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UNIX Shares (NFS)

  6 minute read.

Last Modified 2021-07-08 16:29 EDT

What is Network File System (NFS)

The Network File System (NFS) is a client/server application that lets a user share, view, store and update files on a remote system. The NFS protocol is one of several distributed file system standards for network-attached storage (NAS).

Network File System shares are accessible from macOS, Linux, BSD, and the professional and enterprise versions (but not the home editions) of Windows. This can be a good choice when the client computers do not all run the same operating system but NFS client software is available for all of them.

Why use NFS?

Creating a Network File System (NFS) share on TrueNAS gives the benefit of making lots of data easily available for anyone with share access. Depending how the share is configured, users accessing the share can be restricted to read or write privileges.

To create a new share, make sure a dataset is available with all the data for sharing.

Creating an NFS Share

Go to Shares and within the UNIX (NFS) Shares header click Add.

Services NFS Add

Select a path to the dataset by clicking Add. Use the file browser to select the dataset to be shared. An Alias can be used To define a custom shortcut for the Path. Enter a memorable name, for example: /nfsshare. NFS clients can connect using the Alias instead of the Path when the share is active. A share with multiple paths requires either not using aliases or defining an alias for each path in the share. An optional Description can be entered to help identify the share. Clicking Save creates the share.

At the time of creation, you can select ENABLE SERVICE for the service to start and to automatically start after any reboots. If you wish to create the share but not immediately enable it, select CANCEL.

Services NFS Add Service Enable

Services NFS Service Enable Success

NFS Share Settings

Pathfile browserType or browse to the full path to the pool or dataset to share. Click Add to configure multiple paths.
DescriptionstringEnter any notes or reminders about the share.
AliasStringCustom shortcut for the Path using /nfsshare format.
EnabledcheckboxEnable this NFS share. Unset to disable this NFS share without deleting the configuration.
Add NetworksStringEnter an allowed network in network/mask CIDR notation. Click Add to define another authorized network. Defining an authorized network restricts access to all other networks. Leave field empty to allow all networks.
Authorized Hosts and IP addressesstringEnter a hostname or IP address to allow that system access to the NFS share. Click Add to define another allowed system. Defining authorized systems restricts access to all other systems. Leave field empty to allow all systems access to the share.

Opening the Advanced Options allows tuning the share access permissions.


Read OnlycheckboxProhibits writing to the share when set.
Maproot Userstring or drop downSelect a user to apply that user’s permissions to the root user.
Maproot Groupstring or drop downSelect a group to apply that group’s permissions to the root user.
Mapall Userstring or drop downPermissions for the chosen user applied to all clients.
Mapall Groupstring or drop downPermissions for the chosen group are applied to all clients.

To edit an existing NFS share, go to the Shares page.


There are multiple ways to enter the edit mode for a share:

  1. Click on the UNIX (NFS) Shares header.
  2. Click on the share Path or Description, if added.
  3. Click View Details. From this page click then Edit.


The options available are identical to the share creation options.

Configure the NFS Service

To begin sharing the data, go to System Settings > Services and click the NFS toggle. If you want NFS sharing to activate immediately after TrueNAS boots, set Start Automatically.

There are additional paths to the Services page. Go to Shares and click within the Unix (NFS) Shares header. Choose Config Service. The service can also be turned on/off from this same location.

NFS service settings can be configured by clicking (Configure).

Services NFS Options

Bind IP Addressesdrop downSelect IP addresses to listen to for NFS requests. Leave empty for NFS to listen to all available addresses.
Enable NFSv4checkboxSet to switch from NFSv3 to NFSv4.
NFSv3 ownership model for NFSv4checkboxSet when NFSv4 ACL support is needed without requiring the client and the server to sync users and groups.
Require Kerberos for NFSv4checkboxSet to force NFS shares to fail if the Kerberos ticket is unavailable.
Serve UDP NFS clientscheckboxSet if NFS clients need to use the User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
Support >16 groupscheckboxSet when a user is a member of more than 16 groups. This assumes group membership is configured correctly on the NFS server.
mountd(8) bind portintegerEnter a number to bind mountd only to that port.
rpc.statd(8) bind portintegerEnter a number to bind rpc.statd only to that port.
rpc.lockd(8) bind portintegerEnter a number to bind rpc.lockd only to that port.

Unless a specific setting is needed, it is recommended to use the default settings for the NFS service. When TrueNAS is already connected to Active Directory, setting NFSv4 and Require Kerberos for NFSv4 also requires a Kerberos Keytab.

Connecting to the NFS Share

Although you can connect to an NFS share with various operating systems, it is recommended to use a Linux/Unix operating system. First, download the nfs-common kernel module. This can be done using the package manager of the installed distribution. For example, on Ubuntu/Debian, enter sudo apt-get install nfs-common in the terminal.

After installing the module, connect to an NFS share by entering sudo mount -t nfs {IPaddressOfTrueNASsystem}:{path/to/nfsShare} {localMountPoint}. In the above example, {IPaddressOfTrueNASsystem} is the IP address of the remote TrueNAS system that contains the NFS share, {path/to/nfsShare} is the path to the NFS share on the TrueNAS system, and {localMountPoint} is a local directory on the host system configured for the mounted NFS share. For example, sudo mount -t nfs /mnt will mount the NFS share photoDataset to the local directory /mnt.

By default, anyone that connects to the NFS share only has the read permission. To change the default permissions, edit the share, open the Advanced Options, and change the Access settings.