The first 4 steps after you installed the ownCloud appliance
Installing the ownCloud appliance leaves you with a recommended setup. But you can get much more out of your appliance. Part 2 of our appliance series focuses on small steps which deliver big improvements.
In the previous article of this series, we shed light on the structure of ownCloud, respectively the distinction between the server and the clients. When you want to get more out of ownCloud, you have to know another important distinction: the distinction between Univention apps and ownCloud apps.
Univention apps and ownCloud apps
The ownCloud appliance runs on Univention Corporate Server (UCS). UCS is an operating system which makes it easy to integrate other software into ownCloud, as Univention apps, e.g. Collabora or several groupware solutions. You can install them in the Univention app center.
Next to those external features, you can enhance ownCloud with more internal features. You can do this with ownCloud apps. The ownCloud community writes them to expand the possibilities of ownCloud. You can install them in ownCloud directly, in the Market app.
The first 4 steps
The recommended first steps to take after installing ownCloud involve both Univention and ownCloud apps. Those are very useful to configure ownCloud according to your needs. Continue from there and adjust your ownCloud to your perfect setup!
To get you started, we have 4 steps to do after the setup:
1. Get Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority. With Let’s Encrypt, you can easily secure your ownCloud with https transport layer encryption.
Important note: for Let’s Encrypt to work, the appliance must be connected to the Internet and have a FQDN in the public DNS. So you need to buy a domain and route it to the appliance.
There is an easy way to install certificates for the appliance – the Let’s encrypt Univention app.
Get the app from the Univention app store, enter your domain name and check the “Apache” option after the installation in the app settings, and it’s done.
Once the certificate has been configured, you need to restart the desired services via the “System services” module in the UMC. Select “apache2” and restart the module. Press confirm, and don’t be surprised about the error message afterwards – of course you can’t connect to the web server in the very second you restarted it. Now just add “https://” to the URL of your appliance, and the Let’s Encrypt certificate should work.
Alternative: Import own Certificates
If Let’s Encrypt doesn’t work for you for some reasons, you can use your own certificates instead. To do this, you need to go to the UCS command line interface. In the virtual machine screen, log in with your UCS credentials, transfer the certificates to the VM and use these 2 commands:
ucr set apache2/ssl/certificate="/path/to/certificate/cert.pem" ucr set apache2/ssl/key="/path/to/certificate/private.key"
Optional: use HTTPS only
For security reasons, it may be a good idea to restrict the access to your instance to HTTPS only. You can do this with this command on the UCS command line:
ucr set apache2/force_https=yes
2. Collaborate on Documents
With ownCloud, you can work on documents online, with others. ownCloud can integrate Collabora or OnlyOffice for editing and creating documents. For the sake of this example we will choose Collabora.
Important note: Collabora only works if you access your appliance with https and domain name.
In order to use Collabora with ownCloud, start with installing the app from Univention:
During the installation process of the Collabora Univention app, you will be presented with following settings page:
Those settings should be okay, set a passphrase and use the default settings. Then click on install and watch how the process completes.
In ownCloud, you have to install the Collabora integration app. Then go to the additional settings. You can find them at https://example.org/owncloud/index.php/settings/admin?sectionid=additional, please substitute your domain name. There, in the Collabora settings, enter https://example.org as your Collabora Online Server. Again, substitute your domain name.
If you used the Let’s Encrypt Univention app in step 1, this will work out of the box. Try it out and open a document in the ownCloud web interface! This way you will never again have to use Google Docs.
3. Enable E-Mail notifications
With ownCloud, you can keep track of various activities performed by your server with E-Mail notifications.
To configure the settings for E-Mail in ownCloud, you have to go to your settings. First you have to enter your own E-Mail address in “personal > general”.
Afterwards, you have to go to the “admin > general” section. Here you can configure the integrated E-Mail server to send out E-Mail notifications. Now you can send a test mail to try whether it worked!
For a summary of the various activities on your server, you can install the “Activity” app from the Marketplace in ownCloud.
4. Further Extensions and Apps
If you are looking for ways to explore the full functionality of ownCloud, you should visit our Marketplace. There are many apps which extend the functionalities of ownCloud. A few examples? Contacts and Calendar sync, End-to-End Encryption, or an app to sync Bookmarks across devices.
Stay tuned for our how-to series about the ownCloud appliance! The next part will be about the Enterprise trial.
What do you think about these 4 steps? Let us know by leaving a comment below or talk about it on social media!