ownCloud Roles


ownCloud provides several roles a user can have. This description gives an overview of these roles.


  • Is not a regular user.

  • Has access to specific content made available via public links.

    • Can be password-protected (optional, enforced, policy-enforced).

    • Can have an expiration date (optional, enforced, enforced dependent on password).

  • Has no personal space

  • Has no file ownership (ownership of uploaded/created files is directed to sharer).

  • Has no use of clients.

  • Quota is that of the sharer.

  • Permissions are those granted by the sharer for specific content, e.g., view-only, edit, and File Drop.

  • Can only use file and viewer apps, such as PDF Viewer and Collabora Online.


  • The Guests app is available on the ownCloud Marketplace. You must install and enable it first.

  • Is a regular user with restricted permissions, identified via e-mail address.

  • Has no personal space.

  • Has no file ownership (ownership of uploaded/created files is directed to sharer).

  • Has access to shared space. The permissions are granted by the sharer.

  • Is not bound to the inviting user.

    • Can log in as long as shares are available.

    • Becomes deactivated when no shares are left; this is the shared with guests filter.

    • Reactivated when a share is received.

    • Administrators will be able to automate user cleanup ("disabled for x days").

  • Can use all clients.

  • Fully auditable in the enterprise edition.

  • Can be promoted to group administrator or administrator, but will still have no personal space.

  • Apps are specified by the admin (whitelist).

The Shared with Guests Filter

This filter makes it easy for sharers to view and remove their shares with a guest, which also removes their responsibility for guests. When all of a guest’s shares are removed, the guest is then disabled and can no longer login.

Standard User

  • Is a regular user (from LDAP, ownCloud user backend, or another backend).

  • Has personal space. Permissions are granted by the administrator.

  • Shared space: Permissions as granted by sharer.

  • Apps: All enabled, might be restricted by group membership.

Federated User

  • Is not an internal user.

  • Can trust a federated system.

  • Has access to shared space through users on the considered ownCloud system.

  • Can share data with the considered system (accept-/rejectable).

ownCloud Group Administrator

  • Is a regular user, such as from LDAP, an ownCloud user backend, or another backend.

  • Can manage users in their groups, such as adding and removing them, and changing quota of users in the group.

  • Can add new users to their groups and can manage guests.

  • Can enable and disable users.

  • Can impersonate users in their groups.

  • Custom group creation may be restricted to group admins.

ownCloud Administrator

  • Is a regular user (from LDAP, ownCloud user backend, or another backend).

  • Can configure ownCloud features via the UI, such as sharing settings, app-specific configurations, and external storages for users.

  • Can manage users, such as adding and removing, enabling and disabling, quota and group management.

  • Can restrict app usage to groups, where applicable.

  • Configurable access to log files.

  • Mounting of external shares and local shares (of external filesystems) is disabled by default.

System Administrator

  • Is not an ownCloud user.

  • Has access to ownCloud code (e.g., config.php and apps folders) and command-line tool (occ occ).

  • Configures and maintains the ownCloud environment (PHP, Webserver, DB, Storage, Redis, Firewall, Cron, and LDAP, etc.).

  • Maintains ownCloud, such as updates, backups, and installs extensions.

  • Can manage users and groups, such as via occ.

  • Has access to the master key when storage encryption is used.

  • Storage admin: Encryption at rest, which prevents the storage administrator from having access to data stored in ownCloud.

  • DB admin: Calendar/Contacts etc. DB entries not encrypted.


  • Is not an ownCloud user.

  • Conducts usage and compliance audits in enterprise scenarios.

  • App logs (especially Auditlog) can be separated from ownCloud log. This separates the Auditor and Sysadmin roles. An audit.log file can be enabled, which the Sysadmin can’t access.

  • Best practice: parse separated log to an external analyzing tool.