File Sharing

ownCloud users can :

  • Share files with their ownCloud groups and other users on the same ownCloud server
  • Share files with ownCloud users on other ownCloud servers
  • Create public shares for people who are not ownCloud users.

You have control of a number of user permissions on file shares:

  • Allow users to share files
  • Allow users to create public shares
  • Require a password on public shares
  • Allow public uploads to public shares
  • Require an expiration date on public share links
  • Allow resharing
  • Restrict sharing to group members only
  • Allow email notifications of new public shares
  • Exclude groups from creating shares


ownCloud Enterprise includes a Share Link Password Policy app; see password_policy_label.

Configure your sharing policy on your Admin page in the Sharing section.

ownCloud Sharing settings
  • Check Allow apps to use the Share API to enable users to share files. If this is not checked, no users can create file shares.

  • Check Allow users to share via link to enable creating public shares for people who are not ownCloud users via hyperlink.

  • Check Enforce password protection to force users to set a password on all public share links. This does not apply to local user and group shares.

  • Check Allow public uploads to allow anyone to upload files to public shares.

  • Check Allow users to send mail notification for shared files to enable sending notifications from ownCloud. (Your ownCloud server must be configured to send mail)

  • Check Allow users to share file via social media to enable displaying of a set of links that allow for quickly sharing files and share links via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Disaspora, and email.

    ownCloud social media sharing links
  • Check Set default expiration date to set a default expiration date on public shares.

  • Check Allow resharing to enable users to re-share files shared with them.

  • Check Restrict users to only share with users in their groups to confine sharing within group memberships.


    This setting does not apply to the Federated Cloud sharing feature. If Federated Cloud Sharing is enabled, users can still share items with any users on any instances (including the one they are on) via a remote share.

  • Check Allow users to send mail notification for shared files enables users to send an email notification to every ownCloud user that the file is shared with.

  • Check Exclude groups from sharing to prevent members of specific groups from creating any file shares in those groups. When you check this, you’ll get a dropdown list of all your groups to choose from. Members of excluded groups can still receive shares, but not create any

  • Check Allow username autocompletion in share dialog to enable auto-completion of ownCloud usernames.

  • Check Restrict enumeration to group members to restrict auto-completion of ownCloud usernames to only those users who are members of the same group(s) that the user is in.


ownCloud does not preserve the mtime (modification time) of directories, though it does update the mtimes on files. See Wrong folder date when syncing for discussion of this.

Blacklist Groups From Receiving Shares

Sometimes it’s necessary or desirable to block groups from receiving shares. For example, if a group has a significant number of users (> 5,000) or if it’s a system group, then it can be advisable to block it from receiving shares. In these cases, ownCloud administrators can blacklist one or more groups, so that they do not receive shares.

To blacklist one or more groups, via the Web UI, under “Admin -> Settings -> Sharing”, add one or more groups to the “Files Sharing” list. As you type the group’s name, if it exists, it will appear in the drop down list, where you can select it.


Transferring Files to Another User

You may transfer files from one user to another with occ. The command transfers either all or a limited set of files from one user to another. It also transfers the shares and metadata info associated with those files (shares, tags, and comments, etc). This is useful when you have to transfer a user’s files to another user before you delete them.


Trashbin contents are not transferred.

Here is an example of how to transfer all files from one user to another.

occ files:transfer-ownership <source-user> <destination-user>

Here is an example of how to transfer a limited group a single folder from one user to another. In it, folder/to/move, and any file and folder inside it will be moved to <destination-user>.

sudo -u www-data php occ files:transfer-ownership --path="folder/to/move" <source-user> <destination-user>

When using this command keep two things in mind:

  1. The directory provided to the --path switch must exist inside data/<source-user>/files.
  2. The directory (and its contents) won’t be moved as is between the users. It’ll be moved inside the destination user’s files directory, and placed in a directory which follows the format: transferred from <source-user> on <timestamp>. Using the example above, it will be stored under: data/<destination-user>/files/transferred from <source-user> on 20170426_124510/

(See Using the occ Command for a complete occ reference.)

Creating Persistent File Shares

When a user is deleted, their files are also deleted. As you can imagine, this is a problem if they created file shares that need to be preserved, because these disappear as well. In ownCloud files are tied to their owners, so whatever happens to the file owner also happens to the files.

One solution is to create persistent shares for your users. You can retain ownership of them, or you could create a special user for the purpose of establishing permanent file shares. Simply create a shared folder in the usual way, and share it with the users or groups who need to use it. Set the appropriate permissions on it, and then no matter which users come and go, the file shares will remain. Because all files added to the share, or edited in it, automatically become owned by the owner of the share regardless of who adds or edits them.

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