Kali inside Vagrant (Guest VM)

Table of Contents

Vagrant is, according to their website, “a tool for building and managing virtual machine environments in a single workflow.” This is all controlled through a single configuration file that has a large amount of configurations to tweak the virtual machine (VM) to your needs. We will look at what the default configuration file is doing, but much more than that is beyond the scope of this page.

System Setup

In order to properly use Vagrant we need two things. Vagrant itself, and a supported hyper-visor. The Kali Vagrant file supports two, VirtualBox and VMware.

We first will download Vagrant.

If we are on Windows, we will need to follow the previous link and download the proper version (open Settings then go to About, download amd64 if 64 bit or 686 if 32 bit). This will also work for macOS, simply download Vagrant and complete setup.

If we are on a Debian-based Linux system (like Kali Linux), we likely have the vagrant package available for download:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt search vagrant
Sorting... Done
Full Text Search... Done
vagrant/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling,now 2.2.19+dfsg-1 all [installed]
  Tool for building and distributing virtualized development environments

vagrant-cachier/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling 1.2.1-3.1 all
  share a common package cache among similar VM instances

vagrant-hostmanager/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling 1.8.9-1.1 all
  Vagrant plugin for managing /etc/hosts on guests and host

vagrant-libvirt/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling,now 0.8.0-1 all [installed,automatic]
  Vagrant plugin that adds an Libvirt provider to Vagrant

vagrant-lxc/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling 1.4.3-2 all
  Linux Containers provider for Vagrant

vagrant-mutate/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling 1.2.0-4.1 all
  convert vagrant boxes to work with different providers

vagrant-sshfs/kali-dev,kali-dev,kali-rolling,kali-rolling 1.3.6-1 all
  vagrant plugin that adds synced folder support with sshfs

Otherwise, we should follow the instructions on Vagrant’s download page.

We next need to download a hypervisor. For the purposes of this guide we will download the free VirtualBox. If we are on Windows or macOS we can click the respective download link and complete setup. Otherwise, we can look for our distribution on the Linux Hosts page. If we are using Kali Linux, there is already documentation we can follow.

Using Vagrant

Now that we have our hypervisor and Vagrant installed, we can pull our first configuration file.

We must be in a command line and create a new folder/directory that is empty. For this guide we will be using a Kali Linux host system, however the commands that start with vagrant will be the same no matter what host is being used:

kali@kali:~/vagrant$ vagrant init kalilinux/rolling
A `Vagrantfile` has been placed in this directory. You are now
ready to `vagrant up` your first virtual environment! Please read
the comments in the Vagrantfile as well as documentation on
`vagrantup.com` for more information on using Vagrant.

kali@kali:~/vagrant$ cat Vagrantfile | grep -v '#'

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|

  config.vm.box = "kalilinux/rolling"



We can see it is a very minimal configuration file, however this will start up a VM with the latest release of Kali Linux and take up approximately 10GB after being downloaded and started.

To start this machine, we will run the following command:

kali@kali:~/vagrant$ vagrant up
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'virtualbox' provider...
==> default: Box 'kalilinux/rolling' could not be found. Attempting to find and install...
    default: Box Provider: virtualbox
    default: Box Version: >= 0
==> default: Loading metadata for box 'kalilinux/rolling'
    default: URL: https://vagrantcloud.com/kalilinux/rolling
==> default: Adding box 'kalilinux/rolling' (v2024.2.1) for provider: virtualbox
    default: Downloading: https://vagrantcloud.com/kalilinux/boxes/rolling/versions/2024.2.1/providers/virtualbox.box
==> default: Successfully added box 'kalilinux/rolling' (v2024.2.1) for 'virtualbox'!
==> default: Machine booted and ready!
==> default: Checking for guest additions in VM...
==> default: Mounting shared folders...
    default: /vagrant => /home/morales/vagrant


kali@kali:~/vagrant$ vagrant ssh
Linux kali 5.16.0-kali7-amd64 #1 SMP PREEMPT Debian 5.16.18-1kali1 (2022-04-01) x86_64

The programs included with the Kali GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Kali GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
kali@kali:~$ exit


kali@kali:~/vagrant$ vagrant halt
==> default: Attempting graceful shutdown of VM...


If we want to tweak our configuration file we can do something like the following:

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "kalilinux/rolling"

  # Create a forwarded port
  config.vm.network "forwarded_port", guest: 80, host: 8080

  # Create a private network. In VirtualBox, this is a Host-Only network
  config.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""

  # VirtualBox specific settings
  config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |vb|
    # Hide the VirtualBox GUI when booting the machine
    vb.gui = false

    # Customize the amount of memory on the VM:
    vb.memory = "4096"

  # Provision the machine with a shell script
  config.vm.provision "shell", inline: <<-EOF
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install -y crowbar

Which we can then load into a running Vagrant instance by running the following command:

kali@kali:~$ vagrant reload

If we want to re-provision our VM, which normally only runs the first time the machine boots, we can do one of the following commands:

$ vagrant provision  # provision the powered on VM
$ vagrant up --provision  # when VM is powered off, power it on then provision
$ vagrant reload --provision  # reboot the VM then provision

There are a lot more configuration options that can be found in Vagrant’s docs.

Updated on: 2024-Jun-05
Author: gamb1t