First of all, I'm happy to pay the $19.99 for the Mac OS Server app from the app store, so that's no problem, it's just that at the moment I only have one specific need - NFS sharing between my macOS sierra host and a virtualbox VM guest running Debian Sarge (don't ask).

This is something I am used to doing in Linux without any difficulty, but the syntax for /etc/exports doesn't seem to be the same? In the man page for exports on macOS it uses explicit flags?

My regular line in /etc/exports on Linux:

# NFS Share to Virtualbox guests:

Calling nfsd checkexports returns the following:

getaddrinfo() failed for,fsid=root,all_squash,anonuid=1000,anongid=1000,no_subtree_check)
exports:2: couldn't get address for host:,fsid=root,all_squash,anonuid=1000,anongid=1000,no_subtree_check)
exports:2: no valid hosts found for export

And if I simplify and change the etc/exports entry to /path/to/my/shared/directory -network -mask I get the following output from nfsd checkexports:

exports:2: path contains non-directory or non-existent components: /path/to/my/shared/directory
exports:2: no usable directories in export entry and no fallback

Note: /path/to/my/shared/directory is obviously a just a placeholder filepath for this question, not my actual entry in /etc/exports 🤣

Is it just because the line in /etc/exports is crap, or I need some other configuration? or do I need the macOS Server app?

From looking at https://help.apple.com/serverapp/mac/5.3/#/apd106E5632-C4E6-4572-8289-B9ACC652E88C it seems like it might not be anything I need the macOS Server app for?


What I want is the equivalent behaviour and rw permissions of rw,fsid=root,all_squash,anonuid=1000,anongid=1000,no_subtree_check in my exporting, I've got it working with NFS Manager where I can mount the folder on my VM guest but read-only.


2 Answers 2


What was required was the following line in /etc/exports:

/path/to/shared/dir -mapall=<uid of local user on host machine with correct perms> -network -mask

exports(5) is the FreeBSD version, obviously. Once I did some googling for the solution with respect to "FreeBSD" instead of "Mac", the necessary information presented itself, the a colleague pointed out the exact flag needed.

Source: http://www.freebsdmadeeasy.com/tutorials/freebsd/using-freebsd-nfs.php

NFS Manager was helpful in validating the solution but not necessary.

  • NFS Manager will also cost you, $20 !
    – MikeW
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 10:57

macOS Server is not required at all to share directories over NFS. The macOS client provides all necessary tools.

Testing various exports with bogus paths, I'd assume your path simply doesn't exist.

The most convenient GUI-tool for NFS is NFS Manager. You will be presented with a nag-screen launching it or changing configurations, but it works without further restrictions.

Most of your desired options are available in macOS (check man exports) and can be configured with NFS Manager:

NFS Manager screenshot

Some details have to be configured in the advanced options (e.g. the access permissions).

  • The path most definitely does exist 😆
    – Benjamin R
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 1:06
  • I will check out NFS Manager though, and thanks for verifying that I don't need to buy the server app
    – Benjamin R
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 1:07
  • @BenjaminR I got said error only when I entered non-existent paths in /etc/exports (which doesn't happen with NFS Manager, because it offers a file system browser). Haven't tested it with aliases or soft links though.
    – klanomath
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 1:10
  • NB NFS Manager will cost $20
    – MikeW
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 11:59

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