Nextcloud vs owncloud: what to choose and how much does it cost?

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Let’s talk about Nextcloud and ownCloud. What are they supposed to do and why might your team want to use one. Here is a detailed breakdown of the most popular and functional progressive cloud services.

Table of contents

  1. What are Nextcloud and ownCloud?
  2. What is Nextcloud used for?
  3. How much does Nextcloud cost?
  4. How to setup Nextcloud server?
  5. What is ownCloud used for?
  6. How much does ownCloud cost?
  7. How to setup ownCloud server?
  8. Nextcloud and ownCloud on Windows and any other platform\
  9. What is better: Nextcloud or ownCloud?

What are Nextcloud and ownCloud?

Basically, both applications are digital coworking services — online platforms for working together as a team on any project while having access to one filing system and additional software products.

The idea behind these products lies in cooperative working without limitations. Nextcloud and ownCloud both help teams to stay connected, edit the same files in parallel, and get the job done faster.

Additionally, it gives control of email to the entire team and not just one teammate. Edit rich-text documents, talk to each other using fully-fledged messengers and call-apps bundled with Nextcloud.

But the unique feature of these apps is the ability to create a private space and work closely with team members.

There are many digital products that make it possible for different people to edit the same files (Evernote, Google Docs, Dropbox, Office 365, etc.) but none of them respects your privacy. With powerful products made by Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, etc. you end up giving them a lot of your personal data. Since ownCloud and Nextcloud are open-source projects you stay in control. These services allow you to avoid corporations while at the same time gaining access to their software products. That’s why both ownCloud and Nextcloud are extremely popular.

What is Nextcloud used for

Nextcloud — is a cloud service that includes many tools for working collaboratively. The main member of the Nextcloud family is Nextcloud Hub. This is software that harnesses every tool your team needs to communicate faster, work together and remain aware of any changes to the project.

what is nextcloud

Nextcloud Files

This is an online filing system that can be accessed by anyone from your team via a web browser or mobile application. It looks like and feels like Google Drive but it’s a private one.

Nextcloud Talk

This one resembles Zoom or Discord. It’s a fully functional platform to communicate with your teammates, share files, and set up phone conferences using mobile devices or a web interface.

Nextcloud Groupware

This is a system of multiple applications including a calendar to prepare a shared schedule, email clients from one email inbox, and enjoy full control of a shared contact list.

Other tools

There are also modules to connect FTP, SharePoint, and other types of servers, and the Nextcloud Flow interface helps to optimize repetitive tasks your team used to do.

How much does Nextcloud cost?

Nextcloud is an open-source project and you can use the distributive for free. But to do this, you’ll have to set it up yourself on your server without the help of specialists.

There’s also Nextcloud Enterprise — a derived project that aims to help large corporations and small businesses access all the tools that Nextcloud offers. It has three plans:

  1. Basic — this one includes a maintenance lifecycle of one year, faster tech support reaction time, fast deployment of security patches, and the opportunity to integrate the system with Outlook software. It costs 36 euros per user per year for teams of one hundred or fewer teammates and 28.50 euros per user for teams of two hundred or more teammates.

  2. Standard — this one includes all the features that you can find in the basic plan but also: branding (helps to reconfigure the whole system to be more consistent with corporate identity), additional optional components like Collabora Online Office, HANCOM Works, Nextcloud Groupware, and more. Costs 65 euros per year for small teams and 48.50 for large ones.

  3. Premium — gives you all the add-ons you might want to install including Microsoft Office Online. It also includes technical support which provides immediate help 24/7. This costs 95 euro per user per year for small teams or 74.50 euros per year for bigger ones.

But you can use hosts like Hostman that offer preinstalled Nextcloud with all the basic functions.

How to setup Nextcloud server

setup nextcloud

System requirements

  • You should use one of the modern and up-to-date Linux distributives like Ubuntu 20.04, RHEL 8, Debian 10, CentOS 8, etc.

  • On your server install MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database or PostgreSQL. NoSQL databases are not supported.

  • The machine on which Nextcloud is deployed should run an Apache or nginx web server (the first one is recommended).

  • It is better to have a modern version of PHP installed.

Installing Nextcloud on Ubuntu Linux

After preparing all the prerequisites listed in the previous part of the article you should visit the official site of the cloud service and download the Nextcloud Server package there.

You’ll have a zip archive that you must extract to the directory named «Nextcloud».

Configure Apache server

You need to create configuration file /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf

Inside this file put:

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

Require all granted

AllowOverride All

Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews

Dav off

But change directories to ones that fit your server preferences.

When the server is set up and running you should visit http://localhost/nextcloud and move forward by following the installer’s commands.

What is ownCloud used for?

what is owncloud

ownCloud is quite different to Nextcloud. It is actually a platform which branched away from Nextcloud some time ago. The main project was launched first and was then used as a collaborative online tool much earlier than Nextcloud. This is why ownCloud is likewise considered a safe and functional way to store data and grant access to teammates.

ownCloud respects rules such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), LGPD, CCFR (Cloud Computing Regulatory Framework), HIPAA and CCPA. These regulations are designed to protect your data from misuse.

As for ownCloud features, developers highlight the following:

  • Fully functional mobile applications that are interchangeable with their desktop counterparts.

  • Automation support on iOS and new macOS versions.

  • Advanced state-of-the-art files encryption system.

  • Communication mechanisms to stay in touch with your team.

  • Document scanner integrated into iOS for iPhone and iPad.

  • Ability to search through the text inside files stored in ownCloud.

How much does ownCloud cost?

There are 4 different plans for ownCloud. 2 for self-hosted servers and 2 for their proprietary online services.

  • Standard — gives access to the customer portal, lets you use mobile apps, activate sync, and share files. Costs 5 euro per year per user. The team should comprise at least 25 teammates.

  • Enterprise — extended plan that includes Enterprise functions. Costs 12 euros annually per user. The team should consist of at least 25 teammates.

  • For Teams — server hosted on ownCloud’s site in Germany. Comes with 1000 GB of cloud storage, 200 GB for every new user, 180 days of data recovery, multifactor authentication, firewall and other useful features. Costs 13 euro per user. Paid annually.

  • For Single Users — same as «For Teams» but for smaller groups of users.

How to setup ownCloud server?

System requirements

For best performance developers of ownCloud recommend using:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

  • MariaDB 10+

  • Apache 2.4 with prefork and mod_php

  • PHP 7.4

Installing ownCloud on Ubuntu Linux

You have to create helper script with these commands inside:


/bin/cat <$FILE

! /bin/bash

cd /var/www/owncloud

sudo -E -u www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/owncloud/occ "\$@"


After that you may download the official ownCloud distributive from its website and install it by using command:

occ maintenance:install \

--database "mysql" \

--database-name "owncloud" \

--database-user "owncloud" \

--database-pass "password" \

--admin-user "admin" \

--admin-pass "admin"

Configure Apache server

You should set up a server and Virtual Host Configuration. Then you must enable created configuration and change database preferences to correspond with parameters of other server components. Instructions for doing this correctly can be found within ownCloud’s documentation articles.

Nextcloud and ownCloud on Windows and any other platform

Unfortunately, there’s no way to install Nextcloud or ownCloud as a server on any platform besides Linux or FreeBSD. That means that the core of these software products must be deployed on Unix-based OS (macOS is also Unix-based but can’t serve as a server for Nextcloud or ownCloud either). If you want to set up a server on Windows or macOS you should consider alternative cloud services or use virtual machines.

You might know that a lot of developers that use Windows as the main operating system actually develop in Linux environments using Windows Subsystems for Linux. It is a kind of virtual PC inside your PC that runs proper Linux distribution. And since it is a real Linux OS you can deploy Nextcloud there as you would do with Ubuntu. Just visit the Windows Store and find the last version of Ubuntu there. Or download applications like VirtualBox or VMWare.

But if you do not want to deploy Nextcloud or ownCloud but get an app to connect to an already functioning cloud service’s instance you might want to head to the official website of the service and download the client there. Both applications offer clients for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. The installation process depends on the chosen platform and is usually not so different from installing any other app.

Nextcloud and ownCloud on Raspberry Pi

In order to install one of the cloud services as a server on your mini-computer, it should be running Linux or FreeBSD. The process of installation is not really different from installing the same software on any Unix-based machine that supports either Nextcloud or ownCloud.

What is better: Nextcloud or ownCloud?

Nextcloud is a good all-in-one solution for most users. It is great for those teams that want to access a lot of useful tools without setting up too many things.

Of course, it is great at working with files. Sharing, coediting, version controlling, etc. But Nextcloud is much more than a remote filing system.

Nextcloud Enterprise helps to deploy a full-fledged cooperative workspace with incredible software components like Nextcloud Talk and Nextcloud Groupware. So your team doesn’t need to use third-party applications to address any challenges that appear before them. At any rate, it is more powerful software that your team can get on much better terms.

In contrast to Nextcloud, ownCloud is focused on working with files only. There are many tools that help teams around the world to handle their documents, photos, presentations, and arts seamlessly. That’s why you won’t find services like Nexcloud Hub here. ownCloud is all about small features created to improve your file sharing and collaborative editing capabilities.

But at the same time, it is an open-source platform with a distinguished API that can be used to create powerful plugins broadly extending the application’s feature set. It means that you can pretty much copy most of the Nextcloud features to ownCloud, and they will be aligned.

Also, it might brag about much faster tech support (which responds within two hours when Nextcloud’s one may make you wait for 2 days), freely available documentation, community edition Windows Desktop Client, Storage certification, etc.

The most lucrative and simple way to deploy Nextcloud

We already mentioned Hostman as a good host to deploy Nextcloud, so let’s get a bit deeper.

Hostman has a marketplace — an online shop with a series of one-click-deploy services. You can find their Minecraft gaming server, different databases, analytics tools, and Nextcloud of course.

The simplest way to start working with this cloud service is to visit its official page in Hostsman’s marketplace and click on the «Launch Nextcloud now» button.

It will create a server with Nextcloud preinstalled and set up. You won’t need to bother about the installation procedure and prerequisites. Everything will be ready for basic configuration and launching.

This service costs 19 dollars per month and if you want to try it our first Hostman offers a 7 day free trial without any restrictions.


As you see, both Nextcloud and ownCloud are functional and useful instruments to set up cooperative workspaces online. Moreover, you now know what tool to choose and how to make the whole process incomparably beneficial for your team. Don’t forget about Nextcloud system requirements and the security of shared files.

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