Brute force protection


Nextcloud has built-in protection against brute force attempts.

The brute force protection feature is meant to protect Nextcloud servers from attempts to guess passwords and tokens in various ways. Besides the obvious “let’s try a big list of commonly used passwords” attack, it also makes it harder to use slightly more sophisticated attacks via the reset password page or trying to find app password tokens. It is used throughout the Nextcloud ecosystem, including by other apps, if they have sensitive entrypoints (and choose to enable support for it).

How it works


If triggered, brute force protection makes requests - coming from an IP address via a brute force protected entrypoint - slower for up to a 24 hour period. In extreme circumstances it may prevent access outright, for up to 30 minutes, from a problematic IP address.

This protects your system from attackers trying, for example, a lot of different passwords.

The primary filter is IP address-based. This means that any account - even one associated with a given brute force attempt - is not impacted when it is connecting from a different IP address than any brute force attempts. This helps minimize inadvertent denial of service attacks against legitimate connections, while maximizing attack resistance from problematic IP sources.

Nuisance triggers are minimized through reasonable built-in defaults appropriate to each type of action.

The attempts history is automatically managed by a daily cronjob. Individual entries expire after 48 hours (attempts, however, may be still logged indefinitely elsewhere through the usual mechanisms within Nextcloud Server and at the discretion of the admin).

Excluding (whitelisting) select IP addresses from brute force protection to prevent false positives is supported, but usually false positives are best handled by fixing the underlying causes (e.g. a misconfigured reverse proxy or misbehaving client).


If you do notice a problem with the authentication behavior of any the official Nextcloud clients, please report it to the appropriate repository so that it can be looked into.

Keeping brute force protection active and operating properly helps protects your Nextcloud Server from malicious actors while minimizing potential impact on legitimate usage.

Example: The login page

The brute force protection is easiest to see in action on the login page. If you try to log in the first time with an invalid username and/or password you will not notice anything. But if you do this a few times you start to notice that the verification of the login is taking longer each time. This is the brute force protection kicking in.

The maximum delay is 25 seconds, unless maximum number of attempts (currently 10) was reached within the last 30 minutes (in which case a 429 Too Many Requests will be returned until the maximum attempts within the recent time has dropped below the threshold).

After a successful login (from the same source IP address), any prior invalid login attempts will be cleared and you will no longer be hit by the delay.


Not all actions are necessarily viewed the same. It is possible for some activities to be more (or less) strict than others.



Brute force protection is enabled by default on Nextcloud. Its behavior can be adjusted through the bruteforcesettings app (shipped with Server and enabled by default), several occ commands, and several config.php parameters. Its effectiveness is highly dependent on having a properly configured environment, particularly when integrating a reverse proxy with Nextcloud (and associated parameters such as trusted_proxies).

The brute force settings app

This app, which shipped and enabled by default, makes it possible (via the Web UI) to view the status of a connection and modify certain parameters of the brute force protection built into Nextcloud Server.

The user interface added by this app is found under Administration settings -> Security under the Brute-force IP whitelist heading.

Currently an admin can view the status of the IP address they are connecting from as well as specify IPv4 or IPv6 addresses and ranges to exempt from brute force protection.

Additional enhancements may be made in the future, within this app and/or in combination with Nextcloud Server for additional monitoring or behavior adjustments related to brute force protection.


Disabling the bruteforcesettings app does not disable brute force protection - it merely removes your ability to adjust brute force related settings from the Web interface.


You would need to adjust the parameter in your Nextcloud config.php to disable brute force protection, which is heavily discouraged for production servers, particularly if your server is reachable via a public IP address. It allows an attacker to iterate over all users and their passwords as well as two-factor verifications afterwards ultimately leading to admin access.

occ commands

There are several brute force related occ commands under occ security.

Brute force protection and load balancers/reverse proxies

If you are behind a reverse proxy or load balancer it is important you make sure it is setup properly. Especially the trusted_proxies and forwarded_for_headers config.php variables need to be set correctly. Otherwise it can happen that Nextcloud actually starts throttling all traffic coming from the reverse proxy or load balancer. For more information see Reverse proxy.



On most setups Nextcloud will work out of the box without any issues. If you run into a situation where logging in or connecting is often very slow for multiple users, the first step is to check your Nextcloud Server logs to see what IP addresses are being detected (you may need adjust your logging to INFO level temporarily to do so).

If all clients appear to be coming from the same IP address and that IP address happens to be your proxy, you need to review your trusted_proxies configuration. If it is a common connection point, such as a multi-user office location, it is possible whitelisting is appropriate.

For testing purposes you want want to whitelist your own IP address to see if the problem disappears. If it does - and assuming your proxy configuration is correct - you may have a client/device in your network that is misbehaving and generating invalid login attempts from your IP address.

For detailed troubleshooting, you may wish to inspect the bruteforce_attempts database table. There you can see which IP addresses are throttled and any other metadata stored about their attempts to connect.

Excluding IP addresses from brute force protection


Most nuisance triggering of brute force protection can be resolved through proper configuration of reverse proxies. In other cases, select IP addresses that need to be whitelisted can be configured within this app (while leaving brute force protection enabled). This can be useful for testing purposes or when there are a lot of people (or devices) connecting from a known, single IP address.

It’s possible to exclude IP addresses from the brute force protection.

  • Make sure the bruteforcesettings app is enabled (it is by default)

  • Login as admin and go to Administration settings -> Security


Any excluded IP address can perform authentication attempts without any throttling. It’s best to exclude as few IP addresses as you can, or even none at all.