September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

I have been using MacFUSE and SSHFS by Google for a while now, and today it struck me just how nice it makes my life – especially when working on web sites remotely. If you’ve never heard of MacFUSE/SSHFS it’s a suite of file system utilities for Mac OS X. Google explains it as:

…software that allows you to write arbitrary file systems as user-space programs. You can think of it as a library for easily developing file systems. Another crude way to look at this would be to think of MacFUSE as something that makes Mac OS X work like a microkernel for the purpose of writing/running file systems.

Most users, especially web developers, are used to using FTP or SSH to connect to a remote web server and upload or download files.  This usually requires some type of client, even if it is popping open the command line and working from there.  With SSHFS you can open the icon in your dock and you are able to map “drives” (which are just folders on remote hosts) as if they were a network drive on your LAN.

Below is the quick and easy process:

(1) Open SSHFS, I keep mine in my Applications folder:



(2) Type in your SSH server name, username, and a root directory:

(3) If you can connect to the server, you should be prompted for a password:

(4) You should now see a new drive mapped on your Desktop:



(5) You can use the drive as if it were any other type of data device attached to your computer:

This method won’t necessarily make file access speeds any faster – you’re still traveling over the ‘net to your remote file system; any type of hiccup on your internet connection or the remote servers could cause file speeds to be slow or come to a halt. 

I love using this method with Dreamweaver – even though it has a built in FTP engine, it’s much easier to Command+S and know that a file is saved on the remote host instead of having to save a local copy and upload.  In our office, this program also works as a great alternative to VPNs for file sharing.

You can download MacFUSE and SSHFS here:

Tags: Mac