moving. And now we have a perfect place to go. Our own board with hookers and black jack.

Best Notes App

In theory you can not screw up a notes app. But the real world shows as too many times that yes, you can. And the Note app in NextCloud is just perfect. It has as many and as little features as it should. It's an distraction-free mark down editor. It just works.

Hardware and Software Requirements

CPU load

I have a fairy old and simple server (IBM x3250). One dual-core Xeon and 4Gb of memory. Software RAID0. For one user (me) online it works good enough. There are times when I need to wait a dozen of seconds. But there is always an indicator and it's mostly on disk-heavy operations. Refreshing music catalog, adding new tag/collection in apps or moving files between folders. But normal operations like writing a note, creating tasks in boards, etc. works perfectly fine.

I'll be moving to the new hardware soon. I'm aiming for many cores and more memory. Storage is not a problem right now (other than speed) and I will handle this in the future (upgrading to bigger and much faster SSDs).

Bottom Line

You probably spotted the main theme here: simple and intuitive office tools collection. All free, open and self-hosted. In a world where Google makes their apps worse and worse NextCloud is a refreshing experience.

It's a one Docker image. Just spin it up and test by yourself.