Hi, I'm Mike. I'm a web developer. This is my story.

Automounting With Virtualbox

While I work on learning Vagrant and Puppet I am using a manually built VM for development. I thought it would be cool to just mount a directory from my mac to the Ubuntu /var/www. This way I can set my /etc/hosts file on my mac to point a domain to my VM, set up a vhost on that VM, ssh into the VM, and work and preview remotely. Doesn’t sound too difficult right?


Virtualbox has an option to automount a share. Cool! Let’s see, should be easy. Select a machine, click settings, click shared folders, click the plus icon, and here’s what we get:

Shared Folder Options

Wat. Is that the path to the local folder or the guest? Who cares what it is called? I just want it to show up in a guest directory. So we save this and start up. Guess what? Nothing, because there was no option to specify the destination directory. Instead it gets mounted to /media/sf_{mount_name} on the guest disk. How the hell do I get it to show up in a directory of my choosing on the guest instead?

Ubuntu 13.10 Instructions

In Ubuntu, we’ve only made it half way. Here’s how to finish the job.

  1. Fill in the shared folder options with the path to the share on the host machine and give it a name. Save and restart.
  2. Symlink /media/sf_{mount_name} to /var/www assuming you want the destination mount to be /var/www
  3. Append the line vboxsf to /etc/modules so it is able to mount when you start up
  4. Append this line to /etc/fstab: {mount_name} /var/www vboxsf defaults 0 0 Be sure to copy the spaces exactly! The spaces are used to delimit options in fstab. I know, O_O.
  5. Add your user to the vboxsf group: sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf {username} so you can access the directory
  6. Add the apache user to the vboxsf group: sudo usermod -a vboxsf www-data so apache can serve the files
  7. Restart

Done! Now it should mount when we start up! Now why can’t I skip all this crap and just do it in the VirtualBox gui?

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