FreeBSD : How to setup shared directories

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Recently one of the new admin come across classic problem of “Sharing Directories Among Several User”. I explained him the commands and decided to write this. Although concept is almost same as Linux/UNIX; still people comes across problem. Here is scenario:


  • /home/project1 : Shared directory
  • usr1, usr2, … usrN : Would like to work and share files in /home/project1 directory
  • padmin : Main project administrator

(A) Create a shared directory /home/project1

# mkdir /home/project1

(B) Create the group project1

# pw group add project1

(C) Add user padmin and setup password:

# pw user add -n padmin -d /home/project1 -g project1 -m
# passwd padmin

(D) Add rest of users to group project1

# pw user add -n usr1 -d /home/project1 -g project1
# pw user add -n usr2 -d /home/project1 -g project1


# passwd usr1
# passwd usr2

(E) Setup permission on /home/project1 directory as follows:

a) Setup group ownership to project1 group:

# chown -R padmin.project1 /home/project1

b) Setup permission on directory i.e. setup full permission for group and owner on a directory:

# chmod -R 775 /home/project1

c) Setup sgid bit. So what is sgid bit? Normally when ever you creates file in a directory it belong to
default group of user. When a file is created in a directory with the sgid bit set it belogns to the same group as the directory. The result is all users of project1 group can create/alter files in /home/project1 directory:

# chmod -R 2775 /home/project1


# chmod -R g+s /home/project1

Now each user can login over ssh and use the directory for project. Note if you wish to add an existing users to project1 group for sharing files then use pw command as follows:

# pw user mod -n username -G project1


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.