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This chapter is geared towards advanced users. Solid tech skills are required.

Cloud storage

Install Seafile

Seafile is a self-hosted file sync solution. It doesn't boast a wide array of features, but excels at keeping your files synchronised across multiple devices, and supports encryption. Seafile is FOSS, fast and reliable. Clients are available for various platforms, including mobile devices.

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Should I choose Seafile, Nextcloud or something else?

Seafile is the right choice if you look for a streamlined and fast solution. By making use of delta-sync, Seafile only synchronises updated or changed file chunks, rather than entire files. Additional features can be handled by dedicated services, such as for example Radicale for contact management, task lists and calendars.

Nextcloud is a popular and feature-rich file sync solution. It's FOSS and offers many additional features such as contact management, video conferencing, webmail, calendars, and so on. On the downside, file synching is comparatively slow.

Syncthing is a decentralized file sync solution. It's FOSS, and contrary to Seafile and Nextcloud, there is no need for a central server or database. On the downside, file synching can be comparatively slow and, depending on your network setup, you might run into firewall issues.

Can't I just continue to use my current cloud storage?

Sure, if you trust commercial cloud providers with your private data. Despite their claims, cloud solutions such as iCloud, GDrive, Dropbox, or OneDrive keep copies of the keys protecting your privacy, can access your data or provide it to third parties.

Cloud provider Privacy policy
Apple iCloud “Messages in iCloud also uses end-to-end encryption. If you have iCloud Backup turned on, your backup includes a copy of the key protecting your Messages. This ensures you can recover your Messages if you lose access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices.“
Google Drive & WhatsApp “Media and messages you back up aren't protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive.“
Dropbox “To provide these and other features, Dropbox accesses, stores, and scans Your Stuff. You give us permission to do those things, and this permission extends to our affiliates and trusted third parties we work with.”
Microsoft OneDrive “When you use OneDrive, we collect data about your usage of the service, as well as the content you store, to provide, improve, and protect the services. Examples include indexing the contents of your OneDrive documents so that you can search for them later and using location information to enable you to search for photos based on where the photo was taken.”


Seafile MySQL

Database preparation

Seafile can be deployed with different databases, including MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL and so on. In this tutorial, we'll generate MySQL databases required by Seafile's server components. Read on below for detailed instructions.

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Log into the server and create a system user which will run Seafile. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll call this system user seafileadmin. Of course, you can choose any name, just make sure to adjust the commands accordingly:

sudo adduser --disabled-login seafileadmin

Log into MySQL as root with the following command:

sudo mysql -u root -p

Run the command below to create the MySQL user seafileadmin (adjust accordingly). Make sure to replace the string StrongPassword with a strong, unique password:

CREATE USER 'seafileadmin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'StrongPassword';

Next, generate databases required by Seafile and grant correct permissions:

CREATE DATABASE ccnet;
CREATE DATABASE seafile;
CREATE DATABASE seahub;
GRANT ALL ON ccnet.* TO 'seafileadmin'@'localhost';
GRANT ALL ON seafile.* TO 'seafileadmin'@'localhost';
GRANT ALL ON seahub.* TO 'seafileadmin'@'localhost';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Log back into MySQL as the user seafileadmin (adjust accordingly):

sudo mysql -u seafileadmin -p

Make sure all databases have been created correctly:

SHOW DATABASES;

The output should look similar to this:

+--------------------+
| Database           |
+--------------------+
| information_schema |
| ccnet              |
| seafile            |
| seahub             |
+--------------------+
4 rows in set (0.02 sec)

Exit MySQL:

EXIT;
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Error during creation of Seafile admin

Several users reported issues when trying to install Seafile on a Ubuntu 20.04 server. The issue seems to be related to MySQL 8, which uses caching_sha2_password as default authentication plugin. This is being solved by creating the MySQL user seafileadmin with the authentication plugin mysql_native_password, as described in the section above.


Seafile installation

Installation

Follow the instructions below to resolve all dependencies and install Seafile on your server.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Prerequisites

Seafile requires Python to run, install it on the server:

sudo apt install python3 libpython3.8 python3-{pip,pil,ldap,urllib3,setuptools,mysqldb,memcache,requests} ffmpeg libmemcached-dev libmysqlclient-dev

Next, deploy additional packages as the "seafileadmin" user (adjust accordingly):

sudo -H -u seafileadmin pip3 install --user Pillow pylibmc captcha jinja2 sqlalchemy django-pylibmc django-simple-captcha python3-ldap future mysqlclient

Installation

Check the latest release of Seafile's Server for Linux. At the time of writing, it was 8.0.3. Download and decompress the package with the following commands (adjust the version number accordingly):

sudo wget -4 https://download.seadrive.org/seafile-server_8.0.3_x86-64.tar.gz
sudo tar -xvf  seafile-server_*
sudo mkdir /var/www/seafile
sudo mkdir /var/www/seafile/installed
sudo mv seafile-server-* /var/www/seafile
sudo mv seafile-server_* /var/www/seafile/installed

Run the installation script:

sudo bash /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.3/setup-seafile-mysql.sh

Follow the on-screen instructions:

Instruction Description
Server name Choose a name for the Seafile server. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll choose gofoss_seafile, adjust accordingly.
Domain Provide the domain name used by the cloud storage. It's the same address as the web interface we'll set up later on. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll choose https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org, adjust accordingly.
Port Choose the TCP port used by Seafile. The default value is 8082.
Databases Use the existing ccnet/seafile/seahub databases, which were created previously.
Host of MySQL server The default value is localhost.
Port of MySQL server The default value is 3306.
MySQL user Provide the name of the MySQL user. In our example, that's seafileadmin, adjust accordingly.
Password of MySQL user Provide the password of the MySQL user.
ccnet database name Provide the name of the ccnet database. In this case, it's ccnet.
seafile database name Provide the name of the seafile database. In this case, it's seafile.
seahub database name Provide the name of the seahub database. In this case, it's seahub.

After successful installation, the terminal should display something like:

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Your seafile server configuration has been finished successfully.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

run seafile server:     ./seafile.sh { start | stop | restart }
run seahub  server:     ./seahub.sh  { start <port> | stop | restart <port> }

-----------------------------------------------------------------
If you are behind a firewall, remember to allow input/output of these tcp ports:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

port of seafile fileserver:   8082
port of seahub:               8000

When problems occur, refer to https://download.seafile.com/published/seafile-manual/home.md for information.
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Seafile configuration

Configuration

After successfully installing Seafile, we're going to configure a number of settings such as language preferences, permissions and administrator accounts, autostart at boot and so on. More details below.

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Language

Change the language preferences. In this example, we'll use English:

echo "export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8" >>~/.bashrc
echo "export LANG=en_US.UTF-8" >>~/.bashrc
echo "export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8" >>~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Make sure the settings have been applied correctly with the following command:

locale

The terminal should display something similar to:

LANG=en_US.UTF-8
LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
LC_CTYPE="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_NUMERIC="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_TIME="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_COLLATE="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_MONETARY="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_MESSAGES="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_PAPER="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_NAME="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_ADDRESS="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_TELEPHONE="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_MEASUREMENT="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_IDENTIFICATION="en_US.UTF-8"
LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8

Of course, you can configure any other language. Check which languages (or "locales") the server currently supports:

locale -a

If you want to add other languages, edit the following configuration file by uncommenting the required lines (for example es_ES.UTF-8 for Spanish, fr_FR.UTF-8 for French, nl_NL.UTF-8 for Dutch, and so on):

sudo vi /etc/locale.gen

Apply the changes:

sudo locale-gen

Now run the commands presented in the section above, applying your preferred language settings.

Administrator account

Set the right permissions and switch to the /var/www/seafile directory:

sudo chown -R seafileadmin:seafileadmin /var/www/seafile
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/seafile
sudo chmod 750 /home/seafileadmin
cd /var/www/seafile

Start Seafile:

sudo -H -u seafileadmin bash -C '/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seafile.sh' start

Start Seahub:

sudo -H -u seafileadmin bash -C '/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seahub.sh' start

The first time Seahub starts, it will ask to set up an administrator account. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll provide the administrator email seafileadmin@gofoss.today. Of course, any other suitable email address will do. Just make sure to adapt the relevant commands accordingly.When prompted, provide a strong, unique password.

Autostart

Let's make sure Seafile automatically starts everytime the server boots. Create a first configuration file:

sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/seafile.service

Add the following content:

[Unit]
Description=Seafile
After= mysql.service network.target

[Service]
Type=forking
ExecStart=/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seafile.sh start
ExecStop=/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seafile.sh stop
User=seafileadmin

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Save and close the file (:wq!), then create a second configuration file:

sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/seahub.service

Add the following content:

[Unit]
Description=Seahub
After= mysql.service network.target seafile.service

[Service]
Type=forking
Environment="LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8"
ExecStart=/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seahub.sh start
ExecStop=/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seahub.sh stop
User=seafileadmin

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Save and close the file (:wq!).

Autostart Seafile at each boot:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable seafile
sudo systemctl enable seahub

Reboot the server:

sudo reboot

Make sure Seafile is up and running (the status should be"Active"):

sudo systemctl status seafile
sudo systemctl status seahub

Wrap up

The cloud storage will be accessible from a domain of your choice. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll choose https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org. Of course, any other suitable address will do. Just make sure to adapt the relevant commands accordingly. Open the first configuration file:

sudo vi /var/www/seafile/conf/seahub_settings.py

Add the following lines at the end of the file (adapt the time zone and URL according to your own setup):

TIME_ZONE = 'Europe/Budapest'
SESSION_EXPIRE_AT_BROWSER_CLOSE = True
LOGIN_ATTEMPT_LIMIT = 2
FILE_SERVER_ROOT = 'https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org/seafhttp'

Save and close the file (:wq!). Then, open the second configuration file:

sudo vi /var/www/seafile/conf/ccnet.conf

Modify the SERVICE_URL as follows:

SERVICE_URL = https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org

Save and close the file (:wq!).

Show me a summary video


Seafile web interface

Web interface

We are going to set up an Apache Virtual Host as a Reverse Proxy to access Seafile's web interface. Read on below for more details on how to set this up.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Create an Apache configuration file:

sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org.conf

Add the following content and make sure to adjust the settings to your own setup, such as domain names, path to SSL keys, IP addresses and so on:

<VirtualHost *:80>

    ServerName              myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org
    ServerAlias             www.myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org
    Redirect permanent /    https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org/

</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:443>

    ServerName              myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org
    ServerAlias             www.myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org
    ServerSignature         Off

    SecRuleEngine           Off
    SSLEngine               On
    SSLProxyEngine          On
    SSLProxyCheckPeerCN     Off
    SSLCertificateFile      /etc/dehydrated/certs/gofoss.duckdns.org/fullchain.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile   /etc/dehydrated/certs/gofoss.duckdns.org/privkey.pem
    DocumentRoot            /var/www/seafile

    <Location />
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from 127.0.0.1
        Allow from 192.168.1.0/24
        Allow from 10.8.0.1/24
    </Location>

    Alias /media  /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest/seahub/media

    RewriteEngine On

    <Location /media>
    Require all granted
    </Location>

    # seafile fileserver
    ProxyPass /seafhttp http://127.0.0.1:8082
    ProxyPassReverse /seafhttp http://127.0.0.1:8082

    # seahub
    SetEnvIf Authorization "(.*)" HTTP_AUTHORIZATION=$1
    ProxyPreserveHost On
    ProxyPass / http://127.0.0.1:8000/
    ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:8000/

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org-error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org-access.log combined

</VirtualHost>

Once the content is added, save and close the file (:wq!).

Note how we enable SSL encryption with the instruction SSLEngine On, and use the SSL certicate /etc/dehydrated/certs/gofoss.duckdns.org/fullchain.pem as well as the private SSL key /etc/dehydrated/certs/gofoss.duckdns.org/privkey.pem, which were created earlier on.

Also note how we disabled ModSecurity in the Apache configuration file with the instruction SecRuleEngine Off, as Seafile and ModSecurity don't play well together.

Next, enable the Apache Virtual Host and reload Apache:

sudo a2ensite myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org.conf
sudo systemctl reload apache2

Configure Pi-Hole to resolve Seafile's local address. Browse to https://mypihole.gofoss.duckdns.org and log into Pi-Hole's web interface (adjust accordingly). Navigate to the menu entry Local DNS Records and add the following domain/IP combination (adjust accordingly):

DOMAIN:      myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org
IP ADDRESS:  192.168.1.100

Browse to https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org and log in as seafileadmin@gofoss.today (adjust accordingly). Then apply the following settings:

Setting Description
System Admin ‣ Settings Change the field SERVICE_URL to https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org and click on Save.
System Admin ‣ Settings Change the field FILE_SERVER_ROOT to https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org/seafhttp and click on Save.

Show me a summary video


Seafile clients

Clients

Seahub

Seahub isn't really a client, but Seafile's web interface. Users can log in from a browser and navigate through folders, upload, edit & download files, share data with others, and so on. Seahub natively displays file formats from Microsoft and LibreOffice, as well as videos, pictures, pdf & text files, and many more. Changes applied via Seahub are mirrored across all synched devices.

Synching client

This client keeps selected files & folders in sync across connected devices. It's best suited for devices with sufficient storage capacity.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Installation Download & install the latest release of Seafile's Desktop Sync Client for Windows.

Seafile Desktop Sync
Storage Launch the Seafile client and select a local folder to be synched with the cloud.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Credentials Provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication.
Seafile Desktop Sync

This client keeps selected files & folders in sync across connected devices. It's best suited for devices with sufficient storage capacity.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Installation Download & install the latest release of Seafile's Desktop Sync Client for macOS.

Seafile Desktop Sync
Storage Launch the Seafile client and select a local folder to be synched with the cloud.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Credentials Provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication.
Seafile Desktop Sync

This client keeps selected files & folders in sync across connected devices. It's best suited for devices with sufficient storage capacity.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Signing Key Open a terminal and add the signing key:
sudo wget https://linux-clients.seafile.com/seafile.asc -O /usr/share/keyrings/seafile-keyring.asc
Repository Add the repository to the apt source list:
sudo bash -c "echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/seafile-keyring.asc] https://linux-clients.seafile.com/seafile-deb/focal/ stable main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/seafile.list"

Then update the local apt cache: sudo apt update
Installation Install the Seafile Synching Client: sudo apt install -y seafile-gui
Storage Launch the Seafile client and select a local folder to be synched with the cloud.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Credentials Provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication.
Seafile Desktop Sync

SeaDrive

The SeaDrive Client works like a network drive. Users can access files on the server without prior synchronisation. Files can also be cached for offline use. SeaDrive is best suited to extend storage capacity of devices with limited disk space.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Installation Download & install the latest release of the SeaDrive Client for Windows.
Seadrive
Virtual Drive Launch the SeaDrive client and select a drive letter for the virtual drive. By default, S: will be used.
Credentials Provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication.
Seafile Desktop Sync
File List SeaDrive will fetch a list of all files & folders stored on the server, without actually downloading data. A notification will show once it's done. Cloud files can now be accessed via the Windows Explorer, just like any ordinary hard drive.
Seadrive

The SeaDrive Client works like a network drive. Users can access files on the server without prior synchronisation. Files can also be cached for offline use. SeaDrive is best suited to extend storage capacity of devices with limited disk space.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Installation Download & install the latest release of the SeaDrive Client for macOS.
Seadrive
Virtual Drive Launch the SeaDrive client and select a drive letter for the virtual drive. By default, S: will be used.
Credentials Provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication.
Seafile Desktop Sync
File List SeaDrive will fetch a list of all files & folders stored on the server, without actually downloading data. A notification will show once it's done. Cloud files can now be accessed via the Windows Explorer, just like any ordinary hard drive.
Seadrive

The SeaDrive Client works like a network drive. Users can access files on the server without prior synchronisation. Files can also be cached for offline use. SeaDrive is best suited to extend storage capacity of devices with limited disk space.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Signing Key Open a terminal and add the signing key:
sudo wget https://linux-clients.seafile.com/seafile.asc -O /usr/share/keyrings/seafile-keyring.asc
Repository Add the repository to the apt source list:
sudo bash -c "echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/seafile-keyring.asc] https://linux-clients.seafile.com/seadrive-deb/focal/ stable main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/seadrive.list"

Then update the local apt cache: sudo apt update
Installation Install the SeaDrive Client: sudo apt install -y seadrive-gui
Credentials Launch the SeaDrive client and provide the server name as well as user credentials. If enabled, also provide two-factor authentication. After logging in, the virtual drive will be mounted in ~/SeaDrive.
Seafile Desktop Sync

Mobile clients

Seafile is available on smartphones and tablets. Users can navigate through folders and upload, edit & download files. To save storage space, files are cached but not fully synchronised. Seafile's mobile apps also include a feature to automatically backup photos to the server.

Open F-Droid on your phone and install the Seafile application. Alternatively, install Seafile via the Aurora Store or Google's Play Store.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Setting Description
Server Provide the address of the Seafile server, e.g. https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org (adjust accordingly).
Email Provide the email address of the Seafile user, e.g. seafileuser@gofoss.today (adjust accordingly).
Password Provide the password of the Seafile user.
Token If two-factor authentication is enabled, enter the token generated by your phone (e.g. andOTP).

Seafile is available on smartphones and tablets. Users can navigate through folders and upload, edit & download files. To save storage space, files are cached but not fully synchronised. Seafile's mobile apps also include a feature to automatically backup photos to the server.

Install Seafile via the App Store.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Setting Description
Server Provide the address of the Seafile server, e.g. https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org (adjust accordingly).
Email Provide the email address of the Seafile user, e.g. seafileuser@gofoss.today (adjust accordingly).
Password Provide the password of the Seafile user.
Token If two-factor authentication is enabled, enter the token generated by your phone.


Seafile get started

Get started

Add users

Seafile differenciates between two user types, more details are outlined below:

  • Administrators have full access to Seafile. They can add, edit and remove files & folders as well as users. In addition, administrators can maintain and update the website. In our example, the administrator seafileadmin was created during the installation of the Seafile server.

  • Users can be added by administrators, but have limited access to Seafile. They can only manage files & folders if they have the right permissions.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Browse to https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org and log in as administrator, e.g.seafileadmin@gofoss.today (adjust accordingly).
Step 2 Navigate to System Admin ‣ Users ‣ Add user.
Step 3 Provide a user name, as well as a strong, unique password. Then click on Submit.

Show me a summary video

The system administrator logs into the Seahub web interface to add the users Georg, Tom and Lenina.

Users must have a working VPN access

Users must be connected to the server via VPN to access Seafile.

Two factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an optional feature to further increase security. If enabled, logging into Seafile requires a password as well as a 6 digit code generated by an app on the user's phone. We recommend using andOTP, which can be installed from F-Droid.

Show me the detailed step-by-step guide

First, Seafile's administrator needs to enable 2FA:

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into Seafile's web interface https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org as seafileadmin@gofoss.today (adjust accordingly).
Step 2 Navigate to System Admin ‣ Settings ‣ Passwords.
Step 3 Enable two factor authentication for all users.

Next, each user needs to configure 2FA. Start with the Seafile administrator, and repeat for each user account set up subsequently:

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into Seafile's web interface https://myfiles.gofoss.duckdns.org.
Step 2 Navigate to Settings.
Step 3 Enable two factor authentication.
Step 4 Open andOTP on the user's phone.
Step 5 Scan the displayed QR code with andOTP.
Step 6 Enter the 6 digit code generated by andOTP into Seafile's web interface.
Step 7 Store the list of backup tokens provided by Seafile. They allow to recover access to Seafile without andOTP.

Show me a summary video

Add libraries, files & folders

Seahub enables users to create new libraries, files and folders via the browser. Users can also upload files and folders to existing libraries.

Show me a summary video

Georg logs into the Seahub web interface to create a library with pictures from his hiking trip with Lenina. Tom also logs into the Seahub web interface to upload an essay on "Politics and the English Language", written by George Orwell in 1946.

Users can create new libraries or upload files and folders to existing libraries via Seafile's Synching client. Instructions are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Create a new library Open the Synching client, click on Select and browse to the local folder you want to sync with the server. Alternatively, drag & drop the local folder to the designated area. Next, provide a name for the new library, and specify whether or not it should be encrypted with a password.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Add files & folders to an existing library Use the device's file manager. Navigate to the synchronised folder and add files & folders as required. Changes will be synchronised to the Seafile server, as well as any connected devices.

SeaDrive works like a network drive. Users can directly create new or add existing libraries, files and folders from the device's file manager. For more details, refer to Seafile's User Manual describing the specificities of SeaDrive version 1 as well as SeaDrive version 2.

Sync data

Seafile works with so-called libraries, which contain the actual files and folders. The Synching client makes sure that any local change to a library is mirrored to the Seafile server and other connected devices, and the other way round. Instructions on how to sync libraries are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Sync a library Open the Synching client and right click on the library. Then, select the menu entry Sync this library. All files and folders will be downloaded from the server to the local storage. From now on, any modification to local files will be mirrored to the server, and vice versa.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Unsync a library To stop synching a library, right click and select the menu entry Unsync. Modification to local files will no longer be mirrored to the server, and vice versa.
Cloud File Browser The Synching client provides a so-called Cloud File Browser. It allows users to access and modify files directly on the server, without prior synchronisation. Right click on an (unsynched) library and select the menu entry Open Cloud File Browser.
Seafile Desktop Sync
Sync sub-folders To avoid synching large libraries, it's possible to sync specific sub-folders only. Right click on the library, select the menu entry Open Cloud File Browser, right click on the sub-folder and select the menu entry "Sync this folder".
Seafile Desktop Sync

Show me a summary video

Georg uses the Seafile Synching client to synchronise his hiking pictures to his workstation. He then accesses the local copy of his pictures and moves them to a newly created folder labelled "holidays". These local changes are immediately mirrored to the Seafile server, as well as any other connected device. When Georg logs back into the Seahub web interface, the new "holiday" folder appears.

The SeaDrive client works like a network drive. Users can directly access files stored on the Seafile server, without prior synchronisation. Instructions on how to use SeaDrive are outlined below.

Tell me more about the sync status

Windows Explorer displays various icons to indicate the sync status of files and folders.

State Icon Description
Cloud-only Seafile cloud only This is the default state of files and folders. They are displayed in SeaDrive, but aren't actually downloaded to the local storage.
Synched Seafile synched Once a user decides to access a file or folder, it will be downloaded to the local storage.
Partially synched Seafile partially synched Folders containing both cloud-only and synched files are considered as "partially synched".
Locked by others Seafile locked Files locked by other users can only be opened in read-only mode, but not modified, deleted or renamed.
Locked by me Seafile locked A file or folder locked by its owner can't be modified by others.
Read-only Seafile read only Files or folders shared in read-only mode with a user can be opened, but not modified, deleted or renamed.

Share files

Anyone with a public share link and a working VPN connection can access shared files & folders on the server. No Seafile account or login is required. Share links can be protected by a password, set to expire after a certain time or restrict file permissions. Instructions on how to create share links are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Navigate to the file or folder to be shared.
Step 2 Hover over the file or folder and click on the Share icon.
Step 3 Click on the Share Link tab in the pop-up window.
Step 4 Click on the Generate button to create the share link.
Step 5 Optionally, set a password, expiration time or permissions.
Step 6 Share the link with others by email, messenger, and so on.

Anyone with a public upload link and a working VPN connection can upload files & folders to the server. No Seafile account or login is required. Upload links can be password protected. Instructions on how to create upload links are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Navigate to the folder to which files are to be uploaded.
Step 2 Hover over the folder and click on the Share icon.
Step 3 Click on the Upload Link tab in the pop-up window.
Step 4 Click on the Generate button to create the upload link.
Step 5 Optionally, set a password.
Step 6 Share the link with others by email, messenger, and so on.

Libraries, files & folders can be shared with other Seafile users or groups. To access shared files, they need a working VPN connection, a Seafile account, and the right access permissions. Instructions on how to share libraries, files and folders with other Seafile users are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Navigate to the library or folder you want to share with other Seafile users.
Step 2 Hover over the library or folder and click on the Share icon.
Step 3 Click on the Share to user or Share to group tab in the pop-up window.
Step 4 Select users or groups and click on the Submit button.
Step 5 Set permission on the shared files & folders, such as read-write, read-only, online read-write or online read-only.

Show me a summary video

Share Links: Tom wants to share Orwell's essay with a friend from the book club. This friend can connect to the server via VPN, but doesn't have her own Seafile account. Tom therefore logs into the Seahub web interface to send her a share link, which expires after a week.

Share with Seafile users: Georg wants to share his hiking trip pictures with Lenina. Lenina can connect to the server via VPN, and owns a Seafile account. Georg therefore logs into the Seahub web interface and shares the "holidays" folder with Lenina, in "read-only" mode.

Upload Links: Georg needs to collect some work documents from a colleague. This colleage can connect to the server via VPN, but doesn't have his own Seafile account. Georg therefore logs into the Seahub web interface, creates a new library called "work", and sends an upload link to his colleague.

Restore files

Seafile automatically tracks the modification history of all files, folders and libraries. It keeps a backup of old file versions, as well as snapshots of folder and library structures for a predefined period of time. Files, folders or entire libraries can be restored to previous states in case of an accidental deletion or faulty operation.

The retention period defines for how long Seafile keeps file versions or library snapshots. It can be configured separately for each library, instructions are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into the Seahub web interface. Click on My Libraries in the navigation panel.
Step 2 Hover the cursor over the library.
Step 3 Click on History Setting.
Step 4 Define the length of the retention period.

Instructions on how to restore previous versions of a file are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into the Seahub web interface. Navigate to the folder containing the file.
Step 2 Hover the cursor over the file.
Step 3 Click on History.
Step 4 Download, restore, or view any older version of the file. For text files, the content of two versions can be compared. Note that older versions of a file cannot be viewed if they exceed the retention period.

Instructions on how to restore deleted files or folders from the trash bin are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into the Seahub web interface. Navigate to the parent folder containing the deleted file or folder.
Step 2 Click on the trash icon in the library operation bar.
Step 3 Restore the deleted file or folder from the list. Note that files and folders cannot be restored if they have been deleted before the retention period.

Library snapshots allow to list and restore older versions of an entire library, including its complete file and folder structure. Instructions are outlined below.

Show me the step-by-step guide

Instructions Description
Step 1 Log into the Seahub web interface. Navigate to the library.
Step 2 Click on the History button in the top bar.
Step 3 Select a previous state of the library and click on View snapshot.
Step 4 Download, restore, or view any older version of a file or folder. If you're the library's owner, you can restore the entire library to its previous state. Note that library snapshots cannot be accessed if they exceed the retention period.

Show me a summary video

Retention period: In order to save storage space, Georg instructs Seafile to keep older versions of his pictures for 2 months only.

Library snapshots: Georg also wants to revert to the folder structure which was in place before he created the "holidays" folder. He therefore restores an older snapshot of the library.

Trash bin: Tom restores Orwell's essay from the trash bin, after having deleted it inadvertedly.

Encrypt files

Seafile provides client-side end-to-end encryption. Libraries can be encrypted with a password, limiting access to authorised users only. No one else can access the content of encrypted libraries, not even the Seafile administrator. Note however that encrypted libraries only encrypt file contents, not folder and file names.

Show me a summary video

Tom is working on a sensitive project. He creates an encrypted library to keep his project documents safe.

Upgrade

Seafile's upgrade process is mainly manual and things can go wrong. Don't take any chances, sync all your libraries to a device and back up your data!

Make sure to read Seafile's upgrade instructions, as well as the detailed upgrade notes. Below you'll find a walkthrough for a major version upgrade.

Walk me through the upgrade process

For the purpose of this tutorial, let's assume you want to upgrade from version 7.0.1 to version 8.0.1. This is called a "major version upgrade". Note that "minor version upgrades", for example from 7.0.1 to 7.1.1, work similarly.

Start by reading the upgrade notes, which contain specific settings or changes that must be applied before or during the upgrade.

Download and extract the latest release of Seafile's Server for Linux. In this example, it would be version 8.0.1. Make sure to adjust the version number accordingly:

sudo wget -4 https://download.seadrive.org/seafile-server_8.0.1_x86-64.tar.gz
sudo tar -xvf  seafile-server_*
sudo mv seafile-server-* /var/www/seafile
sudo mv seafile-server_* /var/www/seafile/installed

Set the right permissions:

sudo chown -R seafileadmin:seafileadmin /var/www/seafile
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/seafile

Verify everything is in place:

sudo ls -al /var/www/seafile

The directory layout should look something like:

/var/www/seafile/
-- ccnet
-- conf
-- installed
-- logs
-- pids
-- seafile-data
-- seafile-server-7.0.1
-- seafile-server-8.0.1
-- seafile-server-latest
-- seahub-data

Shutdown the Seafile server:

sudo systemctl stop seafile
sudo systemctl stop seahub

Get a list of available upgrade scripts:

sudo ls -al /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_*

The terminal should print something like:

...
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_6.0_6.1.sh
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_6.1_6.2.sh
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_6.2_6.3.sh
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_6.3_7.0.sh
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_7.0_7.1.sh
/var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_7.1_8.0.sh
...

Now, run the required upgrade script(s), starting from your current Seafile version and working your way up to the latest version. In this example:

  • we first have to run the script upgrade_7.0_7.1.sh to upgrade from version 7.0.1 to version 7.1.x
  • we then have to run the script upgrade_7.1_8.0.sh to upgrade from version 7.1.x to version 8.0.1

Start with the first upgrade script:

sudo bash /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_7.0_7.1.sh

The terminal should prompt something similar to:

-------------------------------------------------------------
This script would upgrade your seafile server from 7.0 to 7.1
Press [ENTER] to contiune
-------------------------------------------------------------

Updating seafile/seahub database ...

[INFO] You are using MySQL
[INFO] updating seahub database...
Done

migrating avatars ...

Done

updating /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest symbolic link to /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-7.1.0 ...

Now the next upgrade script:

sudo bash /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1/upgrade/upgrade_7.1_8.0.sh

The terminal should prompt something similar to:

-------------------------------------------------------------
This script would upgrade your seafile server from 7.1 to 8.0
Press [ENTER] to contiune
-------------------------------------------------------------

Updating seafile/seahub database ...

[INFO] You are using MySQL
[INFO] updating seahub database...
Done

migrating avatars ...

Done

updating /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-latest symbolic link to /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-8.0.1 ...

Finally, start up the Seafile server again:

sudo systemctl start seafile
sudo systemctl start seahub

If all went well, Seafile should be running, and its status should show "Active":

sudo systemctl status seafile
sudo systemctl status seahub

Optionally, if the new version works fine, you can remove the previous version:

sudo rm -rf /var/www/seafile/seafile-server-7.0.1


Seafile support

Support

For further details, refer to Seafile's server manual or request support from the Seafile community.


Seafile