Fixing Vagrant VMs after a VirtualBox upgrade

I use virtual machines to split up my web development projects. This lets me have a small Linux server run inside my Mac, allowing me to match the operating system with what the code will run in on a public service, without going all the way to running Linux all the time. As I want an easy life when it comes to setting these up, I use Vagrant to make and manage the virtual machines within VirtualBox, which runs them for me.

Recently I set up an extra Vagrant virtual machine (VM) to hold two projects for a client and keep them separate from some of my own projects, as they needed particular settings within Linux and a different database server to run them than the settings and database for my own projects.

I used a Homestead VM, as I knew the settings were good. Homestead is made for Laravel PHP sites, but is perfectly valid for lots of other PHP projects. My client uses various versions of the Symfony framework, and they work fine within Homestead built boxes.

The new VM worked fine but the existing VM stopped working. I could start it, I could SSH into it, but I couldn’t get any websites from it to show in the browser. Which is a big problem, as that’s all it is there for.

After much faff and investigation, I discovered the problem is a bug in the current version of VirtualBox. I had updated it while setting up the new VM, but unlike previous upgrades, this caused a problem. VirtualBox needs VMs to use IP addresses within the 192.168.56.0/21 range or the “bridge” between MacOS and the virtual machine doesn’t work, so no web pages show.

The IP of the old Homestead box my own projects were in was 192.168.10.10, which was the default when I installed it. That used to work, but now does not. The new VM uses 192.168.56.4, which is within the allowed range, so it worked fine.

To fix the old VM:

I had to edit the Homestead.yaml file. At the top where it says:

ip: "192.168.10.10"

I changed it to:

ip: "192.168.56.10"

I then ran:

vagrant reload --provision

To get vagrant to reconfigure the existing Homestead box to use this changed IP address, without deleting anything inside the VM.

And finally I edited the entries in my hosts file (which is in /etc for me in MacOS) for the websites in the VM, changing their IP from 192.168.10.10 to 192.168.56.10

Once all that was done, the websites in the VM started working again.

This was a very, very frustrating problem. I spent a long time investigating what was happening inside the VM as I presumed that’s where the problem was, eventually stumbling on the solution after searching for wider and wider versions of the problem. Thanks to Tom Westrick whose post on Github got me to the solution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.