SharePoint, Dropbox & Google Alternative?

We need to be able to share files and folders with people inside and outside of the ICA staff that we work with, work on documents together (word and excel), as well as add comments to documents which may explain what it is and how to use it (like you can do in dropbox). We need something that is easy for the user to reset their own password and use their own emails or usernames because we don’t have capacity to constantly do this for the 30+ users we know will forget this a few times a year.

We know that SharePoint could work for file sharing and editing excel files together (editing word documents together is more difficult there), but then we have also been told that it is a security risk. Is it a security risk to give 60+ people access to select files and folders?

We have also been told that NextCloud is a good platform for sharing documents, and is open source. Do you agree? Would we be able to work on documents together on this platform?

What about Sharefile?


We provide Nextcloud servers for clients, including co-ops:

And I can’t think of a better tool for this, there are two options for WYSIWYG editing in the web browser, OnlyOffice and Collabora, I have, so far, only experience of Collabora, it is LibreOffice based. @buttle has some experience of OnlyOffice.

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I’d echo NextCloud. I use it through, a co-op like hosting organization. I’ve also recently just set up a private instance very easily (I’m a crappy sysadmin) with on Digital Ocean. It’s working beautifully. Cloudron is a great way for small organizations to set up their own open-source clouds.


I use Collabora, and it is pretty good. A bit buggy, but it’s also new, and I expect it will improve with time. I think it’s certainly usable. And it can handle .docx and .odt documents equally well.

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Hi @ghacquard

Echo’ing the comments below; I’d recommend using - the nice thing about it is that they have this Federated Sharing feature, which allows other Nextcloud instances to share files easily between them, even if they are on different hosts/servers.

You could put out an RFP to WebArchitects, CanTrustHosting, Facttic, CommonsCloud, etc. but I’d recommend choosing a coop. CCUA uses @cantrusthosting . As an example check out this link: - that’s our CCUA server. I created a folder that you can upload and download files to (I set an expiration date it’s only for testing). It took me (literally) 5 seconds to make and enable sharing on. There is also Nextcloud Calendar and Deck for simple accountability tracking.

There are two options for document editing with Nextcloud; and - Collabora isn’t as nice as OnlyOffice but it’s more powerful for functionality. But, for simple document editing that you would be working on with external partners, I’d recommend using OnlyOffice. Simply because it’s more simple. Collabora will get there but based on what I’ve seen and like @ntnsndr mentioned, it will take probably a couple years to be competitive with Google Docs and the like. Point being, you could request them to install whichever document editing program into Nextcloud when you were putting out the RFP.

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If you want Single Sign On (one login that works for both Discourse and Nextcloud) then I’d suggest getting the people who setup and host this Discourse instance to set it up as the first option.

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Very good idea. Didn’t think of that!

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Hi Gretchen, What about Maybe it will fulfill your requirements.

Hey @Shree - I wouldn’t recommend as it’s a proprietary software that has per user licensing. The costs could increase significantly the more users that were shared. A co-op also wouldn’t be able to host it, nor would it be able to be self-hosted, and the data would also be hosted in the US. This could/would become a security/privacy issue.


Good idea!

Is there a way to export from here to import there?

If you are asking about the user accounts then I posted some options here:

I have since come across Gluu:

I’d suggest chatting with @buttle as he has SSO working with Nextcloud / Discourse — I have only setup Discourse as a SSO provider for WordPress — I haven’t linked a Discourse and Nextcloud server.

Our website designers we’re working with are looking at doing SSO with Nextcloud/Wordpress/Discourse using - but they also have a proprietary tool they are working with, and I’m not sure how they are fitting them all together. But it might be worth taking a look. I’ve seen some topics on the Nextcloud forum about Gluu though. So agree it’s probably best to start there.

I would really hope that using non-free software can be avoided, especially considering that the proposal for this network contains the objective:

Advice on different IT products, services, and service providers to recommend to the co-operative movement. Products recommended would include a required discount to ICA members. All products should be open source.

If we are using non-free software for the global IT co-op network systems it would be rather odd to then be only recommending free / libre open source software?


Oh yeah, no I don’t work for the ICA, I’m talking about my organization the CCUA. I’m slowly getting them onto FOSS software. Most of our IT staff only know Microsoft products so it’s an advocacy and education thing. We made huge progress by making the decision to move from Sitecore to a Wordpress site, and the addition of Nextcloud and Discourse are huge wins IMO.

Completely agree about your statements above.

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CAS from Apereo is FOSS. I just don’t know how the web designers we contracted are using it. And I know they have their own tool that’s not FOSS, so I’m not sure if CAS works stand alone or needs something else.

Very sorry for the misunderstanding, great to hear that you are moving in the right direction :slight_smile:

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Nextcloud is defiintely a good document sharing option and online editing is acceptable if you weigh in the freedom you acquire.

Funny that. I’ve found OnlyOffice to be more complete, though admittedly it don’t edit office documents of any sorts often. What have you seen @KevinM?

We have achieved is one username one password for all of our services using an LDAP provider(master) and various consumer(slaves) spread out across our servers. SSO is on our list but not quite sure how to go about it. LDAP will server as a distributed database no doubt. I’d be happy to discuss this further here on the list if anyone else is interested.


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I think OnlyOffice online is built out more, but because they built CollaboraOffice on top of Libreoffice, they will be able to scale into different features and functionalities that OnlyOffice have to develop from scratch. But those libreoffice features are inconsequential for what 99% of users will use it for. So yeah OnlyOffice is better online for sure.

I agree with that Kevin.

And I like Collabora more than OnlyOffice because they seem more aligned with my free software beliefs than onlyoffice does. However, Collabora runs on the server, each opened documents use loads of memory. OnlyOffice runs more in the Browser and that makes much more sense to me.

That sais, at present we only have one OnlyOffice server in production (and under observation) because until recently it was not possible to open ODF documents. (Format are important too!)