What is Nextcloud?

Nextcloud is a platform that offers a variety of client-server software that you can use to create and use file hosting services. Nextcloud works similarly to more popular platforms like Dropbox. The main difference is that Dropbox doesn’t provide file storage hosting for off-premises purpose. Nextcloud is an open-source platform. This means it’s available free of charge to anyone who wants to use it on a private server device.

Unlike Dropbox and other proprietary services, Nextcloud has an open architecture that places data control fully in the hands of the user. This is all thanks to applications that enhance server functionality.

Interestingly, Nextcloud was created by Frank Karlitchek, the same guy who founded and then ditched ownCloud. Now, Karlitschek and his team are focusing all of their energies and resources on developing the Nextcloud platform. Read on to find out what is Nextcloud and how you can use it.

Nextcloud Features

nextcloud security

What is Nexcloud? Well, first of all, when using Nextcloud, your files get stored on a regular directory structure which you can then access through WebDAV if you like. Nextcloud guarantees that your files will be fully encrypted during transit and even during rest if you like. Not only that but Nextcloud promises to make it easier for you to synchronize with local clients that are operating MacOS (10.6 or later), Linux and Windows (Vista, XP, 7 and 8).

You can add group administrators and users through LDAP or OpenID. You may also share content through granularly defined read/write permissions. Or, you could always create a dedicated public URL that you can use to share files. Other functionalities that are available include the ability to disallow file access and apply other file-related restrictions and actions.

Nextcloud isn’t resting on its laurels, however, because they’re also working on new features like Kerberos authentication, small interface enhancements, full-search text, and special monitoring capabilities. If you’re still asking what is Nextcloud, read further below.

Because Nextcloud is based on modular software, you may extend its functionality with specific plugins. If you’re a developer, then you can also offer your own extensions to other users who’d like to install them using manufacturer- operated platforms. This platform is what enables you to use an open protocol to communicate with the Nextcloud. If you hop over the App Store, you’ll find over 200 extensions waiting for you.

These extensions can help you enjoy the following functionalities, to name but a few:

  • Gallery
  • URL shortening suite
  • Bookmarking service
  • Browser-based text editor
  • Streaming media (Ampache)
  • RSS feed reader
  • Connection to Amazon S3, Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Document reviewer tools courtesy of Nextcloud
  • Contacts (CardDAV)
  • Calendars (CardDAV)

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Nextcloud vs. ownCloud

battle of the clouds

Karlitschek and his team released the 13th version of Nextcloud in February 2018, and they introduced it as an ownCloud spin-off in 2016 after the company came across some licensing trouble among other disagreements. Nextcloud is incredibly similar to ownCloud when you compare the features and capabilities of the two services. The only noticeable difference is that it’s easier to integrate certain functions on Nextcloud than it is with ownCloud.

Plus, the following factors are the reason why we’d recommend Nextcloud instead of ownCloud:

  • Licensing and Pricing: Nextcloud is available free of charge. This means they won’t try to foist “hidden costs” on you. But, they’re upfront about the fact that you need to pay for updates and support services, whereas you need to pay for most of the functions on ownCloud.
  • Roadmap: ownCloud is focused more on investors and clients in the corporate sector. Whereas, Nextcloud aims to offer user-to-user communication.

Now that you know what is Nextcloud, it’s time to look at what to expect from it in terms of security. 

What About Security?

Nextcloud’s exceptional privacy and security options are part of the reason why it comes highly recommended. While we’re not going to cover them in-depth here, we’ll mention some of the most essential security aspects.

For instance, Nextcloud automatically rejects malicious authentication attempts regardless of the device they’re coming from. The only exception is with IP addresses that are featured in “brute-force whitelists.”

Then, there’s Nextcloud’s Content Security Policy (CSP) which enables the platform’s server to send a warning message when a user comes across an unreliable script from an attacker.

Conclusion

Nextcloud comes with built-in support for SSO alongside SAML via an app. SAML stands for Security Assertion Markup Language which is an XL-based open standard that enables secure and easy single sign-on (SSO) to apps that are based in various independent servers. All you have to do is login on Nextcloud to access any SAML-enable website you like and all without providing additional credentials.

We hope we’ve answered your questions and you now know what is Nextcloud and what it offers!

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