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Nextcloud News updater - Fast updates for your RSS/Atom feeds

Project description

This Python library is a parallel feed updater for the Nextcloud News app

Nextcloud does not require people to install threading or multiprocessing libraries. Because the feed update process is mainly limited by I/O, parallel fetching of RSS feed updates can speed up the updating process significantly.

In addition, Web Cron is not a supported cron setting since the update process may time out.

Therefore the News app provides an API that offers a more fine grained control over updating feeds. This Python project implements an update mechanism that is based on the updater REST API or (new in Nextcloud News 8.1.0) the console based update API.


  • Python >=3.5


To run the updates via an external threaded script the cron updater has to be disabled. To do that go to the admin section an uncheck the Use Nextcloud cron checkbox or open nextcloud/data/news/config/config.ini and set:

useCronUpdates = true


useCronUpdates = false


There are two different ways to install the updater:

  • Installation using pip (recommended)
  • Manual installation
  • No installation

Installation Using Pip

Since 8.2 the package is available on pypi for installation via pip (the Python library package manager).

To install pip on your distribution of choice, consolidate the pip documentation

Note: You need to install the Python 3 version of pip

After installing pip, run:

sudo pip3 install nextcloud_news_updater --install-option="--install-scripts=/usr/bin"

To update the library, run:

sudo pip3 install --upgrade nextcloud_news_updater --install-option="--install-scripts=/usr/bin"

To uninstall the library run:

sudo pip3 uninstall nextcloud_news_updater

Manual Installation

If you don’t want to install the updater via pip, you can install it manually. This requires setuptools to be installed. On Ubuntu this can be done by running:

sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools

Then install the package like this:

python3 install --install-scripts=/usr/bin

To uninstall the updater run:

python3 uninstall

No Installation

If you do not want to install the script at all you can call it directly.

Simply run the updater using:

python3 -m nextcloud_news_updater /path/to/nextcloud


There are two ways to run the updater:

  • Using the console API (recommended):

    nextcloud-news-updater /path/to/nextcloud
  • Using the REST API (when running the updater on a different machine than Nextcloud):

    nextcloud-news-updater --user admin_user --password admin_password

Note: admin_user is a user id with admin rights, admin_password the user’s password

You can view all options by running:

nextcloud-news-updater --help
usage: nextcloud-news-updater [-h] [--threads THREADS] [--timeout TIMEOUT]
                   [--interval INTERVAL] [--apilevel {v1-2,v2}]
                   [--loglevel {info,error}] [--config CONFIG]
                   [--phpini PHPINI] [--user USER] [--password PASSWORD]
                   [--version] [--mode {endless,singlerun}] [--php PHP]

positional arguments:
  url                   The URL or absolute path to the directory where
                        Nextcloud is installed. Must be specified on the
                        command line or in the config file. If the URL starts
                        with http:// or https://, a user and password are
                        required. Otherwise the updater tries to use the
                        console based API which was added in 8.1.0

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --threads THREADS, -t THREADS
                        How many feeds should be fetched in parallel, defaults
                        to 10
  --timeout TIMEOUT, -s TIMEOUT
                        Maximum number of seconds for updating a feed,
                        defaults to 5 minutes
  --interval INTERVAL, -i INTERVAL
                        Update interval between fetching the next round of
                        updates in seconds, defaults to 15 minutes. The update
                        timespan will be subtracted from the interval.
  --apilevel {v1-2,v2}, -a {v1-2,v2}
                        API level. Use v1-2, v2 is currently a draft only
  --loglevel {info,error}, -l {info,error}
                        Log granularity, info will log all urls and received
                        data, error will only log errors
  --config CONFIG, -c CONFIG
                        Path to config file where all parameters except can be
                        defined as key values pair. An example is in
  --phpini PHPINI, -P PHPINI
                        Custom absolute path to the php.ini file to use for
                        the command line updater. If omitted, the default one
                        will be used
  --user USER, -u USER  Admin username to log into Nextcloud. Must be
                        specified on the command line or in the config file if
                        the updater should update over HTTP
  --password PASSWORD, -p PASSWORD
                        Admin password to log into Nextcloud if the updater
                        should update over HTTP
  --version, -v         Prints the updater's version
  --mode {endless,singlerun}, -m {endless,singlerun}
                        Mode to run the updater in: endless runs the update
                        again after the specified interval, singlerun only
                        executes the update once
  --php PHP             Path to the PHP binary, e.g. /usr/bin/php7.0, defaults
                        to php

You can also put your settings in a config file, looking like this:

# only needed when using the REST API
user = admin
# only needed when using the REST API
password = admin
threads = 10
interval = 900
loglevel = error
# or when using the REST API
url = /path/to/nextcloud
phpini = /path/to/custom/php.ini
# or v2 which is currently a draft
apilevel = v1-2
mode = endless
# path to php binary
php = /usr/bin/php7.0

Note: You can omit options in the config file if you want to use the defaults, but you can not have more than the allowed parameters present, otherwise an exception will abort the updater.

Then run the updater with:

nextcloud-news-updater -c /path/to/config

Note: Command line parameters will always overwrite config parameters, so if you just want to change your loglevel to info for one run you can now do the following without globally changing the config file:

nextcloud-news-updater -c /path/to/config --mode singlerun --loglevel info

Running The Updater As Systemd Service

Almost always you want to run and stop the updater using your in init system. As for Systemd, you can create a simple text file at /etc/systemd/system/nextcloud-news-updater.service with the following contents:


ExecStart=/usr/bin/nextcloud-news-updater -c /etc/nextcloud/news/updater.ini


Then to enable and start it run:

sudo systemctl enable nextcloud-news-updater.service
sudo systemctl start nextcloud-news-updater.service

Note: If you are using the cli based updater (as in set an absolute directory as url) you need to set the web-server user as user in the unit file. Otherwise the command will fail because Nextcloud checks for the owner of its files. This user varies from distribution to distribution, e.g in Debian and Ubuntu you would use the www-data user:


ExecStart=/usr/bin/nextcloud-news-updater -c /etc/nextcloud/news/updater.ini


If you are using the REST API, most of the time you can get away by using nobody as user, but again, that might vary depending on your distribution.


If you are having trouble debugging updater errors, try running it again using the info loglevel:

nextcloud-news-updater --loglevel info -c /path/to/config.ini

How Do I Enable Support For Self-Signed Certificates

If you are using self-signed certificates, don’t. It’s very easy to sign your cert for free from either one of the following three websites:

If you still have to use a self-signed certificate no matter what, don’t patch the code to turn off certificate verification but rather globally add your certificate to the trusted certificates. Read up on your distributions documentation to find out how.

Can I Run The Updater Using Cron

Yes, you can by using the –mode singlerun parameter which will exit after one full update.

However it’s your job to ensure, that the job will not be executed more than once at the same time. If update jobs overlap, they can take down your system and/or server since each new updater will slow down the previous ones causing more updaters to be spawned.

If you can not ensure that the updater is run only one at a time use the default mode (–mode endless). This mode runs the update in a loop. You can control the update frequency through the –interval parameter (or interval using a config file). The updater works in the following way: * If a full update takes longer than the passed interval, another update will be run immediately afterwards * If a full update took less than the passed interval, the updater will sleep for the remaining time and run an update afterwards

Using The CLI Based Updater Fails

The updater uses the PHP executable to run the occ file inside your nextcloud directory. The general process boils down to the following:

# delete folders and feeds marked for deletion
php -f /home/bernhard/programming/core/occ news:updater:before-update

# get all feeds to udpate
php -f /home/bernhard/programming/core/occ news:updater:all-feeds

# run all feed updates
php -f /home/bernhard/programming/core/occ news:updater:update-feed FEED_ID USER_ID

# delete old articles
php -f /home/bernhard/programming/core/occ news:updater:after-update

Most of the time there are two possible points of failure that can be debugged by using the –logelevel info parameter:

  • Most distributions uses different php.ini files for your command line and web-server. This can manifest itself in weird errors like not being able to connect to the database. The solution is to either adjust php.ini used for the CLI PHP or to use a different php.ini altogether by specifying the –phpini parameter, e.g.:

    nextcloud-news-updater -c /path/to/config --phpini /etc/php/nextcloud-news-updater.ini
  • The news:updater:all-feeds command returns invalid JSON. This can be due to due broken or missing php.ini settings or PHP warnings/errors produced by Nextcloud. The solution to this issue can range from adjusting your php.ini (see previous point) to manually patching Nextcloud to remove the warnings from the output.

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