Using Macfusion for SFTP Connections on OSX

Many of my colleagues use ExpanDrive for connecting to servers over SFTP, since OSX does not have a native client for doing so. ExpanDrive is nice because it integrates with the Finder and mounts a drive, instead of needing to interact with the filesystem using an application, such as FileZilla. However, ExpanDrive is not free, so I don’t use it. Normally, I spend my time developing in an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS virtual machine on VirtualBox, because Nautilus natively supports connections over SFTP.

ExpanDrive recently released an update that didn’t do a great job of announcing that it would be updating the software from version 2 to version 3, which invalidates your current license, and requires you to purchase a v3 license. Therefore, one of my coworkers upgraded to v3 unintentionally and was then locked out of using ExpanDrive until he bought a new license. This experience prompted me to revisit Macfusion as a method of connecting over SFTP from OSX.

Macfusion was built on MacFUSE, which is no longer actively maintained, and does not work with current versions of OSX. However, there is a successor to MacFUSE called OSXFUSE, and Macfusion can be configured to use the SSHFS filesystem plugin for OSXFUSE. Here’s how to get it set up:

  1. Install OSXFUSE
  2. Install SSHFS
  3. Install MacFusion
  4. Configure MacFusion to use OSXFUSE – open Terminal and run:

Now, you can open Macfusion and connect to SFTP shares. There are plenty of other filesystem plugins available – you would just need an OSXFUSE compatible client to leverage them.

1 thought on “Using Macfusion for SFTP Connections on OSX”

  1. Hi, I try your method and mount a sftp in Finder as a Volume successfully, but it’s really very slow while open an directory, sometimes it takes more than a minute if there are more than 50 files in the directory. Why?

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