Owncloud: Finally a Dropbox that can sync to your local LAN

November 17th, 2012 by Erin Scott

If I had a megabyte for the number of times I praised a cloud provider’s service while simultaneously lamenting that my data had to leave my LAN to live out the rest of it’s days on their servers then I’d have collected enough MB’s to fill a DVD.

That statement is definitely a tad hyperbolic but the need for good “cloud” software that average users can admin and control is definitely much sought after and needed.

Enter Owncloud which has the lofty goal of making all your data accessible everywhere and over all your devices. I said it was lofty right? I was more than a tad skeptical when I read this too but Owncloud delivers.

Setup is almost deceptively straightforward as all you have to do is download a tar file and extract it to your web root folder. From there, make sure your permissions are all owned by the apache daemon user (www-data for ubuntu and apache for redhat / centos).  The only real tricky part is making sure you have all the prerequisites installed and have SSL running properly.  Check the official site for a list of prerequisites http://owncloud.org/support/install/

wget http://mirrors.owncloud.org/releases/owncloud-4.5.3.tar.bz2
tar -jxvf owncloud-4.5.3.tar.bz2
mv owncloud /var/www
chown -R www-data /var/www/owncloud/

You’ll want to make sure that the Allow Overrides variable is set to all or else the custom .htacces that comes with Owncloud won’t work and certain modifications (such as moving the data folder outside the web root) will need to be made due to security concerns.

Next step is to login to your domain and create a username and password.  You also have the option of connecting to a mysql database or using SQLite.  If unsure choose SQLite as it’s the easiest to setup and most compatible.

Create Admin User


Next, you have to install the sync client on your local machine.  Grab the latest version from the official website: https://owncloud.com/download.

Run the installer and open the app.  The first time you run it it’ll require your connection settings.  Enter them like so:

Hit next and with any luck you’ll be off to the races!  The default folder is ~/ownCloud and you can start syncing files immediately simply by dragging and dropping.


Next time we’ll go over some more in depth configurations such as configuring contact / calendar syncing as well as syncing to an amazone s3 bucket.

If you get stuck anywhere in the process please refer to the official install guide located here: http://owncloud.org/support/install/

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