How do I learn about my Nextcloud server?

I have a Nextcloud server running on a headless computer with Ubuntu Server 20.04 as the operating system. But, I still don’t understand a lot of things about Nextcloud.

My Nextcloud server is running just great. But, I did not install it, it was installed by someone else (who is not available for me to talk to). I want to learn more about Nextcloud so I can know what I’m doing with it. I have these questions:

  1. I’ve read that Nexcloud can be installed “normally”, or in a virtual machine, or in a docker - don’t know what those things are yet - and I’m wondering, How do I determine how my Nextcloud server was installed?

  2. When Ubuntu Server upgrades - e.g., from 20.04 to 22.04 - where can I look to verify that Nextcloud will work with that new version of Ubuntu Server?

  3. When I do decide to upgrade Ubuntu Server, are there special steps I need to take with the Nextcloud server? Where would I read about that? (I’ve tried searching for this, but found nothing, I fear I haven’t hit upon the right combination of search terms to find this.)

Maybe you can list the packages:

dpkg -l |grep apache2
dpkg -l |grep nginx
dpkg -l |grep php
dpkg -l |grep docker
dpkg -l |grep snap

If you found something search in the configuration files of the packages e.g. apache2, …

  1. and 3.

First you need to understand exactly how Nextcloud was installed. Before that, you do not need to address these points. Maybe it would be better to install a new Nextcloud and migrate the data and database to your Nextcloud. If you want to do that you need the exact same Nextcloud version. You can use a very old hardware (+10 years) to test the installation and migration.

Thanks for the reply.

I ran those commands, I got hits on everything except the nginx.

Sadly, I don’t know where to find the configuration files, nor do I know what I’m looking for to answer the question, “Exactly how Nextcloud was installed.”

Do you have any experience using Linux from the command line? What I mean is, can you maintain the Ubuntu installation (ignoring Nextcloud for a moment) on its own?


Look back through the previous commands executed in the terminal.

You should urgently improve your Linux skills or give up hosting Nextcloud. Windows is something you’ve been learning for months and years. Don’t think that you can just type any linux commands that you find somewhere or that are told to you here in the forum. Linux on the command line is even more complicated than Windows where you just move the mouse back and forth.

Maybe you can export all data and use a Managed Nextcloud in the internet. I think for many users this is the better solution. You can get an own Nextcloud where you can add users and apps on your own. And the provider takes care of updates and backups.

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Yes, I’ve relied solely on a desktop computer running Ubuntu since about 2013. Every couple years I upgraded, up to 22.04 now on the desktop computer, so I do have experience. But outside of Nextcloud I haven’t dealt with a server before, and have zero experience with things like docker, php, apache, etc.

In your subsequent post, in answer to my question of, “How do I determine how my Nextcloud server was installed?”, you wrote: “history Look back through the previous commands executed in the terminal.” I don’t know exactly what you mean by that. As I wrote in the original post, I didn’t install Nextcloud. What I didn’t write is that the person who installed it did that maybe two (??) years ago. So, I assume that the history command would not reach back that far to show the terminal commands that were executed that long ago for the Nextcloud installation.

The history command allows you to confirm as opposed to assume. Since that was your response I do not think you are ready for this task.

A young man asks a roofer how to thatch his roof. The old roofer asks the young man if you owns a ladder.

My concern is you not having experience with the terminal / linux to manage this. Or, have not tried to search the internet / watch videos online / read documentation / actually jumped into the terminal to learn how these work. So, I would agree with everything devnull wrote above.

Maintenance requires you have the tools / underlying knowledge / ability to search the internet to handle this. It will take time to understand through hands-on experience. Whether that journey is worthwhile is up to you. Thankfully, you do not have to understand all of this by the power of managed hosting, but if you do proceed the burden of figuring this out will entirely ride on your own shoulders; we can offer some pointers as volunteers, but will not be able to do the work for you.

How was your server originally setup?

Did you pay someone to do it for you? Or, was it done by a friend? Is it running on a pi or old laptop / tower? Are you running your server from your desktop?

Curious on that, and I do think it is cool that this interests you. It is a rabbit hole, but thankfully you can search the forum and internet to learn everything there is no know on Nextcloud, how to manage your Ubuntu server, and Linux itself.

My suggestion: Make a full backup on a separate disk of all your data if you do not have one.

edit: I’ll add responses to your questions above:

Start by understanding how to SSH (remotely connect) into your server. Then you can start poking around using terminal tools once you are sure you have a backup.

That is a massive topic. You’d need to reference the documentation for Docker or the many iterations of virtual machines to understand them. Hopefully this is not how this is setup for your sanity. Could also be installed as a Snap or bare metal (normal), or…

Check the Ubuntu documentation. Ubuntu is built upon Debian, so if Debian works you’ll find Ubuntu following along.

That is up to you. LTS releases (20.04 and 22.04) do not require a major upgrade for four years.

You’ll need to have backups, but also learn how to use them you need to restore or migrate your data.
It would also be worth using a test system, such as a VPS or spare computer, to test things and refine your process before making changes to your production system.

Search the forum
admin documentation for Nextcloud, Ubuntu, whatever else.
search the internet
watch youtube videos
man history
history --help
understanding linux permissions

This will get you started. Good luck.

#2 Tip: Keep detailed Notes

You’ll need to begin taking detailed notes using something like the Nextcloud Notes app and markdown. Be super detailed so you can pick up where you leave off. Example:

Here is my example of how to take good notes. Hope it helps.

I asked the forum and they offered various suggestions on how to maintain my server.

  • Searched duckduckgo on understanding permissions
  • Need to read Nextcloud admin documentation and search the forum to understand more.
  • Unable to SSH into my server. Will look into how to fix this.
### Understanding my Nextcloud server.
I asked [the forum]( and they offered various suggestions on how to maintain my server.
- [Searched duckduckgo]( on understanding permissions
  - [read this article.](
- Need to read Nextcloud admin documentation and search the forum to understand more.
- Unable to SSH into my server.  Will look into how to fix this.
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Well, just to be sure I ran the history command on the computer on which I run Nextcloud, and sadly my assumption was correct: It does not report history back far enough to the time when Nextcloud was installed. (Recall I did not set this system up, I inherited it, so I don’t know why the HISTFILESIZE was set the way it was.)

My Nextcloud system is on a headless server, so all I’ve ever used is SSH to access it. That’s how I’ve done OS packages updates, updated Nextcloud versions, etc.

My overall question: Since I wasn’t involved in the installation of Nextcloud on the computer in question, I was hesitant to do things in the future like Ubuntu OS upgrades without first understanding how Nextcloud had been installed, in case that would have some ramifications for the OS upgrade. (Maybe it doesn’t???) Well, I’m thinking I might know some people locally I could ask to poke around and help determine the installation approach that was used.

Thanks for your time, all your input.

I understand your situation. It is impossible to assist you: you are asking volunteers to explain Linux, networking, servers and Nextcloud to you based on a setup you do not understand and can offer no actual information about beyond letting us know you run Ubuntu.

The way this is being asked isn’t going to work until you figure all of this out for yourself. There are many ways to tackle this, so you’ll have to keep digging around until you figure something out. Or, switch to paid, managed hosting and I’m sure they will be happy to help you migrate your data.

Use the local friends you have, but the questions you ask display zero understanding of Linux (you’ve used Ubuntu since 2013 but are not sure of how to upgrade your computer or clarify how it is setup), which is not possible to support. You also provide zero actual information so this conversation is moving nowhere. Feel free to use the suggestion you’ve already been given earlier as a place to start figuring this out.

Anways, your confusion extends well beyond Nextcloud itself. Good luck! If you get to the point where you are making actual strides to understand exactly how your setup is maintained and can ask specific questions that relate to Nextcloud we’ll be here.

If this support thread continues on as a generic conversation I’m going to close it (no offense intended). :heart:

Might as well mention:
You are missing the required support template. Cheers.

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