The main purpose of writing this article is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to mount remote Linux file system using SSHFS client over SSH.

This article is useful for those users and system administrators who want to mount remote file system on their local systems for whatever purposes. We have practically tested by installing SSHFS client on one of our Linux system and successfully mounted remote file systems.

Before we go further installation let’s understand about SSHFS and how it works.

Sshfs Mount Remote Linux Filesystem or Directory

Sshfs Mount Remote Linux Filesystem or Directory

What Is SSHFS?

SSHFS stands for (Secure SHell FileSystem) client that enable us to mount remote filesystem and interact with remote directories and files on a local machine using SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

SFTP is a secure file transfer protocol that provides file access, file transfer and file management features over Secure Shell protocol. Because SSH uses encryption while transferring files over the network from one computer to another computer and SSHFS comes with built-in FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) kernel module that allows any non-privileged users to create their file system without modifying kernel code.

In this article, we will show you how to install and use SSHFS client on any Linux distribution to mount remote Linux filesystem or directory on a local Linux machine.

Step 1: Install SSHFS Client in Linux Systems

By default sshfs packages does not exists on all major Linux distributions, you need to enable epel repositoryunder your Linux systems to install sshfs with the help of Yum command with their dependencies.

# yum install sshfs
# dnf install sshfs              [On <strong>Fedora 22+</strong> releases]
$ sudo apt-get install sshfs     [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]

Step 2: Creating SSHFS Mount Directory

Once the sshfs package installed, you need to create a mount point directory where you will mount your remote file system. For example, we have created mount directory under /mnt/tecmint.

# mkdir /mnt/tecmint
$ sudo mkdir /mnt/tecmint     [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]

Step 3: Mounting Remote Filesystem with SSHFS

Once you have created your mount point directory, now run the following command as a root user to mount remote file system under /mnt/tecmint. In your case the mount directory would be anything.

The following command will mount remote directory called /home/tecmint under /mnt/tecmint in local system. (Don’t forget replace x.x.x.x with your IP Address and mount point).

# sshfs tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint
$ sudo sshfs -o allow_other tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint     [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]

If your Linux server is configured with SSH key based authorization, then you will need to specify the path to your public keys as shown in the following command.

# sshfs -o IdentityFile=~/.ssh/id_rsa tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint
$ sudo sshfs -o allow_other,IdentityFile=~/.ssh/id_rsa tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint     [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]

Step 4: Verifying Remote Filesystem is Mounted

If you have run the above command successfully without any errors, you will see the list of remote files and directories mounted under /mnt/tecmint.

# cd /mnt/tecmint
# ls
[root@ tecmint]# ls
12345.jpg                       ffmpeg-php-0.6.0.tbz2                Linux                                           news-closeup.xsl     s3.jpg
cmslogs                         gmd-latest.sql.tar.bz2               Malware                                         newsletter1.html     sshdallow
epel-release-6-5.noarch.rpm     json-1.2.1                           movies_list.php                                 pollbeta.sql
ffmpeg-php-0.6.0                json-1.2.1.tgz                       my_next_artical_v2.php                          pollbeta.tar.bz2

Step 5: Checking Mount Point with df -hT Command

If you run df -hT command you will see the remote file system mount point.

# df -hT
Sample Output
Filesystem                          Type        Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev                                devtmpfs    730M     0  730M   0% /dev
tmpfs                               tmpfs       150M  4.9M  145M   4% /run
/dev/sda1                           ext4         31G  5.5G   24G  19% /
tmpfs                               tmpfs       749M  216K  748M   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs                               tmpfs       5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs                               tmpfs       749M     0  749M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
tmpfs                               tmpfs       150M   44K  150M   1% /run/user/1000
<strong>tecmint@ fuse.sshfs  324G   55G  253G  18% /mnt/tecmint</strong>

Step 6: Mounting Remote Filesystem Permanently

To mount remote filesystem permanently, you need to edit the file called /etc/fstab. To do, open the file with your favorite editor.

# vi /etc/fstab
$ sudo vi /etc/fstab     [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]         

Go to the bottom of the file and add the following line to it and save the file and exit. The below entry mount remote server file system with default settings.

sshfs#tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint fuse.sshfs defaults 0 0

Make sure you’ve SSH Passwordless Login in place between servers to auto mount filesystem during system reboots..

If your server is configured with SSH key based authorization, then add this line:

sshfs#tecmint@x.x.x.x:/home/tecmint/ /mnt/tecmint fuse.sshfs IdentityFile=~/.ssh/id_rsa defaults 0 0

Next, you need to update the fstab file to reflect the changes.

# mount -a
$ sudo mount -a   [On <strong>Debian</strong>/<strong>Ubuntu</strong> based systems]

Step 7: Unmounting Remote Filesystem

To unmount remote filesystem, just issue the following command it will unmount the remote file system.

# umount /mnt/tecmint