Bigtime help please!


  1. Dell Dimension E521 Desktop (AMD Sempron 3400+ @ 1.8GHZ & w/ 4 GB RAM) (“Dell”)
  2. Raspberry Pi 3B+ (“Pi”)

I want to set up a Nextcloud Server on the Dell. On the Pi, I plan to have OpenMediaVault 4 to use as a Plex Media Server (through the Plex VPN). The Pi will have a Toshiba 1TB USB 2.0 external hard drive connected to it through an AC-powered (as in “home electrical outlet”) USB 2.0 hub. The media files (music, photos, & videos) will be stored on said external hard drive so that the Pi’s processing power can handle playing/viewing/playing the respective media files mentioned above - especially the video files (the Dell does not have any HD video capabilities; that’s why I need the Pi - to play the HD content).

The Dell runs Linux Mint 19. I require VERY, VERY, VERY SPECIFIC & DETAILED instructions on a STEP-BY-STEP basis to get everything set up so that I can SELF-HOST my files AND to ascertain if and how I can have the Nextcloud server on the Dell “point” to the Pi-connected USB hard drive to keep the files synchronized between “the cloud” & the external hard drive.

Again, SPECIFICITY is absolutely required; I am BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW to Linux & all things related thereto. I would ask that help be provided as quickly as possible because I’d like to get this all set up by the end of the day tomorrow. I’ve set this up as my “weekend project”. Thanks in advance.

3 more things:

  1. If anyone has an idea about an alternative way to run Plex Media Server on a Pi (if OpenMediaVault is “overkill” for what I’m planning to do), I’d love to know.
  2. I have an account with Private Tunnel (OpenVPN-capable). Do I need to set Private Tunnel/OpenVPN up to run on the Pi even though I’m only using it to host the media files for Plex Media Server? I won’t be using the Pi for doing home-related work, e-mail, or web browsing.
  3. I need to be able to access my Plex Media Server AND the Nextcloud server from on AND outside of my home network. My ISP is Cox Communications; for residential internet service, they provide a dynamic IP address; I do plan on signing up with a Dynamic DNS (DDNS) service once I figure out how to connect to everything.

That’s quite a big project for a beginner. Note that you can decrease your network security if you are doing something wrong.

One of the first decisions you have to make is how to host your Nextcloud instance. You already mentioned a VPN-Tunnel. Using this technique basically means that you don’t make your Nextcloud instance available from outside / from the internet. If you are away and connect to your home network by using a vpn tunnel this means that your computer is “added” to your home network via an encrypted channel over the internet.
=> For your setup this means that you just need a local (in your network) installation of Nextcloud. If port 80 is opened on the raspberry you can access nextcloud by the network name of the pi.

DynamicDns is just required to establish the VPN-Tunnel than.

An other possibility is to make your Nextcloud installation available from the internet. This requires you to register a domain and set the DNS-Entries of the domain to your DDNS-Providers DNS-Servers. Furthermore you have to open port 80 and probably also 443 on your router and forward it to the pi.
In this case i also recommend you to use https because your data would not be transfered encrypted over the internet otherwise.

=> I think this way is more complicated and you need the domain before starting to properly setup nextcloud. This is not the case with the first way i described.

The nextcloud installation:
If you dont want to bother with the nextcloud installation you can use a complete image for the pi:

I am not familiar with plex but the image above is based on Debian 9
(stretch) so it should be possible to also setup plex on it.


I GREATLY appreciate your response in such a quick amount of time!

If I understand your response properly, I should use the NextcloudPi image by installing it on the Pi and then subsequently install Plex Media Server on the Pi afterwards (leaving the Dell untouched). Am I correct in my interpretation?

That does sound much easier to be able to let me access Nextcloud and to stream music/view photos/play videos both inside of and away from my home Wi-Fi network.

Maybe sometime in the future I could get a 2nd Pi and have Nextcloud on Pi “1” and run Plex Media Server on “Pi 2”… with all of the uses of a Pi I’ve read about, I may have a lot of them around one day!

Your setup is a bit complicated. It makes most sense to run Plex and Nextcloud on the machine that has the hdd attached to be able to directly put the uploaded data to the correct hdd. Thats why i would prefer to make the raspberry to be the server. Furthermore the energy consumption is much lower if it runs 24/7.

One Problem that arises is the missing playback capability of your dell desktop. It might get a little much for the pi to also play the videos on a hd display.

When i started i also had nextcloud on a raspberry + a attached tv card and the software vdr as tv server. Another raspberry was attached to the tv as a player (with openelec). The setup worked quite well except that switching the tv channels or the menus took around one second.

After two years i upgraded to an intel nuc for the playback on the tv for better performance and kept only the first raspberry as server.


I did see a demo where Nextcloud can play music, display photos, & play videos, so I think I’ll just forgo the Plex Media Server part, just use Nextcloud, & see how that does.

I now think that I originally had my sights set too high; it was a very ambitious goal, but maybe I can get an Intel NUC to have a more-capable setup someday.

I don’t know how often my family & I will access the videos via Nextcloud, but the music-playing and photo-viewing capabilities will be used more frequently, I believe.

I recently finished what was a very time-consuming project of downloading and consolidating all of our music, photos, & video files off of Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, & Box and moved them all onto the USB external hard drive so we didn’t have to keep searching through 4 “clouds” to find what we’re looking for. With Nextcloud, it’ll be nice to have everything accessible in one place for my family members & me.

Aniother Question: Is there a way where we can send photos & videos from our iPhones (4 in all) to Nextcloud automatically?

Thanks again; you’ve proven yourself to be patient with my long posts, helpful, very responsive, & quite knowledgeable. I’ll get where I want to be one day once I get more capable hardware.


There is an auto-upload function in Nextcloud apps on mobile.

BTW, as you put all your eggs in one basket, touch wood, make sure you get another same size harddisk for backup.