Configuring External Storage (GUI)

The External Storage Support application enables you to mount external storage services and devices as secondary ownCloud storage devices. You may also allow users to mount their own external storage services.

All of these connect to a LAN ownCloud server that is not publicly accessible, with one exception: Google Drive requires an ownCloud server with a registered domain name that is accessible over the Internet.

Supported mounts

ownCloud admins may mount these external storage services and devices:

  • Local
  • Amazon S3 and S3 compliant
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • OpenStack Object Storage
  • SMB/CIFS using OC login
  • ownCloud
  • WebDAV

ownCloud users can be given permission to mount any of these, except local storage.


A non-blocking or correctly configured SELinux setup is needed for these backends to work. Please refer to the SELinux Configuration.

Enabling External Storage Support


Enabling this app will disable the Stay logged in checkbox on the login page.

The External storage support application is enabled on the Apps page.


After enabling it, go to your Admin page to set up your external storage mounts.


When your configuration is correct you’ll see a green light at the left, and if it isn’t you’ll see a red light.

Check Enable User External Storage to allow your users to mount their own external storage services, and check the services you want to allow.


After creating your external storage mounts, you can share them and control permissions just like any other ownCloud share.

Using self-signed certificates

When using self-signed certificates for external storage mounts the certificate needs to be imported in the personal settings of the user. Please refer to this blogpost for more information.

Adding files to external storages

In general it is recommended to configure the background job Webcron or Cron as described in Defining Background Jobs so ownCloud is able to detect files added to your external storages without the need for a user to be browsing your ownCloud installation.

Please also be aware that ownCloud might not always be able to find out what has been changed remotely (files changed without going through ownCloud), especially when it’s very deep in the folder hierarchy of the external storage.

You might need to setup a cron job that runs sudo -u www-data php occ files:scan --all (or replace “–all” with the user name, see also Using the occ Command) to trigger a rescan of the user’s files periodically (for example every 15 minutes), which includes the mounted external storage.

Local Storage

Use this to mount any directory on your ownCloud server that is outside of your ownCloud data/ directory. This directory must be readable and writable by your HTTP server user.

In the Folder name field enter the folder name that you want to appear on your ownCloud Files page.

In the Configuration field enter the full filepath of the directory you want to mount.

In the Available for field enter the users or groups who have permission to access the mount.


Amazon S3

All you need to connect your Amazon S3 buckets to ownCloud is your S3 Access Key, Secret Key, and your bucket name.

In the Folder name field enter the folder name that you want to appear on your ownCloud Files page.

In the Access Key field enter your S3 Access Key.

In the Secret Key field enter your S3 Secret Key.

In the Bucket field enter the name of your S3 bucket you want to share.

In the Available for field enter the users or groups who have permission to access your S3 mount.

The hostname, port, and region of your S3 server are optional; you will need to use these for non-Amazon S3-compatible servers.



While Dropbox supports the newer OAuth 2.0, ownCloud uses OAuth 1.0, so you can safely ignore any references to OAuth 2.0 in the Dropbox configuration.

Connecting Dropbox is a little more work because you have to create a Dropbox app. Log into the Dropbox Developers page and click Create Your App:

Create your app.

Next, for Choose an API check Dropbox API.

Select Dropbox API.

The next option is choosing which folders to share, or to share everything in your Dropbox.

Folder selection.

Then enter your app name. This is anything you want it to be.

Name your app.

Then click the Create App button.

Now you are on your app page, which displays its settings and more options. Do not click Development (Apply for production) because that is for apps that you want to release publicly.

Your app's page.

Click Enable additional users to allow multiple ownCloud users to access your new Dropbox share.

Now go to your ownCloud Admin page. Your ownCloud configuration requires only the local mount name, the App Key and the App Secret, and which users or groups have access to the share. Remember the little gear icon at the far right for additional options.

After entering your local mount name, enter App Key and App Secret.

ownCloud Dropbox configuration.

If you are not already logged into Dropbox, you will be prompted to login and authorize access. This happens only once, when you are first creating the new share. Click Allow, and you’re done.

Allow Dropbox access.


Connecting to an FTP server requires:

  • Whatever name you want for your local mountpoint.
  • The URL of your FTP server, and optionally the port number.
  • FTP server username and password.
  • Remote Subfolder, the FTP directory to mount in ownCloud. ownCloud defaults to the root directory. When you specify a different directory you must leave off the leading slash. For example, if you want to connect your public_html/images directory, then type it exactly like that.
  • Choose whether to connect in the clear with ftp://, or to encrypt your FTP session with SSL/TLS over ftps:// (Your FTP server must be configured to support ftps://)
  • Enter the ownCloud users or groups who are allowed to access the share.


The external storage FTP/FTPS/SFTP needs the allow_url_fopen PHP setting to be set to 1. When having connection problems make sure that it is not set to 0 in your php.ini.


SFTP uses SSH rather than SSL, as FTPS does, so your SFTP sessions are always safely tucked inside an SSH tunnel. To connect an SFTP server you need:

  • Whatever name you want for your local mountpoint.
  • The URL of your SFTP server.
  • SFTP server username and password.
  • Remote Subfolder, the SFTP directory to mount in ownCloud.
  • The ownCloud users or groups who are allowed to access the share.

Google Drive

ownCloud uses OAuth 2.0 to connect to Google Drive. This requires configuration through Google to get an app ID and app secret, as ownCloud registers itself as an app.

All applications that access a Google API must be registered through the Google Cloud Console. Follow along carefully because the Google interface is a bit of a maze and it’s easy to get lost.

If you already have a Google account, such as Groups, Drive, or Mail, you can use your existing login to log into the Google Cloud Console. After logging in click the Create Project button.

Google Drive app "create project" screen

Give your project a name, and either accept the default Project ID or create your own, then click the Create button.

New project creation screen.

You’ll be returned to your dashboard.

Project dashboard, with all project options.

Google helpfully highlights your next step in blue, the Use Google APIs box. Make sure that your new project is selected, click on Use Google APIs , and it takes you to Google’s APIs screen. There are many Google APIs; look for the Google Apps APIs and click Drive API.

Drive API link.

Drive API takes you to the API Manager overview. Click the blue Enable API button.

API dashboard.

Now you must create your credentials, so click on Go to credentials.

Create Client ID screen.

For some reason Google warns us again that we need to create credentials. We will use 0Auth 2.0.

Another warning to create credentials.

Now we have to create a consent screen. This is the information in the screen Google shows you when you connect your new Google app to ownCloud the first time. Click Configure consent screen. Then fill in the required form fields. Your logo must be hosted, as you cannot upload it, so enter its URL. When you’re finished click Save.

Creating the consent screen.

The next screen that opens is Create Client ID. Check Web Application, then enter your app name. Authorized JavaScript Origins is your root domain, for example, without a trailing slash. You need two Authorized Redirect URIs, and they must be in this form:

Replace with your own ownCloud server URL, then click Create.

Creating client credentials.

Now Google reveals to you your Client ID and Client Secret. Click OK.

Client ID and client secret.

You can see these anytime in your Google console; just click on your app name to see complete information.

Client ID and client secret

Now you have everything you need to mount your Google Drive in ownCloud.

Go to the External Storage section of your Admin page, create your new folder name, enter the Client ID and Client Secret, and click Grant Access. Your consent page appears when ownCloud makes a successful connection. Click Allow.

Google Drive consent page.

When you see the green light confirming a successful connection you’re finished.

Google Drive mount in ownCloud.


You can mount SMB/CIFS file shares on ownCloud servers that run on Linux. This only works on Linux ownCloud servers because you must have smbclient installed. SMB/CIFS file servers include any Windows file share, Samba servers on Linux and other Unix-type operating systems, and NAS appliances.

You need the following information:

  • Folder name – Whatever name you want for your local mountpoint.
  • Host – The URL of the Samba server.
  • Username – The username or domain/username used to login to the Samba server.
  • Password – The password to login to the Samba server.
  • Share – The share on the Samba server to mount.
  • Remote Subfolder – The remote subfolder inside the Samba share to mount (optional, defaults to /). To assign the ownCloud logon username automatically to the subfolder, use $user instead of a particular subfolder name.

And finally, the ownCloud users and groups who get access to the share.


SMB/CIFS using OC login

This works the same way as setting up a SMB/CIFS mount, except you can use your ownCloud logins intead of the SMB/CIFS server logins. To make this work, your ownCloud users need the same login and password as on the SMB/CIFS server.


Shares set up with SMB/CIFS using OC login cannot be shared in ownCloud. If you need to share your SMB/CIFS mount, then use the SMB/CIFS mount without oC login.

ownCloud and WebDAV

Use these to mount a directory from any WebDAV server, or another ownCloud server.

  • Folder name – Whatever name you want for your local mountpoint.
  • URL – The URL of the WebDAV or ownCloud server.
  • Username and password for the remote server
  • Remote Subfolder – The remote subfolder you want to mount (optional, defaults to /)
  • Secure https:// - Whether to use https:// to connect to the WebDav server instead of http:// (We always recommend https:// for security)


CPanel users should install Web Disk to enable WebDAV functionality.

OpenStack Object Storage

Use this to mount a container on an OpenStack Object Storage server. You need the following information:

  • Username
  • Bucket
  • Region
  • API Key
  • Tenantname
  • Password
  • Service Name
  • URL of identity Endpoint
  • Timeout of HTTP request

Configuration File

The configuration of mounts created within the External Storage App are stored in the data/mount.json file. This file contains all settings in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. Two different types of entries exist:

  • Group mounts: Each entry configures a mount for each user in group.
  • User mount: Each entry configures a mount for a single user or all users.

For each type, there is a JSON array with the user/group name as key and an array of configuration values as the value. Each entry consist of the class name of the storage backend and an array of backend specific options (described above) and will be replaced by the user login.

Although configuration may be done by making modifications to the mount.json file, it is recommended to use the Web-GUI in the administrator panel (as described in the above section) to add, remove, or modify mount options to prevent any problems. See Configuring External Storage (Configuration File) for configuration examples.

All documentation licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.