The Nextcloud Desktop Sync Client does a fantastic job of syncing files between your desktop/laptop and Nextcloud's storage, but you don't always want everything synced down.
For example, we have some fairly sizeable volumes mounted as "External Storage" in Nextcloud. We wanted to be able to browse through those from desktops without having to sync >200GB of data down to each and every client.
This post details how to mount your Nextcloud instance as a remote drive, using WebDAV, so that files are only pulled over the network as and when they're opened.
The basic principle
Nextcloud has a WebDAV compatible endpoint - it allows clients to remotely access and manipulate files.
Most operating systems have support for WebDAV, so this can be used without a dedicated client, treating the Nextcloud server more like a remote network share. We actually use both, with the Nextcloud client syncing files that we want to maintain a local copy of (password manager databases being a good example).
These instructions assume you've not done anything clever like link Nextcloud to LDAP - if you have, then you can probably also figure out which steps need tweaking
The Webdav URL
The URL is pretty simple to construct, it's of the format
[your nextcloud domain]/remote.php/dav/files/[your user]/
So, for example, might be
In most cases, the scheme will be
https:// but there are exceptions (detailed below).
In Windows explorer
- Browse to "My Computer"
- Click "Remote Network Share" in the menu area
- Add new
- Provide the URL
https://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/(correcting for your domain+user)
- Tick the
Use other credentialsbox
- Enter your Nextcloud credentials
You should now have a new drive which allows you to access your Nextcloud files as well as any external storage that your Nextcloud user is permitted to access
If you're using KDE/Dolphin and don't need things to mount at boot, you can use Dolphin's built in WebDAV support - simply enter the path
webdav://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/. In Gnome you can do the same using
davs://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/ (if you're not using HTTPS, you want
dav rather than
However, if you want the OS to mount it somewhere, you'll need to installer a helper and add it to
sudo apt-get -y install davfs2 sudo mkdir /mnt/nextcloud
The system needs to be provided with your credentials
cat << EOF | sudo tee -a /etc/davfs2/secrets /mnt/nextcloud alice mysecretpassword EOF
Add your user to the group
sudo usermod -a -G davfs2 alice
You then have a choice between setting up so that you manually mount (including have the system do so at boot) or automounting with
The mount can be added to
https://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/ /mnt/nextcloud davfs _netdev,user,uid=alice,gid=alice 0 0
You should then be able to mount the directory
You might, instead, want it to automatically mount when you browse into that directory - this can be achieved with
sudo apt-get install autofs
Grab some basic info and generate the automount master config line
MYUID=`id -u` GID=`id -g` echo "/mnt/ /etc/auto.nextcloud uid=$MYUID,gid=$GID,--timeout=60,--ghost" | sudo tee -a /etc/auto.master
Then, the autofs config file needs to be created
echo "nextcloud -fstype=davfs,rw :https\://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/" | sudo tee /etc/auto.nextcloud
sudo systemctl reload autofs
And you should be good to go.
It is possible to mount WebDAV shares via Finder, but is reportedly quite slow. You might prefer to use something like
- Go to
Connect to Server(or press Command + K)
https://nextcloud.example.com/remote.php/dav/files/alice/as the server address
- When prompted enter your Nextcloud credentials
Nextcloud's sync client is useful when you have files that you want to keep a local copy of (and don't mind the relative storage cost), however it's of fairly limited utility if you've a large volume of data that you want to easily browse, but do not want routinely synced to your machine.
The most obvious example of this would be an external storage filled with photographs - you want to be able to flick through them conveniently, but you also do not want them all stored on your machine, all the time.
WebDAV addresses this by providing a network drive - files are only pulled down when they're accessed, and disappear out of your local device's cache soon afterwards.
Although performance varies, the 3 main operating systems all provide support for WebDAV.