NextCloud Review 2022

Nextcloud is my favorite cloud service becuase of its bulletproof security and extensive features. Nextcloud is Free and Open-Source cloud software that you install on a server (computer) that you either own or rent (hosted server). You have total control over how your cloud is implemented and run.

Nextcloud has all the security features you could hope for. End-to-End encryption, Zero-Knowledge encryption, 2-Factor Authentication, Machine Learning based suspicious login detection, and more. Nextcloud take 1st place on my list for both the Most Secure Cloud Storage and Best Free Cloud Storage.

Nextcloud is more than just a cloud. It is a productivity platform that excels at file sharing and collaboration. Nextcloud has a ton of apps that integrate with Nextcloud, and because it is Free and Open Source, many 3rd party developers make apps for Nextcloud too. This makes integrating workflows and collaborations seamless. No other cloud service has as many integrated apps. Nextcloud’s suite of integrated app gives you and your team all of the tools you need to get the job done, in one place. Some of their tools include an email client, notes, forms, shared calendars, and their own office suite similar to Google Docs.

Reasons to Host Your Own Cloud

  • Greatest Security – Don’t trust your security to some one else.
  • Total Control – Setup and run your cloud as you see fit.
  • Best Price – Running on your own hardware is cheaper in the long run.

If your looking for simple, hands off approach, NextCloud may not be for you. But if you are willing to take a little extra time getting it set up, you will have a cloud solution that offers maximum flexibility and security and is FREE! I love using NextCloud and can’t wait to see it get even better in the future.

Where to host Nextcloud

Self hosted or a hosting service?

Hosting Services advantages are that the are less likely to go down due to a catastrophe (earthquake, hurricane, etc.) as they are fortified for such events and also may keep your data in multiple locations. Theye are less likely to broken into as data centers typical are high security environments. Nextcloud has plenty of links to trusted, affordable hosting services on their website, including some free ones (with up to 8 GB of space).

Self Hosting is defiantly my preferred method, giving total control over how your cloud is set up. No compatibility issues or unforeseen changes that a hosting provider may make in the future. You also buy the hardware outright, which over the long run is far cheaper than renting it.

Nextcloud Products

Next cloud has 2 different cloud versions to choose from.

  1. Nextcloud at Home – For individuals, families, or small teams. – Cost: Free
  2. Nextcloud Enterprise – Additional levels of testing, bug fixes, and support, for an extra level of reliability. – Cost: Starting at €36/user/year (min 100 users).

Nextcloud’s Security

Nextcloud is one of the few cloud platforms that checks all the boxes for security – End-to-End Encryption, Zero-Knowledge Encryption, 2-Factor Authentication, and Open Source Software. Furthermore, since you install the software on a server of your choosing (one you own or rent), you can have total control of the hardware. Keep in mind though, the security only works if you set it up and run Nextcloud correctly.

Open Source Software means that anyone can view the software’s code. This may sound like it would make Nextcloud more vulnerable, but in fact the opposite is true. Software that is not Open Source could have any number of bugs or back doors built into it. You just have to trust that the company that owns the code made it correctly and ethical. Nextcloud not only wants coders and hackers to find flaws in their code, but they offer “bug bounties” to encourage them to do so.

Nextcloud encrypts the data on your computer, the data on your server, and while the data is in transit between them (End to End encryption). The only time the data is decrypted is when you are viewing it (you can choose folders not to encrypt).

  • Data in transit is encrypted with industry-standard SSL/TLS encryption.
  • Server side and client side data can be encrypted with default military grade AES-256 encryption with server-based or custom key management.

Nextcloud gives you the option to pick folders you would like to encrypt with Zero-Knowledge encryption. This means that your data is encrypted on your computer, then sent to the server while it is still encrypted. The server does not hold and never sees your password. The only way it can be decrypted is to download the encrypted data from your server, then decrypt it on your computer. The server has Zero-Knowledge of your password.

2-Factor Authentication per user. This protects you in the worst case scenario that some one is able to get your password. Even with your password they can’t access your data as they won’t be able to respond to the login notification that is sent to your phone.

Nextcloud also offers monitoring and activity logging that is compliance-ready or reporting and auditing purposes.

Nextcloud supports standards that are compliant with HIPAA, GDPR, COPPA, CCPA, several ISO certifications, EU Cybersecurity Act, EU ePrivacy Regulation, and FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11. How you operate your servers is a part of being compliant and Nextcloud has paid support to will help you with these regulations.

Nextcloud respects your privacy and does not sell any of your personal data to any thirds parties (advertisers).

Nextcloud has an App for ALL of Your Devices

Mobile apps – Android and iOS.

Desktop apps – Window, Mac, and Linux. Very few cloud providers have an app for Linux.

Web app – You do not need to have Nextcloud installed to use the web app so you can access your cloud from any computer, anywhere in the world.

Nextcloud Add-ons

Because Nextcloud is open source, there are a lot of third party apps built to integrate with Nextcloud. Nextcloud even has its own app store. With over 200 additional apps that can be integrated with your cloud, making Nextcloud one of the most versatile cloud solutions.

Collaboration Apps – Popular collaboration tools like Collabora Online and OnlyOffice that let you edit documents while other people are using them.

Outlook Integration – Nextcloud integrates with Outlook calendars and contacts. The Sendant Outlook add-on can replace attachments by turning them into Nextcloud links. The Sendant add-on lets you send links for files of any size and frees up space on your email servers.

Nextcloud Office – Nextcloud has their own office application based on Libre Office. Nextcloud office allows you to work on documents with multiple other users at the same time. Nextcloud office works with most of the popular document extensions like DOCX, DOC, XLSX, XLS and ODS to name a few.

Calendar and Contacts App – Nextcloud has a calendar app that let you sync and share you schedule. There is a contacts app that your can share also.

Compliance Apps – There are a number of apps to help you meet your regulations standards.

Even More Apps – Custom themes, music and video players, additional notifications, video conferencing and a lot more with new apps being added regularly.

Apps for Business – Nextcloud integrates with LDAP and Active Directory for account management and Single-sign on.

Nextcloud Talk

Designed for privacy, Nextcloud has it’s own video conferencing and chat service. This is a secure, End-to-End encrypted service. Stay compliant with conferencing that never leaves your servers. Works with a browser or the mobile app.

File Sharing

Nextcloud gives you total control of how you share your files. Granular settings for permissions and metrics to see sharing activity.

You can create password protected links to share with others. Set different permissions per user, per shared folder. Specify whether a user can view, edit, upload, or download from a folder. Set expiration dates for your passwords.

Get notifications on you phone or desktop to keep track of other users activities on your cloud. You can also keep track via the Activity feed, email notifications, or RSS feed.

Video Verification is an extra security feature that enables you to require a Nextcloud Talk call before access is granted to someone for a folder on your cloud.

There’s an option to lock files so no one can make changes while you are working on them. Encryped files need to be downloaded to edit them so for those files, only one person can work on them at a time.

When sharing files with someone through the mobile or desktop app, you have the ability to remotely wipe those files from their device.

There are tons more settings for file sharing. I don’t think any other cloud service has as many sharing options as Nextcloud.

File Sync

From your desktop app you can choose which folders you would like to keep in sync. Synced folders will automatically update the changes you make to those same folders across all of your devices.

Files, Calendars, and contact lists can be also be synced for all of your devices.

File Versioning

Versioning allows you to access old versions of your files. You can set rules for how far back you would like to set versions of old files to still be available. You can set it as far back as you want, just keep in mind that this will take more storage space.

There is a similar option for restoring deleted files from the trash bin.

Setting up Nextcloud as an At-Home Server

By default, when you set up Nextcloud at your home, it will not be reachable from outside of your home. If you want to connect to your cloud at home then you will need to adjust some settings in your router. Not being able to connect from outside your home makes your cloud increasingly secure, and all your connected devices inside your home will have a very fast connection to your cloud, which is great for watching videos of accessing large files.

Conclusion

Take ownership of your data and take ownership of your cloud. Be your own cloud.

Setting up your own cloud does take work. But I would argue that doing that work pays off with you having a greater understating of what your cloud is and isn’t doing for you. To have truly secure cloud storage on any platform, you will need to take some time to learn all the setting and options. If you just start uploading files, even to the most secure cloud storage, if it isn’t setup or used correctly, it isn’t really secure.

When you look at other cloud review sites you’ll notice they don’t put Nextcloud at the top of their list. This is most likely due to the fact that Nextcloud doesn’t have any consumer level products for sale. The only products they sell are for large enterprise so there’s not much profit in recommending a solution that they can’t get a percent of the sale from.

I give nextcloud such a high review because I love using Nextcloud and I think anyone that wants a truly secure and powerful cloud will also love it. I think they are the most secure, most functional cloud and that is why I strongly recommenced them. I think everyone should be there own cloud provider.

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