How to Setup ownCloud: Open Source Cloud File Storage

The cloud has become quite popular in the IT world. One could say that the cloud is taking the tech world by “storm”. There are many reasons for this, some financial, others practical, but ultimately it is an option that is worth considering.

The most popular form of cloud computing is the public cloud. In this model, the cloud service provider offers an application or platform for the public, which they either use for free (as in the case of Gmail and other web-based email) or pay a service fee, a process often called SaaS (software as a service). There is, however, another model called a private cloud, and many companies and individuals are opting for this method and using open source software to create their own clouds.

ownCloud is a free and open source cloud storage system, similar to Dropbox and SpiderOak. With it you can access your files from any device with a browser or WebDAV support.

Installation

The best part about ownCloud is that you do not need your own server or VPS to run it. Even a shared hosting account is enough. To install ownCloud, follow these simple instructions.

1. Visit owncloud.org and click “Download”. Save the file to your local computer.

2. Extract the contents of the archive. (If you have SSH access, you can upload the file directly and use the command “tar xjvf owncloud-2.x.tar.bz2

3. Using an FTP or SCP program, upload the owncloud folder to your server in the location of your choice.

4. Set the proper permissions:

If you only have FTP access, create a directory called “data” and set the permissions to 750. Set the permissions to the “config” directory to 777.

If you have SSH and root access, you can set permissions as follows:

chown -R www-data:www-data owncloud/

Your Apache web server may run as a ser other than “www_data”. Check your server’s documentation to find out the exact username (i.e. “apache”, “nobody”, or “httpd”).

5. To complete the installation, point your web browser to http://yourwebsite/owncloud

6. Enter the username and password you want to use for the admin account.

7. (Optional) – You can click the “Advanced” button to change the data storage options. By default, ownCloud will use SQLite, which requires no configuration changes. If you want, you can use MySQL, but you will need to create a database manually.

You should now have a working installation of ownCloud. Note: If you suddenly get a 404 Not Found Error, try deleting the “.htaccess” file that was created during the installation.

Managing Files

To upload a file, simply click the “upload” button. It will open a file dialog, and you should be able to upload any file you want. You will notice that there is a file size limit. Mine, for example, is set to 64MB. If you need to upload larger files, you will have to change the upload limits in your “php.ini” file.

ownCloud can also stream your music files and even supports playlists. Click the “Music” tab to manage your music. If you have added new files, click “Rescan Collection” to make the latest files visible in your music manager.

Beyond simple web browser management, you can also access ownCloud from any file manager that supports WebDav. Simply configure your file manager to connect to:

http://<yourdomain>/<owncloud>/files/webdav.php

For detailed instructions for specific operating systems, see the ownCloud wiki. Once you have WebDav setup, the files on your ownCloud server will be accessible as though they were normal files on your computer. You can then drag and drop files directly to the folder in your file manager.

As a security measure, you may decide to use SSL to connect to your ownCloud server. According to hosting company 34SP.com, you will need an SSL certificate from your web host or use its shared SSL certificate, if available.

Your Own Cloud

ownCloud is still pretty early in development, but it already has a nice set of features for anyone looking to have online storage but not willing to trust it with a third-party service. With ownCloud you can have your own cloud storage anywhere and anytime you want.

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