Some thoughts on NextCloud

8th September 2021

OK so you what if want the convenience of easy file synchronisation and sharing that only a cloud service can provide, but you don't want to give all your data to one of the tech deities.

In this case you may decide to set up a Nextcloud instance.

Now when I first considered using NextCloud the main thing that worried me was the same thing that worries me about self-hosting anything. That maintaining a web-service properly requires:

...which I can't reasonably commit all that effort for a service that only one person is using. Also if something breaks I might not get time to fix it until the weekend.

But an important epiphany I had is that as Nextcloud is just a synchronisation tool, so if you're just using it for yourself you can actually not bother backing-up the server at-all and just backup your files client-side instead.

Let me present an example. Assume you have at-least one device which is synchronising all of the files in your Nextcloud. And your Nextcloud is running on a Raspberry Pi in your house. Now imagine someone flushes that Raspberry Pi down the toilet and you have no backups of it.

Actually you haven't lost any data because all of your files are just on the disk of one (or more) of your computers. You just temporarily don't have synchronisation and file-sharing functionality until you set up a new NextCloud.

So you can just handle all your backups client-side (backup to a USB HDD or something) and treat Nextcloud as nothing more than a disposable cache of your data.

But what if you are also using Nextcloud for calendar and contacts? Well you can easily export them as interoperable formats (ICS and VCF). So if you just do that before making your backups to a USB HDD or whatever then you're all good.

Not let's imagine a few different scenarios and what the outcome would be.

So basically as long as you have client-side backups data-loss isn't normally a big concern. However data theft is definitely a concern. Identity theft can ruin people's lives. Imagine if someone keeps opening credit cards in your name and you have no way to stop them. So you should:


I think cloud file services are really useful for a big variety of reasons:

Just take care about the security aspect as it's the most scary part about the whole cloud thing.