Drop support for shared hosting installations where NO Shell access is available

I know this is really a controversal topic.

During all these years at ownCloud we did put a lot of effort into supporting shared hosting installations and always tried our best to allow upgrades and many other operations via Web only.

This also puts many limitations to the code base as well as to our resources and possibilities to me taken.

So here we go: please let us know how you are running ownCloud and if there is the possibility to change your hosting.

  • WTF! I'm on a shared Hoster and have no Shell access and there is no other way for me to run ownCloud!
  • I need to move my ownCloud to a different Hoster anyhow. I'll have Shell access then. Getting this with ownCloud 9.2 end of this year if find with me.
  • I have Shell access. All good! Kill shared hoster support.


I'm using shared hosting on SiteGround, which does allow SSH access, but not as root. Given that, the web interface makes things just simply easier to use, and means I can deploy it and recommend it to more clients / other people who may not be comfortable with a command line.

I started using ownCloud because it was an open alternative to Dropbox, which burned me in the past when a folder owner left our organization and took our files with them. If ownCloud had not been easy to implement and maintain, I would be using another solution now, and not recommending it to other people as well.

My main concern is that if shell access becomes a requirement, not only will ownCloud lose some existing users, but it will become a massive barrier to entry for new users, killing support for the project from the Open Source user community.

This would be a huge problem for me, and I suspect you'd lose a lot of users over it because MANY small businesses rely on shared hosting for their needs. Part of OC's appeal is that with some basic intrwebz skilz even end users can manage their repository because of the web interface - myself included. Not everyone out here is a 'gearhead', they don't have any UNIX or command line experience, let alone the fact that many hosting providers don't allow SSH for shared accounts. I think there are LOTS of users out there that would be left out in the cold. Please reconsider this strategy.

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There were quite a few people relying on shared hoster and it seemed to work. They just use it for calendar or a few files and don't want a (v-)server (financially and/or the time to manage such a server).

Not a big deal to me.

Major problem, please don't kill it. I have no shell access...

While I understand the reasons why removing support for such installs has its benefit on the code side, I have the feeling that there are still too many ownCloud users with such setups.

Also, in 9.0.4 and 9.1.0 we have already spent the time to add support for the web executor in order to make updates work in such scenarios. So I'd say for now we should keep supporting such scenarios.

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@Hammerhead no worries - this poll is about getting an understanding how important the support of share hosters still is.

Controversial perhaps but you do need to ask these questions occasionally to gather some understanding of impact.

As this is a value judgement as to whether to do this or not, then surely you will have a guidance document of some kind that states what the aims of the product currently are (high level design objectives), against which you and any other decision makers can evaluate the idea, both before and with any feedback you get. If not, it might be helpful to create one at some point. It's a good reference point for why you have made previous decisions.

From a user's perspective the value they receive through being able to install, update, manage and administer through a web interface with nice easy guided layout is all about giving them fantastic product utility and as others have said that's what brought me to your product a while ago, despite the early feature set in terms of overall function. Increase complexity and you will reduce usage by small outfits with lower skill levels.

You don't actually say what this is required for, other than to simplify development effort so it may be that you are seeing additional support requirements with lower skilled admins out there, you may be seeing hoops to jump through as developers that you could really do without based on previous technical decisions or many other reasons. These have multiple potential solutions and I would urge you to consider alternative solutions because people really do value what you have given so far and if you can crack this you will be able to deliver what they already have and love and continue to improve it going forward.

As an example of how this can work, I run Joomla sites and there is a fantastic piece of software called Akeeba Backup. which is pretty much the go to solution for backing up, transferring, restoring sites, databases etc. It's had to work round many issues with hosting companies setups and at the front there is the easy web way (which actually gets better over time) behind the scenes there are multiple string and glue methods to cater for the less well known approaches. Nik I know gets very frustrated with many of the same issues that I guess you have to deal with but rises to the challenge each time and as he finds a solution the product becomes more indispensable to a larger user base. I don't know but having seen a number of incarnations to the product I suspect he's had a couple of ground up re-writes of parts of the solution. I contribute through my support subscription, which I need less and less but it keeps him going and the value the product gives me easily justifies the low cost.

To answer the direct question:
Specifically for me, it will kill it as a product on three websites (personal and charity) with two hosting companies. Not because I don't have shell access ( I don't) but because I try to leave sites that someone else can administer as a simple user should I not be around.

That of course will give me a reasonable degree of pain in researching alternatives and then installing and transferring content etc.

So... my vote is No..

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Wasn't able to vote, so I chimed in. Thanks.

I'm closing this poll - we will continue to support shared hosters for 9.2

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Are there any shared hosters that also support running system CRON jobs ? Or at least setup a crontab for the current user ? I'm asking because with 9.1 and in the future we're adding more and more background jobs, so ajax cron becomes less of an option over time, ajax cron being the solution used by many who have no other choices when using shared hosters.

This came to mind when I saw this issue about stray file locks that aren't cleared because ajax cron doesn't run often / long enough to cover the cleanup job: https://github.com/owncloud/core/issues/20380

Just checked a few ones:
1&1, strato, all-inkl: most packages do (price > 5€), but not the most basic one
ovh, godaddy: all support cron

It sounds good but it's not sure if there are runtime limits as well...