Remote and local server setup?

I’m a bit new to NextCloud so please excuse if my question, or my terminology, is unclear. Or if this question has been answered previously.

I’m working as a volunteer for a school in rural Africa where bandwidth and internet access is limited. Which is the reason for the setup that I will propose to you. I would like to hear your thoughts whether this setup is possible, or even common, or if I’m wasting my time. What problems can I run into?

The setup we need is a two step synchronization using both our local Ubuntu server and our remote NextCloud server. All students at the school will run the NextCloud client on their computers connecting to the local server to synchronize, hence removing all internet access and bandwidth issues there might be. The files on the local server should then synchronize with the remote NextCloud server, making the information available also outside the school grounds for our volunteers abroad.

Is this possible?
Any good articles on this setup?

Thanks guys!

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If there are no complicating factors I don’t know about, I’d recommend you have only one Nextcloud instance, which would be accessible both from inside and outside the network. You can do this by port-forwarding as you’d expect, then adding the public domain name and/or IP address to Nextcloud’s list of names it will answer to. Here is an article explaining how to add a name/IP to that list.

Third-party trusted SSL certificates can be obtained using the public name only, which may or may not be an issue for you. If you haven’t considered it already, I’d recommend LetsEncrypt, as described here.
Your internal clients can be configured to ignore the name mismatch, or you can use some tricks with your internal DNS server (if you have one) to have your public DNS name resolve to the LAN IP of your server internally. I wasn’t able to find a good how-to on that one, but I can vouch for a smooth user experience - you can give everyone, inside the school or out, the same URL to use for Nextcloud.

Hope I helped, and I can try to answer any questions you have about this setup.

Thank you for your input mactrent. However, I can now confirm that my original setup proposal DOES indeed work with some trickery having a server and client instance on the same machine work with the same target folder.