I recently moved from Ubuntu GNOME (16.04 LTS) to macOS Sierra and I wondered how I could mount a Folder, located on a remote Server, using the sftp protocol. Ubuntu GNOME (16.04) comes with Nautilus as a File Manager by default, so I used that one for the purpose of having a gui for viewing remote folders.

[Setup with Ubuntu GNOME and Nautilus File-manager][3]

My workflow on Ubuntu was to open the Nautilus File manager

  • Click "Enter Server Adress"
  • Selecting the Connection (for example: sftp://[email protected])
  • Click "Connect"

I like to have a similar or even simpler solution for these steps on Sierra. However, the Server shouldn't always be mounted. I just want a simple way to connect to certain remote Folders with different usernames when I need to, through a save Connection.

Any Ideas how to do this with Finder on macOS Sierra? I am kind a new to the whole Apple ecosystem, I don't even have a an idea where to look for recommended 3rd party software.

  • You moved the wrong direction :-( Feb 12, 2020 at 15:15

9 Answers 9


I know I am reviving an old thread, but I had this doubt and I solved it with open source software which is wonderful.

The best option if you want to stay open source and spend only on donations is Fuse for MacOS + SSHFS for OSX. You can download it here https://osxfuse.github.io.

It works with Mojave. You can follow this tutorial and adjust the addresses, usernames and mountpoints accordingly.

Apparently using Macfusion and following the instructions on the github wiki of Fuse for MacOS you can use the newest SSHFS version with Macfusion instead of the older that comes packaged with Macfusion.

Macfusion allows you to mount the remote sftp servers graphically. You could also create some Applescripts to mount the volumes with one click, that's what I did.


It seems that this is not possible with MacOS Sierra standard tools (sftp via Finder); Macfusion is also no more compatible with Sierra.

As costly alternative you could use Commander Pro, Panic Transmit 4 or Mountain Duck (35-40$). As less costly alternative you could use Flow from the App Store (~5$). As a free alternative you could use webdav with Finder (http://...).

What I did was installing winebottler (comes packed together with wine in one .dmg) and then install WinSCP via it. It was quick and worked, but is indeed rather a weird solution... ;-)


A colleague suggested me to use filezilla: https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?platform=osx It is not a direct integration into Finder but you have a file browser locally and remotely.

  • I found it odd getting a -1 for this answer. From my point of view it is a real good alternative as the initial request cannot be achieved (as answered below).
    – J.R.
    May 2, 2017 at 12:38
  • 1
    I believe Filezilla no longer works with the latest version of MacOS. At least when I try it, it gives the error "Not supported". I am on macOS Mojave 10.14.3 Mar 28, 2019 at 10:26
  • In the meantime I switched over from Filezilla to Cyberduck. When you download it (instead of installing from App Store) its free to use (for all I need).
    – J.R.
    Mar 29, 2019 at 11:11

use sftp username@host in the terminal on Mac and you will be sorted

  • Welcome to Ask Different and thanks for your answer! Can I suggest you provide info such as how you think the answer you provided solves the problem and/or why it may be better than using the Finder (as the OP asked). You also have to be careful about assuming what the OP already knows (e.g. about accessing/using Terminal). See How to Answer for tips on providing answers here.
    – Monomeeth
    Apr 24, 2017 at 0:49
  • 3
    This doesn't solve my Problem. sftp with terminal isn't an Issue. I am looking for a integration in the filemanager. The remote Folder should be mounted like an external drive in the finder, so i can browse the remote folder with the finder.
    – Aku
    Apr 24, 2017 at 10:07
  • Using sftp in the terminal is nowhere near useful in a productive manner. Especially when a server has multiple subdirectories to navigate and put/get files from. A gui solution is the only solution. Sep 8, 2019 at 14:27

A bit late, but whatever… DoubleCommander is a great open source two pane file explorer. Now it supports sftp, so you can use it just like you would use finder. It might fit your requirement.


Using Finder to connect to a remote host over SSH

If you do want to be able to use Finder to access remote systems over SSH then you will need osxfuse and sshfs:

brew install osxfuse sshfs

Make sure you reboot your mac after installing osxfuse. Also you might need to grant permissions for the extension to work.

Now you should be able to mount your remote to a local folder:

sshfs -p 22 [email protected]:/ ~/your-local-mount-folder -oauto_cache,reconnect,defer_permissions,noappledouble,negative_vncache,volname=my_sshfs_mount

And now you should be able to browse the remote system with finder: open ~/your-local-mount-folder.

Copying files over SSH

OOTB you can copy a file or a folder recursively over ssh with:

# local to remote
scp -r <local-file-or-folder> <remoteuser>@<remotehost><remotepath>

# remote to local
scp -r <remoteuser>@<remotehost><remotepath> <local-file-or-folder> 

# copy 'mydir' on the local machine to the home folder on the remote
scp -r mydir [email protected]:

# copy 'mydir' on the local machine to the '/tmp' folder on the remote
scp -r mydir [email protected]:/tmp

If the remote host is a Mac, then under System Preferences > Sharing > Remote Login must be enabled.

The remote folder is relative to the home, therefore to copy a file/folder to ~/.config on the remote host you can use:

scp -r mydir [email protected]:.config

The -r flag stands for recursive and is needed to recursively copy folders; not necessary for single files.

Connecting with Finder over samba

Finder does not support OOTB mounting over ssh, but you can use samba instead.

IF the remote host is a Mac then under System Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing must be enabled.

Now you can use Finder > menu item Go > Connect to Server and connect via the name as displayed in the system prefs Sharing dialog, e.g. smb://yourusername.home or the IP address e.g. smb://

Connecting over Midnight Commander (ssh)

If you want a simple text GUI then you also have the option of Midnight Commander:

brew install mc

Once installed, run Midnight Commander by launching mc from your terminal, then from the menu pick e.g. Left > Shell link and enter your remote host either as [email protected]: or the alias you configured in your ~/.ssh/config (don't forget the trailing colon at the end.)

HINT: To emulate the F-keys for mc in your terminal you can use the Esc+1..9 sequences.


scp, sftp, sshfs and mc will all honour the aliases you have in your ~/.ssh/config so you can use them instead of long strings like [email protected]


Not possible with macOS out of the box. With Finder you can mount only aftp, cifs, webdav and ftp (but only in read-only). It's ridiculous but it's true because even Windows can connect to FTP with read-write access.

There is a free option with FUSE and sshfs and pricy option with mountainduck


You can use CyberDuck; it's a free browser for Mac and Windows with support for FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, Backblaze B2, Microsoft Azure & OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox.


⌘+k will open a "connect to server" dialog when you have finder open. Sounds like what you're looking for.

  • 5
    Thanks for your suggestion, but ⌘+k doesn't support sftp. is there a way that ⌘+k will accept sftp:// connections?
    – Aku
    Apr 24, 2017 at 10:09

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