QEMU Networking

Networking Modes

Most hypervisors have the following default networking options and modes:

  • NAT: hypervisor acts as a router to the guest machine which gets an IP address from the DHCP server integrated into the hypervisor. When the guest machine connects to the internet, the hypervisor does the NATing to translate the IP addresses for the guest VM to be able to access the internet.
  • Bridged: hypervisor uses the host network driver directly, i.e. it injects traffic from the guest machine directly to the host machine network driver. This is useful when wanting the guest VMs to appear as they were physically connected to the network, or when using a packet sniffer like Wireshark to check guest VM’s packets.
  • Host-Only: a software interface is created on the host machine that can be used to see the guest virtual machines, but the VMs themselves cannot connect to the outside world (one-way direction).
  • Internal: the guest VM can talk between themselves, but cannot talk to the world outside the host. Useful when needing to isolate a guest machine.

Simpler representation of the difference between each mode:

Do the VMs see the devices in the LAN?yynn
Do the LAN devices see the VMs?nynn
Do the VMs see themselves?nyyy
Can VMs connect to the Internet?yynn
Can host connect to the VMs?nyyn


QEMU/KVM uses slightly different names but the same effect can be achieve.


See PenTest Home Lab Environement with QEMU/KVM