I have a problem getting files to show up using an NFSv4 mount between

Server: Ubuntu 20.04,
Client: Ubuntu 18.04,

On the server, I have a folder and file


(note 'server' is being used as the user account name). Here is the full ownership and permissions chain of the original file:

drwxr-xr-x  root:root        /
drwxr-xr-x  root:root        /home/
drwxr-xr-x  server:server    /home/server/
drwxrwxr-x  server:nfsgroup  /home/server/files/
-rwxrwxrwx  server:nfsgroup  /home/server/files/myfile.pdf

Here you can see an example of a utility 'user':'group' I created:

nfsuser  uid=127
nfsgroup gid=134

Both 'nfsuser' and 'server' are in the 'nfsgroup' group.

On the server, I have the /files/ directory bind-mounted to /srv/nfs4/files/ in /etc/fstab, with an entry

/home/server/files    /srv/nfs4/files    none    bind    0    0

This is successful, and I can clearly see the /srv/nfs4/files/myfile.pdf file as

-rwxrwxrwx  server:nfsgroup  /srv/nfs4/files/myfile.pdf

Here is the full ownership and permissions chain of the mounted and served file:

drwxr-xr-x  root:root        /
drwxr-xr-x  root:root        /srv/
drwxrwxr-x  server:nfsgroup  /srv/nfs4/
drwxrwxr-x  server:nfsgroup  /srv/nfs4/files/
-rwxrwxrwx  server:nfsgroup  /srv/nfs4/files/myfile.pdf

Now, I want to export the entire /srv/nfs4/ directory, which contains the bind-mounted files/, to the client. I have this entry in the server's /etc/exports:


Note in particular that the all_squash,anonuid=127,anongid=134 group of settings causes the client user 'client' to be recognized as 'nfsuser' in the 'nfsgroup' with regards to permissions.

After I export this using $ sudo exportfs -ra, I mount it to the root-level directory /nsffiles/ on the client using the command $ sudo mount -t nfs /nsffiles.

The result is that I can see the exported files/ directory within /nsffiles/ on the client. However, I cannot see its contents:

$ ls -Alhd /nsffiles/
drwxrwxr-x 8 client 134 4.0K Nov 14 20:37 /nsffiles/

$ ls -Alhd /nsffiles/files/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Nov 14 20:36 /nsffiles/files/

$ ls -Alh /nsffiles/files/
total 0

The fact that the NFS client can see the files/ directory at all indicates there's nothing fundamentally wrong with my NFS services or the local network. There's no firewall issues, and I shouldn't need to install any additional packages. Also, I previously had the NFS mount working perfectly under a slightly different folder structure (files/ was in a directory outside of home, for example), so I know the basics are fine in that regard.

I assume that the most likely cause of why it won't work now is a subtle ownership/permissions change between the previous setup and the current one. In particular, the mounted directory is

server side:    `/srv/nfs4/`    drwxrwxr-x  server:nfsgroup
client side:    `/nsffiles/`    drwxrwxr-x  client:134

The contained directory is

server side:    `/srv/nfs4/files/`    drwxrwxr-x  server:nfsgroup
client side:    `/nsffiles/files/`    drwxr-xr-x  root:root

That is, for the mounted directory, the permissions convert as server:nfsgroup -> client:134, which is expected. The permissions for the contained directory, however, convert as server:nfsgroup -> root:root. Why root:root and not client:134?

This ServerFault question sounds similar, but it concerns Windows, and I can't tell that the only answer applies.

This Unix.SE question concerns NFS file permissions for a Windows/Linux setup; all of the information I can glean from it is things I already know and think I've taken care of.

Please respond only if you know what you're talking about. If you can't resist posting a wild guess, please identify it as a wild guess. Or, you know, provide enough information that your reader can tell the difference.

1 Answer 1


Looks like you are missing crossmnt option in /etc/exports for your share.

I had a same issue and adding this option into NFS config file fixed it.


This option is similar to nohide but it makes it possible for clients to move from the filesystem marked with crossmnt to exported filesystems mounted on it. Thus when a child filesystem "B" is mounted on a parent "A", setting crossmnt on "A" has the same effect as setting "nohide" on B.


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