File Firewall


The File Firewall app lets you control access and sharing in fine detail by creating rules for allowing or denying access to files. This is based on: group, upload size, client devices, IP address, time of day, as well as many more criteria. The File Firewall GUI enables you to manage the firewall rule sets. You can find it in your ownCloud admin page, under Admin  Security.

In addition to these restriction options, the File Firewall app also supports rules based on regular expressions.

How the File Firewall Works

Each firewall rule set consists of one or more conditions. If a request matches all of the conditions in at least one rule set, then the request is blocked by the firewall. Otherwise, the request is allowed by the firewall.

The File Firewall app cannot lock out administrators from the web interface when rules are misconfigured.

Using the File Firewall

Figure 1 shows an empty firewall configuration panel. Set your logging level to Blocked Requests Only for debugging, and create a new rule set by clicking Add Group. After setting up your rules you must click Save Rules.

Figure 1: Empty File Firewall configuration panel

Figure 2 shows two rules. The first rule, No Support outside office hours, prevents members of the support group from logging into the ownCloud Web interface from 5pm-9am and also blocks client syncing. The second rule prevents members of the "qa-team" group from accessing the Web UI from IP addresses that are outside of the local network.

Figure 2: Two example rules that restrict logins per user group

All other users are not affected, and can log in anytime from anywhere.

Available Conditions

User Group

The user (is|is not) a member of the selected group.

User Agent

The User-Agent of the request (matches|does not match) the given string.

User Device

A shortcut for matching all known (android | ios | desktop) sync clients by their User Agent string.

Request Time

The time of the request (has to|must not) be in a single range from beginning time to end time.

Request URL

The full page URL (has to contain) with a given string.

Request Type

The request (is a public link share|other) request.

Request IP Range (IPv4) and IP Range (IPv6)

The request’s REMOTE_ADDR header (is|is not) matching the given IP range.

File Size Upload

When a file is uploaded the size has to be (less|greater or equal) to the given size.

File Mimetype Upload

Block a request based on the mimetype of a file being uploaded. The match can be the complete mimetype, part of the mimetype from the start or end of the mimetype. Negative matches are also supported; i.e., all mimetypes that don’t match the supplied mimetype, or all mimetypes that don’t start or end with the partial mimetype supplied.

The full list of conditions is (File mimetype upload):

  • is

  • is not

  • begins with

  • doesn’t begin with

  • ends with

  • doesn’t end with

The complete list of available mimetypes which ownCloud supports is available in the ownCloud core source.

Common Mimetypes

suffix mimetype















System File Tag

One of the parent folders or the file itself (is|is not) tagged with a System tag.

Regular Expression

The File Firewall supports regular expressions, allowing you to create custom rules using the following conditions:

  • File mimetype upload

  • Client IP Range (IPv4)

  • Client IP Range (IPv6)

  • Request URL

  • User agent

  • User group

You can combine multiple rules into one rule, e.g., if a rule applies to both the support and the qa-team you could write your rule like this:

Regular Expression > ^(support|qa-team)$ > is > User group
We do not recommend modifying the configuration values directly in your config.php. These use JSON encoding, so the values are difficult to read and a single typo will break all of your rules.

Controlling Access to Folders

The easiest way to block access to a folder, starting with ownCloud 9.0, is to use a system tag. A new rule type was added which allows you to block access to files and folders, where at least one of the parents has a given tag.

Now you just need to add the tag to the folder or file, and then block the tag with the File Firewall. This example blocks access to any folder with the tag "Confidential" from outside access.

Block by System Tag:

System file tag:   is       "Confidential"
IP Range (IPv4):   is not   ""

Protecting files tagged with 'Confidential' from outside access


Firewall logging can be set to Off, Blocked Requests Only or All Requests


The firewall blocks requests according to the defined rules but does not log any of its actions.

Blocked Requests Only

The firewall logs blocked requests to the system log at warning level. To see these logs, the system log level must be set to a minimum level of warning.

All Requests

The firewall logs blocked and successful requests to the system log at warning and info levels respectively. To see all these logs, the system log level must be set to a minimum level of info.

Logging all requests can generate a large amount of log data. It is recommended to only select all requests for short-term checking of rule settings.

Custom Configuration for Branded Clients

If you are using branded ownCloud clients, you may define firewall.branded_clients in your config.php to identify your branded clients in the firewall "User Device" rule.

The configuration is a User-AgentDevice map. Device must be one of the following:

  • android

  • android_branded

  • ios

  • ios_branded

  • desktop

  • desktop_branded

The User-Agent is always compared all lowercase. By default the agent is compared with equals. When a trailing or leading asterisk, , is found, the agent is compared with starts with or ends with. If the agent has both a leading and a trailing , the string must appear anywhere. For technical reasons the User-Agent string must be at least 4 characters, including wildcards. When you build your branded client you have the option to create a custom User Agent.

In this example configuration you need to replace the example User Agent strings, for example 'android_branded', with your own User Agent strings:

// config.php

'firewall.branded_clients' => array(
  'my ownbrander android user agent string' => 'android_branded',
  'my ownbrander second android user agent string' => 'android_branded',
  'my ownbrander ios user agent string' => 'ios_branded',
  'my ownbrander second ios user agent string' => 'ios_branded',
  'my ownbrander desktop user agent string' => 'desktop_branded',
  'my ownbrander second desktop user agent string' => 'desktop_branded',

The Web UI dropdown then expands to the following options:

  • Android Client - always visible

  • iOS Client - always visible

  • Desktop Client - always visible

  • Android Client (Branded) - visible when at least one android_branded is defined

  • iOS Client (Branded) - visible when at least one ios_branded is defined

  • Desktop Client (Branded) - visible when at least one desktop_branded is defined

  • All branded clients - visible when at least one of android_branded, ios_branded or desktop_branded is defined

  • All non-branded clients - visible when at least one of android_branded, ios_branded or desktop_branded is defined

  • Others (Browsers, etc.) - always visible

Then these options operate this way:

  • The * Client options only match android, ios and desktop respectively.

  • The * Client (Branded) options match the *_branded agents equivalent.

  • All branded clients matches: android_branded, ios_branded and desktop_branded

  • All non-branded clients matches: android, ios and desktop