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How to connect to servers with Gnome file manager

Gnome’s file manager is one of the best in the Linux community. The reason? It’s easy to use, with a vast amount of features. One of the best features it has is its ability to connect to multiple server protocols, including FTP, SFTP, AFP, SMB, SSH, DAV, DAVS, etc.

Over the years, the way users connect to these protocols in the Gnome file manager has changed, because of re-designs. As a result, lots of Gnome users might not know how to access and connect to servers. So, in this guide, we’ll show you how to access remote servers with the Gnome file manager.

Connect to FTP/SFTP

The Gnome file manager (AKA Nautilus) supports a multitude of server protocols. One of the most well-supported protocols for this file manager is FTP/SFTP support.

Allowing users to connect over FTP (especially SFTP) through the Gnome file manager is critical since a lot of Linux users rely on this protocol to access, download and upload files to servers and desktops running Linux over SSH.

To access the FTP protocol in the Gnome file manager, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Open up a new Gnome file manager window. Then, locate the “Other Locations” button on the left-hand side of the app.

Step 2: Click on the “Other Locations” button to take the Nautilus file manager to my computer/networks/server connections page.

Step 3: On my computer/networks/server connections page, look for the text box that states “Connect to Server” and click on the text box.

Step 4: Write in ftp:// followed by the IP address or domain name of the remote FTP server you’re trying to connect to. Keep in mind that SFTP connections also use ftp://, not sftp://


Step 5: Add a “:” symbol at the end of the address, to specify the port to the remote FTP server. It should look like the example below.

Note: most FTP servers use port 21.


Step 6: Press the “connect” button to send out a connection over FTP/SFTP in the Gnome file manager.

Step 7: Fill out your FTP user/password and click the green “Connect” button to access the server. Or, choose “Anonymous,” if you do not have a user set up.

Connect to SMB (Samba)

Samba is the leading file transfer protocol for Linux, as it works excellent on local networks, and is compatible with all Linux distributions, as well as Android, Windows, macOS, and even iOS with special tools.

Due to Samba’s popularity, the Gnome file manager has some pretty excellent support for the protocol. If you need to make an outgoing connection to a file server running Samba, you’ll need to make use of the smb:// protocol.

To start, launch a new Gnome file manager window on your PC. After that, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to connect out.

Step 1: find the “Other Locations” button on the left-hand side of the Gnome file manager and click on the mouse.

Step 2: make your way to the “Connect to Server” text box and tap on it with the mouse.

Step 3: write out smb:// followed by the IP address of the Samba file server. Alternatively, write out the hostname of the file server, as that works as well. Confused? Copy the examples below.

ip address




Step 4: click on the “Connect” button to send out a new Samba connection. Assuming your file server has no user-name setup and is public, you’ll instantly see the files and be able to interact with the server.

However, if your server requires a username/password, you must fill out the username/password before using Samba.

More info on Samba

Can’t make a connection to your Samba server using the IP Address or Hostname? Check out the “Connect to other protocols” instructions below. Often, the Gnome file manager will detect and display Samba file servers for you to connect to!

Connect to NFS (Network File System)

Many Gnome file manager users utilize the NFS file system because it is extremely fast, especially over networks and the internet. If you’ve got an NFS server and you need to access it with this file manager, you’ll need to make use of the nfs:// protocol.

Note: connecting to NFS on the Gnome file manager sometimes doesn’t work right. If you have issues, consider following this guide to learn how to auto-mount NFS shares instead.

Step 1: Launch a new Gnome file manager window and click on the “Other Locations” button with the mouse.

Step 2: Make your way to the “Connect to Server” text box and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Write nfs:// into the text box. Then, fill out the IP address of the NFS server you’re trying to connect out to. It should look like the example below.


Step 4: Press the “Connect” button to send out a new connection over NFS.

Connect to other protocols via browsing

Along with supporting network protocols like smb, nfs, ftp, etc., the Gnome file manager has a “network” section. In this area, the file manager will do it’s best to look at other computers and devices on the network and display them if possible.

To use this feature, find the “Other Locations” button and click on it. Once there, look under the area that says “Networks.” In this area, you’ll see any LAN servers, such as Samba shares, NFS shares, and anything else that Gnome supports.

To connect to something listed in the “Networks” section and double-click!

View other supported protocols

Want to view some of the lesser-known network protocols that the Gnome file manager supports? Go to “Other Locations.” From there, click on the “?” button in “Connect to Server.” It’ll display all supported protocols.

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