Nextcloud is one of the most powerful and flexible on-premises cloud servers you'll find on the market. One of the reasons why this tool is so popular is that it can be many things, all serving from the cloud. However, in order to attain some of the flexibility found in Nextcloud, you must configure it properly.
One such configuration is that of SMTP. Without a working SMTP server configured in Nextcloud, you'll miss out on the ability to send email messages and (more importantly) work with the new Video Verification feature. Because you'll want this new feature available on your Nextcloud server, it is crucial you get SMTP setup. And that's exactly what I'm going to show you how to do.
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Which SMTP Server?
Fortunately, the developers of Nextcloud made it such that you do not have to depend upon a locally installed SMTP server. You can, of course, but that would require the installation of a Postfix or Sendmail on your Linux server. Although those are both very doable, they can cause security issues if not done properly. And, if you're a small business, you might be limited in domains (or the skills to set up a mail server). Because of this, I'm going to show you the easy route for SMTP setup on Nextcloud.
That's right, you can make use of the Gmail SMTP server for Nextcloud. Going this route makes things significantly easier. And with that said, let's get to work.
What you'll need
You obviously need a working instance of Nextcloud up and running, as well as the ability to log into that Nextcloud instance with an admin account. You'll also need a Gmail account as well as a Google account app password. Finally, you'll need your email address configured in your Nextcloud user profile (otherwise, Nextcloud will refuse to send email, including the test email from the SMTP settings). To create an app password, head over to the necessary Google page and generate a new password for the Nextcloud server. Once you've taken care of this, it's time to configure the SMTP server.
Configuring the SMTP server
Login to your Nextcloud server as an admin user. Click on your profile picture in the upper right corner and click Settings from the drop-down. Under Administration (in the left navigation), click Basic Settings. In the resulting window (Figure A), you'll need to configure the SMTP settings for Gmail.
You'll want to configure the following:
- Send Mode: SMTP
- Encryption: SSL/TLS
- From address: The GMail address you'll be using.
- Authentication method: Login
- Authentication required: Enable
- Server address: smtp.gmail.com
- Port: 465
- Credentials: username/app password
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Once you've configured everything, click the Store credentials button, and then click the Send email button. Everything should work as expected. Check your email account to see if the test email has arrived (it should). Once you have the test email in "hand," SMTP on Nextcloud is configured and ready to use.
Simple and necessary
That's all there is to configuring SMTP for Nextcloud. If you happen to use a different SMTP server (other than Google's), you can simply fill in the necessary bits for the configuration and be good to go. This is a simple and necessary configuration to get the most out of your Nextcloud cloud server.
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- How to install nextCloud 13 on Ubuntu 18.04 (TechRepublic)
- How to use end-to-end encryption in the upcoming Nextcloud desktop client (TechRepublic)
- Nextcloud 14 rolls out with two major security features (ZDNet)
- Nextcloud 12: The bigger, better, in-house small business cloud (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.