Network File System (NFS), a distributed file system protocol developed by Sun Microsystems. NFS is the common for file sharing on NAS server and Linux / UNIX systems like, HP-UX, Solaris, Mac OS X, and
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others. Mac OS X can be setup as an NFS client to access shared files on the network. Mounting NFS volumes in OS X can be done using following methods:
a] Command line option.
b] GUI option.
macOS X Mount NFS Share / Set an NFS Client
Our sample setup for macOS client and nfs server:
| UNIX/Linux | | Mac |
| NFS +---------------------------+ OS X |
| SERVER | mount nas01:/mp3 /nfs | Client |
nas01 allows your users or client compute to access files over a network. Mac OS can mount file system over a network and work as they are mounted locally. This is perfect for sharing files or centralized home directories. See how to setup an NFS server under RHEL / CentOS Linux and Ubuntu Linux here.
How Do I Find Out Shared Directories?
To mount an NFS file system, the resource must be made available on the NAS or NFS server. To verify that resource available open the terminal and type the following command:
$ showmount -e nas01
$ showmount -e nfs-server-ip-address-here
$ showmount -e nas01.lan.nixcraft.net.in
Fig.01: UNIX showmount command lists all clients that have remotely mounted a filesystem from NFS server
The showmount command show remote NFS mounts (resources).
Mac OS X Nfs mount Command
First, create a directory to mount an nfs share, enter:
$ sudo mkdir /private/nfs
$ sudo mkdir /private/mp3
To mount an NFS file system, enter:
$ sudo mount -t nfs nas01:/mp3 /private/nfs
$ sudo mount -t nfs 192.168.3.1:/mp3 /private/nfs
To mount an NFS file system in read/write mode, enter:
$ sudo mount -o rw -t nfs nas01:/mp3 /private/nfs
Tip: Operation not permitted Error
If you get an error which read as follows:
192.168.3.1:/mp3 Operation not permitted
Try to mount it as follows with -o resvport command:
$ sudo mount -t nfs -o resvport 192.168.3.1:/mp3 /private/nfs
OR mount an NFS in read/write mode, enter:
$ sudo mount -t nfs -o resvport,rw 192.168.3.1:/mp3 /private/nfs
From the man page:
Use a reserved socket port number. This is useful for mounting
servers that require clients to use a reserved port number on the
mistaken belief that this makes NFS more secure. (For the rare
case where the client has a trusted root account but untrustwor-
thy users and the network cables are in secure areas this does
help, but for normal desktop clients this does not apply.)
Verify: NFS Is Working or Not
Type the following commands:
$ df -H
$ cd /private/nfs
$ ls -l
Sample outputs (note I’ve mounted it at /private/mp3/ dir):
Fig.02: UNIX df command which displays information about total space and available space for NFS
How Do I Copy Files?
Use the cp command:
$ cp /path/to/file.doc /private/nfs/
$ cp -a /path/to/*pl /private/nfs/
$ cp /private/nfs/mp3/*.mp3 ~/mp3
Using the Finder
Note: The following entry “NFS mounts” in the Disk Utility does NOT exist in MAC OS X v10.8+. The following discussion only applies to the older Mac OS X version <= 10.7.x and eariler.
The Finder is the default file manager used on the Mac OS and Mac OS X operating systems that is responsible for the overall user-management of files, disks, network volumes and the launching of other applications. Open Finder > Shared (select from the left sidebar) > NFS server (nas01 or 192.168.3.1):
Fig.03: The Finder in action (browse an NFS share)
Now, you can copy and paste files as usual.
Recommend mount Command Options
I suggest that you run the mount command it as follows to get better a performance:
$ sudo mount -t nfs -o soft,intr,rsize=8192,wsize=8192,timeo=900,retrans=3,proto=tcp nas01:/sales /private/sales
$ sudo mount -t nfs nfs -o soft,timeo=900,retrans=3,vers=3, proto=tcp nas01:/sales /private/sales
See mont_nfs(8) for more information.
GUI Method: HowTo Set Mac OS X As an NFS Client
To mount an NFS share from OS X using GUI tools, follow these steps:
 Start Finder, and go to Applications / Utilities / Disk Utility:
Fig.04: Starting Disk Utility
You will see the disk utility as follows:
Fig.05: Click the ‘Mounts’ icon at the top of the Directory Utility panel
 Alternatively, you can select “Disk utility” > click on File > Mount NFS as follows:
You will see an “NFS mounts” window as follows:
Fig.07: OS X NFS Mounts to set it as an NFS Client
 Click on “+” icon:
Fig.08: Setting up an NFS mount options in the dialog box
You need to enter your remote NFS server URL (IP address or dns name) in the following format:
- 192.168.3.1: NFS server IP address.
- nas01: NFS server dns name.
- mp3: Shared nfs directory name.
You need to set mount location as follows:
/Volumes/mp3 is nothing but the mount location. This is a convenient place. In this example, you entered the URL as nfs://192.168.3.1/mp3, enter /Volumes/mp3 as the mount location. Please note that don’t create the subdirectory (mp3); it will be created dynamically when the share is mounted.
Click the arrow in front of “Advanced Mount Parameters”. A new text entry box is displayed. Enter: resvport (this is only required if you get some sort of error [see above for more info or read mount_nfs man page]).
 Finally, click “Verify” button at the bottom right:
Fig.09: Verify NFS mount configuration which only checks that your NFS server is enabled and working correctly.
 You will see a popup window, stating that “The NFS server appears to be functional” > Click “OK” button to continue. Finally, Click “Save” button. You may be prompted for the password to make changes. Your NFS share should appear at the mount location you entered above i.e. /Volumes/mp3.
Fig.10: NFS Share mounted
You can access /Volumes/mp3 using the Finder:
Fig.11: The finder in action
You can also use command line options:
$ ls /Volumes/mp3
$ cd /Volumes/mp3
$ cp /path/to/something.file.in file.out
$ rsync -av email@example.com:/var/www/html/ server.backups/