SMB vs NFS : Which is Better in 2022?


Choosing between SMB and NFS can be difficult, but in the end, one will always come out on top. In this article, we will explore the benefits of both networking protocols and help you decide which is right for your business.

What is SMB?

SMB is a network protocol used for sharing files, printers, and other resources between computers. It stands for Server Message Block, and it is typically used in Windows environments. SMB is a client-server protocol, which means that a computer running the SMB client can access resources on an SMB server. The server can be located on the same machine as the client, or it can be located on a different machine. In order to access resources on an SMB server, the client must have the proper permissions. Once the connection is established, the client can browse the resources that are shared by the server. SMB is a versatile protocol that can be used in a variety of scenarios. For example, it can be used to share files between computers, or it can be used to allow remote users to access resources on a network. Additionally, SMB can be used to provide printer and device sharing services.

What is NFS?

NFS, or Network File System, is a protocol that allows for the sharing of files and directories across a network. NFS is most commonly used in Unix and Linux-based systems, although it can be used with other operating systems as well. When using NFS, each client has access to a remote filesystem as if it were locally mounted. This allows for easy sharing of files between users on different machines. One of the main benefits of NFS is that it is relatively easy to set up and use. In addition, NFS can be used in conjunction with other protocols, such as SSH, for added security. While NFS is a powerful tool, it does have some limitations. For example, NFS does not provide any encryption, so data should not be considered confidential when using this protocol. In addition, NFS can be slow when transferring large amounts of data. Overall, however, NFS is a useful tool for sharing files across a network.


SMB is generally faster than NFS, but it is less reliable. NFS is slower than SMB, but it is more reliable. For this reason, SMB is generally better for small files that need to be accessed quickly, while NFS is better for large files that need to be accessed reliably.

NFS can be configured to use UDP or TCP. UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is less reliable but faster, while TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is more reliable but slower. For this reason, UDP is generally better for small files that need to be accessed quickly, while TCP is better for large files that need to be accessed reliably.

Both protocols have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. If you need fast access to small files, then SMB is probably the best choice. If you need reliable access to large files, then NFS is probably the best choice.

SMB vs NFS: Pros of SMB Protocol

The SMB protocol is a widely used network file sharing protocol that allows for file and printer sharing between devices on a network. There are many advantages to using the SMB protocol, including the following:

  • SMB is a cross-platform protocol, which means that it can be used on devices running different operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • SMB is a robust protocol that is designed to be efficient and reliable.
  • SMB supports features such as file compression and encryption, which helps to improve security.
  • SMB is easy to set up and use, even for users with limited networking experience.

Overall, the SMB protocol is an excellent choice for businesses or individuals who need to share files over a network. It is cross-platform compatible, reliable, and secure, and it is also easy to use.

SMB vs NFS: Cons of SMB Protocol

The current standard for small and medium business networking is the SMB protocol. However, there are some potential disadvantages to using this protocol.

  • One downside is that SMB is a Microsoft-specific protocol, which means that it may not be compatible with non-Microsoft products. This can be an issue for businesses that use a mix of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products, or that may want to switch to a non-Microsoft product in the future.
  • Additionally, SMB can be less secure than other protocols, such as SFTP or SSH. This is because SMB relies on Windows authentication, which can be bypassed by attackers. As a result, businesses should weigh the pros and cons of using SMB before deciding whether or not it is the right protocol for their needs.

SMB vs NFS: Pros of NFS Protocol

  • One of the biggest benefits of NFS is its compatibility with a wide range of operating systems and devices. NFS can be used on everything from servers and desktop computers to laptops and smartphones.
  • Additionally, NFS provides a high level of security, with features like access control lists and data encryption.
  • Finally, NFS is highly scalable, making it ideal for large enterprise deployments. With these advantages, it’s no wonder that the NFS protocol is one of the most popular ways to share files over a network.

SMB vs NFS: Cons of NFS Protocol

While the NFS protocol has many benefits, it also has some notable drawbacks.

  • One of the biggest disadvantages is its lack of security. By its very nature, NFS is designed to be accessible over a network, which means that it is subject to all of the same security risks as other network protocols.
  • Additionally, NFS does not support file-level security, which means that all users who have access to an NFS share have equal permissions. As a result, sensitive data may be at risk if it is stored on an NFS server.
  • Another potential downside of NFS is its performance. In general, NFS is not as fast as other file-sharing protocols, such as SMB or AFP. This can be a major issue for businesses that rely on file sharing for critical applications.
  • Finally, NFS can be complex to configure and administer, especially in large network environments. For these reasons, businesses should carefully consider whether the benefits of NFS outweigh the risks before implementing this protocol.

Which protocol should you choose for your business?

With SMB, each user has their own password-protected account, which limits access to only the files that they’re allowed to see. NFS, on the other hand, uses a more “open” approach, allowing any user on the network to access any file that isn’t explicitly marked as private. This can be convenient if you want users to be able to easily share files with each other, but it’s not as secure as SMB.

Another difference between the two protocols is the way they handle file permissions. SMB uses a traditional permissions system, where each file has an owner and a group, and each group has various permissions that determine who can read, write, or execute the file. NFS takes a more simplified approach, where each file has an owner and a group, but all members of the group have the same permissions. This can be easier to manage in small businesses where there are only a few users and groups, but it can become more complicated as your business grows.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between SMB and NFS. It depends on your business’s needs and preferences. If security is a priority, then SMB is probably a better choice. If ease of use is more important, then NFS might be a better fit. Or you could even use both protocols side-by-side, depending on your particular needs.


When it comes to choosing a file-sharing protocol for your business, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. SMB and NFS are two of the most popular protocols, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to carefully consider your needs before making a decision. If you’re not sure which protocol is right for you, our team can help you make the right choice for your business.

Also Read: SMB vs AFP

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...