How to install Pydio Cells on Ubuntu 18.04

Cloud-based collaboration tool Pydio Cells offers an array of flexible features, including in-app messaging, file sharing, and version control. Here's a look at the installation process, step by step.

Image: Jack Wallen

Pydio Cells has only recently reached stability and is a complete paradigm shift for what was originally a simple cloud-based file-sharing system. That system now offers greater flexibility, with users able to work with in-app messaging, file sharing, version control, mobile apps, and more. Create top-level, personal folders to organize data as well as collaborative cells where you can share data with other users. With an included global search tool, you can find files and folders in any workspace or cell. You'll enjoy handy notification and bookmarks systems to make locating data and activity simple.

I want to walk you through the process of installing Pydio Cells on Ubuntu Server 18.04. I'll be demonstrating with the installation of the free Home Edition, but the Enterprise Edition installation is the same, requiring only an Enterprise license. (Contact Pydio for more information.) The Enterprise Edition offers more advanced sharing and authentication, high availability, and enterprise-grade security features. Once completed, you'll have a fully functioning, cloud-based file-sharing and collaboration tool ready to use.

SEE: Microsoft SharePoint: A guide for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)

What you'll need

As mentioned, I'll be installing on Ubuntu 18.04, so you'll need this server up and running and ready to go. That's it. Let's install.

Pydio user

The first thing we'll do is create a specific user for installing and running Pydio. Open a terminal window and issue the following commands;

sudo useradd -m pydio
sudo passwd pydio

Disable Apache

For Pydio to successfully run, we need to disable Apache. To do this, issue the following two commands:

sudo systemctl stop apache2
sudo systemctl disable apache2

Install the database

We'll be using MySQL for this installation. Chances are, the database server is already installed; if not, issue the command:

sudo apt install mysql-server

You will need to set a MySQL root user password. Do that with the command:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

This should install MySQL Server 5.7. Now it's time to create our database and user. Start and enable the MySQL server with the commands:

sudo systemctl enable mysqld
sudo system start mysqld

Log into the MySQL prompt with the command:

mysql -u root -p

Once you've successfully authenticated, issue the following commands to create the user and database (and give the user the proper commands):

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON cells.* to 'pydio'@'localhost';

where PASSWORD is a unique (and strong) password.


Now we need to install the necessary PHP dependencies. This can be done with the following command:

sudo apt install php php-fpm php-gd php-curl php-intl php-xml

We have to make sure the Pydio user has sufficient rights for our socket. To do this, issue the command:

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/pool.d/www.conf

Look for the listen.owner and lines and change them to:

listen.owner = pydio = www-data

Save and close that file.

Next we need to add Pydio to the www-data group and give it write permissions to the php folder with the commands:

sudo addgroup pydio www-data
sudo chmod g+w /run/php

Enable and restart PHP with the following commands:

sudo systemctl enable php7.2-fpm
sudo systemctl restart php7.2-fpm

Pydio binary

At this point, we need to download the Pydio binary. As I mentioned, I'll be installing the Home Edition of Pydio. To get this binary, issue the command:


If you want to install the Enterprise Edition, the command will be:


Change the permission of that file with the commands:

sudo chmod u+x cells
sudo chown pydio.pydio cells

Change to the Pydio user with the command su pydio. Execute the command below to launch the installation:

./cells install

You will now have the choice of installing from either a browser or the command line (Figure A). Select the command-line installation (using your arrow keys).

Figure A

Figure A

Select Command Line, as it has a better rate of success for installation.

You will have to answer a few questions within the terminal window (Figure B), but they shouldn't cause you any problems.

Figure B

Figure B

The command-line installation in action.

You will have to create an admin user/password during this installation. This is your Pydio admin user. You will use these credentials to initially log into Pydio Cells and begin customizing your installation.

When the installation completes, start Pydio Cells with the command:

./cells start

Give the startup a moment and then point a browser to http://SERVER_IP:8080. You should be prompted for login credentials (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

The Pydio Cells login prompt.

Ready to go

Congratulations! You now have a working instance of Pydio Cells ready to use. Be sure to go to Settings and start configuring your installation so it perfectly meets your needs. There's a good number of options to take care of, but you'll most certainly want to start setting up groups and users, roles, security policies, and more.

Enjoy Pydio Cells.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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