How to download my entire drive onto an external HDD as secondary backup?

Hello everyone,

I am relatively new to Nextcloud and to this forum and I am not incredibly tech-savvy, so I apologize in advance for not understanding, or maybe posting this in the wrong place or way.

I am using Nextcloud as quite a regular cloud service. I have all of my important files, videos and photos uploaded to it, as a means of backup, but also so that I can reach them at any given time on all my devices. This works quite well, but it does make me kind of nervous to only have my files in 1 place. So I have bought an external HDD so I can backup my files in a second location.
My question is: What is the best way to download my complete drive (over 300 GB of files, photos and videos) onto an external HDD.

I have already tried just downloading the folders through the web-app, but they download into a .tar compressed file, which my MacBook doesn’t let me unpack (not because of the file extension, but because of some kind of error). Downloading everything through a WebDAV connection takes multiple eternities, not a great option. Synchronizing with the MacOS desktop app is also not an option because I don’t have enough disk space on my MacBook for that.

I would really appreciate it if anyone would have an idea of how I could do this.

In the future I would want to keep updating my backups of course, so that is also something I was thinking about. Doing it manually would be quite the hassle, so if there is a creative way to automate this, I would also be very interested. But maybe that is a subject for a separate topic…

Thanks a lot in advance to anyone that would be willing to help me with this!

Hello and welcome to the Community Support Forum! :wave:

Which kind of access do you have to your Nextcloud server?

Web UI of course since you mentioned it, but do you have

  • physical access to the machine where your Nextcloud server is running?
  • FTP?
  • SSH?

Hello and thanks for answering!

Of course I should have mentioned this.
I do not have personal access to the actual server, I pay for 1 TB of space to Hetzner Storage Share in Germany (

I am sorry to say that I am not sure if I’m using FTP or SSH.
Hetzner uses Nextcloud as an interface, so when I signed up for the storage space, I also made an account on Nextcloud and from there I could login to the web-app and could download the individual apps for my MacBook, Android phone and iPad.

I hope that gives you enough information, Otherwise, please tell me how I could answer your question in a more accurate way


This should have worked fine.

Not sure about MAC, I don’t have any but in case of Windows / Linux, when trying to download multiple directory / files together via Web interface of Nextcloud, it would create a ZIP file and it does work flawlessly.

Since you are with a managed & paid hosting, I guess you should open a support ticket and ask for this issue as why it isn’t working in your case?


Hi NaXal,

Thanks for answering!
I’m really not sure why it isn’t working for me… I guess you’re right, and I’ll open a support ticket.
I’ve now solved the backupping issue with an old, really old laptop that I had lying around. I bought a second hand 1TB HDD and synced Nextcloud with it. That way I could have all the files in my Nextcloud locally, and in that way copy them to my external HDD.
Very silly solution though, it feels like there should definitely be a better option than buying extra stuff…

Oh well, thanks for your input!


Sorry but what exactly feels silly to you here?

First of all, you are with a managed service provider. They will definitely have a redundant file system for user data safety and their own backup mechanism. So chance of your data loss at their end is very slim.

However, it is your data and at the end it is your responsibility so downloading the entire stuff in a local HDD is a logical and perfect solution. It adds that extra layer of security.

I don’t understand as why would you consider this silly? I would rather appreciate your approach.


I think we have a slight misunderstanding. Downloading all my data and putting it on an HDD is not silly to me, that was what my whole question was about. I appreciate the extra security, if something would go wrong in whatever way.
What felt silly is the way I had to do it, because other solutions that seemed a bit more straightforward (such as downloading through the webapp or through WebDAV) didn’t work. I needed to have a secondary laptop with an internal HDD that was big enough for all of the data lying around, otherwise I would still not have been able to backup my data.

On the other hand, the way that I solved it now is kind of what that sync option in the desktop app is for, so it’s maybe not as silly as it led me to feel.

Either way, it took quite a lot of searching and work, but I’m happy I have my files backed up!