Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Understanding networking types in hosted products (1006480)

  • 64 Ratings
Language Editions


This article describes the networking options available to virtual machines in VMware hosted products listed here:
  • VMware Workstation
  • VMware Workstation Player
  • VMware Fusion
  • VMware Player
  • VMware Ace
  • VMware Server
  • VMware GSX Server
Note: This article only provides a reference to networking types and does not offer troubleshooting or configuration steps.


There are three types of networking available to virtual machines. Each type has its own uses, behaviors and features:

Bridged networking

  • Used in environments where virtual machines provide services or participate in a real network.
  • Connects virtual machines to the Local Area Network (LAN) of their host machine, whether wired or wireless, and allows them to connect to any other host or virtual machines (if they are also bridged) on the network.
  • Connects the virtual network adapter in a virtual machine to the physical Ethernet adapter in its host machine.
  • You can establish additional virtual bridges to use in custom configurations that require connections to more than one physical Ethernet adapter on the host computer.
  • The default network adapter interface is vmnet0.

Host-only networking

  • Used in isolated test environments where virtual machines do not need to communicate with other environments.
  • Connects virtual machines to a private LAN shared only by their host machine and any other virtual machines also using host-only networking.
  • Other host machines on the host LAN cannot communicate with the virtual machines.
  • The default network adapter interface is vmnet1.

Network Address Translation (NAT) networking

  • Used in environments where virtual machines do not provide services but still need to access a network.
  • Connects virtual machines to an external network using the host machines IP address for external communication.
  • Connects virtual machines to the Internet through their host machines dial-up connection, Ethernet adapter or wireless Ethernet adapter.
  • Connects virtual machines to a non-Ethernet network, such as Token Ring or ATM.
  • Establishes a private LAN shared only by your host machine and any other virtual machines also using NAT networking.
  • Other host machines on the host LAN communicate with the virtual machines, however external host machines cannot initiate communication with virtual machines unless NAT port forwarding is also in use. NAT port forwarding causes network traffic destined for a port on a host machine to be forwarded to a specific port on a virtual machine.
  • The default network adapter interface is vmnet8.
For more information, see Common Networking Configurations.

Additional Information

For more information on changing or configuring a networking type, see the VMware Documentation manual for the hosted product and version in use.
Caution: Using the wrong networking type or configuration settings may result in undesirable behavior.


accessing-network connect-network reconfigure-networking network-connection virtual-machine-networking

See Also

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 64 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 64 Ratings