CIFS vs NFS – Know the Difference Here!


CIFS & NFS are basically protocols used for enabling remote communication system. Let us see what both exactly stands for before drawing a comparison of  CIFS vs NFS.

What is CIFS?

CIFS is an abbreviation for “Common Internet File System” used by Windows operating systems for file sharing. CIFS also uses the client-server methodology where A client makes a request of a server program for accessing a file. The server takes the requested action and returns a response. CIFS is an open standard version of the Server Message Block Protocol (SMB) developed and used by Microsoft and it uses the TCP/IP protocol.

Related – CIFS Protocol

What is NFS?

NFS is the “Network File System” specifically used for Unix and Linux operating systems. It allows files communication transparently between servers and end-users machines like desktops & laptops. NFS uses a client-server methodology to allow the user to view read and write files on a computer system. A user can mount all or a portion of a file system via NFS.

CIFS vs NFS – Difference :

CIFS and NFS are the primary file systems used in NAS storage. A file system can be exported over both the CIFS and NFS protocols.

Both the CIFS and NFS protocol can be set with reading and write permissions. CIFS tends to be a bit more “chatty” in its communications. While both use the client/server programming model for communication, CIFS and NFS differ in following enlisted ways –

Comparison Table –

Full form
Common Internet File System
Network File System
Port numbers/protocol
UDP ports 137 and 138 and TCP ports 139 and 445.
NFS server - Port 111 (TCP and UDP) 2049 (TCP and UDP).
Cluster and client status (Port 1110 TCP and 1110 UDP)
NFS lock manager (Port 4045 TCP and UDP).
Chatty in communications.
Less chatty than CIFS
If most of your clients are Windows based, go with CIFS
If most of your clients are non-Windows based like LINUX etc. , NFS is the preferred method
Session requirement

More secured than NFS. Provides some security features
Not a secure protocol
Low scalability
Highly scalable
Communication speed
Complex implementation compared to NFS
Easy to setup

Download the difference table here.


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Watch this video to know more about NFS vs CIFS –


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