Low Orbit Flux Logo 2 F



Vagrant is a nice tool for automating the set-up of development environments on virtual machines or containers.

Vagrant vs Terraform

While Vagrant and Terraform are both created by Hashicorp they are different tools. Vagrant is geared towards setting up virtual machines on a developers workstation so they can develop and test things out. It includes some higher level, nice to have features that are out of scope for Terraform ( Synced folders, HTTP tunnelling, automatic networking ). Terraform is more geared towards provisioning infrastructure across a large number of remote machines.

Quick Start

The following will create an Ubuntu VM in Virtual Box, start it up, ssh to it, and then destroy it.

vagrant init hashicorp/bionic64   # create config
vagrant up                        # create/start VM
vagrant ssh                       # SSH Connection
exit                              # exit ...
vagrant destroy                   # destroy

Download and Install Vagrant

Download an installer for your OS: Vagrant Downloads

Downloading from from the official Vagrant site is recommended over using your system’s package manager.

Setting Up A Project

You will generally create a directory to hold your Vagrantfile and any other files related to the project that the VM will be used for. By default, this project directory will be mounted on the VM at /vagrant to facilitate the sharing of files between the guest and host.


Create a Vagrantfile:

mkdir my-project
cd my-project
vagrant init hashicorp/bionic64


Boxes are base images that can be cloned. These are the images from which our VMs are built. They are pulled down automatically if they aren’t there already when you run “vagrant up” so you may not even need to worry about adding them or configuring them.

You can find boxes here: Boxes from Vagrant You can make your own boxes but this is a bit tedious. Learn more HERE.

NOTE - Destroying a VM won’t remove the box that it was created from.

Add a box so it can be used:

vagrant box add hashicorp/bionic64   # Add a box
vagrant box remove                   # Remove an actual box file
vagrant box list                     # List installed boxes

Here is how a box is defined in your Vagrantfile:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"

Specific version:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"
  config.vm.box_version = "1.1.0"

Specific URL:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"
  config.vm.box_url = "https://vagrantcloud.com/hashicorp/bionic64"

Vagrant Shared Dirs


Optional, you can configure a custom shared folder. The source can be relative to the project root or it can be absolute.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.synced_folder "src/", "/var/www"

Setup Scripts

You can run a script when a VM is created.

Create a script, for example, this one taken form the official Vagrant site:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

apt-get update
apt-get install -y apache2
if ! [ -L /var/www ]; then
  rm -rf /var/www
  ln -fs /vagrant /var/www

Specify the script in the Vagrantfile:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"
  config.vm.provision :shell, path: "my-setup.sh"

This is executed when you run “vagrant up”. If it is already running, you can re-provision it with the following command which will also reboot your VM:

vagrant reload --provision

Setup Port Forwarding

You can easily setup port forwarding in your Vagrantfile.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"
  config.vm.provision :shell, path: "my-setup.sh"
  config.vm.network :forwarded_port, guest: 80, host: 4567

Create the vm with “vagrant up” or if it is already running use “vagrant reload”:

vagrant reload

Now the webserver will be reachable at:

Share your exposed web port to anyone with an internet connection. This will output a URL that can be shared.

vagrant share


Suspend the virtual machine saving RAM contents to disk. This is really fast and saves your VM’s state.

vagrant suspend

Halt the machine to shut it down gracefully so that it can be started back up later.

vagrant halt

Destroying the VM will remove all traces of it. This will require more time if you want to bring it back up because you will need to re-provision it.

vagrant destroy

Vagrant Networking

For more information see here: Vagrant Private Networks

Port forwarding can be configured like this:

  config.vm.network "forwarded_port", guest: 80, host: 8080

YOu can do this with TCP and UDP:

  config.vm.network "forwarded_port", guest: 2001, host: 12005, protocol: "tcp"
  config.vm.network "forwarded_port", guest: 2001, host: 12005, protocol: "udp"

Auto correct can be used in case you have a port collision with another VM. It will detect if a port is in use before letting you forward it.

  config.vm.network "forwarded_port", guest: 80, host: 8080,
    auto_correct: true

Configure the port range that can be used for auto correct:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.usable_port_range = 8000..8999

Private network with DHCP:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.network "private_network", type: "dhcp"

Private network with static IP:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""

Vagrant Commands

If you just type vagrant you will be prompted with a list of commands and their description. You can find these in this table:

box manages boxes: installation, removal, etc.
cloud manages everything related to Vagrant Cloud
destroy stops and deletes all traces of the vagrant machine
global-status outputs status Vagrant environments for this user
halt stops the vagrant machine
help shows the help for a subcommand
init initializes a new Vagrant environment by creating a Vagrantfile
package packages a running vagrant environment into a box
plugin manages plugins: install, uninstall, update, etc.
port displays information about guest port mappings
powershell connects to machine via powershell remoting
provision provisions the vagrant machine
push deploys code in this environment to a configured destination
rdp connects to machine via RDP
reload restarts vagrant machine, loads new Vagrantfile configuration
resume resume a suspended vagrant machine
snapshot manages snapshots: saving, restoring, etc.
ssh connects to machine via SSH
ssh-config outputs OpenSSH valid configuration to connect to the machine
status outputs status of the vagrant machine
suspend suspends the machine
up starts and provisions the vagrant environment
upload upload to machine via communicator
validate validates the Vagrantfile
version prints current and latest Vagrant version
winrm executes commands on a machine via WinRM


Vagrant Official Site