The huge content creation of images, videos, documents and other files from different digital devices increases the demand for storage devices and cloud services. But a storage device without any remote connectivity is less valuable as compared to the cloud storage device. There are lots of commercial cloud storage options available with free space such as Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon drive, Microsoft OneDrive etc. but these all are limited in terms of storage and access control. Although, these big cloud services are safe and secure still their major drawback is limited space (in free plan) and control of the user. And, if you are using the cloud storage for some personal and sensitive data then your privacy may be a big concern because no matter how secure they are, still, you can’t trust for highly sensitive data on third-party cloud software solutions.
When we hear the word cloud people think that it is very big and meant for large enterprises only but wait a minute; think again because you can create your own personal free cloud storage using free and open-source cloud software.
Now the question is, what does the Cloud Storage exactly means?
Cloud storage doesn’t only means big servers, those can access remotely via the internet; it is a kind of service that can virtually provide you with any physical storage space remotely.
Basically, three types of cloud services are available SaaS (Software as a Service) that offers people to store their data in the public cloud. Second is PaaS (Platform as a Service) which used to host applications on the cloud, for example, Amazon Web services (AWS) and last one is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is a virtualized computing that allows the virtualization of any physical machine and other resources and avails them over the internet to customers to make them get a feel of a real machine.
Let’s come back to the main topic of this article which is open source personal cloud software, where we discuss, the best free available open-source cloud storage software for home, personal or private use. We are not listing only the file-syncing solutions in this article but more than that; software those can provide features like music play, contacts, calendar, file sharing, collaboration, document handling or more.
Best Free and Open Source Cloud Software 2020
Free & Best Open source Personal Cloud Software To Build Your Own Cloud Storage Solution
OwnCloud -personal cloud server
OwnCloud is the best open-source software to create a personal cloud server for home and office use. It can convert any machine into a Linux based cloud server. If you are using iPhone or some other smartphone with limited inbuilt storage than you need to buy some third-party cloud storage to get some extra space such as Dropbox; to save your images, videos, and other files. But with ownCloud, you can create a self-hosted private cloud storage solution to sync files and share data in a straightforward way.
The OwnCloud server is available as Linux Installer, Tarball, Docker, Web installer and Virtual appliance (ESX image, VirtualBox image, QCOW2 image, and VMWare image). The deploy packages are available for all popular Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, RedHat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and OpenSUSE.
Furthermore, it features
- Automatically upload pictures after taking them
- Sync files at home or work with the desktop client
- Set one or more local folders for synchronization between devices
- The web interface lets you view, share and edit your files alone or with others.
- Agile App Framework
- Support Open Source Elastic Stack to implement powerful file search.
- End-to-end Encryption
- Support existing storage: FTP, Swift, S3, Dropbox and more.
- Third-party integration for storage providers is available to connect Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive
- OwnCloud Marketplace to distribute OwnCloud extensions.
- Enterprise OwnCloud edition is also available.
- And more.
Nextcloud -Private cloud software
If you want to build your own cloud server solution then the NextCloud is the second option which is also a Linux based open source cloud storage solution. It is a fork of OwnCloud community edition with features Calendar, Contacts, mail integration etc. For security, it also has two-factor authentication. The user Nextcloud stated that it is much stable then Owncloud.
The Nextcloud Server cloud Software for enterprises is paid while the community edition for home or small business users is completely free and open-source, and can prove an idle choice to run their own cloud network.
It is also based on Server and Client architecture. This cloud software server part does not support Microsoft Windows natively but you can use it on a virtual machine or a docker image on Windows Server.
You can install it on own server or a shared Linux web server or use directly the Virtual appliances to install it on VM server machines. The Web Installer is also available.
If you are thinking to buy some pre-configured hardware with NextCloud then the company also sells it like Nextcloud Box, Spreedbox, and Syncloud.
After installing it, you can sync your data to Desktop using the clients available for platforms like Windows, macOS, and Linux; and for mobile devices, it has Android, Windows Mobile, and iOS Nextcloud apps. Moreover, it is WebDav based cloud storage software; plus it can use directly via the web browser to access and share your files remotely and locally.
- Password-protected files
- File sharing by link
- Ability to generate upload links
- Allow restoring previous versions of files and permits file commenting.
- Provide multiple apps including video conferencing, workflow, text search and file conversion software.
- Collabora Online for document collaboration is also available.
- Two-factor authentication
- Auditing tools
- SSL/TLS data transfers,
- AES 256-bit encryption
- And more
Seafile – Open Source File Sync and Share Software
The Seafile is another enterprise-class DIY cloud storage tools for creating your self-hosted open-source cloud storage solution. It is a file sync and share platform which is basically a community and free edition aside their enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) software services.
After implementing the Seafile Cloud Software on your server, it allows your folders or libraries to sync individually across different devices, or access them as a virtual disk. This feature provides you with good control and customization options but at the same time a bit confusing, initially, but after some time you get used to it.
The cross-platform file syncing is available which means you can sync your library with any desktop computer including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Beside a Desktop Syncing Clients for Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS X 10.7 or above, Linux (Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora) and Terminal Client; it also has provided Seafile Drive client. It is meant to use in Windows, Mac, and Linux systems; that let users expand their local disk space by mapping it with the massive storage space available on the Seafile server as a virtual drive. The user can access all files from the Seafile server immediately, without syncing them. Files can be used offline too.
To build your own cloud server with Seafile Server; it is available as server software for Windows, generic Linux tested on Debian 8, Ubuntu 16.04, Centos 7 and Raspberry Pi.
Seafile doesn’t have an app gallery-like Nextcloud and OwnCloud but it has integration for Microsoft Office Online Server or Collabora Online server. In this way, it allows users to perform online editing and co-authoring for office files (including docx/pptx/xlsx).
Seafile also has a built-in preview for videos, audios, PDFs, images and text files.
Furthermore, File Versioning and Snapshot feature are also supported by this open-source cloud storage software to restore a file or folder to an old version easily. These two features not only saves the storage space by preventing file duplication (Using de-duplication technology) but also the snapshot protect files against ransomware.
Seafile private Home cloud Key features
- Multi-platform File Sync
- Version Control
- Public Link
- Selective Sync sub-folder
- Mobile Clients
- Virtual Drive Clients
- Share libraries with Groups/Users
- Authenticate against LDAP/AD
- Single Sign-On with Shibboleth
- Two-factor authentication
This Cloud Software is a file sharing and syncing solution and can prove a good option; if you need cloud storage for your office and personal use. It is not just limited to sharing and syncing the files but also can use as web rich application. Pydio allows viewing most common file formats such as audio, video, PDF, and office documents.
Like other opensource personal cloud storage software mentioned above in this article; it provides desktop sync clients for Windows. Mac OS and Linux systems. Using them you can modify files, access and synchronize them on-demand. The individual or specific folders or sub-folders synchronization is between users is also available.
Features of the Pydio’s personal cloud server:
- Password protected sharing
- A user can set a time limit for your share
- One can limit the number of downloads of the shared document
- Browse workspaces directly from your mobile
- Lock the application with a PIN-code or password
- Custom metadata
- Integration with third-party services for the online edition, notification on file/folder changes, etc.
- And more
Tonido – A Free Private Cloud Server
It another cloud software to run your personal cloud not like as we mentioned above but yet enough good to give one chance. The Tonido Server is more towards the media files and you can say it a Media server cloud. Where above given personal/private open-source cloud software have the capabilities to support both media files and documents along certain apps to boost the productivity; the Tonido mainly focuses on the music, audio, image, and other private file sharing and syncing.
The user can access it from Desktop, Mobile devices such as smartphone & tablet, web browser or even DLNA enabled devices. It can be used by Home Users, Professionals and Small Businesses as a file-sharing solution.
The good part is this allows you to build your own cloud server on windows because the Tonido server is available as a .exe file for Windows. It works on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Further, Tonido server cloud Software is also available as Windows USB Portable Edition, Mac (Mac OS X 10.5 or later r), Raspberry Pi, Linux (Ubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu), and Tonido Docker Image (Debian Jessie).
Features of Tonido home cloud storage
- Secure SSL Access
- Stream Music: MP3, Flac, AAC, OGG, WMA, M4A, M4B
- Live Stream Videos: MOV, AVI, MP4, MPEG, M4V, M2TS, MKV, VOB, XVID, WMV, FLV, OGG, 3GP, SWF, MPG, DIVX
- View Photos: JPG, PNG, CR2, NEF, CRW, ARW, RAF, PEF
- Share via Browser or Mobile Apps
- Password Protected Shares
- Public Shares
- Keep a single folder in sync between multiple computers (without using third-party servers)
- Allow Sync with Guest Accounts
- Backup and sync multiple folders at set time intervals
- Automatic Backup of photos/videos from iPhones and iPad along organization of photos collection based on date/time; music collection based on songs, album, artists and genre
- Custom Web Branding, Mobile Branding, Product Customization, Own Domain and Own SSL Certificates
- DLNA Media Server (for PS3, XBOX360..)
- Run as Windows Service (Windows only)
Cozy Cloud Software is another simple cloud storage tool but it is here because of its additional approach to adding some ease & value to your life.
If you see the first three cloud software listed in this article are more towards the cloud storage solution with capabilities of team collaboration which make them an ideal choice for professional and offices; where on other hand the Cozy has more into personal cloud storage. I said this because it has the capability to connect different service providers such as banks, Energy, Insurance, ISP, Shopping, Telecom, Transportation and other to pull data and save it on your personal cloud.
In short, Cozy allows to connect all your customer accounts, gathers and automatically tidies your bills up. It can also memorize passwords to save time and hassles.
A user can get statistics of expenses you did weekly, monthly and annually. It supports the files storage and remote access along with their synchronization via Cozy Drive software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
It is a Linux based cloud storage software server and available for self-hosting too. The repository currently supported are Debian, Ubuntu, and Raspbian.
Cozy encrypts connections using SSL/TLS, it doesn’t encrypt stored data which might be a concern if you are planning to use it on commercial purpose, however, as just DIY cloud storage tools, it not only offers encryption but end-to-end encryption as well.
- One-click access to your bills from your bank statement.
- Info about family healthcare reimbursements status.
- Share your photos and files with your friends and family.
- Cozy can also be used to store passwords.
- Share files with a public link and email address.
- And more…
Syncthing is just like Owncloud which can be used as a decentralized alternative to proprietary sync and cloud services. However, all the features of Syncthing are same as OwnCloud, however beyond that, they are quite different, Owncloud has other functionality Syncthing does not. But it here, and you should give it one try. Native GUIs is available for Windows platform and Syncthing app for Android mobile devices including Cross-platform GUI wrapper: Syncthing-GTK.
If you know any other best free & open source cloud storage software solution, please let us know, the comment box is all yours!!
Few other available open-source file Sharing and syncing solution projects worth to try:
Other useful resources:
- Opensource Media server software
- Open source NAS Software
- How to add multiple accounts to Google Backup and Sync to get more storage for free
- Install & use the Google Backup and Sync on Ubuntu
- Google Drive on Linux mint 18/19: How to install & setup guide