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🔄 Nextcloud Updater

🔄 The built-in Updater makes it easier to keep your Nextcloud Server installation up-to-date. In many cases it can be used in place of the manual update process.


The Updater can be accessed via the Web UI as well as the command line. It may be used both to update to the latest patch level (i.e. security/bug fixes) as well as to update to a completely new major release (i.e. new features/functionality).

Known issues

  • The createBackup step, which is not intended to backup user data, currently can slow down the larger the datadirectory gets (nextcloud/updater#507)
  • The deleteOldFiles step, which does not actually touch user data, currently can slow down the larger the datadirectory gets (nextcloud/updater#397)
  • Multiple *.config.php files are currently not supported / ignored (nextcloud/updater#384)
  • In some environments, the current iterator implementation may fail (nextcloud/updater#519)


[!NOTE] The built-in Updater is primarily applicable to manual/Archive (aka: "tarball / zip") installations. Most other installation methods (such as Docker images and Snaps) utilize their own officially supported processes for keeping Nextcloud Server up-to-date. Please follow their respective documented approaches rather than trying to run the Updater yourself.



  • An Archive based installation (i.e. not Docker, Snap, AIO, etc. unless you're the packager of said method and utilize the Updater internally or permit your users to utilize it).
  • The app is bundled with the installation Archive for Nextcloud Server. No additional steps are necessary to install.


  • The Updater "app" is not a standard Nextcloud Server app so it is not managed via the app store.
  • The Web UI mode of Updater will not be active unless the updatenotification app is enabled.

Releases and CHANGELOGs

As a shipped/bundled app:

  • changes are posted within the Nextcloud Server changelog.
  • releases are not posted in this GitHub repository, but they are tagged for code perusal.
  • it is automatically kept up-to-date with each Nextcloud Server release.


No special configuration parameters are generally required for the Updater. There are some optional parameters which may be of interest in some environments:

There are also some which are set automatically and not generally meant to be manually adjusted:

The following are standard parameters already set in any functioning Server installation, but which the Updater requires:

  • [datadirectory]
  • [instanceid]

Other update related parameters:


Using the Updater via the Web UI is more convenient, but using it from the command line is more reliable.

[!WARNING] Please make a backup of your data and database and familiarize yourself with the restore process before proceeding with using the Updater.

Web UI mode

Go to Administration settings. It can be reached in the Overview under the Update heading.

See Using the web based updater in the Nextcloud Administration Manual.

Command line mode

See Using the command line based updater



--no-backup              Don't create a backup of the application code (note: the Updater's backup *never* backs up data or databases contents)
--no-upgrade             Don't automatically run `occ upgrade` when the Updater finishes (note: `occ upgrade` is required after Updater updates the application code in order to push out any database changes in the newly deployed version of Nextcloud)

How it works

Keeping Nextcloud Server up-to-date, at a high level, consists of three things:

  1. Updating the code
  2. Upgrading the database
  3. Updating all shipped and locally deployed apps

The Updater app handles step #1 (see What does the updater do?) and prepares the environment for steps #2 and #3 (which are handled by occ upgrade after the Updater successfully completes).

The Updater app needs to function while the Nextcloud Server is offline for code updates. It is therefore designed to operate as independently as possible from the rest of Server. This permits Server to be updated safely and the Updater to proceed without interruption during code swaps. The trade-off is that none of the typical Nextcloud classes/APIs are available to serve the needs of the Updater. The Updater, fortunately, has a relatively narrowly defined mission and set of needs.

Theory of Operation

  • The Updater runs from either /updater/index.php (Web mode) or /updater/updater.phar (Command line mode), which are provided by the previous (last/current) Server installation.
  • The Updater maintains state in .step files/folders
  • Connecting clients are provided with temporary failure HTTP codes to minimize end user interruptions

Some historical more in-depth context can be found in nextcloud/updater#1 and nextcloud/updater#2.


Updater app components

  • /updater/updater.phar (CLI Updater)
  • /updater/index.php (Web Updater)

Server components

  • occ upgrade (Database Upgrader)
  • Web occ upgrade trigger/monitor
  • updatenotification app which provides the Update overvew under Administration settings and handles notifying admins of the availability of updates
  • The legacy update availability notifier (only activated if the updatenotification is disabled and does not provide an Overview screen; currently generates an indefinite "nag")

Update methods

Since there are multiple ways of triggering and using the Updater as well as the later database upgrades and app updates, it is useful to have an overview of the different work flows. This is particularly useful if you're doing development related to the Nextcloud Server update/upgrade process. It also further shows how steps 1-3 above are coupled together.


Consists of:

  • Manually replacing installation folder code contents except for config, data, and locally installed apps (i.e. does not use the Updater app at all)
  • Running occ upgrade from the command line

The full procedure for keeping Nextcloud Server up-to-date manually is documented in the Nextcloud Admin Manual.

Pure CLI Update/Upgrade:

Consists of:

  • Running /updater/updater.phar from the command line
  • Running occ upgrade from the command line

Hybrid CLI/Web Update/Upgrade

Consists of:

  • Running /updater/updater.phar from the command line
  • Triggering and monitoring occ upgrade from the Web UI (this is the default behavior after a successful Updater run if you do not opt to let updater.phar trigger the database upgrades and app updates at the end of its run)

Hybrid Web/CLI Update/Upgrade

Consists of:

  • Accessing /updater/index.php via Administration settings->Overview Update section.
  • Running occ upgrade from the command line

Full Web Update/Upgrade

Consists of:

  • Accessing /updater/index.php via Administration settings->Overview Update section.
  • Triggering and monitoring occ upgrade from the Web UI (this is the default behavior after a successful Updater run if you opt to let the Web Updater trigger the database upgrades and app updates at the end of its run)


  • Admin settings->Version->Open updater
    • Implemented in https://github.com/nextcloud/server/blob/master/apps/updatenotification/src/components/UpdateNotification.vue
      • Clicking on Open updater triggers (runs) the independent Updater app (/updater/index.php)
      • The independent Updater app provides the Web UI independent of the code in the running instance of Server
      • When the Updater app finishes updating the code, the user is given the option to either have Updater trigger the database upgrade and app updates (by internally executing the equivalent of occ upgrade or to leave maintenance mode on so that the user can complete those from the command line by executing occ upgrade on their own)

Development/Making Changes

Described here are both relevant aspects of the Updater itself as well as surrounding components that are integrated into Server directly.

Updater components

For each mode the Updater supports - Web and command line - a dedicated artifact is generated. However, all common operations are located in shared code. Since the code is not shared in all cases at runtime, it's important to understand where various changes should go during development so that they end up in the appropriate places at build or check-in time.

Changes should be made to the following places in the updater repo:

  • Shared aspects of the Updater:
    • /Makefile
      • make updater.phar
      • make index.php
    • /lib/LogException.php
    • /lib/RecursiveDirectoryIteratorWithoutDate.php
    • /lib/UpdateException.php
    • /lib/Updater.php <-- core of the Updater functionality for both Web and CLI modes is implemented here
  • Aspects specific to the Web Updater:
    • /index.web.php
    • /Makefile
      • make index.php
  • Aspects specific to the CLI Updater:
    • /updater.php
    • /buildVersionFile.php
    • /lib/CommandApplication.php
    • /lib/UpdateCommand.php
    • /Makefile
      • make updater.phar

Server components

Keep in mind that for the update/upgrade process there are some additional components that aren't part of the Updater app (nor necessarily part of occ upgrade itself):

Dependences needed for building


Install box: https://github.com/box-project/box/blob/main/doc/installation.md#composer


If you want to run the tests, you'll need to run them in an environment that has Nextcloud's required PHP modules installed.

Build artifacts / What to check in

For Distribution

  • /updater.phar
  • /index.php

For Check-in (same + implementation changes)

  • /updater.phar
  • /index.php

Plus whatever has been changed in the implementation in:

  • /lib/*
  • /index.web.php
  • /updater.php


Used during the build process but not checked in:

  • Specific to the CLI Updater:
    • /lib/Version.php



(to be filled in)


(to be filled in)


(to be filled in)



  • The Updater operates independently from Server so it has it's own log file called updater.log which is located in the configured datadirectory for the instance.
  • The database upgrade migrations and app updates are not handled directly by the Updater so they're logged in the standard Nextcloud log (nextcloud.log)

Web-based Updater isn't completely successful or reporting on what is going on

  • Check the updater.log
  • Try using the command line mode of Updater rather than the Web mode

Unable to use the built-in Updater

If the built-in Updater does not function reliably for your environment, the old reliable (albeit admittedly tedious) manual update process may be your best alternative. This was the primary way of keeping Nextcloud Server up-to-date before the automated Updater was developed. In addition, if Updater does not work in your environment, report the details of your situation to https://github.com/nextcloud/updater/issues so that consideration can be given to adapting Updater to a wider variety of environments.

Updater != occ upgrade

The occ upgrade command runs the database migrations which adapt your existing database to the updated version Nextcloud Server that is deployed by the Updater (or via a manual update).

Despite the confusing naming - which makes sense technically, but in hindsight may not have been the best to avoid confusion - the Updater must run (and completely successfully) before occ upgrade will have anything to do.

Help & Contributing

[!TIP] Since bug reports are not for technical support, you may not receive a personalized or timely response. If you suspect you may have encountered a previously unknown bug, please try to troubleshoot it in the Help Forum first to confirm or to uncover workarounds.