I'm trying to find a solution that allows me to store several PDF and Word documents in a single spot (in an organized fashion) that would allow me to:

  • Only allow certain people to view them
  • Completely searchable (including full-text of documents)
  • Can understand content of PDFs and Word documents
  • Permits additional updates
  • Do all of this online

I've investigated standing up a Solr based index myself, but it hasn't been an ideal road, and I'd rather pay someone else to configure and host a reliable solution for me. An "out of the box" software solution is fine if I need to host it as long as it won't take much time to set it up. I also wouldn't mind an AWS image solution.

UPDATE: For those asking, the security minimum I'd like to have is a private list of members that I can grant access to. Ideally, this is a completely independent set of credentials I can easily revoke if necessary. I'm not too picky about implementation, but this isn't going to be incorporated with an existing user base (ex. LDAP). An added bonus would be granular access control with groups (ex. All users can get to Foo, but only a specific group can also access Bar).

  • How advanced solution do you need? M$ Onedrive meets all points to certain degree, but might not be enough. (And what do you mean by private?)
    – PTwr
    Nov 25, 2015 at 12:21
  • I agree with PTwr, you should detail what kind of security you want: Private hosting? Groups/ACLs?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Nov 25, 2015 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


NemakiWare is designed for this.

  • Upload your files, use them, organize them as you like.
  • Search by filename or by content (full-text search). For instance, if a PDF (or Word file) contains "ECM", then you will find it by typing "ECM" in the search box.
  • You can create groups, and set folders/files to only be viewable (or modifiable) by certain groups.
  • Modify documents when you want.
  • All of this via the web interface. You may also choose to use NemakiWare's desktop sync client (similar to a Dropbox client).

You can install NemakiWare on your own or rented server (not as easy as ownCloud: you need to install Java and CouchDB first), but a cloud service is also available (at a cost).

Bonus: It is open source.

Disclaimer: I work at the company that makes NemakiWare.

NemakiWare UI

  • 3
    That sounds good! But maybe you should add the requirements? Especially: Java, Apache Tomcat, Solr, Couch DB. Afraid those might be a show-stopper for the one or other (e.g. I'm not sure if it would be suitable for single-board computers like Raspi/BananaPi – while ownCloud, requiring only PHP and any DB, even SQLite is fine for small installations, does its job even there).
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 8:52
  • 1
    @Izzy: The asker is OK with a hosted solution, in which case the details won't be relevant.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Nov 25, 2015 at 8:55
  • 1
    Not for the OP, I agree (OP even mentioned having played with Solr). But don't we want to be a "searchable knowledge-base"? It might well be relevant for others.
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:00
  • 2
    @Izzy: Understood, I included the info. I installed NemakiWare a month ago and was not even asked about Tomcat and Solr, actually Tomcat and Solr are embedded in the installer.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Nov 25, 2015 at 15:07
  • Nice solution, but I realized I didn't provide enough details. One of my needs is that I can perform a 'full text' search across all of my documents for a particular topic within them. I've updated my original post.
    – NBJack
    Nov 27, 2015 at 22:43

Have you considered ownCloud? They meet all your criteria, including searchability.

They have

  • a fully fleged user management (optional with LDAP integration)
  • supports full-text search via its Lucene app, which you just need to enable in ownCloud's app manager.
  • Has file editing and preview support for PDF, images, text files, Open Document, Word files and more.
  • Is completely versioned (maintains a history of all document versions)
  • Has a web interface and a desktop sync client as well.

Installation is easy. They have an installer PHP suitable for any modern hosting provider. It works even on most NAS storages.


I use SpiderOak in preference to DropBox.

I do so because it is end to end encrypted (your documents are encrypted at your PC before uploading and not decrypted on the server, but on the destination PC).

This means that employees have zero chance to decrypt my stuff, even if the NSA order them to.

Is that what you are after? Or just something password protected & you don#t care if the company sees your docs ?(in which case, DropBox or any number of other serves will do).

SpiderOak gives 2gB free storage as default, which can hold a lot of PDFs. You also get more free storage for signing up friends (those with whom you wish to share the docs).

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  • 1
    What about the other requirements, e.g. being "completely searchable"?
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:06

Evernote can do such things for you with it's shared notebooks; searching within MSOffice documents IMHO was disabled in the free account plan, but it may be simpler for you to just subscribe rather than setup and host something yourself.

It has a web frontend and decent desktop and mobile apps for all the major platforms, and is quite useful for other document and note management as well.

  • Does it support PDF? Does it offer a "global search" (across documents)? What about access control ("Only allow certain people to view them")?
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:07
  • @Izzy it supports PDF, it does a global search; the access control is in the sense that the documents are private by default, but you can share particular Evernote notebooks with certain people that will be able to view and search them.
    – Peteris
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:18
  • Thanks for the feedback! Please edit that into your post :) Also: others can only view and search? What about collaborative work – can you permit "collaborators" to edit (specific) documents?
    – Izzy
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:20

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