Whether you just bought yourself a copy of VMware Fusion (for your Mac), Workstation (for Windows or linux) or are using Player, Ace, or even the old VMware Server product, you’ll be soon setting up your first virtual machine. Your new vm is going to want to talk to the outside world just like your physical machine, so it’s a good idea to understand some basic options available to you to ensure your new vm works right out of the box.
There are three types of networking available to virtual machines. Each type has its own uses, behaviors and features. They are as follows:
- Bridged networking
- Host-only networking
- Network Address Translation (NAT) networking
Using the wrong networking type or configuration settings may result in undesirable behavior, and frustration on your part, so lets understand these three variations and what they mean to you.
Bridged networking connects a virtual machine to a network using the host computer’s Ethernet adapter. If your host computer is on an Ethernet network ,this is often the easiest way to give your virtual machine access to that network. If you use bridged networking, your vm is a full participant in the network. It has access to other machines on the network and can be contacted by other machines on the network as if it were a physical computer on the network. This is a frequently used option.
Host-only networking creates a network that is completely contained within the host computer. Host-only networking provides a network connection between the virtual machine and the host computer. In this setup, your vm will not have access to the outside world, only the physical machine your are running it on. This approach can be useful if you need to set up an isolated virtual network.
Network Address Translation, or NAT for short, gives your virtual machine access to network resources using the host computer’s IP address. How is this different than bridged you ask? If you use NAT, your virtual machine does not have its own IP address on the external network. Instead, a separate private network is set up on the host computer. This method might be best if your virtual machines do not provide services but still need to access a network. So, your not running a web or print server, or doing file sharing, and so forth.
For further details on the differences and which is right for you, refer to KB article: Understanding networking types in hosted products (1006480)
Once you have an idea of which method you need for your virtual machine, we have a video which shows you how to use the Virtual Network Editor.