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ownCloud Hosting: How to Choose an ownCloud Hosting

ownCloud is one of the most popular open source cloud storage and data synchronization system which you can easily use by hosting it on a suitable web server. Using ownCloud you can store your personal or public files and data such as PDF documents, calendars, contacts, photos, videos, music, movies, etc.

Hosting ownCloud

From the web browser interface of ownCloud, you can access your files and data stored on a server using a web browser on your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You can also synchronize your files and data stored on ownCloud with ownCloud client apps installed on your desktops, smartphones, or tablets.

Choosing a suitable web host for ownCloud primarily depends on the type and size of your cloud storage requirements, security and encryption of data, the types of hosting options which are available, and the required software platforms for running ownCloud on a web server.

You should consider the above factors to choose a reliable ownCloud hosting for your personal or home use, or for managing your business or organization data, or for opening a new cloud service and offering cloud storage to your customers.

In the guide below, we will show you the factors in detail which you should consider for choosing a suitable hosting provider for your specific ownCloud storage requirements.

Note: If you don't know how to use ownCloud or if you want to know how to use ownCloud efficiently, you can see our detailed tutorial on ownCloud.

ownCloud Hosting: Choosing a Hosting Service Provider

ownCloud Hosting: Identifying Your Cloud Storage Requirements

You should identify your cloud storage requirements considering the factors such as the amount of storage space, security of data, bandwidth, number of users using your ownCloud storage, performance and uptime of the hosting server, etc. By identifying and understanding your unique requirements for ownCloud storage, you can easily choose a suitable hosting provider for ownCloud which will match your requirements.

The hosting requirements of ownCloud will be different for personal or home use, company or organization use, or using ownCloud for offering cloud storage solution to your customers. If you want to use ownCloud storage for your personal use for storing a small number of files such as PDF documents, photos, music, small videos, etc., you will not require much storage space or bandwidth.

Using ownCloud for your company or organization may require more bandwidth and storage space on a hosting server depending on the number of users who will store, access, and synchronize the files using the ownCloud client applications on their devices and the type and number of files which you want to store on the server.

If you want to use ownCloud storage software for offering your own cloud storage service, you will require a hosting server with large amount of storage space and bandwidth which will depend on the amount of data the users will store and the number of users who will use your ownCloud storage service. For giving reliable services, you will need a performant server with an excellent uptime.

ownCloud Hosting: Understanding Storage Space and Bandwidth

Most hosting providers offer similar hosting packages in terms of storage space and bandwith with slightly varying prices. Depending on storage space requirements, bandwidth, and type of hosting, for example, shared hosting, vps hosting, dedicated hosting, etc., you can choose a hosting provider which will be most suitable for you.

ownCloud Hosting: What is Storage Space or Disk Space?

The storage space or the disk space offered by a hosting provider for a specific hosting plan is the total amount of allocated space on the web server which you can use to store all your files and data including ownCloud files, databases, your personal files like photos or music, backup of company files, etc. For example, if you choose a hosting plan with 40 GB storage or disk space, you can store your files and data upto 40 GB.

Many hosting providers offer unlimited storage space for some hosting plans. While "unlimited storage or disk space" may seem a nice offer, practically it is not unlimited. Every hosting provider will limit the resources offered by it depending on how much resources you are using. For example, some hosts might apply a limit on the number of files which you can store on a hosting plan, how much CPU or memory you are using, number of databases, or bandwidth.

ownCloud Hosting: What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth of a hosting plan is the amount of data transfer which takes place between the server and the end users. Bandwidth usage includes both uploads to the server and the downloads from the server. For example, if you have 20 GB of data stored on your owncloud hosting, and you upload 50 MB of data and download 2000 MB of data per day, you would be using approximately 2050 MB bandwidth daily.

Estimating the bandwidth requirement for your ownCloud hosting is easy if you know approximately the amount of data transfer which takes place between your ownCloud server and the end users.

For example, if you are using ownCloud for your personal use and your data transfer does not exceed 500 MB per day, your bandwidth requirement would be approximately 15 GB per month. If the number of users who will be using your ownCloud storage is 10 and they transfer data upto 500 MB daily, your bandwidth requirement will be approximately 150 GB per month. So, a hosting plan with 200 GB bandwidth per month might be a good choice.

If you are using ownCloud for your business or company where around 100 users will transfer 500 MB of data per day, your bandwidth requirement will be approximately 50 GB per day or 1.5 TB per month. You should also consider a rise in the amount of data transfer which can occur sometimes if the users use more bandwidth than the estimated bandwidth. A hosting plan with 2 TB bandwidth per month might be a good option in this case.

You can choose a hosting provider considering your estimated average and peak bandwidth usages. It is recommended that you take a hosting plan with slightly more bandwidth than your estimated bandwith requirement.

ownCloud Hosting: The Main Types of Hosting

From the hosting plans which are available, there are three main types of hosting which you can use for your ownCloud storage. The three main types of hosting are shared hosting, VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting, and dedicated hosting. You can see the details of the three types of hosting plans below.

ownCloud Hosting: Shared Hosting

On a shared hosting, the resources such as CPU, RAM, storage space, bandwidth, etc. are shared among a number of applications. For example, a web server configured for shared hosting might host 10 ownCloud storage systems, 20 web blogs, and some other applications. Since the resources are shared among different applications, an application runs with low data storage and bandwidth. So, a shared hosting is suitable for hosting ownCloud for personal use with low data storage and bandwidth requirements.

You don't need to manage the server stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.) in a shared hosting. The server is managed by the hosting provider. Hosting providers generally provide cPanel, Plesk, or other types of web hosting control panels to the shared hosting customers. The control panels like cPanel and Plesk provide a graphical user interface which you can use to easily manage your ownCloud files and databases.

Shared hosting is the most economical hosting plan offered by most hosting service providers. A shared hosting plan would be suitable for you if you want to use a cheap ownCloud hosting for your personal use. You can also use a shared hosting plan if you want to test how ownCloud works on a server. It is recommended that you choose a shared hosting service provider considering the amount of data you want to store and the bandwidth usage.

ownCloud Hosting: Virtual Private Server (VPS) or Virtual Dedicated Server

As compared to the shared hosting plans, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) offered by different hosting service providers generally have more resources like CPU, RAM, storage, bandwidth, etc. Unlike the shared hosting plans, in VPS, the server stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.) is normally managed by the VPS customer and not by the hosting provider. You should know how to manage the server stack if you want to use a VPS for hosting ownCloud.

A hosting service provider offers a VPS which may be fully managed, semi managed, or self managed. Generally, in the fully managed VPS and the semi managed VPS, the hosting provider manages the server stack. In the self managed VPS, you will need to manage the server stack in addition to managing your ownCloud storage. 

Depending on the amount of storage space, bandwidth, and the type of server stack management offered, VPS prices vary. While a fully managed VPS is costlier, a self managed VPS is less costly. Considering the cloud storage requirements, bandwidth, and prices, VPS is recommended for small and medium businesses for hosting ownCloud.

ownCloud Hosting: Dedicated Hosting

In dedicated hosting, the entire physical resource of a server is offered by the hosting service provider. Like the VPS hosting, in dedicated hosting also, the hosting providers offer fully managed, semi managed, and self managed hosting plans. In the fully managed or the semi managed dedicated hosting, the operating system, the server stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.), and the control panel may be managed by the hosting provider. In the self managed dedicated hosting, the server stack is generally managed by the dedicated hosting customer.

Compared to the shared hosting and the VPS hosting, a dedicated hosting is more performant but it is also more expensive. Dedicated hosting is suitable for big businesses where a large number of users will use ownCloud to store and synchronize data with their devices. Dedicated hosting for ownCloud is recommended for big businesses, companies, or organizations which have extensive storage space and bandwidth requirements.

ownCloud Hosting: Software Platform Requirements for running ownCloud

The officially supported platforms for the latest version of ownCloud - ownCloud 8 are:

Server: Linux based (Debian 7, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3 & 12, Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS 6.5 and 7, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS, 14.10).

Webserver: Apache 2. Apache 2.4 is recommended.

Databases: MySQL/MariaDB 5.x; Oracle 11g; PostgreSQL.

PHP 5.4 + required.

ownCloud Hosting: Security and Privacy

It is recommended that you use SSL to make sure the data transfers between ownCloud server and browsers or ownCloud client apps are encrypted and secure. Most hosting providers offer SSL certificates at an additional cost.

In addition to using SSL, you can also enable the ownCloud Encryption app which encrypts your files and data stored on the ownCloud server. ownCloud Encryption app encrypts the files and data which are uploaded to the ownCloud server. This is server side encryption.

You can also encrypt your files and data on your computer by using encryption softwares before uploading them to the ownCloud server to further protect the privacy of your data. You will need to decrypt the data again after downloading from the ownCloud server.

Note: It is recommended that you do not store confidential data in ownCloud if you are hosting ownCloud on third party hosting services. You can choose any hosting provider for ownCloud depending on your requirements and liking.