Upgrading ownCloud with the Updater App

The Updater app automates many of the steps of upgrading an ownCloud installation. It is useful for installations that do not have root access, such as shared hosting, for installations with a smaller number of users and data, and it automates updating manual installations.


When upgrading from oC 9.0 to 9.1 with existing Calendars or Adressbooks please have a look at the ownCloud 9.1 Release Notes of oC 9.0 for important info about the needed migration steps during that upgrade.

New in 9.0, the Updater app has command-line options.


The Updater app is not enabled and not supported in ownCloud Enterprise edition.

The Updater app is not included in the Linux packages on our Open Build Service, but only in the tar and zip archives. When you install ownCloud from packages you should keep it updated with your package manager.

Downgrading is not supported and risks corrupting your data! If you want to revert to an older ownCloud version, install it from scratch and then restore your data from backup. Before doing this, file a support ticket (if you have paid support) or ask for help in the ownCloud forums to see if your issue can be resolved without downgrading.

You should maintain regular backups (see Backing up ownCloud), and make a backup before every update. The Updater app does not backup your database or data directory.

The Updater app performs these operations:

  • Creates an updater_backup directory under your ownCloud data directory
  • Downloads and extracts updated package content into the updater_backup/packageVersion directory
  • Makes a copy of your current ownCloud instance, except for your data directory, to updater_backup/currentVersion-randomstring
  • Moves all directories except data, config and themes from the current instance to updater_backup/tmp
  • Moves all directories from updater_backup/packageVersion to the current version
  • Copies your old config.php to the new config/ directory

Using the Updater app to update your ownCloud installation is just a few steps:

  1. You should see a notification at the top of any ownCloud page when there is a new update available.
  2. Even though the Updater app backs up important directories, you should always have your own current backups (See Backing up ownCloud for details.)
  3. Verify that the HTTP user on your system can write to your whole ownCloud directory; see the Setting Permissions for Updating section below.
  4. Navigate to your Admin page and click the Update Center button under Updater. This takes you to the Updater control panel.
  5. Click Update, and carefully read the messages. If there are any problems it will tell you. The most common issue is directory permissions; your HTTP user needs write permissions to your whole ownCloud directory. (See Setting Strong Directory Permissions.) Another common issue is SELinux rules (see SELinux Configuration.) Otherwise you will see messages about checking your installation and making backups.
  6. Click Proceed, and then it performs the remaining steps, which takes a few minutes.
  7. If your directory permissions are correct, a backup was made, and downloading the new ownCloud archive succeeded you will see the following screen. Click the Start Update button to complete your update:
ownCloud upgrade wizard screen.


If you have a large ownCloud installation and have shell access, you should use the occ upgrade command, running it as your HTTP user, instead of clicking the Start Update button, in order to avoid PHP timeouts.

This example is for Ubuntu Linux:

$ sudo -u www-data php occ upgrade

Optionally disable the Migration Test which might take a long time on large installations.

See Using the occ Command to learn more.

  1. It runs for a few minutes, and when it is finished displays a success message, which disappears after a short time.

Refresh your Admin page to verify your new version number. In the Updater section of your Admin page you can see the current status and backups. These are backups of your old and new ownCloud installations, and do not contain your data files. If your update works and there are no problems you can delete the backups from this screen.

If the update fails, then you must update manually. (See Manually upgrading.)

Setting Permissions for Updating

For hardened security we highly recommend setting the permissions on your ownCloud directory as strictly as possible. These commands should be executed immediately after the initial installation. Please follow the steps in Setting Strong Directory Permissions.

These strict permissions will prevent the Updater app from working, as it needs your whole ownCloud directory to be owned by the HTTP user. Run this script to set the appropriate permissions for updating. Replace the ocpath variable with the path to your ownCloud directory, and replace the htuser and htgroup variables with your HTTP user and group.:

# Sets permissions of the owncloud instance for updating


chown -R ${htuser}:${htgroup} ${ocpath}

You can find your HTTP user in your HTTP server configuration files. Or you can use PHP Version and Information (Look for the User/Group line).

  • The HTTP user and group in Debian/Ubuntu is www-data.
  • The HTTP user and group in Fedora/CentOS is apache.
  • The HTTP user and group in Arch Linux is http.
  • The HTTP user in openSUSE is wwwrun, and the HTTP group is www.

After the update is completed, re-apply the strong directory permissions immediately by running the script in Setting Strong Directory Permissions.

Command Line Options

The Updater app includes command-line options to automate updates, to create checkpoints and to roll back to older checkpoints. You must run it as your HTTP user. This example on Ubuntu Linux displays command options:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php list

See usage for commands, like this example for the upgrade:checkpoint command:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint -h

You can display a help summary:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php --help

When you run it without options it runs a system check:

sudo -u www-data php owncloud/updater/application.php
ownCloud updater 1.0 - CLI based ownCloud server upgrades
Checking system health.
- file permissions are ok.
Current version is
No updates found online.

Create a checkpoint:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint  --create
Created checkpoint

List checkpoints:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint --list

Restore an earlier checkpoint:

sudo -u www-data php owncloud/updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint

Add a line like this to your crontab to automatically create daily checkpoints:

2 15 * * * sudo -u www-data php /path/to/owncloud/updater/application.php
upgrade:checkpoint --create > /dev/null 2>&1
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