Nextcloud as collaboration environment for amateur photogroup(s)

Questions to Nextcloud/rPi community


My name is Peter and I am new to this group. As a pensioner I like to tinker with audio and video, and I am a member of an amateur photo group of 30 active members in Eindhoven (NL). I’m not an experienced electrical engineer or IT person, but I’m not quite a layman either.

As a photo club, we are considering building a digital collaboration environment for our photo club with Nextcloud on a rPi 4. This in addition to our externally hosted website. We want that:

  1. We can share (internal) club information, such as club calendars; ditto with regard to links to interesting external sources or events.

  2. Members within the club can upload photos from home or anywhere on the internet and view photos of others.

  3. We can video conference with the entire club or in subgroups.

  4. We can build up a photo archive of the club for upcoming or historical exhibitions.

  5. Working groups and the board can store and share documentation, photos and/or other media; whether or not within their subgroup.

  6. It is user-friendly (works through a web browser).

  7. We must be able to protect access to parts of the collaboration environment using groups (club members can be members of one or more groups).

  8. Members can post a photo in some kind of forum, explain it and receive comments from other members.
    Is there a (hidden) forum solution within Nextcloud?

  9. That members (can) receive a notification when another member has posted one or more photos in Nextcloud (or the forum). Is notification when files are placed in Nextcloud folders to menbers who have access to a map possible?

  10. The whole is properly secured. This applies to the data/photos, but even more so to the data within the local network of the member who is willing to provide the hosting.
    Are other measures required besides good password for the pi, NC-app, and shared folders as well as port forwarding (80 and 433) and a default firewall?

  11. The management burden can be kept as low as possible, for example through automatic backup.

The intended solution is therefore purely intended as a kind of “club-cloud” for photo-work of members to be shared, but not for the permanent storage of all photos of the individual members. In terms of total storage volume, we are also not expected to exceed 0,5 to 1 Tb.

And – with the exception of video conferencing – the number of concurrent users will not often exceed 25% = 8 members. A 100mb/s upload/download internet connection is available.

We think we have found an environment with Nextcloud that can easily fulfill many points. But for points 8 (forum), 9 (notification), 10 (security), 11 (security) and 12 (reduction of management burden) in particular, we have questions about how we should approach this, and how we can solve it properly.

  • Is this possible within Nextcloud? Or is another solution required?
  • And can that other solution – relatively easily – be integrated with Nextcloud?

Mind you, we don’t want/can’t start programming ourselves. IT and technical knowledge is low to average.

Initially we want to configure the solution for our own association. But we now know that several photo-clubs in our area need such a more or less “ready-made” and tailored club-cloud solution. Of course we want to share our solution with them if it works.

Who has answers, tips or sources of information?

Thanks in advance and warm regards


Hi Peter,

nice to meet you in the forum here. For the use cases you describe, specally the upscaling by including other photoclubs in the area around i’d say in my oppinion this outcomes the possibilites of an simple rasberry pi. To put it in a nutshell, It’s just not powerfull enough.

What I see fit your the most would be to rent a managed nc instance provided by a local provider in NL. In search for that you’d likely consider the list of providers for Nextcloud at GitHub: GitHub - nextcloud/providers: community-maintained list of Nextcloud providers


  • prof IT staff cares about the IT magic you need
  • you still have control over your data, and only have to learn how to use the Nextcloud and not how to maintenance it.
  • highspeed synchrone internet connection to your server, really comming handy with many users and the transfer of large photo- and videofiles.


  • permanent cost
  • you have to trust the provider how manages the nc instance for you

The other way i see fit is to consider a homeserver. It should use a dedicated videocard specally in your case at least for transcoding photos to watch them on all connected devices. If you consider entering this shadow relm, many way lead to rom for building this up…

But it always will mean you have to thinker arround with the NC itself and the linux OS underlaying it. Starting by deciding wich hardware to use, making a strategy for backups, DynDNS config etc. Stuff a Provider would care for you if you are willing to spend money.

Anyway my approach would be looking into proxmox and building a proper homeserver with it. On top of that you can build your nextcloud and many other cool homeserver stuff, like plex, jellyfin etc. In this case what you’d mostly like to do is learning more about docker and its containers. Portainer to manage them. And a little bit of linux terminal magic.

A proper middleway in this matter could be to only rent the storage and a vm you’d like to use from any provider in dutch and make the thinkering yourself like i did.

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For a forum like experience youd maybe consider the collectiv app of nextcloud. For the other things you have listed, i dont see any reason why nc shouldn’t be able to handle it.

Thx. I am / we are not going to host for other fotoclubs. Just share the solution. I think I will start with the PI for a small testgroup. Later we can decide for a hosted solution, or build own NC server.

Regards Peter

I see, be saying you’d share your solution i thought that includes hosting aswell. In this case you maybe like to look into intel nucs or a zimaboard. Considering the extra stuff you need to buy when buying an rpi, i think you are getting here a better bang for the bug.

It is advertised as mediaserver but can easy run a nextcloud on it since itss allready running linux. Its perfectly suited for proxmox, which makes it in my opinion the best shot for a photoclub.

Specally when you like to transfer big media files like photos and videos to share it with the club members, the usb-ports of the rpi could become a bottleneck…

I’ll do my best to addres your original questions @Peter_dW


No, but there are apps available that offer very basic collaboration from
Do note that even the Collabora office suite will not be able to support the number of users you describe unless it is run on a more powerful machine. (I find it unacceptably slow on a Pi 4 with SSD disks and one user over 1000mb connection). Checkout this recent podcast where such things are discussed in more detail.

This will work fine once you setup proper SSL to your domain or dynsdns service through NextcloudPi.

NextcloudPi would a prime choice for this.

Fyi, I was able to exceed 1tb of disk space with 2 users in less than 6 months making field recordings as wav and combining with video clips edited in Kdenlive.
The way to prevent this is to set global limits on how much any user can upload, but even then you should expect your disk space will max out in the immediate future between photography and other user data.

In this case your best bet is to use hosted Nextcloud out of a data center. Such solutions will use faster disks on faster networks and allow you to easily scale up as new members onboard.

Unfortunately a Pi 4 will only support around 5 active users. You can try more, but it will not support 30. For that you will need to use a more powerful system.

This will also not be able to accomodate your user base, beyond testing Nextcloud with a few users total.

Do you know how to use SSH and Let’s Encrypt? If you know at least this you’ll have the basics for getting going.

This will require a more powerful system so you can host the High Performance Backend for Talk in Nextcloud, which is the tooling required to support calls of 10+ people. It will not be possible on the Pi 4 with 100mb ethernet.

Pi 4 will work well for this, and you will very quickly outgrow it. Just as easy to use the two month trial on Linode worth $100, which includes data centers in New Zealand and full technical support that is only a phone call away. Set it up with S3 object storage, which you can upgrade at will and also supports one click deployments on Nextcloud. Here is the referral code from a Linux podcast:

I tried this service and had no trouble signing up or cancelling. You can also call them and ask what plan they recommend for your user base; their support is legit. My experience with them was excellent and it is worlds faster than the Pi or Zimaboard, which you can always use in addition. Good luck! :champagne: