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Upgrading Nextcloud with the Updater App

The Updater app automates many of the steps of upgrading an Nextcloud 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.

The Updater app has command-line options.

Downgrading is not supported and risks corrupting your data! If you want to revert to an older Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud forums to see if your issue can be resolved without downgrading.

You should maintain regular backups (see Backing up Nextcloud), 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 Nextcloud data directory
  • Downloads and extracts updated package content into the updater_backup/packageVersion directory
  • Makes a copy of your current Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud installation is just a few steps:

  1. You should see a notification at the top of any Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud for details.)
  3. Verify that the HTTP user on your system can write to your whole Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud archive succeeded you will see the following screen. Click the Start Update button to complete your update:
Nextcloud upgrade wizard screen.

Note

If you have a large Nextcloud 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

Before completing the upgrade, Nextcloud first runs a simulation by copying all database tables to new tables, and then performs the upgrade on them, to ensure that the upgrade will complete correctly. The copied tables are deleted after the upgrade. This takes twice as much time, which on large installations can be many hours, so you can omit this step with the --skip-migration-test option, like this example on Ubuntu:

$ sudo -u www-data php occ upgrade --skip-migration-test

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 Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud 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 Nextcloud directory to be owned by the HTTP user. Run this script to set the appropriate permissions for updating. Replace the ncpath variable with the path to your Nextcloud directory, and replace the htuser and htgroup variables with your HTTP user and group.:

#!/bin/bash
# Sets permissions of the Nextcloud instance for updating

ncpath='/var/www/nextcloud'
htuser='www-data'
htgroup='www-data'

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

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 nextcloud/updater/application.php
Nextcloud updater 1.0 - CLI based Nextcloud server upgrades
Checking system health.
- file permissions are ok.
Current version is 9.0.0.12
No updates found online.
Done

Create a checkpoint:

sudo -u www-data php updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint  --create
Created checkpoint 9.0.0.12-56d5e4e004964

List checkpoints:

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

Restore an earlier checkpoint:

sudo -u www-data php nextcloud/updater/application.php upgrade:checkpoint
 --restore=9.0.0.12-56d5e4e004964

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

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