Saturday, May 18, 2013

NFS Mount Hangs on Network Between Two Linux Machines

I was trying to set up NFS on my local network to transfer some stuff between two machines. I thought this would be pretty easy, but there seem to be a lot of guides out there that are either out of date or more complicated than they need to be (maybe they include some advanced features, not sure).

The main problem I had was that the mount command would hang when I tried to connect the client to the server. I tried everything I could think of, and in desperation tried reversing the client<-->server direction. At that point, it worked without a hitch. Still don't know exactly what the issue was (some conflict in the setup or configuration of my server machine?), but I was ecstatic at that point it worked at all.

Here are the steps (use ifconfig on each machine to find out their IP address, or use hostnames if you've set up hostnames):

On the nominated "server" machine

  • $ sudo apt-get install nfs-common nfs-kernel-server
  • Edit /etc/exports and add the following line (assuming here that the client IP address is and the directory to be made available is /tmp):
  • $ sudo exportfs -ra
  • Check that the entry just added to the exports file is okay with: $ sudo exportfs
  • $ sudo service nfs-kernel-server restart

NFS server daemon processes should now be running.

On the nominated "client" machine

Assuming the server IP address is and /files/remote is the directory which we will be mounting to:

  • $ sudo apt-get install nfs-common
  • $ mkdir <local-directory-to-be-mount-point>
  • $ sudo mount -t nfs /files/remote

An entry to automatically mount can be put in /etc/fstab, but since I will only be using the NFS connection on an ad-hoc basis, I haven't done that at this stage.

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