Install Nextcloud with Docker on Debian 10 Buster

nextcloud docker installation on debian buster
Nextcloud is a lightweight, open-source StaaS (Storage as a Service) platform, written i PHP and JavaScript, which provides file sync, file sharing and creative collaboration services. The software can be installed on local hardware as a perfect alternative for commercial StaaS solutions like Dropbox, OneDrive, Hightail, etc…
Nextcloud is a typical LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) software, but instead of ardous and problematic LAMP environment installation and file sharing platform implementation, we can deploy a turnkey Nextcloud platform in just a few minutes, using Docker containers, preferably with docker-compose.

In this article I am launching Nextcloud platform in two Docker containers: nextcloud and mariadb which use local Docker volumes as a file and database storage. This solution will enable us to quickly and painlessly upgrade our Nextcloud to a newer versions in future.

Environment used:
MoBo: GA-J1900N-D3V (Intel® Celeron® Quad-Core J1900 – 4 x 1.99 GHz)
HDD: 2x1TB (RAID_1/mdadm)
OS: Debian 10 Buster


1. Install Docker engine on Debian Buster

Update APT repo index:

root@nextcloud:~# apt-get update

Install preliminary packages:

root@nextcloud:~# apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg2 software-properties-common

Install Docker repo GPG key:

root@nextcloud:~# curl -fsSL | apt-key add -

Check Docker Repo GPG key fingerprint:

root@nextcloud:~# apt-key fingerprint 0EBFCD88
pub   rsa4096 2017-02-22 [SCEA]
      9DC8 5822 9FC7 DD38 854A  E2D8 8D81 803C 0EBF CD88
uid           [ unknown] Docker Release (CE deb) 
sub   rsa4096 2017-02-22 [S]

Add Docker repo:

root@nextcloud:~# add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] $(lsb_release -cs) stable"

Once again update APT repo index to include packages from freshly added Docker repo:

root@nextcloud:~# apt-get update

Install the latest version of Docker CE (Community Edition):

root@nextcloud:~# apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli

Docker service should be started and enabled by default:

root@nextcloud:~# systemctl status docker
● docker.service - Docker Application Container Engine
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/docker.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Mon 2019-04-22 21:40:53 CEST; 2min 59s ago
 Main PID: 9137 (dockerd)
   CGroup: /system.slice/docker.service
           └─9137 /usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// --containerd=/run/containerd/containerd.sock

2. Configure firewall (optional)

If you are using firewall, don’t forget to open port 8080/TCP on Docker host to access Nextcloud dashboard from external network.
Personally, I am using UFW on my Docker host and my configuration looks as follows:

root@chieftec:~# ufw status verbose
Status: active
Logging: on (low)
Default: deny (incoming), allow (outgoing), allow (routed)
New profiles: skip

To                         Action      From
--                         ------      ----
22/tcp                     ALLOW IN    Anywhere                  
8080/tcp                   ALLOW IN    Anywhere                  
22/tcp (v6)                ALLOW IN    Anywhere (v6)             
8080/tcp (v6)              ALLOW IN    Anywhere (v6)

I prefer to have my MariaDB container hidden behind Docker NAT for security reasons, but if you are going to have direct access to your MariaDB container from external network, you should also open port 3306/TCP on your firewall.

3. Launch containerized Nextcloud platform with Docker

As mentined at the very beginning of this article, I split my Nextcloud deployment into separate containers, that is nextcloud and mariadb containers, to have a better clarity of my setup.

In this installation I also assume persistent storage kept in /var/lib/docker/volumes directory of my Docker host to make future upgrades easier. Since all the user-data is stored in the Docker Volumes, any further updates of the Nextcloud application will consist in launching a newer version of Nextcloud container and re-attaching it back to the existing Docker Volume.

It is important to launch mariadb container first, since it’s required to launch nextcloud container later on:

root@nextcloud:~# docker run --name mariadb -v mariadb:/var/lib/mysql -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=secret-pass -d mariadb

Verify mariadb container:

root@nextcloud:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
ddbaa423af74        mariadb             "docker-entrypoint..."   5 seconds ago       Up 4 seconds        3306/tcp            mariadb

Verify IP address of mariadb container, we will need that IP during Nextcloud configuration:

root@nextcloud:~# docker inspect -f '{{range .NetworkSettings.Networks}}{{.IPAddress}}{{end}}' mariadb

Now launch nextcloud container with port forwarding from host’s 8080/TCP to container’s 80/TCP port:

root@nextcloud:~# docker run --name nextcloud -v nextcloud:/var/www/html -d -p 8080:80 nextcloud

Verify IP address of nextcloud container:

root@nextcloud:~# docker inspect -f '{{range .NetworkSettings.Networks}}{{.IPAddress}}{{end}}' nextcloud

Finally verify running containers:

root@nextcloud:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                  NAMES
e58b428995b8        nextcloud           "/ ap..."   7 seconds ago       Up 5 seconds>80/tcp   nextcloud
ddbaa423af74        mariadb             "docker-entrypoint..."   6 minutes ago       Up 6 minutes        3306/tcp               mariadb

Once both Docker containers are running, open up your browser and connect to the Docker host on port 8080:

You should be redirected to the nextcloud container’s port 80 and the Nextcloud configuration screen should appear:

nextcloud configuration screen

In database configuration step don’t forget to enter mariadb container IP instead of docker host IP, since the nextcloud container must communicate with mariadb container inside internal Docker network, that is within

After successfull configuration you should be able to enter the Nextcloud dashboard:

nextcloud dashboard

4. Custom configurations (optional)

Below I present additional configurations that you might need in your custom setup.

4.1 Direct access to mariadb container from external network

As mentioned before, you can launch mariadb container with port forwarding option to enable direct access to mariadb container from external network:

root@nextcloud:~# docker run --name mariadb -v mariadb:/var/lib/mysql -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=secret-pass -d -p 3306:3306 mariadb

Verify container with port forwarding:

root@nextcloud:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                    NAMES
03c21721a9d9        mariadb             "docker-entrypoint..."   20 seconds ago      Up 18 seconds>3306/tcp   mariadb

Connect to the database from the remote machine to check if port forwarding on Docker host works properly and we are forwarded to mariadb container:

[root@fixxxer ~]# mysql -h -u root -p
Enter password: 
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 10
Server version: 5.5.5-10.3.13-MariaDB-1:10.3.13+maria~bionic binary distribution

Copyright (c) 2000, 2018, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its
affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


Note: Don’t forget to open port 3306/TCP on your Docker host, when using direct access to mariadb container from outside.

4.2 Launching specific version of Nextcloud with Docker

By default Docker pulls and launches the newest available version of the Docker image. If you want to have some control over the version, you can force Docker to pull specific version of the Nextcloud image, i.e. version 15.0:

root@nextcloud:~# docker run --name nextcloud -v nextcloud:/var/www/html -d -p 8080:80 nextcloud:15.0

You can always check the available versions of the image on Docker Hub:

nextcloud image versions

4.3 Launching Nextcloud with Docker using docker-compose

We can use docker-compose binary file to skip executing Docker commands one-by-one and speed up the Nextcloud installation with Docker. It is also a good idea to use docker-compose to quickly stop and start the whole environment, since it tracks container dependencies.

Get docker-compose:

root@nextcloud:~# curl -L "$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

Change file permissions:

root@nextcloud:~# chmod 700 /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

Verify docker-compose version:

root@nextcloud:~# docker-compose --version
docker-compose version 1.23.2, build 1110ad01

Create docker-compose template file:

root@nextcloud:~# touch /root/docker-compose.yml

Below the example of docker-compose.yml template file for two-container splitted setup with fixed nextcloud:15.0 version, port 8080->80 forwarding and Docker Volumes mapping:

version: '2'


    network_mode: bridge
    image: mariadb
    container_name: mariadb
    command: --transaction-isolation=READ-COMMITTED --binlog-format=ROW
      - mariadb:/var/lib/mysql
      - MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=secret-pass
    restart: always

    network_mode: bridge
    image: nextcloud:15.0
    container_name: nextcloud
      - 8080:80
      - db
      - nextcloud:/var/www/html
    restart: always

Run the whole environment from the same directory where you created the docker-compose.yml file:

root@nextcloud:~# cd /root
root@nextcloud:~# docker-compose up -d

To stop the environment execute:

root@nextcloud:~# cd /root
root@nextcloud:~# docker-compose down