How to Access a VM Server from a Host Server

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How to Access VM Server from Host/PHOTO: Files

Virtual Machines (VMs) are like digital versions of real computers running inside your computer.

They let you use different operating systems or setups without needing extra physical machines.

For example, you could run a Windows VM on your Mac or a Linux VM on your Windows PC.

Why might you want to access a VM server from the host machine?

  • Manage Files: Sometimes, you need to move files between your host computer and the virtual machine.

Accessing the VM from the host makes transferring files back and forth easy.

  • Troubleshoot Issues: If something goes wrong with your virtual machine, accessing it from the host lets you fix the problem directly.

You can check settings, install updates, or restart services to get things working again.

  • Access Applications: Maybe you’re running a special program or server inside your VM.

Accessing it from the host lets you use that program or server without needing to switch between different computers or setups.

It’s like having all your tools in one place for easy access.

Understanding Network Modes

When you’re using software like VMware or VirtualBox to run virtual machines (VMs), you have different options for how they connect to each other and to your computer.

Let’s break down these options:

  • Not Attached Mode: This mode tells the VM that there’s a network card available, but it’s not connected to anything, like when you unplug an Ethernet cable.

It’s useful for testing or telling the VM that it can’t connect to the internet.

  • Network Address Translation (NAT): NAT mode acts as a go-between for the VM and the outside world.

It’s good for basic stuff like web browsing or email inside the VM. But it has some limits, especially with Windows file sharing.

  • NAT Network: This mode lets VMs connect to the outside world but keeps things private within the VM environment.

It’s handy for creating your own little network inside your computer.

  • Bridged Networking: Imagine this as a direct line from the VM to your home network.

It’s great for doing more complicated networking tasks, like running servers in a VM.

  • Internal Networking: With this mode, VMs can talk to each other but not to anything outside of your main computer.

This is like having a secret network just for your VMs.

  • Host-Only Networking: This creates a network that includes your main computer and its VMs, without needing to use your internet connection.

It’s like setting up a small network just for your VMs and your computer.

  • Generic Networking: This mode is flexible but not very common.

It lets you choose a network driver, but it’s a bit more technical.

Each mode has its own way of connecting VMs and affecting how they talk to your main computer.

Depending on what you’re doing, you can pick the mode that works best for you.

Accessing the VM Server

How to Access VM Server from Host
How to Access VM Server from Host (2)

Bridged Networking

To set up bridged networking for your VM, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Configure Bridged Networking: In your VM settings, choose bridged networking mode. This lets the VM behave as a unique device on your network.
  2. Find VM’s IP Address: Once your VM is up and running, you can find its IP address by checking your router’s connected devices list or using a network scanning tool.
    Access VM Services:
  3. SSH Access: For remote terminal access, use an SSH client like PuTTY and enter the VM’s IP address.
    Web Server: If you’re hosting a website, simply enter the VM’s IP address into your web browser to access it.

NAT Networking

When your VM is in NAT mode, it’s like it’s behind a router, which limits direct access.

Here’s how to work around it:

  1. Limitations: Direct access to VMs in NAT mode is restricted due to the network setup.
  2. Port Forwarding: You can set up port forwarding rules to allow access to specific services. For instance, you can forward port 8080 on your host to port 80 on your VM to access a web server.

Host-Only Networking

Host-only networking is about sharing resources between VMs on the same host.

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Purpose: Host-only networking allows VMs to communicate exclusively with each other and the host machine.
  2. Configuration: In your VM settings, select host-only networking mode to enable this setup.
  3. Find VM’s IP Address: After configuring, you can find the VM’s IP address by checking your host machine’s network settings or using network diagnostic tools.
  4. Access VM Services: Just like with bridged networking, you can access the VM’s services using its host-only IP address. For SSH access, use an SSH client with the IP address, and for web services, use a web browser with the IP address.

By following these steps, you can effectively configure and access your VM server using different networking modes.

Security Implications when Accessing VMs

When you’re accessing VMs, it’s important to think about security.

Especially if you’re using bridged or forwarded ports, there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. When you open ports or use forwarded connections, it can expose your VM to potential security risks. Hackers might try to access your system through these open doors. So, it’s crucial to make sure your VM is well protected with strong passwords and security measures.
  2. Each virtualization software might have its own specific setup and configuration steps for secure access. It’s a good idea to check the documentation provided by your virtualization software for detailed guidance on how to set up your VM securely.

Remember, keeping your VM safe is like locking the doors to your house.

You want to make sure only authorized users can get in, and that requires taking some extra steps to secure your setup.


Accessing a VM server from the host offers convenient file management, troubleshooting, and application access.

The choice of network mode, whether bridged, NAT, or host-only, determines how VMs interact with the host and each other.

Security is crucial, as open ports can expose VMs to potential risks.

Strong passwords and careful configuration are necessary to safeguard data and maintain the integrity of the virtual environment.


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