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I have virtual box installed on a laptop and am confused by the various networking option. I would like

  • Whether the host is connected to a network or working standalone
    • Connect using SSH, HTTP between guests and between host and guest (ideally both ways)
    • When host is connected to a network then the guests can access the internet via SSH and HTTP

Which option would suit me best for this.

One approach might be to point me to an alternative description of the various network modes, possibly including diagrams.

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VirtualBox (4.0) has 4 types of network avalible:

  • NAT (Network Attatched Translation). This is the default setting which guest machines typically only access out (i.e. the internet).
  • Bridged Addaptor. This means the Virtual Machine uses the host machines network card. It acts like any normal other machines on the virtual network, will get an IP from the network DHCP server, and can be port-forwared to for services such as Web servers. This is probably what you want.
  • Internal. This is a internal network that only Virtual Machines on one host can access. This is probably used most for local dev and internal server networks.
  • Finally, Host-Only. This is a local network with all Virtual Machines attatched to the host machine, including the host machines itself. This is a seprate network driver installed along with VirtualBox.

For more detailed information, check out "Chapter 6: Virtual Networking" of the VirtualBox Manual.

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if you're in wireless, or bridged dosen't work use NAT. ele use bridged. – Journeyman Geek Aug 31 '11 at 10:11
My guests use Bridged over a wireless card. Also, emphisis added to answer. – tombull89 Aug 31 '11 at 10:12
that's odd, i'm quite sure its never worked with wireless. I need to give it a poke in a bit – Journeyman Geek Aug 31 '11 at 10:15
@Journeyman: Bridged "works" with wireless in the sense that you can access the network... But it results in a big mess, as all VMs will appear to have the host's MAC address. It's possible to make it work nicely, though (if you control the AP). – grawity Aug 31 '11 at 10:41
@grawity doesn't happen to me. I can view my AP's DHCP listings and it shows my laptop on one IP and MAC and the guest on a different IP and (vastly) different MAC. I am on Windows 7/XP though. – tombull89 Aug 31 '11 at 11:07

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