Migrating from 8.1 Ubuntu 12.4

Hi, I am considering moving to Nextcloud, but I am on Ubuntu Server LTS 12.4 with Owncloud 8.1, since that is the latest package available in .deb. All other dependencies are met, like PHP and Mysql.
Since I also have a server for testing purposes I can try out before everything is definite.
What should I do: Do-release-upgrade to 16.4? Or is that not necessary?
Then how do I upgrade from 8.1 to NC 9? I ask because all I read is I should upgrade from 8.2. should I wait for a new package and then upgrade?

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In Ubuntu 16.04 you have php7 and can use all the caching mechanisms which will speed up your owncloud considerably. So if you are not bound to Ubuntu 12.04 by other software, I would use 16.04.
Upgrade path would be 8.1.x -> 8.1.9 -> 8.2.7 -> oc 9.0.4 / NC 9.0.53. I would strongly recommend manual upgrades, they are the most reliable. And the moment, there are no plans for *.deb-packages of Nextcloud.

Thanks for your reply; clear answer! I read in another thread that I can remove the owncloud package and after removing manually install a newer version (following your upgrade path of course). So I will start testing …

I also read some nice things about collabora office, but then I would need a SSL certificate that is not self-signed. Is LetsEncrypt a certificate that I can use in that case?

There is a longer thread with discussion about the collabora installation. Not sure if someone managed to make it run with letsencrypt: