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VMWare: What is NAT vs. Bridged vs. Host-Only?

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up vote 27 down vote accepted

Host-only only permits network operations with the Host OS.

NAT mode will mask all network activity as if it came from your Host OS, although the VM can access external resources.

Bridged mode replicates another node on the physical network and your VM will receive it's own IP address if DHCP is enabled in the network.

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will the VM receive it's own IP address in NAT or Host-only mode? – stevebot Dec 31 '10 at 0:38
It will receive an address, but not from the DHCP server. Likely in a completely different range, and not routable on the current LAN. You will see a virtual adapter on the host OS which will have an address in the same range. – John T Dec 31 '10 at 0:40
So if the IP is not from a DHCP server is it static? – stevebot Dec 31 '10 at 0:44
I see two vmnet adapters on my host machine (vmnet1 and vmnet8). Which one is my VM? – stevebot Dec 31 '10 at 0:55
Yeap, you got it. – John T Dec 31 '10 at 0:55

Same concept as the normal network setup :)

  • Host-Only: The VM will be assigned one IP, but it's only accessible by the box VM is running on. No other computers can access it.

  • NAT: Just like your home network with a wireless router, the VM will be assigned in a separate subnet, like is your host computer, and VM is, then your VM can access outside network like your host, but no outside access to your VM directly, it's protected.

  • Bridged: Your VM will be in the same network as your host, if your host IP is then your VM will be like It can be accessed by all computers in your host network.

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