Using NextCloud as a LAN file server?

Hello all, noob poster here, please be gentle. I’ve got many years of experience with networking and servers and virtualization, new to this particular application.

I have long been a fan of virtual appliances, and I actually first used OwnCloud via Turnkeylinux. I was unable to accomplish this task with OwnCloud, and a bit of reading the internet told me that I should just move up to NextCloud. Great. Unfortunately, I have so far not been successful at setting up what I’m hoping you guys can help me with. So, with that said…

I am attempting to set up the NextCloud VM appliance as a file server, to effectively use the versioning capabilities of NextCloud for files accessed on multiple computers on a LAN, but not requiring every computer on the LAN to sync its own copy of the files. I presume I have to use WebDAV for this, but I have thus far been entirely unsuccessful at opening the shared folder via Windows Explorer, so no applications are able to access the stored/versioned files. I have followed the instructions here ( and so far mapping a drive in Explorer does not work, and the recommended ( link is long dead besides. I have also previously attempted to use Samba for the CIFS access, but I read somewhere that this may cause headaches the versioning part of NextCloud, and that’s no good. Ideally I want to join my NextCloud VM to the local domain and share the folders with domain users (groups, actually), but I suppose I need to first prove that I can open a folder on one of our Windows computers before I complicate things.

So, I think my questions are as follows: Is it possible/supportable to do what I’m trying to do? If so, do I need to use WebDAV, or should I use Samba? Has anyone had success accessing their files in a Windows environment without sync clients on every computer? Is there a recommended approach to joining the NextCloud VM to a domain, or is it just standard procedure to Samba and the users will magically be available in the web interface? Many thanks for reading through my scenario, and any advice is appreciated.

I’m not sure I have much to contribute to your particular use case, except to agree that I have also had big troubles getting WebDAV to work on Windows, maybe see if cyberduck is a decent option? I also read that Windows has troubles with TLS-SNI headers. I ultimately gave up on WebDAV on Windows and macOS. They both suck at supporting it. But cyberduck solved those problems.

I had a small business use Nextcloud with Microsoft SMB. I don’t know what the end result was since I was just paid to set it up. To my understanding, there are features that are only supported with SMB vs SAMBA which makes for easier use with Nextcloud, I think ultimately if you make an edit on an SMB share, Nextcloud will recognize that and update accordingly, but with SAMBA you have to enable an experimental config in Nextcloud to get that to work. I think for what you want (SMB-like storage and versioning) WebDAV would suit you well if you can get your clients to connect. Maybe someone has alternative ideas, but that’s my $0.02


I do the same as you. Instead of syncing, I like to just mount the Nextcloud folder in my desktop, even remotely.

If it helps, I wrote a little guide on how to do that. It’s oriented to NextCloudPi, so if you want to use SAMBA on x86 you would have to install on a debian 9 machine with the command

# curl -sSL | bash

Then, you can follow this guides

Definitely CIFS is the way to go. Webdav is more compatible with the internals of Nextcloud, but way less performant as it is explained in the article. You can use nc-scan and nc-scan-auto in order to make Nextcloud aware of the changes.

With NCP you are one click away from setting up CIFS in NC.

1 Like

Maybe the problem should be considered before the solution :wink:
nextcloud definitely is not a fileserver. php can work well with ldap and you can hook that up with an AD.
using webdav for file-operations is always (like) a workaround; it can be slow and buggy and it is hard to the the perms etc from your “local” users to you nextcloud-users.
samba is suite of progs that can “speak” the microsoft-network-protocols; it is very powerful but not very easy to set up.
i do not want to turn you away from nextcloud but maybe sth. like freenas is better suited for your needs: it has a very advanced fs with snapshot-capability (zfs), it speaks numerous network-protcols and samba is not hard to set up via its webgui and you can do versioning and backups with local cronjobs.

The good thing of using NC + CIFS is that you get the best of both worlds: you can access remotely + sync from phone + fast network mounts in your LAN.

Really, CIFS comes preconfigured in NCP so it’s a no brainer.

I agree fully with your methodology. The use-case for which I am attempting to deploy NextCloud: A virtual appliance (to run in ESXi 6.0) that does the following: 1. Provides users the ability to access their files over the LAN, 2. allows versioning of each file such that the customer can revert a file when/if they discover something got corrupted, and 3. with an interface to allow them to be able to revert without having to contact IT to restore files from backups.

If FreeNAS is capable of filling this need, then perhaps I have picked the wrong software for the job. But it’s my understanding that this (with the exception of file access via CIFS/SMB) is what NextCloud was designed for. (Semi-unrelated: I do plan to use FreeNAS for building a SAN to use for VMWare High Availability functionality, so it does have a place in this setup. I just don’t know if that place is as a Windows-domain file server).

One of the great advantages of an appliance is that you can snapshot and/or redeploy from scratch as much as you like. Using said tactic, I’ve become pretty good at install/reinstalling Samba in Debian 8 (TurnkeyLinux) via cli, so I assume it shouldn’t be too overwhelming to get Samba installed on Ubuntu. (Side note: last week I managed to successfully connect a new domain controller appliance using Samba to an existing Windows domain, so I’m not unfamiliar with some of the actual moving parts to Samba!)

I appreciate the links (and knowing that Samba/CIFS does in fact work with NextCloud), and as soon as I get a good sized chunk of time on the system in question, I’ll report back here with my results.

i wish you luck but in my experience installing samba is <1% of the work (apt-get install samba cifs-utils whatever as compared to mapping users, perms and all the other intricate stuff. but maybe there is a really advanced php-module that can do this…)