Setting Up An NFS Server And Client On OpenSUSE 12.2

This guide explains how to set up an NFS server and an NFS client on OpenSUSE 12.2. NFS stands for Network File System; through NFS, a client can access (read, write) a remote share on an NFS server as if it was on the local hard disk.


1 Preliminary Note

I'm using two OpenSUSE systems here:

  • NFS Server:, IP address:
  • NFS Client:, IP address:


2 Installing NFS


On the NFS server we run:

zypper install nfs-kernel-server

Then we create the system startup links for the NFS server and start it:

systemctl enable rpcbind.service
systemctl start rpcbind.service
systemctl enable nfsserver.service
systemctl start nfsserver.service


On the client we can install NFS as follows:

zypper install nfs-client


3 Exporting Directories On The Server


I'd like to make the directories /home and /var/nfs accessible to the client; therefore we must "export" them on the server.

When a client accesses an NFS share, this normally happens as the user nobody. Usually the /home directory isn't owned by nobody (and I don't recommend to change its ownership to nobody!), and because we want to read and write on /home, we tell NFS that accesses should be made as root (if our /home share was read-only, this wouldn't be necessary). The /var/nfs directory doesn't exist, so we can create it and change its ownership to nobody and nogroup:

mkdir /var/nfs
chown nobody:nogroup /var/nfs

Now we must modify /etc/exports where we "export" our NFS shares. We specify /home and /var/nfs as NFS shares and tell NFS to make accesses to /home as root (to learn more about /etc/exports, its format and available options, take a look at

man 5 exports


vi /etc/exports
# See the exports(5) manpage for a description of the syntax of this file.
# This file contains a list of all directories that are to be exported to
# other computers via NFS (Network File System).
# This file used by rpc.nfsd and rpc.mountd. See their manpages for details
# on how make changes in this file effective.

/home ,sync,no_root_squash,no_subtree_check)

(The no_root_squash option makes that /home will be accessed as root.)

Whenever we modify /etc/exports, we must run

exportfs -a

afterwards to make the changes effective.


4 Mounting The NFS Shares On The Client


First we create the directories where we want to mount the NFS shares, e.g.:

mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/home
mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/var/nfs

Afterwards, we can mount them as follows:

mount /mnt/nfs/home
mount /mnt/nfs/var/nfs

You should now see the two NFS shares in the outputs of

df -h
client:~ # df -h
Filesystem              Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rootfs                   12G  3.4G  7.5G  31% /
devtmpfs                997M  4.0K  997M   1% /dev
tmpfs                  1004M   96K 1004M   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs                  1004M  580K 1003M   1% /run
/dev/sda2                12G  3.4G  7.5G  31% /
tmpfs                  1004M     0 1004M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
tmpfs                  1004M  580K 1003M   1% /var/lock
tmpfs                  1004M  580K 1003M   1% /var/run
tmpfs                  1004M     0 1004M   0% /media
/dev/sda3                17G  387M   16G   3% /home     12G  1.5G  9.6G  13% /mnt/nfs/home   12G  1.5G  9.6G  13% /mnt/nfs/var/nfs
client:~ #


client:~ # mount
devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,relatime,size=1020060k,nr_inodes=255015,mode=755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,mode=755)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,relatime,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
/dev/sda2 on / type ext4 (rw,relatime,data=ordered)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,relatime)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,mode=755)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,release_agent=/lib/systemd/systemd-cgroups-agent,name=systemd)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpuset type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpuset)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu,cpuacct type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpuacct,cpu)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/memory type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,memory)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/devices type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,devices)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,freezer)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/net_cls type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,net_cls)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/blkio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,blkio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/perf_event type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,perf_event)
systemd-1 on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type autofs (rw,relatime,fd=24,pgrp=1,timeout=300,minproto=5,maxproto=5,direct)
tmpfs on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,mode=755)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,mode=755)
mqueue on /dev/mqueue type mqueue (rw,relatime)
debugfs on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw,relatime)
hugetlbfs on /dev/hugepages type hugetlbfs (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /media type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,mode=755)
/dev/sda3 on /home type ext4 (rw,relatime,data=ordered)
none on /proc/fs/vmblock/mountPoint type vmblock (rw,relatime)
gvfs-fuse-daemon on /run/user/falko/gvfs type fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,user_id=1000,group_id=100) on /mnt/nfs/home type nfs4 (rw,relatime,vers=4.0,rsize=131072,wsize=131072,namlen=255,hard,proto=tcp,port=0,timeo=600,retrans=2,sec=sys,clientaddr=,local_lock=none,addr= on /mnt/nfs/var/nfs type nfs4 (rw,relatime,vers=4.0,rsize=131072,wsize=131072,namlen=255,hard,proto=tcp,port=0,timeo=600,retrans=2,sec=sys,clientaddr=,local_lock=none,addr=
client:~ #


5 Testing

On the client, you can now try to create test files on the NFS shares:


touch /mnt/nfs/home/test.txt
touch /mnt/nfs/var/nfs/test.txt

Now go to the server and check if you can see both test files:


ls -l /home/
server:~ # ls -l /home/
total 4
drwxr-xr-x 6 administrator users 4096 Jul 19 17:26 administrator
-rw-r--r-- 1 root          root     0 Sep 14 20:47 test.txt
server:~ #
ls -l /var/nfs
server:~ # ls -l /var/nfs
total 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 nobody nogroup 0 Sep 14 20:47 test.txt
server:~ #

(Please note the different ownerships of the test files: the /home NFS share gets accessed as root, therefore /home/test.txt is owned by root; the /var/nfs share gets accessed as nobody, therefore /var/nfs/test.txt is owned by nobody.)


6 Mounting NFS Shares At Boot Time

Instead of mounting the NFS shares manually on the client, you could modify /etc/fstab so that the NFS shares get mounted automatically when the client boots.


Open /etc/fstab and append the following lines:

vi /etc/fstab
[...]  /mnt/nfs/home   nfs      rw,sync,hard,intr  0     0  /mnt/nfs/var/nfs   nfs      rw,sync,hard,intr  0     0

Instead of rw,sync,hard,intr you can use different mount options. To learn more about available options, take a look at

man nfs

To test if your modified /etc/fstab is working, reboot the client:


After the reboot, you should find the two NFS shares in the outputs of

df -h


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