How to Create a Free Nextcloud Account

This guide will show you how to easily signup for a free and privacy respecting Nextcloud account using the official Android or iOS app. Desktop users can follow along as well as the instructions are very similar whether on mobile or dekstop.

If you have questions about how these Nextcloud accounts are free or what Nextcloud can do check the table of contents below.

Table of Contents

What is Nextcloud?

Nextcloud Logo

Nextcloud is an open source alternative for traditional cloud services like those provided by Apple, Google, and Microsoft that anyone can host. It allows you to manage, store and sync a variety of things such as tasks, contacts, calendars, notes, and bookmarks. The Nextcloud ecosystem has apps and integrations with all major desktop and mobile operating systems. It is very extensible and has integrations with collaborative document editing suites like ONLYOFFICE, password managers, media players, and more.

How to Create a Nextcloud Account

Install and open the Nextcloud app

You can easily create an account from the app which is called “Nextcloud” and looks like the logo above. Privacy Practical degoogled phones running CalyxOS will have Nextcloud installed by default.

If you don’t have the app download it from the one of the links below:

If you want to do this on a desktop go to the Nextcloud Sign Up page.

Tap "Sign up with provider"

Tap “Sign up with provider” on the initial screen that appears when you open the app. This will take you to a page where you can make a free account with one of Nextcloud’s recommended providers. 

These providers provide free accounts in hopes you’ll enjoy their service and upgrade to a paid plan later. Free plans are more than enough for the purposes of syncing calendars, contacts, and notes.

Tap "Change Provider" and select Ops One

Nextcloud Contact Import Tutorial Image Ops One

Tap “Change Provider” under the email address field and select Ops One as pictured above. Ops One is privacy focused Swiss hosting company that we recommend above the others for a variety of reasons. This is not to say the others are necessarily bad choices.

While we are not affiliated with Ops One in any way we recommend them for the reasons below.

  • Includes OTP two-factor authentication for login access
  • Secure backups and  implement redundant servers ensuring the availability and survivability of your data
  • Switzerland has some of the best data privacy laws in the world
  • Great privacy policy

Also don’t worry about the distance to Switzerland, the author of this getting started guide uses a Nextcloud server on an island on the other side of the world and it doesn’t affect his using it. If you don’t trust a random provider and want a custom dedicated server solution reach out to us on our contact page.

Enter your email and tap sign up

After selecting the provider enter your email address, read the terms of service and agree to them if you find them to be acceptable, and then tap “Sign Up”. You will be registering with and accepting that provider’s terms of service and privacy policy.

Enter your password on the next screen

After tapping “Sign Up” you’ll be taken to the page of the provider you selected to enter your password. Ops One just asks for a password initially and will send you a verification email which doesn’t have to be confirmed right away.

Afterwards depending on your provider you can set up two-factor authentication (2FA) from accessing your account via a web browser. A link to your login page will be sent in the verification email.

Disable Photo Synchronization On Mobile App

There is one final step if you are using the Nextcloud mobile app. A 2 GB account is good for syncing contacts and calendars but not media.

Follow the steps below to make sure those free 2 GB aren’t immediately taken up with your pictures and videos:

  1. Open the hamburger menu in the top left corner and then tap “Settings” towards the bottom of the menu.
  2. Disable “Show media scan notifications” under the “Details” section.
  3. If you enabled any synchronization before this go to “Auto upload” under “More” and disable by tapping the colored clouds on the right of the image folder.

How are these accounts free?

This is a great question you definitely should be asking.

Nextcloud offers the explanation that these sites are willing to offer free accounts with the expectation that enough users will upgrade to paid accounts to justify the cost. Nextcloud selects these providers for their quality although Nextcloud does not take responsibility for their services. 

We choose Ops One because we like their privacy policy. Swiss privacy laws are some of the best in the world so we know they’ll have to adhere to it more than companies in the US would need to.