How can I share a folder between the host system (ubuntu 14.04) and an ubuntu lxc container?

I tried mounting the folder on the host:

sudo mount --bind /media/data/share /media/data/container/name/rootfs/share

but I can't see any files.

The same goes for:

sudo ln -s /media/data/share /media/data/container/name/rootfs/share

Do I need to change permissions for the share folder?

5 Answers 5


According to the LXC documentation you can do this via a privileged container:

lxc launch ubuntu priv -c security.privileged=true
lxc config device add priv homedir disk source=/home/$USER path=/home/ubuntu
  • Note that, that is the LXD documentation, not LXC. If you haven't installed LXD, then the lxc command won't work.
    – Sam Bull
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 17:50
  • @SamBull well, this is self-inflicted by the LXC/LXD team. LXC can be used to refer to liblxc (the underlying library) or to the LXD client (named lxd) as used in this answer or to LXC (the software and "old" toolset with the lxc-*-named tools) or to the project (where LXC is short for LinuX Containers). It's the reason I asked this question on the Unix.SE meta. Commented May 14, 2018 at 9:03
  • The above requires a privileged container, but for better security separation, you can instead use lxc config device ... shift=true and then, if you get the "isn't supported error", sudo snap set lxd shiftfs.enable=true && sudo systemctl reload snap.lxd.daemon and retry lxc config ....
    – bitinerant
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 22:18
  • @bitinerant Feel free to just submit an edit to my answer to make it correct, thanks! Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 18:54

I found an article in the openSUSE wiki: https://en.opensuse.org/User:Tsu2/LXC_mount_shared_directory

I followed the steps and it works now.

Create host directory:

mkdir /media/data/share && chmod 7777 /media/data/share

Create directory in lxc container:

mkdir /share

Edit lxc config file on host:

nano /var/lib/lxc/containername/config
lxc.mount.entry = /media/data/share share none ro,bind 0.0
  • Is there a reason behind defining that mount entry as read only? Is that a good security practice to avoid a container to write back data to a shared filesystem?.
    – jgomo3
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 19:48
  • 1
    Worked for me. Note that the relative path used for share in the lxc.mount.entry is critical.
    – HRJ
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 11:36
  • 2
    You don't need to create the mount point, if you add ',create=dir' after 'bind'. I've also removed the 'ro,' part, and it seems to be working just fine.
    – Sam Bull
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 18:06

Below is what I have done to mount one of my host directory to the container. This is trickier than it sounds because we would like to achieve

  • Inside the container we should be able to write to the directory.
  • Outside the container we should be able to write to the files and directories created inside the container.

After reading various articles online (the most helpful one is this github issue), here is how I solve this. The trick is to map the uid and gid of the host user to the uid and gid of the user inside the container.

Suppose I am going to mount /home/breakds/projects to the exact same location in the container. The outside directory is owned by the user breakds, whose uid and gid are 1000.

I then created an user in the container called debian, whose uid and gid happened to be 1000 as well (because it is the first non root user). I will then create an (lxc) profie on the host by

lxc profile edit breakds

And below is the content of the profile (I believe it is in yaml format):

name: breakds
    raw.lxc: |
        lxc.id_map =
        lxc.id_map = u 0 165536 999
        lxc.id_map = g 0 165536 999
        lxc.id_map = u 1000 1000 1
        lxc.id_map = g 1000 1000 1
        lxc.id_map = u 1001 166537 64535
        lxc.id_map = g 1001 166537 64535
    user.vendor-data: |
            - bash
description: allow home dir mounting for breakds
    name: eth0
    nictype: bridged
    parent: lxdbr0
    type: nic
    path: /home/breakds/projects
    source: /home/debian/projects
    type: disk

Then, apply this profile to that container permanently:

$ lxc profile apply <my container> breakds

This should do the trick.

NOTE: Please note that before switching to this profile, make sure that all direcotries or files whose owner/group is debian should be deleted (and probably recreated after the switch). This is because after the uid and gid mapping, their ownership will become invalid. I originally thought since I am just mapping 1000 to 1000 everything should be fine, but I think I missed something here and it would be great if some one can advice on how to resolve this without the hack.

  • But you can always chown from host.
    – iBug
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 4:34

You can also do this without LXD by editing the LXC config file directly:

# Container specific configuration
lxc.idmap = u 0 165536 1000
lxc.idmap = g 0 165536 1000
lxc.idmap = u 1000 1000 1
lxc.idmap = g 1000 1000 1
lxc.idmap = u 1001 166536 64535
lxc.idmap = g 1001 166536 64535

You also have to make sure that the container's user's account is given permission to map to uid/gid 1000 on the host by editing /etc/subuid and /etc/subgid:

  • what system processes/created /etc/subuid? Openwrt does not have that.
    – mcr
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 1:46
  • What is the path name of the LXC configuration file? Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 22:41

A more secure way, for an unprivileged container that has access to the host user's files (but not the root user). We create a map from host user to the default lxc user.

lxc launch ubuntu:22.04 mycontainer -c raw.idmap="both 1000 1000"

The first id is the host user's uid, which is usually 1000 unless there are multiple users are present in the computer. To check run id YOUR_USERNAME. The second id is the lxd default user ubuntu which is always 1000.

Now run

lxc config device add mycontainer mydiskname disk source=~/path/to/desired/folder path=/home/ubuntu/myfolder

mydiskname can be any name. The source path has to exist (and be accessible by the host user) and will be mirrored to path in the lxc.

To access the shell as the ubuntu user run

lxc exec mycontainer -- su -l ubuntu
  • Where is the raw.idmap configuration option documented? Commented Jan 15 at 7:54

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