System Administration Guide: Basic Administration

Home Directories

The home directory is the portion of a file system allocated to a user for storing private files. The amount of space you allocate for a home directory depends on the kinds of files the user creates, their size, and the number of files that are created.

A home directory can be located either on the user's local system or on a remote file server. In either case, by convention the home directory should be created as /export/home/username. For a large site, you should store home directories on a server. Use a separate file system for each /export/homen directory to facilitate backing up and restoring home directories. For example, /export/home1, /export/home2.

Regardless of where their home directory is located, users usually access their home directories through a mount point named /home/username. When AutoFS is used to mount home directories, you are not permitted to create any directories under the /home mount point on any system. The system recognizes the special status of /home when AutoFS is active. For more information about automounting home directories, see Task Overview for Autofs Administration in System Administration Guide: Network Services.

To use the home directory anywhere on the network, you should always refer to the home directory as $HOME, not as /export/home/username. The latter is machine-specific. In addition, any symbolic links created in a user's home directory should use relative paths (for example, ../../../x/y/x) so that the links are valid no matter where the home directory is mounted.