How To Mount a Remote Directory With SSHFS on a Linux


ow can I mount a remote directory with ssh on a Linux bases system? How do I use SSHFS to mount remote file systems over SSH on a Ubuntu or Debian/RHEL/CentOS/Arch Linux system?


SSH is a secure protocol and you can use it to mount a directory on a remote server or local laptop with the help of the SSHF service. With SSHFS you can mount remote server file system to your local development workstation/laptop powered by Linux.

More on SSHFS

sshfs is a filesystem based on the SSH file transfer protocol. It is used on a client system i.e. you need to install sshfs package on your local computer/laptop powered by CentOS/RHEL/Ubuntu/Debian/Arch Linux. No need to install anything on server ( You only need an openssh server installed on server side. Our sample setup:

Fig.01: Our sample setup

Installing SSHFS on a Ubuntu/Debian/Mint Linux

Type the following apt-get command:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

sudo apt-get install sshfs

Sample outputs:

[sudo] password for nixcraft:

Reading package lists… Done

Building dependency tree

Reading state information… Done

The following NEW packages will be installed:


0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

Need to get 41.7 kB of archives.

After this operation, 138 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Get:1 trusty/main sshfs amd64 2.5-1ubuntu1 [41.7 kB]

Fetched 41.7 kB in 1s (27.8 kB/s)

Selecting previously unselected package sshfs.

(Reading database … 247545 files and directories currently installed.)

Preparing to unpack …/sshfs_2.5-1ubuntu1_amd64.deb …

Unpacking sshfs (2.5-1ubuntu1) …

Processing triggers for man-db ( …

Setting up sshfs (2.5-1ubuntu1) …

Installing SSHFS on an Arch Linux

Type the following command:

sudo pacman -S sshfs fuse

Make sure you add user named vivek to fuse group:

[ create fuse group if does not exist as per your distro ] ##

$ sudo groupadd fuse

$ sudo usermod -a -G fuse vivek

Installing SSHFS on a RHEL (Red Hat)/CentOS Linux

First, turn on EPEL repo and then type the following yum command to install FUSE-Filesystem to access remote filesystems via SSH on a CentOS/RHEL:

sudo yum update

sudo yum install fuse-sshfs

Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: auto-update-debuginfo, protectbase, rhnplugin, security

This system is receiving updates from RHN Classic or RHN Satellite.

Setting up Install Process

0 packages excluded due to repository protections

Resolving Dependencies

–> Running transaction check

—> Package fuse-sshfs.x86_64 0:2.4-1.el6 will be installed

–> Processing Dependency: fuse >= 2.2 for package: fuse-sshfs-2.4-1.el6.x86_64

–> Running transaction check

—> Package fuse.x86_64 0:2.8.3-4.el6 will be installed

–> Finished Dependency Resolution


Dependencies Resolved



Package                   Arch                  Version                     Repository                           Size



fuse-sshfs                x86_64                2.4-1.el6                   epel                                 52 k

Installing for dependencies:

fuse                      x86_64                2.8.3-4.el6                 rhel-x86_64-server-6                 71 k


Transaction Summary


Install       2 Package(s)


Total download size: 123 k

Installed size: 115 k

Is this ok [y/N]: y

Downloading Packages:

(1/2): fuse-2.8.3-4.el6.x86_64.rpm                                                              |  71 kB     00:00

(2/2): fuse-sshfs-2.4-1.el6.x86_64.rpm                                                          |  52 kB     00:00

Total                                                                                  173 kB/s | 123 kB     00:00

Running rpm_check_debug

Running Transaction Test

Transaction Test Succeeded

Running Transaction

Installing : fuse-2.8.3-4.el6.x86_64                                                                             1/2

Installing : fuse-sshfs-2.4-1.el6.x86_64                                                                         2/2

Verifying  : fuse-sshfs-2.4-1.el6.x86_64                                                                         1/2

Verifying  : fuse-2.8.3-4.el6.x86_64                                                                             2/2



fuse-sshfs.x86_64 0:2.4-1.el6


Dependency Installed:

fuse.x86_64 0:2.8.3-4.el6



How do I mount the remote file system?

The syntax is

sshfs user@server /path/to/mountpoint

sshfs user@server /path/to/mountpoint options

First, create a directory using mkdir command:

sudo mkdir /mnt/server1

I’m going to mount file system using root user and you need to type root password when prompted:

sudo sshfs root@ /mnt/server1/


OR use ssh key based login ##

sudo sshfs -o IdentityFile=~/.ssh/keyfile /mnt/server1/

Sample outputs:

Password for root@freebsd10:

Verify it:

sudo df -h

Sample outputs:

Filesystem              Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on

/dev/mapper/wks05-root  487G  114G  350G  25% /

none                    4.1k     0  4.1k   0% /sys/fs/cgroup

udev                     17G  4.1k   17G   1% /dev

tmpfs                   3.4G  1.9M  3.4G   1% /run

none                    5.3M     0  5.3M   0% /run/lock

none                     17G  160k   17G   1% /run/shm

none                    105M   50k  105M   1% /run/user

/dev/sda1               239M   89M  138M  40% /boot

root@     20G   12G  6.8G  64% /mnt/server1

To access and/or to see the remote file system, run:

sudo -s

cd /mnt/server1

ls -l

Sample ouputs:

Fig. 02: sshfs in action

Dealing with “Permission denied” error and recommended procedure for mounting the remote directory

If you get an error that read as cannot access server1: Permission denied, add yourself to a group called fuse:

$ sudo gpasswd -a  $USER  fuse

Adding user nixcraft to group fuse

Next, create a mount point inside your own home directory:

$ mkdir $HOME/server1

$ ls -ld !$

ls -ld $HOME/server1

drwxrwxr-x 2 nixcraft nixcraft 4096 Mar  8 04:34 /home/nixcraft/server1

To mount the remote file system, enter:

sshfs -o idmap=user  root@ $HOME/server1


ls -l $HOME/server1

Fig.03: Using sshfs without root access on local laptop/desktop

How do I unmount the remote file system?

The syntax is:

sudo umount /mnt/server1


OR ##

fusermount -u /mnt/server1

Verify it:

df -h

How can I permanently mount the remote file system by updating /etc/fstab?

For persistent mounts, you must create ssh keys based login

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/


Now, edit the /etc/fstab file, enter:

sudo vi /etc/fstab

The syntax is:

userNameHere@FQDN_OR_IP_HERE:/path/to/source/  /local/mountdir/  fuse.sshfs  defaults,_netdev  0  0


Add the following entry at the bottom of the file:

sshfs#root@ /mnt/server1

Another example with additional options:

sshfs#$root@ /mnt/server1 fuse defaults,idmap=user,allow_other,reconnect,_netdev,users,IdentityFile=/path/to/.ssh/keyfile 0 0

Recommend option for on-demand mounting if you are using systemd: /mnt/server1  fuse.sshfs noauto,x-systemd.automount,_netdev,users,idmap=user,IdentityFile=/home/vivek/.ssh/id_rsa,allow_other,reconnect 0 0

Save and close the file. Where,

root@ : Remote server with sshd

fuse : File system type.

idmap=user : Only translate UID of connecting user.

allow_other : Allow access to other users.

reconnect : Reconnect to server.

_netdev : The filesystem resides on a device that requires network access (used to prevent the system from attempting to mount these filesystems until the network has been enabled on the system).

users : Allow every user to mount and unmount the filesystem.

IdentityFile=/path/to/.ssh/keyfile – SSH key file.



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