Running your OwnCloud

Ever wondered of running your own cloud? Fed up of cloud storage solutions out there? Not getting enough storage for the bucks you paid? Or only you can save unlimited images and videos and not files? (yes they do this these days, their love for photos and videos, sigh!)

Why pay when you can run your own cloud? Actually that’s not the reason, I’ve used unlimited Amazon Cloud Drive account and I was very happy with them until the day they asked me to pay more. That was a disappointment!

So, here is a solution for all such cases, owncloud and it’s FREE (There are more such solutions available, cozy.io, next cloud (fork of own cloud) and many more).

Why OwnCloud?

  • Well documented.
  • Easy to setup.
  • Open source and a good community support.
  • Basic versions of mobile apps available.
  • Allows you to add multiple types of storage. (biggest enticing feature)
  • Can be used by multiple users (may be use it for your family & friends and why not work ?)
  • A lot of third-party apps such as contacts, notes, calendar etc.
  • Encrypted data (optional)
  • App specific passwords.
  • Two-factor authentication using third-party app.

Downside (though this should not discourage you from giving it a try)

  • You’ll need your own server for this.
  • You should know basics of web development. (That’s not a big problem though)
  • You are on your own if anything goes wrong (sad, you can’t curse anyone, admin@yourowncloud.com)

Why I use OwnCloud?

There are other open source solutions available as well, I’ve tried cozy.io didn’t find it anywhere close to own cloud. The biggest con was single user support.

The main reason to use own cloud is being able to use multiple types of storage where own cloud only acts as a proxy to your other cloud solutions. E.g. You can use multiple google drive accounts as an external storage with own cloud, in fact, multiple S3 endpoints can be used, your own disk can be used, Dropbox can be used. Which made me fall for it. Suppose, if at any point in time, I want to back out of this, I can, any day.

There are no strings attached.

For instance, I’ve used 4 Google accounts with it, which provides me with a consolidated space of 60GB for free (15GB for each account). I can upload content to any of them, as they just appear as a folder to me in my own cloud app. And at the same time I can access my content from anywhere if I want through google drive itself (and of course, own cloud web interface as well). I don’t need to add N different google accounts to my phone or for that matter I can access N google drives using single sign in.

How to setup

Prerequisites:

  • You are fed up, lost faith, and you really want such a thing.
  • You have your own server (get your own server here ), you can run it on your local machine as well (your PC, laptop etc, which may be available to you at all times, although with some hacks you can bring your home computer over the internet)
  • Nginx, PHP-FPM, MySQL installed on your server. (Ubuntu, Centos, Mac, windows :P)

Setting it up for any OS almost goes same.

  • You need to download the zip file from here (hit the download button),
  • Extract it to a directory,
  • Put Nginx config in place,
  • PHP-FPM config (or use an endpoint of already running instance)
  • Start nginx, php-fpm, mysql
  • Access the URL where you have configured your own cloud. (nginx server name), you’ll be shown following screen
  • Click on storage and database link, it’ll open your local folder to be used as data directory and your db settings (local if you want, if not, then too provide any path) screenshot below:
  • Now hit, finish setup and you’re done with the basic setup, you’ll be shown following screenshot on completion of your setup
  • Now it’s time to add external storage so that your own cloud becomes a proxy for your other cloud solutions. Click on the Files present on the left top corner, you’ll see following drop down screen
  • Click on “+” Apps and you’ll be taken to an app section, where you can select an app from various different categories and add them to your own cloud
  • Select Not Enabled from the left column and search for External Storage Support like below and enable it:
  • After enabling it, go to admin section, which you go by clicking on admin written in top bar on the right side, on clicking it’ll open a drop screen, select admin from there and you’ll be taken to the following screen
  • Select External Storage from the left column
  • Woohoo!, you can now add any type of storage to your own cloud installation
  • My installation looks like this, after adding 4 Google accounts. ( folder names and client ids are hidden)

I hope this helps, do share your feedback below.