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OS X Server: Avoid spaces and long names in network home directory name and path

To provide service to all types of clients, the complete pathname of a network home directory must not exceed 89 characters. This affects Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and Network File System (NFS) home directories, for example.

If the absolute path from the client to the network home directory on the server contains more than 89 characters, certain types of clients cannot connect. For example, a client using automount with an LDAP-based AFP home directory may not be able to access its home directory.

To resolve or avoid the issue, be sure that the full path to the network home directory does not exceed 89 characters. The solidus or "slash" (/) counts as a character.

Spaces in the path

Mac OS X Server v10.5 and later support spaces in the full path unless Portable Home Directories are in use with mobile accounts. Mac OS X Server v10.4 and earlier do not support spaces in the full path.

For Mac OS X Server v10.6 or later

When Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard clients and servers are used exclusively, the path length limit is increased to 250 characters. If any clients or servers in use are running an earlier software version, the path limit for the earlier software version should be observed.

For Mac OS X Server v10.5.x

The mount path changes in Mac OS X Server v10.5, so you have more characters to work with than in earlier versions. The number of characters is calculated by adding these three items:

  • The length of the user's hostname (corresponds to "hostname.domain.dom" in example below)
  • The length of the absolute pathname of the home directory share point ("/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/")
  • The number 17 (for "/Network/Servers/")

This example absolute path is exactly 67 characters:
/Network/Servers/hostname.domain.dom/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/

For Mac OS X Server v10.3.5 through 10.4.x

The mount path in Mac OS X Server v10.3.5 through 10.4.x is shorter than in earlier versions, so you have more characters to work with (but still a maximum of 89). The number of characters is calculated by adding these three items:

  • The length of the user's hostname (corresponds to "hostname.domain.dom" in example below)
  • The length of the absolute pathname of the home directory share point ("/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/")
  • The number 25 (for "/private/Network/Servers/")

This example absolute path is exactly 75 characters:
/private/Network/Servers/hostname.domain.dom/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/

For Mac OS X Server v10.3 through 10.3.4

The number of characters is calculated by adding these three items:

  • The length of the user's hostname (corresponds to "hostname.domain.dom" in example below)
  • The length of the absolute pathname of the home directory share point ("/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/")
  • The number 39 (for "/private/var/automount/Network/Servers/")

This example absolute path is exactly 89 characters:
/private/var/automount/Network/Servers/hostname.domain.dom/Volumes/homeDirectories/share/

Last Modified: Jul 23, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Jul 23, 2013
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