How To Set Up a NFS Server in FreeBSD

Network File System (NFS) is a network file system protocol originally developed by Sun Microsystems in 1984, allowing a user on a client computer to access files over a network in a manner similar to how local storage is accessed.

1. Setting up a NFS Server

The first step to setting up a NFS server is to edit the /etc/rc.conf file and add the following lines:

nfs_server_flags="-u -t -n 4"

Next, you have to set up /etc/exports file to define which machines have permission to which folders.  The exports file looks something like this:

/data -maproot=user1 host1 host2 host3
/backup -alldirs host1 host2 host3
/store host2

In this example the machines host1,host2 and host3 are given the privileges of the user1 for the /data directory.

For /backup they are given access to read from all directories within backup. And for /store only host2 is given access to read just the /store directory (make sure you replace hosts with your desired host names).

To start NFS server, enter:

nfsd -u -t -n 4
mountd -r

2. Restarting the NFS Server

Once you have made changes to the exports file you need to restart NFS for the changes to take effect:

kill -HUP `cat /var/run/`

3. Setting up the FreeBSD NFS Client

You need to add the following lines to /etc/rc.conf

nfs_client_flags="-n 4"
#rpc.statd and rpc.lockd are required for proper NFS locking support on FreeBSD client systems.

4. Mounting NFS Shares

Mounting can be done with the following command:

mount_nfs machine:dir localdirectory

For example if we are mounting the backup folder from the server in the example above to a folder called /localbackup on our machine it would look like this:

mount_nfs server:/backup /localbackup

5. Auto Mounting NFS Shares

NFS shares can be automatically mounted by putting them into /etc/fstab.


# Device Mountpoint FStype Options Dump Pass#
server:/backup /localbackup nfs rw 2 2

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