Cloud storage is nothing but an enterprise-level cloud data storage model to store the digital data in logical pools, across the multiple servers. You can use a hosting company such as Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Dropbox and others for keeping your data available and accessible 24×7. You can access data stored on cloud storage via API or desktop/mobile apps or web based systems.


In this post, I’m going to list amazingly awesome open source cloud storage engines that you can use to access and sync your data privately for security and privacy reasons.

Why use open source cloud storage software?

The cloud - Source

The cloud – Source

  1. Create a cloud on your own server or in a data center.
  2. Control and own your own data.
  3. Privacy protection.
  4. Encryption.
  5. Verify source code for bugs and/or backdoors.
  6. Avoid spying on your files on the server using encryption.
  7. Legal compliance – HIPAA and others.
  8. Good performance as your data stored in local storage instead of remote data center.
  9. Good reliability and availability due to local LAN. You are no longer depends upon WAN bandwidth or the service provider for network.
  10. No artificially imposed limits on storage space or client connections and more
  11. Share your files and data with or without password or time limit. Share it publicly, or privately. No 3rd party corporation own your data.

Suggested sample cloud storage setup for home users

      Internet/ISP----|Router/Wireless |
                      |Home Lan|
                      +--------+       +-------------------+
                               |       | Raspberry Pi      |
                               +-------+  Or Intel         |
                                       | Atom based server |
                                       |        +          |
                                       | Cloud storage     |

You can use the Raspberry Pi or an Intel Atom CPU based small server as a home cloud storage system. Use an external USB drive or secure backup service such as to backup your cloud server in an encrypted format. This setup ensures that you keep all your data and not to trust the entirety of your personal data to a corporation.

Seafile: Easy to setup cloud storage for home users

Seafile is a file hosting cloud storage software to store files. You can synchronized files and data with PC and mobile devices easily or use the server’s web interface for managing your data files. There is no limits on data storage space (except for hard disk capacity) or the number of connected clients to your private server (except for CPU/RAM capacity).

Seafile cloud storage
Operating system: Cross-platform (written in C and Python) – MS-Windows/Raspberry Pi/Linux private server
Desktop clients: Yes (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/iPad/iPhone)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: Yes via Professional Edition
Licence: GPLv3 (Community Edition)

ownCloud: Dropbox replacement

ownCloud is another very popular file hosting cloud storage software and often described as Dropbox replacement. Just like Dropbox you can synchronizes your files to your private server. Files placed in ownCloud server are accessible via the mobile and desktop apps. You can add external storage to your ownCloud with Dropbox, SWIFT, FTPs, Google Docs, S3, external WebDAV servers and more. Enable the encryption app to encrypt data on external storage for improved security and privacy.

owncloud  web client
Operating system: Cross-platform (written in PHP & JavaScript) – MS-Windows/Linux private server
Desktop clients: Yes (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/Apple iOS)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: Yes via Enterprise Edition
Licence: AGPLv3

git-annex assistant

The git-annex assistant creates a synchronised folder on each of your OSX and Linux computers, Android devices, removable drives, NAS appliances, and cloud services. You can manage, share, and sync your large files with the power of git and the ease of use of a simple folder you drop files into. Please note that the software is still under heavy development and new features are added regularly.

Operating system: Cross-platform – MS-Windows(beta)/Linux/OS X/FreeBSD/Docker private server
Desktop clients: No (porting)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3

SparkleShare: Easy to use cloud storage with git as a storage backend

It is also a Dropbox clone and very easy to setup. From the project site:

SparkleShare creates a special folder on your computer. You can add remotely hosted folders (or “projects”) to this folder. These projects will be automatically kept in sync with both the host and all of your peers when someone adds, removes or edits a file.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in C#) – MS-Windows/Linux/OS X
Desktop clients: Yes ( MS-Windows/Linux/OS X)
Mobile clients: No (Android/iOS on hold)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3

Syncthing for private, encrypted & authenticated distribution of data

Syncthing is an open-source file synchronization client/server application, written in Go. It replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in Go) – Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Android, BSD, Solaris
Desktop clients: Yes (MS-Windows/Linux/OS X/OpeBSD and Unix-like)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/F-Driod)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3

Stacksync cloud storage

StackSync is an open-source scalable Personal Cloud that can adapt to the necessities of organizations. It puts a special emphasis on security by encrypting data on the client side before it is sent to the server.

Operating system: Linux
Desktop clients: Yes (MS-Windows/Linux/)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 2

OpenStack Object Storage (Swift)

Swift is a scalable redundant storage system. Objects and files are written to multiple disk drives spread throughout servers in the data center, with the OpenStack software responsible for ensuring data replication and integrity across the cluster. Please note that Swift is meant for a large or enterprise users only and not recommended for home users due to complex setup procedures.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in Python)
Desktop clients: ???
Mobile clients: ???
Type: File, data synchronization and more
Paid support: ???
Licence: Apache License 2.0


Personally, I’m using Owncloud as FOSS based cloud solution for my file sharing with friends and family. It offers me Calendar, Contacts, and Dropbox like storage. My cloud server has total 5 disks, 2 Gib RAM, and an Intel atom cpu. I use a Debian Linux with RAID 6. I backup my cloud to an external USB drive and currently, testing tarsanp backup service. I’m also planning to try out SparkleShare on the Raspberry Pi soon.

Are you using any other personal FOSS cloud basesd software? Add your suggestions the comments below.

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

29 comments… add one
  • sri krishna Jan 14, 2015 @ 12:06

    cleanly written with the applications emphasizing on privacy. thank you for sharing

  • FH Jan 14, 2015 @ 13:01

    Is your cloud server on a DMZ or on your inside network with holes in the firewall?

    • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) nixcraft Jan 16, 2015 @ 6:28

      DMZ. It is behind pfSense based firewall.

  • Roberto Rossi Jan 14, 2015 @ 13:24

    Another interesting solution is Syncany:
    Personally I’m using Seafile (both for my own files and for enterprise ones).

    Thanks for your article!

  • Mike Jan 14, 2015 @ 20:29

    How about Seafile?

    • Nick Jan 15, 2015 @ 20:07

      It’s the first mentioned! :)

  • Nanda Linn Aung Jan 15, 2015 @ 1:12

    neat set ups..

  • jineesh Jan 15, 2015 @ 16:24

    Pydio is an another cloud storage solution with a powerfull WebGui interface

    • Guest Mar 12, 2015 @ 19:54

      I started freelancing at home, completing simple jobs that only required desktop or laptop computer and internet connection and I couldn’t be happier… After 6 months on this job and i earned total of 36,000 dollars… Basicly i profit 80 bucks each hour and work for 3 to 4 hours most of the days.And awesome thing about this job is that you can manage time when you work and for how long as you like and the payments are weekly.

      • linacostaa Mar 21, 2015 @ 17:51


  • Eot Lemac Jan 15, 2015 @ 20:55

    What about freeNAS?

    • Erathiel Jan 23, 2015 @ 9:20

      FreeNAS is a BSD-based operating system that aims at providing an easy way to set up a NAS (Network Attached Storage) server. What that means is, in simple terms, hard disk space that you connect to over the network. It is not the same as cloud storage, although it can be used as a part of your setup. I’ve found out that FreeNAS features an ownCloud plugin:

  • lgibelli Jan 15, 2015 @ 22:59

    At Skylable we develop a distributed storage backend (SX Server) and a file sync & share application (SXDrive).
    The storage backend is written in C and released as GPL. It supports replica, automatic failover and scales horizontally.
    The file-sync client runs on Windows, MacOSX, Linux, Android and iOS and it’s free.

    All our clients support incremental transfers (ownCloud does not).
    Our Android client already supports client-side encryption (ownCloud does not) and we are gradually adding support for client-side encryption to the other clients as well.

    Disclosure: I work @ Skylable

  • Wendell Anderson Jan 19, 2015 @ 20:31

    The article author should also consider NAS4Free Free/Open Source (FOSS) cloud Storage, which I have implemented recently on a dual 4TG Hard drive computer – converted mini PC case with Intel Atom M/ board/cpu kit, and 8GB SSD card on M/brd for OS.

    The added cloud admin tools are very easy to use, and accessible from browser. One major perk of NAS4Free is use of ZFS for data Live snapshots, data distribution configuration, robust encryption and security and more

  • Paul Littlefield Jan 22, 2015 @ 23:04

    BitTorrent Sync anyone? :-)

    • kirkgleason Feb 17, 2015 @ 13:53

      It’s not open source, is it?

      • Paul Littlefield Feb 24, 2015 @ 17:07

        Ah, fair point.

  • Colin Brace Feb 15, 2015 @ 14:11

    I’ll be curious to hear your experiences with tarsnap. I used it for a couple of years, and I really like the design philosophy, but I found it so slow at restoring files that it was virtually unusable. At this point, I don’t see any advantages it might offer over simply backing up to a VPS with rsync.

    I’m also using OwnCloud and very impressed with the direction it is going.

  • moonwalker Mar 5, 2015 @ 4:36

    Admittedly, I haven’t tried ownCloud since version 6.0, but I remember it’s file syncing capabilities to be utterly broken – it was extremely slow and ended up corrupting some of my files. Maybe this issue happened only because I needed to sync big files, but I found it to be unusable for my needs. I found that among different open source solutions Seafile was the closest from user perspective to the pain-free experience that Dropbox offers. I’ve been a happy Seafile user since late 1.x versions and I’m still using it now at version 4.1.x.

    • Pissed off Techie Jul 28, 2015 @ 11:34

      That’s how I remember it too.
      Utterly hated ownCloud, to be honest.

  • Andrew M. Sheppard Apr 15, 2015 @ 19:14

    Running a glorified NAS+rsync w/ a web front end, a cloud does not make. It’d be nice if that point was identified for such “solutions” (eg: OwnCloud).

    So much marketing hype in this post. -1

  • The AlieN May 20, 2015 @ 11:23

    any info about ?

  • Victor R. Jul 2, 2015 @ 4:35

    A good one is Pydio :D!.

  • guy Oct 17, 2015 @ 16:13

    Why you people always forget about the tahoe lafs?

  • DuroSoft Mar 2, 2016 @ 0:42

    If you want to be 100% confident that your cloud storage company isn’t secretly decrypting and reading your data, you should use a service like our DuroCloud that uses client-side encryption.

  • Christina Kasica Mar 11, 2016 @ 0:49

    I’m an academic (not a techie) who has 3 million scans about 2 terabytes of ancient manuscripts I want to digitize and make searchable–how should I start?

    • Jones Aug 24, 2016 @ 20:00

      OCR scan the documents, and put them into database, now you only need a nice good anime image viewer. or some html5 image viewer that can zoom in and out

    • JP May 11, 2017 @ 4:44

      I have tried both owncloud and nextcloud which a fork of owncloud. Both are easy to use and very similar in features but I like the looks and feel of nextcloud. Its a very straightforward installation and setup. Allowing you to add the modules you need such as the OCR feature and remove the ones you don’t need.
      Also being that your scans are most likely in varying languages. You can install the language packs for the languages you need.

  • kirisakow Nov 19, 2022 @ 18:15

    Hi, the xkcd link is broken: “” should be “”

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