How to Setup a Raspberry Pi Samba Server

In this Raspberry Pi Samba tutorial, we will be showing you how you can share directories from your Raspberry Pi using the SMB/CIFS protocols.

Raspberry Pi Samba

Samba is a re-implementation of the SMB (Server Message Block) networking protocol and allows Linux computers to integrate into Microsoft’s active directory environments seamlessly.

CIFS or Common Internet File System is an implementation of the SMB protocol.  In modern setups, CIFs or SMB is used interchangeably, but most people will use the term SMB.

By using Samba on our Raspberry Pi, we can easily share directories in a way that they can be accessed on almost every operating system.

Samba is one of the easiest to set up and configure file servers, which makes it one of the best solutions for setting up a NAS, especially when you intend on targeting Windows systems.

There are plenty of other NAS setups that you can run on your Raspberry Pi. I prefer Samba has I run into the least problems, but something else might appeal to you more.


Below is all the equipment that you will need for setting up Samba on your Raspberry Pi.


Raspberry Pi

Micro SD Card (8GB+) if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or B+

Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle

External Hard drive


Raspberry Pi Case

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

Note: The USB ports on the Raspberry Pi might not be enough to power an external drive so you might need to invest in a powered USB hub.

Setting up Samba on your Raspberry Pi

1. The first thing that we must do before we setup a SMB/CIFS share on our Raspberry Pi is to make sure everything is up to date.

We can update the package list and all our packages by running the following two commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

2. Now that we have our Raspbian operating system entirely up to date, we can now proceed on to installing the Samba software to our Raspberry Pi.

We can install the packages that we require to setup Samba by running the following command.

sudo apt-get install samba samba-common-bin

3. Before we set up our network storage on our Pi, we need to first create a folder that we will share.

This folder can be located anywhere, including on a mounted external hard drive. For this tutorial, we will be creating the directory within the “pi” users home directory.

Create this folder by running the following command.

mkdir /home/pi/shared

4. Now we can share this folder using the Samba software. To do this, we need to modify the samba config file.

The “smb.conf” configuration file is where you will store all your settings for your shares.

We can begin modifying the config file by running the command below.

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

5. Within this file, add the following to the bottom. This text defines various details of our share.

path = /home/pi/shared
create mask=0777
directory mask=0777

[pimylifeupshare]” – This defines the share itself, the text between the brackets is the point at which you will access the share. For example, ours will be at the following address: //raspberrypi/pimylifeupshare

path” – This option is the path to the directory on your Raspberry Pi that you want to be shared.

writeable” – When this option is set to “Yes“, it will allow the folder to be writable.

create mask” and “directory mask” – This option defines the maximum permissions for both files and folders. Setting this to 0777 allows users to read, write, and execute.

public” – If this is set to “no” the Pi will require a valid user to grant access to the shared folders.

6. With the changes made to the file, you can now go ahead and save it by pressing CTRL + X then Y followed by ENTER.

7. Next, we need to set up a user for our Samba share on the Raspberry Pi. Without it, we won’t be able to make a connection to the shared network drive.

In this example, we will be creating a Samba user called “pi” with the password set to “raspberry“.

Run the following command to create the user. You will be prompted afterward to enter the password.

sudo smbpasswd -a pi

8. Finally, before we connect to our Raspberry Pi Samba share, we need to restart the samba service so that it loads in our configuration changes.

sudo systemctl restart smbd

9. The last thing we should do before we try connecting to our Samba share is to retrieve our Raspberry Pi’s local IP address.

First, make sure you’re connected to a network by either connecting Ethernet cable or setup WiFi.

While you can connect using the Pi’s network name, we will grab the IP address just in case that option fails to work on your home network.

Run the command below to print out the Pi’s local IP Address.

hostname -I

In the next couple of sections, we will walk you through the process of connecting to your network attached storage on Windows and Mac OS X.

Connecting to your Samba Server on Windows

1. To connect to your Samba on Windows, begin by opening up the “File Explorer“.

Within the “File Explorer” click the “Computer” tab (1.) then click “Map network drive” (2.)

Windows File Explorer Map Network Drive

2. You will now be greeted by the dialog shown below asking you to enter some details.

Within the “Folder” textbox (1.) you will want to enter the following “\\raspberrypi\pimylifeupshare“.

Make sure that you replace “pimylifeupshare” with the name that you defined for your Samba share.

If for any reason the connection fails, you can switch out “raspberrypi” with your Raspberry Pi’s local IP address that you retrieved in step 9 of the setting up section of this tutorial.

Once done, click the “Finish” button to finalize the connection.

Windows Samba Network Drive Details

3. Finally, you will be asked to enter your login details to be able to finish the connection.

Enter the username and password (1.) you set using the “smbpasswd” tool earlier on in the tutorial.

Once done, press the “OK” button (2.) to continue.

Windows Enter Samba Credentials

Connecting to your Samba Share on Mac OS X

1. Now to connect to your Raspberry Pi’s Samba server on a MAC OS X system.

You will have to begin by opening the “Finder” application as we have shown in the screenshot below.

Raspberry Pi Samba Cifs - Mac OS X - 01 Opening Finder on Mac OS X

2. With the “Finder” application now open, click the “Go” button (1.) in the toolbar, then click the “Connect to Server…” option (2.).
Raspberry Pi Samba Cifs - Mac OS X - 02 Connect to Server

3. Now that the “Connect to server” dialog is now open on your device you can go ahead and enter in the details for your Raspberry Pi’s SMB share.

Within the address box (1.) you will need to enter “smb://“.

You will need to swap out the IP address “” with the IP address of your Raspberry Pi that you retrieved in step 9 of the setting up section of this tutorial.

Also, if you changed the name of the share name from “pimylifeupshare“, you will need to change that section of the address.

Once you have entered the address, you can click the “Connect” button (2.) to begin the connection to your Raspberry Pi’s Samba share.

Raspberry Pi Samba Cifs - Mac OS X - 03 Connect to Server dialog

4. Before the connection is complete, you will be asked to enter both the username and password that you set up using the “smbpasswd” (1.) tool earlier in this guide.

Once you have entered in both of these details, go ahead and press the “Connect” button (2.) to finalize the connection.

Raspberry Pi Samba Cifs - Mac OS X - 04 Enter Login Details

By now you should have successfully set up a network drive that you can access on both a Windows PC or a Mac computer. You should also be able to access it on other devices such as mobile phones.

I hope that this Raspberry Pi Samba server tutorial has shown you everything you need to know to have your network storage up and working. If you have any feedback then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.


  1. Avatar for x-alberto
    x-alberto on

    Great tutorial thanks.
    As a note, if you are connecting from a windows PC that is registered on a domain, you will need to use raspberrypi\pi as username

  2. Avatar for Dave Binley
    Dave Binley on

    This is the third or fourth tutorial that I’ve followed, and they all get an A+. Thank you for your thoroughness!

  3. Avatar for pifan
    pifan on

    this is the best tutorial that i have seen around.

  4. Avatar for Keith Bancroft
    Keith Bancroft on

    Thank you so much for this website! Its been a great resource as i learn how to use, setup, and play with my pi. Your guides are pretty dang flawless. Again thank you!!!!

  5. Avatar for Joseph
    Joseph on

    Great tutorial, thank you!

  6. Avatar for PCTRS80
    PCTRS80 on

    On the Project page the description states that you can use SMB to also share printers as well as folders. Is that difficult to do if your able to get the SMB share working properly?

    My parents have an older USB printer that they would like to both access without passing a USB cable back the forth and I was looking at using a Pi to allow both of them to use the printer. It seems like a good idea to also hook up a 4TB external HD to give them some shared network storage. If i am able to accomplish both print and file share with single SMB implementation that seems like it would be better, just maybe not easier.

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on

      Hi PCTRS80,

      I highly recommend that you check out our Raspberry Pi Print Server tutorial as this will best implement the printer section of what you trying to achieve.

      For the drive itself you can just make use of Samba itself.


  7. Avatar for Steve
    Steve on

    Really important, I was burn by this for days.
    I mounted /dev/sda1 to /media/hd1 (hd1 a directory I made in /media
    But in smb.conf I had
    path = /media/hd1 #mounted HDD

    Do not put a # comment after the path name. It prevents the path name matching the actual path. So shares will show but windows can’t connect to them.
    cat /var/log/samba log.XXX XXXX = your connect device name or IP. will show unable to canonicalize …. error

  8. Avatar for XBVR
    XBVR on

    So I figured it out, I changed the path from drive path to mounted path:

    path = /media/pi/TorDrive
    create mask=0777
    directory mask=0777

  9. Avatar for XBVR
    XBVR on

    I used these articles below and I setup my usb flash drive:

    How do I have samba & my torrents point to the usb flash drive for storage?
    Do I need to change these directories below?
    sudo mkdir -p /media/NASHDD1/torrent-inprogress
    sudo mkdir -p /media/NASHDD1/torrent-complete

    And for the smb.conf I added the following below; is that correct?
    path = /dev/sda1
    create mask=0777
    directory mask=0777

    1. Avatar for XBVR
      XBVR on

      Figured this out as well by changing the path to /media/pi/TorDrive instead.
      sudo mkdir -p /media/NASHDD1/torrent-inprogress
      sudo mkdir -p /media/NASHDD1/torrent-complete
      sudo mkdir -p /media/pi/TorDrive/torrent-inprogress
      sudo mkdir -p /media/pi/TorDrive/torrent-complete

      Made all respective changes as well for the new path.

      The only thing remaining is speed downloading torrents is super slow but I suspect it’s my mounted Samsung EVO microsd drive instead of an actual flash drive or external hdd.

  10. Avatar for Tony Williams
    Tony Williams on

    Great tutorial.

    One thing you might want to add for Mac users.

    At the Mac command line `sudo /etc/hosts` and at the end of the file add the line: raspberrypi

    then you can use the hostname `raspberry pi` instead of the IP address. You can even use it to connect via SSH and VNC instead of the address.

    1. Avatar for miigon
      miigon on

      you can use `raspberrypi.local` without modifying hosts

  11. Avatar for Andrew
    Andrew on

    Is it somehow accessible by phone?

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on

      Hi Andrew,

      As long as your using something that supports the CIFS/SMB protocols then yes you should be able to access your Raspberry Pi SAMBA server using a phone.


  12. Avatar for Jesse
    Jesse on

    This is the first samba tutorial I’ve followed that actually works on Windows 10! Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Carl Martinez
      Carl Martinez on

      Same here! I tried at least 25 other recommendations to no avail.

  13. Avatar for Justin
    Justin on

    How does this guide change if the share folder is stored on an external drive?

    path = /home/pi/shared
    create mask=0777
    directory mask=0777

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on

      Hi Justin,

      You change the “path =” option to point towards your external drive.


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