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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

EncFS: An Encrypted Filesystem In User Space

EncFS: An Encrypted Filesystem In User Space

EncFS: an Encrypted Filesystem for FUSE

EncFS provides an encrypted filesystem in user-space. It runs in userspace, using the FUSE library for the filesystem interface. EncFS is open source software, licensed under the LGPL.

EncFS is now over 10 years old (first release in 2003). It was written because older NFS and kernel-based encrypted filesystems such as CFS had not kept pace with Linux development.

EncFS encrypts individual files, by translating all requests for the virtual EncFS filesystem into the equivalent encrypted operations on the raw filesystem.


Over the last 10 years, a number of good alternatives have grown up. Computing power has increased to the point where it is reasonable to encrypt the entire filesystem of personal computers (and even mobile phones!). On Linux, ecryptfs provides a nice dynamically mountable encrypted home directory.

EncFS has been dormant for a while. It is cleaning up in order to try and provide a better base for a version 2, but whether EncFS flowers again depends upon community interest. In order to make it easier for anyone to contribute, it is moving a new home on Github.

Unique Features

EncFS has a few features still not found anywhere else (as of Dec 2014) that may be interesting to you.

Reverse mode

encfs --reverse provides an encrypted view of an unencrypted folder. This enables encrypted remote backups using standard tools like rsync.

Fast on classical HDDs

EncFS is typically much faster than ecryptfs for stat()-heavy workloads when the backing device is a classical hard disk. This is because ecryptfs has to to read each file header to determine the file size - EncFS does not. This is one additional seek for each stat. See for detailed benchmarks on HDD, SSD and ramdisk.

Download EncFS


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