Nextcloud 15 is a popular self-hosted cloud storage solution and productivity suite, ideal for businesses looking to leverage the flexibility of cloud architecture while maintaining deep control at all levels.
Rather than having your business’s conversations, documents, and data scattered among multiple public cloud providers, Nextcloud enables businesses to host their own cloud on their own servers, making it one of the best cloud storage services available today.
In this Nextcloud 15 review, we’ll take a look at the costs of support and features of this free and open-source, on-premises cloud solution.
Plans and pricing
Nextcloud 15 is available in three flavors: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The base software is free and open-source, and plans determine your level of support and access to additional modules.
The Basic plan starts at €1900 ($2250) per year for up to 50 users and includes support for Nextcloud Files, maintenance for one year, and guaranteed email support in under three business days.
The Standard plan starts at €3400 ($4000) per year for 50 users. Maintenance is increased to 3 years, while support reaction time is reduced to 2 business days and includes phone access. Standard plans are also eligible for Nextcloud Talk and Groupware, described below, starting at €45 ($53) per user per year and €15 ($17) per user per year respectively.
Finally, the Premium plan increases maintenance to 10 years and reduces support reaction time to under 24 hours. It also provides access to Global Scale, a service at an additional cost for clients requiring help setting up a global cloud solution. It starts at €4900 ($5800) per year for 50 users.
Nextcloud consists of three main components: Nextcloud Files, Nextcloud Talk, and Nextcloud Groupware. All components work with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. There’s also an app store with tons of apps to add a variety of functions, like guest accounts and maps.
Nextcloud Files enables businesses to securely host documents and files. The private, on-premises server can be accessed anywhere through a web interface, meaning it works on desktops and mobile devices. Your private cloud can also be accessed via FTP, Windows Network Drive, SharePoint, NFS, object storage, and more.
Nextcloud Files makes it easier to collaborate on documents: you can attach notes to folders, and add to-do lists and links. Office documents and notes can, of course, be co-edited, but other files requiring downloading can be locked to avoid conflicts.
Nextcloud Talk is a full meetings and conferencing suite that integrates seamlessly with Files. Because all your data passes through your private service, it’s more secure and reliable than public services. Your audio and video calls are encrypted, and you can securely share your screen and even host webinars and public meetings. Talk is available for desktops and mobile devices.
Groupware includes a webmail client, calendar, and contacts, all fully integrated with Files and Talk.
Mail supports multiple accounts, and can recognize events and travel plans and add them to your calendar. The calendar itself supports both personal and shared calendars, and external calendars through the WebCal protocol. Finally, the Deck module is a full-feature project management tool, with Kanban-style boards, drag-and-drop labels and due dates, plus rich notes and file attachments.
Interface and in-use
The Nextcloud interface is clean, simple, and intuitive. The file management screen is familiar, and quite similar to Google Drive and other online cloud services. Tabs along the top give access to files, photos, and recent activities. For subscribers of the Groupware module, there are also tabs for contacts, calendars, and Deck. The Recent Activity tab is especially useful, with filters for By you, By others, File changes, File shares, and more.
The document editor is minimalistic, and somewhat limited in functionality, although the essentials are there: text formatting, headers, lists, quotes, check-boxes, and code blocks. Users looking for full document editing support will want to go for the Collabora or Onlyoffice plug-ins.
Support is one of the main elements to vary with pricing. It is available via email and, for Standard and Premium plans, by phone, during business hours or, for Premium plans, 24/7. The response time varies from three days to one hour, depending on your plan, while maintenance is included for one, three, or ten years.
Nextcloud also provides users with a FAQ, community support forum, plenty of documentation to get started and troubleshoot problems, and migration assistance.
Security is built into every step of Nextcloud 15, and greatly facilitated thanks to the on-premises design. Unlike traditional cloud solutions, you supply your own storage, and Nextcloud acts as a server, providing access and facilitating collaboration. Everything is encrypted using AES-256 protocols, and administrators can use rule-based file tags to determine who can see or edit what documents and when. A GDPR kit is also available to help ensure compliance.
You have a few options when it comes to self-hosted cloud services.
Nextcloud is actually a fork of an earlier project, called ownCloud. It has some interesting features, like Delta Sync, which only synchronizes parts of files that have been changed, and support for a virtual file system, making the distinction between local and cloud files less obvious. It’s also available in 103 languages, compared to just 33 languages for Nextcloud.
If you’re just looking for self-hosted cloud storage, and you don’t need the productivity features, Resilio Sync, featured on our best file syncing solutions article, is a fast, reliable, and simple way to back up and sync files on a private cloud.
Nextcloud is a robust and feature-rich self-hosted cloud and productivity suite. Security-minded businesses will definitely want to consider it, although it can certainly appeal to a broader audience.
The software is also free and open-source, so those with a strong IT department may not even need to pay for the support, although starting at just over €3 ($3.50) per user per month, it’s not too pricey. There’s plenty of written support and documentation to get users started, and the app store and integrations with third-party productivity suites help fill out the offer.