Installing ownCloud on a shared host

PUBLISHED ON JAN 10, 2013 — KAPSI, OWNCLOUD

I’ve been using Dropbox and Google Calendar for as long as I can remember and I’ve rarely had any problems with them. As a matter of a fact both products work great, offer free service and have saved my ass on few occasions. Sounds too good? Yeah… The old truth still stands: If you’re not paying for it; You’re the product (and sometimes even if you’re paying). The part of me that is concerned about privacy issues has never liked the situation but I’ve argued that the benefits are greater than lack of privacy. Also lately I’ve been syncing more files to my Dropbox and my free disk quota is running out. Therefore I need to either find a better alternative or start paying for the service. Well yesteday I had some free time on my hands and decided to look for an alternative to Dropbox. Ideal replacement should be easy to use, work well and preferably be open souce. It didn’t take me long to bump into ownCloud.

At first sight ownCloud looked great: nice user inteface, open source, media streaming, suppot for applications and most importantly solid enough to have multiple companies offering services using ownCloud. Let’s take ownCloud into a test as I happen to have some extra web space. I have to say though that ownCloud uses the word cloud pretty vaguely as by default ownCloud is installed on one server and the support for external storage is only an experimental feature.

Installation itself was pretty straightforward. I simply downloaded the latest ownCloud from their install page and extracted it on my server. Next I navigated to <myserver>/owncloud/ and created the admin user. Everything went smoothly and I thought that the installation was successful as I managed to import my calendar and contacts from google and create files and folders with the web ui. However when I tried to configure desktop sync client to work with my ownCloud installation, things didn’t go as planned. The sync client accepted my credentials during the initial setup but complained that credentials were invalid when ever it tried to sync.

To make WebDAV work I had to edit the .htaccess file in the installation directory.

I changed the existing

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/host-meta /public.php?service=host-meta [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/carddav /remote.php/carddav/ [R]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/caldav /remote.php/caldav/ [R]
RewriteRule ^apps/([^/]*)/(.*\.(css|php))$ index.php?app=$1&getfile=$2
[QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^remote/(.*) remote.php [QSA,L]
</IfModule>

To

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization},L]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/host-meta /public.php?service=host-meta [QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/carddav /remote.php/carddav/ [R]
RewriteRule ^.well-known/caldav /remote.php/caldav/ [R]
RewriteRule ^apps/([^/]*)/(.*\.(css|php))$ index.php?app=$1&getfile=$2
[QSA,L]
RewriteRule ^remote/(.*) remote.php [QSA,L]
</IfModule>

Spotting the difference is left as an exercise. :D Nah, just kidding it’s the HTTP_AUTHORIZATION line and the added ,L at the end.

One problem solved but then apache started complaining about permissions.

[Thu Jan 10 23:51:14 2013] [error] [client xx.xxx.xxx.xxx] client denied
by server configuration: <INSTALL_DIR>/owncloud/remote.php

As as solution I added to the .htaccess file following lines.

Order allow,deny
Allow from all

Voilá and the sync client managed to synchronize everything.

Next step is to configure my desktop and mobile calendar, email client and mobile phone for contacts and of course sync client to synchronize everything important. I have to test ownCloud for few months until I’m confident enought to ditch my current solutions but so far everything looks great.