External Storage authentication mechanisms

Nextcloud storage backends accept one or more authentication schemes such as passwords, OAuth, or token-based, to name a few examples. Each authentication scheme may be implemented by combining multiple authentication mechanisms. Different mechanisms require different configuration parameters, depending on their behavior.

Authentication types

Special mechanisms

The None authentication mechanism requires no configuration parameters, and is used when a backend requires no authentication.

The Built-in authentication mechanism itself requires no configuration parameters, but is used as a placeholder for legacy storages that have not been migrated to the new system and do not take advantage of generic authentication mechanisms. The authentication parameters are provided directly by the backend.

Password-based mechanisms

The Username and password mechanism requires a manually-defined username and password. These get passed directly to the backend and are specified during the setup of the mount point.

The Log-in credentials, save in session mechanism uses the Nextcloud login credentials of the user to connect to the storage. These are not stored anywhere on the server, but rather in the user session, giving increased security. This method has some important drawbacks, since Nextcloud has no access to the storage credentials and therefore cannot perform any background tasks on the storage:

  • Sharing is disabled
  • Background file scanning does not work
  • Background versions expiration does not work
  • Desktop and mobile clients that use tokens to authenticate can not access those shares
  • Other services that might request the file through a different request like Collabora Online or OnlyOffice will not be able to open files from that storage
  • The method cannot be used with SAML authentication, because Nextcloud does not get a hold of any credentials whatsoever

The Log-in credentials, save in database mechanism uses the Nextcloud login credentials of the user to connect to the storage. These are stored in the database encrypted with the shared secret. This allows to share files from within this mount point.

The User entered, store in database mechanism work in the same way as the “Username and password” mechanism but the credentials need to be specified by each user individually. Before the first access to that mount point the user will be prompted to enter the credentials.

The Global credentials mechanism uses the general input field for “Global credentials” in the external storage settings section as source for the credentials instead of individual credentials for a mount point.

Public-key mechanisms

Currently only the RSA mechanism is implemented, where a public/private keypair is generated by Nextcloud and the public half shown in the GUI. The keys are generated in the SSH format, and are currently 1024 bits in length. Keys can be regenerated with a button in the GUI.

Form on admin page for generating RSA keys.