Having your own self-hosted Nextcloud server is extremely convenient, whether you need cloud access to your files for work or you just want Dropbox-like cloud storage for personal use. In this Vultr tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to install Nextcloud 12 on Debian 9 (Stretch) in under 5 minutes using an automated Startup Script.

Rather than explaining the script itself and its specific commands, we will focus on how to add and use a Startup Script to quickly set up Nextcloud. The only requirement is that you know how to connect to a VPS using SSH keys, and that’s as advanced as this tutorial will get.

Nextcloud 12 is free to host on your own server as it is open source software licensed under GNU AGPL v3.0. The only cost involved is your monthly VPS hosting plan and yearly domain name fee.

If you want to manually set up Nextcloud 12 step-by-step, see the more advanced tutorial: How to Install Nextcloud 12 Server on Debian 9 with HTTPS.

How to use Vultr Startup Scripts

The startup script offered below might not be the most elegant way to install Nextcloud but it gets the job done, and it will set up both your Debian 9 server and Nextcloud 12 installation, hands-free.

Here is the script we will use. If you are comfortable with bash scripting yourself, feel free to modify it. You must customize Options 1 to 6 in the script, as explained in the steps you should follow below.


# This startup script should be customized by changing each of the six OPTION values listed below. Copy these values to a text file on your PC, as you will use them to complete the Nextcloud installation via your web browser.

# Bash script provided by TechWombat.com - https://techwombat.com 


# OPTION 1: Replace "myuser" with a name for your sudo user.
export SUDO_USER=myuser

# OPTION 2: Replace "nextcloud" with your own Nextcloud database name.
export DB_NAME=nextcloud

# OPTION 3: Replace "nextclouduser" with your own database user name.
export DB_USER=nextclouduser

# OPTION 4: Replace "yourpassword1234" with your own database password.
export DB_PASS=yourpassword1234

# OPTION 5: Replace "22" with your preferred SSH port used to login.
export SSH_PORT=22

# OPTION 6: Replace "ssh-rsa...AAA" with your own public SSH key. 
export SSH_PUB_KEY="ssh-rsa AAA..."


# Since this is an automated script with no user input, we will turn off interactive mode.
export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

# Create the .ssh folder for root login and add the public SSH key to the authorized_keys file. 
mkdir -p /root/.ssh
chmod 700 /root/.ssh
echo $SSH_PUB_KEY > /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 600 /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Update repositories and install basic server software

apt update
apt upgrade -y
apt install -y\

# Create sudo user for sysadmin and maintenance tasks

# Add new user with a home directory and set its default shell as bash.
useradd -m $SUDO_USER -s /bin/bash

# Disable the password and add the user to sudo group. 
passwd -d $SUDO_USER
usermod -aG sudo $SUDO_USER

# Create .ssh folder for user and add public SSH key

mkdir -p /home/$SUDO_USER/.ssh
echo $SSH_PUB_KEY > /home/$SUDO_USER/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Lock down permissions on .ssh and authorized_keys

chmod 700 /home/$SUDO_USER/.ssh
chmod 600 /home/$SUDO_USER/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Make sure that the sudo user owns its home directory


# SSHD_CONFIG: Improve SSH security

# Disable root login by changing "PermitRootLogin yes" to "PermitRootLogin no".
sed -i '/^PermitRootLogin[ \t]\+\w\+$/{ s//PermitRootLogin no/g; }' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# Make sure that the AuthorizedKeysFile is not commented out.
sed -i 's/#AuthorizedKeysFile/AuthorizedKeysFile/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# Disable PasswordAuthentication.
sudo sed -i "s/#PasswordAuthentication yes/PasswordAuthentication no/" /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# Change default port that SSH listens on.
sed -i "s/#Port 22/Port $SSH_PORT/" /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# Restart SSH service

service ssh restart

# Set UFW rules and enable the firewall

# Allow HTTP traffic on port 80.
ufw allow 80

# Allow SSH traffic on chosen SSH port.
ufw allow $SSH_PORT
echo "y" | ufw enable

# Add LAMP software (Apache2, MySQL, PHP 7.0)

apt install -y\

# Set up MySQL / MariaDB database for Nextcloud 12

# Populate .my.cnf file so that we can log in to MySQL easily.
echo "[client]" > /root/.my.cnf
echo "user=root" >> /root/.my.cnf
echo "password=\"\"" >> /root/.my.cnf

# Secure permissions on .my.cnf.
chmod 0600 /root/.my.cnf

# Create the Nextcloud database with SQL commands.
mysql -e "CREATE USER '$DB_USER'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '$DB_PASS';"
mysql -e "GRANT ALL ON $DB_NAME.* TO '$DB_USER'@'localhost';"

# Download Nextcloud 12 for Debian 9 Stretch
# Move to public /var/www folder. 
cd /var/www/

# Download the latest stable Nextcloud 12 release with wget.
wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-12.0.0.zip

# Unzip the installation files.
unzip nextcloud-12.0.0.zip

# Give apache2 (www-data) ownership of the Nextcloud files.
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

# Remove the default Apache web files and the Nextcloud zip file. 
rm -r html
rm nextcloud-12.0.0.zip

# Set up VirtualHost for Nextcloud 12 

# Move to the Apache sites-available configuration folder.
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available

# Add the VirtualHost info to /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf.
sed -i '/<\/VirtualHost>/i \
Options +FollowSymlinks\
AllowOverride All\
Dav off\
SetEnv HOME /var/www/nextcloud\
SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/nextcloud\
' /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf

# In 000-default.conf, change the DocumentRoot to /var/www/nextcloud.
sed -i 's|DocumentRoot /var/www/html|DocumentRoot /var/www/nextcloud|g' /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf

# Ensure /var/www permissions are correct

# Recursively grant ownership of /var/www to www-data. 
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

# Enable Apache modules and restart Apache

# Use a2enmod to enable the modules required for Nextcloud to work.
a2enmod rewrite headers env dir mime setenvif ssl

# Restart Apache2.
service apache2 restart

# FINAL STEP: Go to your browser, type in the server IP
# and hit Enter. Follow instructions on the web browser
# to complete your Nextcloud 12 installation. 

Follow these steps on how to use this pre-made startup script with Vultr.

Step 1: Customize the Startup Script

At the top of the script, there are a total of six options that you must edit.

Copy the code into a text editor and change all six option values according to the comments, starting at:

# OPTION 1: Replace "myuser" with a name for your sudo user.
export SUDO_USER=myuser

# OPTION 2: Replace "nextcloud" with your own Nextcloud database name.
export DB_NAME=nextcloud

# OPTION 3: ... 

Make sure that you have the private key for the public SSH key you will enter, or you’ll be locked out when the server boots up.

Step 2: Add a new Vultr Startup Script

Go to Startup Scripts in your Vultr dashboard (https://my.vultr.com).¬†Click the Add Startup Script button and give your script a name. For script type, make sure “Boot” is selected.

Copy your edited startup script and paste it into the Script field, then click Add Script.

Vultr Startup Script Example

Step 3: Select the Startup Script and OS

Go to the “Deploy New Server” page and choose Debian 9 x64 as the Server Type.¬†Under Startup Script, click Add New and select the Startup Script you just added.

Select the Vultr Startup Script

Step 4: Deploy the VPS

Choose an appropriate price plan and any additional settings, then click Deploy Now.

The VPS will boot up and start executing all the tasks specified in the Startup Script. A summary of these tasks include:

  • Setting up your main Debian user account with sudo privileges.
  • Upgrading Debian 9 (Stretchy) and adding essential packages.
  • Configuring SSH with public key authentication and securing it.
  • Enabling a basic firewall with UFW (only SSH and HTTP ports allowed).
  • Installing a LAMP stack suitable for Nextcloud 12 with Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP 7.
  • Creating and populating the Nextcloud database with the values chosen in Step 1.
  • Downloading and unpacking Nextcloud 12 from the latest zip archive.
  • Creating an appropriate Apache Virtual Host file and enabling required Apache modules.

The log file for the startup script can be viewed with less by logging into your VPS with SSH and typing:

less /tmp/firstboot.log

Security consideration: the sudo user has its password disabled. You are advised to set a new password for your user using passwd.

Set a new password for myuser by typing:

passwd myuser

Step 5: Install Nextcloud via web browser

Go to your web browser and type in the address for your Vultr VPS (e.g. http://IP_Address). The rest of the Nextcloud installation will take place through the browser.

Here’s a screenshot of the Nextcloud installation splash page.

Nextcloud 12 on Debian 9 Stretch - Web Installer

You will be asked to create a new Nextcloud admin and password. Changing the Data folder is optional, so you should leave it as default.

At the bottom of the installation page, you need to enter the database credentials that you chose in Step 1. Localhost should stay “localhost”.

When you’re ready to install Nextcloud, click Finish setup. Give it a minute, and you will be ready to log in with your new Nextcloud admin account.


Although the provided startup script is designed to set up everything at once, there is a possibility that one or more packages have not been installed correctly because of a Debian update server being offline. If you experience any unexpected errors, or nothing is working, simply destroy your VPS instance and reinstall Nextcloud again on a new instance with the same boot script.

Next steps: security and caching

Your Nextcloud 12 application is now installed and ready to be used, but there are more steps you can take to improve the security and speed of your Nextcloud server. If you’re using Nextcloud for personal use with only a few other users, you might want to enable APCu for caching.

If yours will be a public-facing server, you should consider adding HTTPS support. You can get a free SSL / TLS certificate with Let’s Encrypt.

https://techwombat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Nextcloud-12-Tutorial-Linux.pnghttps://techwombat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Nextcloud-12-Tutorial-Linux-150x150.pngTom DavisTutorialsdebian,linux,nextcloud,scripts,server tutorials,tutorials,vultr,vultr tutorials,vultr vpsHaving your own self-hosted Nextcloud server is extremely convenient, whether you need cloud access to your files for work or you just want Dropbox-like cloud storage for personal use. In this Vultr tutorial, we'll walk you through how to install Nextcloud 12 on Debian 9 (Stretch) in under 5...The Geek's Guide to What's What in Tech