How to easily install a cloud service at home in an hour or less

How to easily install a cloud service at home in an hour or less

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The cloud has become a necessity for most people. You create/edit/store/share/backup files, collaborate, and much more. In fact, in today’s crazy-busy world, not having the cloud would make many aspects of our lives more challenging.

But can you trust third-party cloud services with your most sensitive data?

Also: The best Linux laptops for everyone

I recently wrote an opinion piece on the most important reason you should be using Linux at home

In the end, it’s all about keeping your data safe from third-party services and the ability to expand the applications, services, and tools you have available to you — without having to break the bank or get a degree in computer science.

You might either not know about Linux or believe it to be too challenging for your skills. 

Also: Ubuntu Cinnamon makes switching from Windows to Linux as painless as possible

For those who haven’t heard of Linux, it’s a free operating system you can install on computers (or as virtual machines) that is more powerful, flexible, reliable, and secure than either Windows or MacOS

And Linux is everywhere. Not only does it run on computers, but also on IoT devices, smart devices, appliances, automobiles, and more.

In this series on making use of Linux at home, I want to show you how to install the Nextcloud on-premises cloud host. Think of it as your own Google Workspace, complete with documents, storage, calendar, email, and more. 

Also: How to replace Windows with Linux Mint on your PC

It should come as no surprise (given the title of this piece), that there’s a very easy way to install this cloud platform and I’m going to show you how it’s done.

How to install a cloud service at home: It’s easy

What you’ll need: To successfully install Nextcloud, you will need an instance of Ubuntu Server up and running on your home network. Fear not, as I’ve already explained how you can install this in under 30 minutes. With that server running, you’ll need a user with sudo privileges (which you create during the operating system installation).

That’s it. Let’s do this.

The first thing is to log in to your Ubuntu Server instance, which will land you at the terminal window.

To install Nextcloud, issue the command:

sudo snap install nextcloud

Open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER (where SERVER is the IP address of your Ubuntu server).

In the resulting window of your web browser, type a new username and password to be used as an admin user.

The Nextcloud snap package admin user creation window.

Creating an admin user is the first step in the web GUI.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the resulting window, click Install Recommended Apps to add the Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Nextcloud Office, and Talk apps (you can add more later). This installation will take a bit more time (less than 5 minutes). 

Also: This official Ubuntu Spin might just be the perfect intro to Linux

Allow the installation to complete and you’ll be presented with the Nextcloud Hub, where you can access all of the pre-installed apps and start using your in-house cloud service.

The Nextcloud Recommended apps popup.

I would recommend going with the recommendations.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Next steps with Nextcloud

After the installation is complete, you can start using Nextcloud as is. 

However, I would suggest you at least configure the email server settings, so you’ll be able to share and collaborate on files. To configure the email server, you’ll first need to have an SMTP server. You can always use the Google SMTP server; the settings you’ll need are:

  • SMTP server:
  • Port: 465.
  • From email address: Your Gmail address.
  • Password: Your Gmail password (or app password, if you use two-factor Authentication with Gmail).

To configure the SMTP server, click your Nextcloud profile icon at the top right of the window and, from the drop-down, click Administration Settings. From the left sidebar, click Basic Settings, and then in the resulting window, scroll down until you see the Email Server section. Fill in the options as outlined above and click Save. With that complete, click Send Email to make sure everything is working. 

The Nextcloud SMTP server configuration window.

Adding an SMTP server to Nextcloud.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you’ve taken care of the SMTP server settings, click the Mail icon at the top of the window. When prompted, fill out the necessary information for your email account, and click Connect.

The Nextcloud email account configuration window.

Adding an email account in Nextcloud.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

With this complete, your Nextcloud instance can do just about anything your other cloud services can offer… all the while remaining within your home network. 

Even with the installation of Ubuntu Server, you should be able to complete this process in well under an hour. Believe me when I tell you, the time invested will be well worth it.

Original Article

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