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Mounting VirtualBox shared folders on Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)

Mounting VirtualBox shared folders on Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)

This guide will walk you through the steps on how to setup a VirtualBox shared folder inside your Ubuntu Server guest.

Prerequisites

This guide assumes that you are using the following setup:

You could still make this guide work with other setups (possibly with some modifications to the commands and whatnot). But if you want to do it the way I did then please feel free to use my setup above.

Initial Steps

  • Open VirtualBox

    screenshot

  • Right-click your VM, then click Settings

    screenshot

  • Go to Shared Folders section

    screenshot

  • Add a new shared folder

    screenshot

  • On Add Share prompt, select the Folder Path in your host that you want to be accessible inside your VM. Type shared for the Folder Name. Make sure that Read-only and Auto-mount are unchecked and Mount point is blank. Then click OK.

    screenshot

  • Start your VM

    screenshot

  • Once your VM is up and running, go to Devices -> Insert Guest Additions CD image

    screenshot

  • Use the following command to mount the CD

    sudo mkdir /media/cdrom
    sudo mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
    
  • Install dependencies for VirtualBox guest additions

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
    
  • Run the installation script for the guest additions. Wait until the installation completes.

    sudo /media/cdrom/./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
    
  • Reboot VM

    sudo shutdown -r now
    
  • Create shared directory in your home

    mkdir ~/shared
    
  • Mount the shared folder from the host to your ~/shared directory

    sudo mount -t vboxsf shared ~/shared
    
  • The host folder should now be accessible inside the VM.

    cd ~/shared
    

Make the mount folder persistent

This directory mount we just made is temporary and it will disappear on next reboot. To make this permanent, we'll set it so that it will mount our ~/shared directory on system startup

  • Edit fstab file in /etc directory

    sudo nano /etc/fstab
    
  • Add the following line to fstab (separated by tabs). Make sure to replace <username> with your username. Save the file.

    shared	/home/<username>/shared	vboxsf	defaults	0	0
    
  • Edit modules

    sudo nano /etc/modules
    
  • Add the following line to /etc/modules and save

    vboxsf
    
  • Reboot the VM and log-in again

    sudo shutdown -r now
    
  • Go to your home directory and check to see if the directory is highlighted in green.

    screenshot

If it is then congratulations! You successfully linked the directory within your VM with your host folder.

Bonus: Using shared folders as Apache root directory

How to point apache's web directory to our folder in the host.

  • Remove apache's old html directory (WARNING! Backup your data if necessary)
    sudo rm -rf /var/www/html	
    
  • Add a symbolic link in its place
    sudo ln -s ~/shared /var/www/html
    

Note: This setup works fine with Windows hosts. But if you are using Linux or Mac as the host then you may have to set appropriate file permissions on your host directory with chmod in order to make it work.

Still not working?

If you've followed the steps above and it still doesn't work, please let me know by posting a comment below. Please use the following format and be sure to be as detailed as possible so that I can have enough information to help you out.

VirtualBox version: <insert VirtualBox version here>
Host: <OS name> <version>
Guest: <OS name> <version>
Description: <detailed description of the problem>

Do note that I'm mostly a Windows user and I'm not that well versed with Linux but I will do my best to help you out.

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