My main machine at home is a Windows 7 box. It’s great for gaming and other media consumption, but I can’t stand the ecosystem for dev work. I’m more comfortable with the Unix side of things. So I’ve usually resorted to dual booting or using the Macbook. I go in spurts though, and if I go a few weeks without touching the Linux side of things I feel like I’ve let the OS down. Like an unmowed lawn. If I switch to a VirtualBox, I thought, maybe I’ll hop back and forth between the two operating systems enough to maintain each of them properly.

I installed Arch using some default VBox settings and it worked great. I configured it to my liking: unixporn style with bspwm and urxvt and nothing else. I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about memory issues if I never installed a browser or anything like that. That was the whole idea behind the virtual machine.

Then I hit a roadblock.

I cloned a jekyll project to start working on it, but I didn’t know how to serve it. I typed jekyll serve as usual, but instead of seeing a friendly LAN IP address, I see I tried typing that in my browser on Windows without any hope and sure enough, no jekyll site.

So, how can I connect to my guest machine?

The answer was bridged mode, but it didn’t work right away, or so I thought. First, make sure the host machine is using a static IP. Then, With the virtual machine powered off, open up it’s settings and go to the Network tab. There should only be one adapter enabled. Attach it to the Bridged Adapter and make sure Promiscuous Mode in the Advanced section is set to Allow All. Save the settings and then start the virtual machine.

At the time of writing, Arch is using netctl to control networking. Since this is a virtual machine, we can pretend that it is using a wired connection (just like my host machine, but I don’t think that’s important…). Arch comes with a few example netctl profiles located at /etc/netctl/example. Copy a profile and then begin editing, using the following code as an example. The interface can be found using ip addr and the gateway IP is the router’s address.

$ cp /etc/netctl/example/ethernet-static /etc/netctl/
$ vim !$

# example file
Description="Basic static ethernet connection"

$ netctl enable ethernet-static
$ netctl start ethernet-static

The last two commands start up the connection. You should be able to ping outside websites (e.g. as well as the router or other machines on the local network. Or at least I could. So I served the jekyll site on the Arch box and loaded up in a browser on Windows and I still got nothing!

I went on a wild goose chase looking for my problems:

That last one might is important, but I had already done it. The real issue was with Jekyll the whole time! Here is the magic command line flag that allows cross networking:

jekyl serve -H

I don’t know if the address is important or not, but I got it working so I’m not touching it. The yak is thoroughly shaved but I haven’t gotten any work done on my Jekyll project. Hopefully this helps in the future though!