The buzz word of 2012 is the cloud, as every big company seems to start their own service. Just lately we have seen the rise of Google Drive and Cubby, two new contenders in the race for the best cloud service. When you look behind the cloud, you'd probably come to the conclusion that it is only another word for online storage. And to make the date more accessible, syncing was included. If you are a privacy conscious user, you may have preferred to stay away from all cloud offerings until now, or use encryption before you shove your files on to cloud servers.
But what would you say if you could create your own custom server that is running on your own web server, or a web server that you have access to.
Enter ownCloud, an open source cloud hosting script that you can install on a Windows or Linux based web server. And since it would not really be cloud space without synchronization, you also get Windows, Linux and Mac apps for syncing, plus mobile apps for Android, and soon iOS as well.
Without doubt the biggest step to getting your own cloud running is the installation on the web server. The following requirements need to be met:
Linux: PHP 5.3, php5-json, php-xml, php-mbstring, php5-zip, php5-gd, and optionally php5-sqlite (>=3), curl, libcurl3, libcurl3-dev, php5-curl, php-do
Windows: IIS with CGI support, PHP, MySQL
On the web server run the following two commands
apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-json php-xml php-mbstring php5-zip php5-gd apt-get install php5-sqlite curl libcurl3 libcurl3-dev php5-curl php-pdo Download the latest stable release or latest development version, and run the following commands
tar -xjf path/to/downloaded/owncloud-x.x.x.tar.bz2
cp -r owncloud /path/to/your/webserver
Then set the permissions for config/ and data/
chown -R www-data:www-data /path/to/your/owncloud/install/data
Last but not least, you should make sure that .htaccess is configured properly for that extra bit of security.
If you are running the apache webserver, it is recommended that you enable .htaccess files as ownCloud uses them to enhance security and allows you to use webfinger. To enable .htaccess files you need to ensure that ‘AllowOverride’ is set to ‘All’ in the ‘Directory /var/www/’ section of your virtual host file. This is usually in /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default. You should also run ‘a2enmod rewrite’ and ‘a2enmod headers’. Then restart apache:
service apache2 restart(for Ubuntu systems).
Once that is done, you need to start the install wizard by loading the http://IP/owncloud/index.php and follow the wizard. Take a look at the distro notes for additional instructions for specific distributions.
For Windows, you need to complete the following steps.
Just check the detailed installation instructions for Windows to get it started.
You can log in the web interface to access the files there, or install the synchronization clients to start syncing data from local systems with your own cloud server. Besides the ability to access files both on the web server directly by using the web interface, and locally by connecting via WebDav or syncing the files, ownCloud offers calendar integration and synchronization, access to a media player to play music, a photo viewer, and contacts. It is likely that the developers will add more features to the server.
If you do not have access to your own web server running Linux or Windows, or do not want to use it for hosting your files online, then you could make use of third party hosting providers that offer free and paid plans. With the providers linked on the owncloud homepage, you get for instance 5 or 6 gigabytes of free cloud hosting space respecitively, OwnCloud can host files for you, an account with 100 Gigabytes of free space sets you back $6.60 per month, an admin account for a multiple users and 150 Gigabytes of free storage $13 per month.
I'd advise you to check with your web hosting provider before you start to install the server, as it may be against their terms of service.
The idea of hosting your own cloud server, along with syncing apps for all major devices and operating systems, makes sense in a world where privacy is a growing concern. OwnCloud, with its open source approach, and apis that developers can make use of to extend the service's functionality, could make the cloud available to users who do not want to host their files on third party servers. It could also be an interesting option for businesses who can't host their files on third party servers due to business regulations. (via Caschy)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.