Whats is SSHFS

There are several ways to share a directory across a network. In enterprise settings, you’ll find the Network Filesystem (NFS), Samba, and various distributed filesystems. SSHFS isn’t used in enterprises quite as much, but it can still come in handy. The beauty of it is that all of its network traffic is encrypted by default, unlike with NFS or Samba. And, other than installing the SSHFS client program and creating a local mount-point directory, it doesn’t require any configuration beyond what you’ve already done.

Features of SSHFS

  • Based on FUSE (Best userspace filesystem framework for linux)
  • Multithreading: more than one request can be on it’s way to the server
  • Allowing large reads (max 64k)
  • Caching directory contents


As stated earlier, you do not require much of a setup to configure SSHFS. Here is the list of requirements.

  • 2 Centos or Ubuntu Server
  • SSH Key Authentication on the Servers

Step 1: Stop the IPTables and Selinux, and Update the Date Time on the Servers and SSH Authentication on the Servers.

To stop the iptables service and disable autostart on boot:

# service iptables stop
# chkconfig iptables off

To disable SELinux, make the parameter “SELINUX=disabled” in the /etc/sysconfig/selinux file.

# vi /etc/sysconfig/selinux
SELINUX=disabled ###(Change enabled to disabled)

Generate the ssh keys and configure passwordless ssh

On Server 1:

# ssh-keygen -t rsa (Enter 3 Times)
# ssh-keygen -t dsa (Enter 3 Times)
# cd /root/.ssh
# cat id_rsa.pub >>authorized_keys
# cat id_dsa.pub >>authorized_keys

On Server 2:

# ssh-keygen -t rsa (Enter 3 Times)
# ssh-keygen -t dsa (Enter 3 Times)
# cd /root/.ssh
# cat id_rsa.pub >>authorized_keys
# cat id_dsa.pub >>authorized_keys

Now Open the authorized_keys file on both servers and Paste Server 1’s Key to Server 2’s authorized_keys File and vice-versa.

Restart the ntp service

Restart the ntp service on both the servers and reboot the servers.

# service ntpd restart
# ntpdate pool.ntp.org
# chkconfig ntpd on
# init 6

Step 2: Install FUSE-SSHFS

For CentOS/RHEL users, Fuse SSHFS is available under epel repository, So make sure you have installed the epel repository in your system. Now execute the following command to install it.


# yum -y install epel-release
# yum install -y fuse-sshfs

On Ubuntu & Dabian:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install sshfs

Step 3: Mount Remote Directory

Lets mount remote server directory using sshfs, make sure remote system has running ssh server with proper ssh connectivity from your system. First create a mount point:

Let’s mount the remote directory. For this example, we are mounting /home/remoteuser directory from x.x.x.x (remote.example.com) system to our local system.

# sshfs [email protected]:/home/remoteuser /mntssh

Sample output:

The authenticity of host 'remote.example.com (x.x.x.x)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 77:85:9e:ff:de:2a:ef:49:68:09:9b:dc:f0:f3:09:07.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
[email protected]'s password: yes

Step 4: Verify Mount

After mounting remote filesystem on local mount point, verify it by running mount command.

# mount
/dev/mapper/vg_svr1-lv_root on / type ext4 (rw)
proc on /proc type proc (rw)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
/dev/sda1 on /boot type ext4 (rw)
[email protected]:/home/remoteuser on /mntssh type fuse.sshfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)

Also naviate to your mount point, you will see files there from remote system

Step 5: Mount Directory on System Boot

If you want to mount remote filesystem automatically each time when your system reboots, Add following entry to /etc/fstab file. Make sure you have have key based ssh setup between remote and local system.

# vi /etc/fstab
[email protected]:/home/remoteuser /mntssh fuse.sshfs defaults 0 0

Step 6: Unmount Directory

If your work is over and you don’t need the mount point anymore, simply unmount it using the following command.