28.10. File and Print Services for Microsoft® Windows® Clients (Samba)

Samba is a popular open source software package that provides file and print services using the SMB/CIFS protocol. This protocol is built into Microsoft® Windows® systems. It can be added to non-Microsoft® Windows® systems by installing the Samba client libraries. The protocol allows clients to access shared data and printers. These shares can be mapped as a local disk drive and shared printers can be used as if they were local printers.

On FreeBSD, the Samba client libraries can be installed using the net/samba-smbclient port or package. The client provides the ability for a FreeBSD system to access SMB/CIFS shares in a Microsoft® Windows® network.

A FreeBSD system can also be configured to act as a Samba server by installing the net/samba46 port or package. This allows the administrator to create SMB/CIFS shares on the FreeBSD system which can be accessed by clients running Microsoft® Windows® or the Samba client libraries.

28.10.1. Server Configuration

Samba is configured in /usr/local/etc/smb4.conf. This file must be created before Samba can be used.

A simple smb4.conf to share directories and printers with Windows® clients in a workgroup is shown here. For more complex setups involving LDAP or Active Directory, it is easier to use samba-tool(8) to create the initial smb4.conf.

workgroup = WORKGROUP
server string = Samba Server Version %v
netbios name = ExampleMachine
wins support = Yes
security = user
passdb backend = tdbsam

# Example: share /usr/src accessible only to 'developer' user
path = /usr/src
valid users = developer
writable  = yes
browsable = yes
read only = no
guest ok = no
public = no
create mask = 0666
directory mask = 0755 Global Settings

Settings that describe the network are added in /usr/local/etc/smb4.conf:


The name of the workgroup to be served.

netbios name

The NetBIOS name by which a Samba server is known. By default, it is the same as the first component of the host's DNS name.

server string

The string that will be displayed in the output of net view and some other networking tools that seek to display descriptive text about the server.

wins support

Whether Samba will act as a WINS server. Do not enable support for WINS on more than one server on the network. Security Settings

The most important settings in /usr/local/etc/smb4.conf are the security model and the backend password format. These directives control the options:


The most common settings are security = share and security = user. If the clients use usernames that are the same as their usernames on the FreeBSD machine, user level security should be used. This is the default security policy and it requires clients to first log on before they can access shared resources.

In share level security, clients do not need to log onto the server with a valid username and password before attempting to connect to a shared resource. This was the default security model for older versions of Samba.

passdb backend

Samba has several different backend authentication models. Clients may be authenticated with LDAP, NIS+, an SQL database, or a modified password file. The recommended authentication method, tdbsam, is ideal for simple networks and is covered here. For larger or more complex networks, ldapsam is recommended. smbpasswd was the former default and is now obsolete. Samba Users

FreeBSD user accounts must be mapped to the SambaSAMAccount database for Windows® clients to access the share. Map existing FreeBSD user accounts using pdbedit(8):

# pdbedit -a username

This section has only mentioned the most commonly used settings. Refer to the Official Samba HOWTO for additional information about the available configuration options.

28.10.2. Starting Samba

To enable Samba at boot time, add the following line to /etc/rc.conf:


To enable Samba4, use:


To start Samba now:

# service samba start
Starting SAMBA: removing stale tdbs :
Starting nmbd.
Starting smbd.

Samba consists of three separate daemons. Both the nmbd and smbd daemons are started by samba_enable. If winbind name resolution is also required, set:


Samba can be stopped at any time by typing:

# service samba stop

Samba is a complex software suite with functionality that allows broad integration with Microsoft® Windows® networks. For more information about functionality beyond the basic configuration described here, refer to http://www.samba.org.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.