You can access remote filesystem as a local filesystem by mounting the remote filesystem using sshfs. This is similar to other remote filesystem implementations such as SAMBA/CIFS or NFS.

sshfs uses SFTP protocol and requires ssh access to the remote server to work. The SSH user on the remote server must also have permission on the folder you want to mount.

The remote filesystem of SSH-enabled host can be mounted as a local filesystem by installing and configuring sshfs from the terminal. If you want just to copy or perform a simple file transfer, you can just use scp or sftp without mounting the remote filesystem.

Steps to mount remote filesystem using sshfs:

  1. Launch terminal.
  2. Install sshfs on the local host.
    localuser@localhost:~$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install --assume-yes sshfs #Ubuntu and Debian variance
    localuser@localhost:~$ sudo dnf --enablerepo=PowerTools --assumeyes install fuse-sshfs #CentOS and Red Hat variance
  3. Test SSH access to the remote host.
    localuser@localhost:~$ ssh remote-user@192.168.111.20
    The authenticity of host '192.168.111.20 (192.168.111.20)' can't be established.
    ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:w3b7BfZzQrrY75Fx1XYH0t2RVkiXb7r6+gcC5umTR7o.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
    Warning: Permanently added '192.168.111.20' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
    remote-user@192.168.111.20's password: 
    Welcome to Ubuntu 20.10 (GNU/Linux 5.8.0-25-generic x86_64)
    
     * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com
     * Management:     https://landscape.canonical.com
     * Support:        https://ubuntu.com/advantage
    
    0 updates can be installed immediately.
    0 of these updates are security updates.
    
    
    The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
    the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
    individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.
    
    Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
    applicable law.
    
    remoteuser@remotehost:~$ exit
    logout
    Connection to 192.168.111.20 closed.

    Make sure the user that you're connecting to have full access to the directory that you want to mount.

  4. Create new directory locally to mount the remote filesystem if it doesn't already exist.
    localuser@localhost:~$ mkdir -p /home/localuser/remote
  5. Manually mount remote filesystem using sshfs.
    localuser@localhost:~$ sshfs remoteuser@192.168.111.20:/home/remoteuser/shared /home/localuser/remote
    remoteuser@192.168.111.20's password: 

  6. Check if mount successful.
    localuser@localhost:~$ df -h
    Filesystem                             Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    tmpfs                                  391M  1.8M  389M   1% /run
    /dev/sda3                               20G  6.4G   12G  35% /
    tmpfs                                  2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /dev/shm
    tmpfs                                  5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
    tmpfs                                  4.0M     0  4.0M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    /dev/sda2                              512M  7.8M  505M   2% /boot/efi
    tmpfs                                  391M  104K  391M   1% /run/user/1000
    remoteuser@192.168.111.20:/home/remoteuser/shared   20G  6.4G   12G  35% /home/localuser/remote
  7. Access mount point to test.
    localuser@localhost:~$ touch /home/localuser/remote/file.txt
  8. Unmount remote sshfs filesystem.
    localuser@localhost:~$ umount /home/localuser/remote
  9. Check if unmount successful.
    localuser@localhost:~$ df -h
    Filesystem                             Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    tmpfs                                  391M  1.8M  389M   1% /run
    /dev/sda3                               20G  6.4G   12G  35% /
    tmpfs                                  2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /dev/shm
    tmpfs                                  5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
    tmpfs                                  4.0M     0  4.0M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    /dev/sda2                              512M  7.8M  505M   2% /boot/efi
    tmpfs                                  391M  104K  391M   1% /run/user/1000
  10. Open /etc/fstab using your preferred text editor to configure automatic mounting using sshfs during system startup.
    localuser@localhost:~$ sudo vi /etc/fstab

    This method require passwordless SSH configured for the user.

  11. Add sshfs entry to /etc/fstab.
    sshfs#remoteuser@192.168.111.20:/home/remoteuser/shared  /home/localuser/remote fuse user,_netdev,reconnect,uid=1000,gid=1000,idmap=user  0   0

    Use id command to get the uid and gid of the user.

    localuser@localhost:~$ id
    uid=1000(user) gid=1000(user) groups=1000(user),4(adm),24(cdrom),27(sudo),30(dip),46(plugdev),121(lpadmin),132(lxd),133(sambashare)

  12. Mount remote filesystem via /etc/fstab.
    localuser@localhost:~$ mount /home/localuser/remote
  13. Check if mount successful.
    localuser@localhost:~$ df -h
    Filesystem                             Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    tmpfs                                  391M  1.9M  389M   1% /run
    /dev/sda3                               20G  6.4G   12G  35% /
    tmpfs                                  2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /dev/shm
    tmpfs                                  5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
    tmpfs                                  4.0M     0  4.0M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    /dev/sda2                              512M  7.8M  505M   2% /boot/efi
    tmpfs                                  391M  108K  391M   1% /run/user/1000
    remoteuser@192.168.111.20:/home/remoteuser/shared   20G  6.4G   12G  35% /home/localuser/remote
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