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SSH between Mac OS X host and Virtual Box guest

On Mac OS (host):

Shutdown your VM and do:

VirtualBox > Settings > Network > Add (you will get vboxnet0)

On a terminal ifconfig will show you new interface vboxnet0

VM's Settings > System > check "Enable I/O APIC." VM's Settings > Network > Adapter 2 > host-only vboxnet0

On Ubuntu (guest):

Install OpenSSH Server

Edit /etc/network/interfaces file to append the following lines:

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet static

Run sudo ifup eth1 from the Ubuntu command line. SSH server should be up and running. Switch to your host terminal and enter ssh


awesome. Thanks for sharing o/

jchris commented Oct 19, 2014

worked for me also, thanks!

jbodah commented Nov 17, 2014

In case you can't find vboxnet0 try this:

VirtualBox > Preferences > Network > Host-only Networks > Add host-only network (lns)

sovanna commented Jun 3, 2015

thanks a lot !

chadb commented Sep 21, 2015

Thank you.

High Five

Nice one! Thumbs up ;)

Thanks for this info, it help it a lot^^,!

I had a initial problem where i still couldn't reach the vbox through

~ $ ssh
ssh: connect to host port 22: Connection refused

Then i checked the "ifconfig" again on the host (MacOSX) and found that vboxnet0's ip address was set to

    ether 0a:00:27:00:00:00
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast

I just updated the IP Address in the guest (Ubuntu) /etc/network/interfaces and it worked well.

Again thank you very much^^,

Thanks Bunch really helpful

Loving you so much right now. Got it working after half a day.

timea commented Feb 29, 2016

Yes, hug that man! Thanks.

Thank you!

Just one small thing to notice is that network adapter name on guest machine may not be always 'eth1'. You need to check the name and add that accordingly in place of 'eth1' which happened in my case.

Thank you!
A good tip.

Perfect simple and it works!

ma7rix commented Aug 10, 2016

nice, thanks

omG! VirtualBox Settings is hidden under Preferences (shortcut Command + " , "). Thanks

tungpham commented Sep 2, 2016

it's not always eth1, you can list out the interfaces with ifconfig -a

sg-s commented Sep 7, 2016

this isn't working for me... and i don't understand how you guys are getting ssh to work...isn't this the same as ssh localhost? When I do this, I can successfully ssh into my host, which isn't very useful.

Tears of joy! Damn it was really frustrating. For those of you who can't bring eth1 up, try ip link and check which adapter is missing from ifconfig, then update /etc/network/interfaces accordingly.

Thanks for gist, OP!

nachiket commented Nov 3, 2016

now if I could only get X working :)

rehnd commented Nov 15, 2016

I ended up losing my internet connection when doing this, so installing ssh would not work. To fix, I added a third network adapter:

(power off vm) > Settings > Network > Adapter 3 > Check enable > Attached to: NAT

I ended up losing my internet connection when doing this, so installing ssh would not work. To fix, I added a third network adapter:
(power off vm) > Settings > Network > Adapter 3 > Check enable > Attached to: NAT

Great! It's works! Thank you a lot!

I am getting permission denied when i try to log in. What password should i be trying? Thanks!

chao1995 commented Feb 7, 2017

If anyone else has the error cannot find device eth1, check your ifconfig output and see what is the name of the interface.

According to this answer, it may not always be eth1. And in my case (VirtualBox 5.1.14), the interface is named enp0s8.

So just follow the steps in the gist but replace eth1 with enp0s8. And I can ssh to my VM now!

great, it works.

I had considerable difficulty setting up.

This is what worked for me:
I followed the gist with @chao1995's suggestions.

In the VM:

$ ifconfig
lo        Link encap:Local Loopback 
enp0s8    Link encap:Ethernet ...

My etc/network/interfaces looks like this:

$ sudo nano etc/network/interfaces
GNU nano 2.5.3 
# Added this:
# Local Interface (for SSH)
auto enp0s8
iface enp0s8 inet static

To bring up the service, I ran:

$ sudo ifup enp0s8

In my host terminal:

$ ssh <username>@
Welcome to Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS ...


Troubleshooting Checklist

In VirtualBox Manager

  • Is Settings > Network > Adaptor 2 set to Host-Only Adaptor (vboxnet0)?
  • Is Settings > System > Enable I/O APIC checked?

In the VM

  • Is OpenSSH installed? ($ sudo apt-get install openssh-server)
  • Have you made the changes to /etc/network/interfaces, replacing eth1 with your interface name from ifconfig ?
  • Have you brought up the adaptor with $ sudo ifup <interface name>?

On your host

  • Have you determined the correct IP address to ssh into? (Runifconfig. Use the value of vboxnet0's inet field. If vboxnet0 is not available, review the section above In VirtualBox Manager)
  • Run ssh <username>@<ip address> and log in.

I hope that helps.
Good luck out there!

thanks man!

crsuarez commented Jun 23, 2017

For those who had issues configuring the interfaces, take in count, that is better to attach Adapter 1 as "host only adapter", and, same way, Adapter 2 as "NAT", so that, you won't have route problems. Normally, in production you setup the management interface in eth0, and left the others for other configurations. Virtualbox, support just 4 adapters, which is fine for testing.
For Centos 6.x, ifcfg-eth1 (configured in adapter as attached to NAT).

#] cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1

I forked this one, and add some other info, that you might find useful tho.

I needed to setup up port forwarding to make this work. ssh username@localhost -p 2281 worked for me!

What if no option for adding HOST-ONLY adapter is available in network config? It only allows me to add NAT adapter...

@MichalKrakow File => Host Network Manager => Create.

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