I recently decided to use the calendar feature in nextcloud to replace Google Calendar.

In this post, I show how to:

  • install nextcloud (v19) on a clean Ubuntu 18.04 install. I followed nextcloud's documentation and added missing commands I had to execute to get a working setup
  • setup the calendar in the iPhone, MacOS and Thunderbird in Linux
  • backup

Installation on Ubuntu 18.04

Packages from apt

# as root
add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"
apt-get install -y apache2 mariadb-server libapache2-mod-php7.2
apt-get install -y php7.2-gd php7.2-json php7.2-mysql php7.2-curl php7.2-mbstring
apt-get install -y php7.2-intl php-imagick php7.2-xml php7.2-zip
apt-get install -y unzip

In Ubuntu 20.04, install php 7.4 packages instead.

Download Nextcloud

cd /var/www/
wget https://download.nextcloud.com/server/releases/nextcloud-19.0.0.zip
unzip nextcloud-19.0.0.zip
mv nextcloud-19.0.0.zip ~/

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/nextcloud/

Configure Apache

vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/nextcloud.conf
# add this text:

Alias /nextcloud "/var/www/nextcloud/"

<Directory /var/www/nextcloud/>
  Require all granted
  AllowOverride All
  Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews

  <IfModule mod_dav.c>
    Dav off


Enable site and modules:

a2ensite nextcloud.conf
a2enmod rewrite
a2enmod headers
a2enmod env
a2enmod dir
a2enmod mime
a2enmod ssl
a2ensite default-ssl

systemctl reload apache2

Configure MariaDB

vim /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf
# add in section [mysqld]:

transaction_isolation = READ-COMMITTED
binlog_format = ROW

Start MariaDB shell:

mysql -uroot -p
# Press enter at `Enter password`

Create a database user and a database:

CREATE USER 'dbusername'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'dbpassword';
CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS nextcloud CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES on nextcloud.* to 'dbusername'@'localhost';
FLUSH privileges;

Https certificate

A valid certificate is mandatory to be able to use the calendar from Apple devices.

First, setup a dns record to point to your nextcloud server, for example: nc.example.com. You will access nextcloud with the url: https://nc.example.com/nextcloud/

Install Letsencrypt certbot:

add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
apt-get install certbot python3-certbot-apache
certbot --apache

A systemd timer is already setup so the certificate is renewed regularly:

systemctl list-timers

Add your domain in nextcloud's configuration:

vim /var/www/nextcloud/config/config.php

$CONFIG = array (
  'trusted_domains' =>
  array (
    0 => 'public ip',
    1 => 'nc.example.com',

iPhone calendar

If you already have a calendar, export it in ics format and import it in nextcloud:

  • On the lower left corner, click Settings & Import
  • Click Import Calendar

In the iPhone:

  • Open the settings application.
  • Select Passwords and Accounts.
  • Select Add Account.
  • Select Other as account type.
  • Select Add CalDAV account.
  • For server, type the domain name of your server i.e. https://nc.example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav/principals/users/username/. You can get the link by clicking Settings & Import and then Copy iOS/macOS CalDAV address
  • Enter your user name and password.
  • Select Next.

MacOS calendar

  • Open Calendar menu
  • Select Add Account.
  • Select Other CalDAV account.
  • Select Account Type Advanced.
  • For Server Address, type the domain name of your server i.e. https://nc.example.com. You can get the link by clicking Settings & Import and then Copy iOS/macOS CalDAV address
  • For Server Path, type: /nextcloud/remote.php/dav/principals/users/username/
  • For port, type 443
  • Enter your user name and password.
  • Select Sign In.

Thunderbird calendar in Linux

The CalDAV url for thunderbird is different from the url for macOS and iOS, so get the calendar address by doing this:

  • In nextcloud calendar, click ... next to the calendar name
  • Select Copy private link
  • The url looks like: https://nc.example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav/calendars/username/calendarname/

In thunderbird:

  • In the calendar list, right click and select New Calendar
  • Select On the Network
  • Select Format CalDAV
  • In Username, enter your nextcloud username
  • In Location, enter the calendar url
  • Select Next
  • Enter calendar name
  • Choose color
  • Select Next
  • Select Finish


Backup calendar only

In Firefox:

  • Open https://nc.example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav/calendars/username/calendarname?export
  • Save ics file

From command line, for automated backup:

wget --user nextcloudUsername --password nextcloudPassword -O calendarName-`date +"%Y%m%d"`.ics https://nc.example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav/calendars/nextcloudUsername/calendarName?export

Create backup

vim /var/www/nextcloud/config/config.php


 "maintenance" => true,

Set maintenance to false when finished.


rsync -Aavx nextcloud/ nextcloud-dirbkp_`date +"%Y%m%d"`/


mysqldump --single-transaction -h [server] -u [username] -p[password] [db_name] > nextcloud-sqlbkp_`date +"%Y%m%d"`.bak



rsync -Aax nextcloud-dirbkp/ nextcloud/


Before restoring a backup you need to make sure to delete all existing database tables.

mysql -h [server] -u [username] -p[password] -e "DROP DATABASE nextcloud"
mysql -h [server] -u [username] -p[password] -e "CREATE DATABASE nextcloud"

mysql -h [server] -u [username] -p[password] [db_name] < nextcloud-sqlbkp.bak

Nextcloud documentation

Example Setup

Source Installation


Sync iOS