See the following flowchart to choose the best network for you:

  connect_to_vm_via{"Connect to the VM via"} -- "localhost" --> default["Default"]
  connect_to_vm_via -- "IP" --> connect_from{"Connect to the VM IP from"}
  connect_from -- "Host" --> vm{"VM type"}
  vm -- "vz" --> vzNAT["vzNAT"]
  vm -- "qemu" --> shared["socket_vmnet (shared)"]
  connect_from -- "Other VMs" --> userV2["user-v2"]
  connect_from -- "Other hosts" --> bridged["socket_vmnet (bridged)"]

Default user-mode network (

By default Lima only enables the user-mode networking aka “slirp”.

Guest IP (

The guest IP address is set to

This IP address is not accessible from the host by design.

Use VMNet (see below) to allow accessing the guest IP from the host and other guests.

Host IP (

The loopback addresses of the host is and is accessible from the guest as host.lima.internal.


The DNS.

If useHostResolver in lima.yaml is true, then the hostagent is going to run a DNS server over tcp and udp - each on a separate randomly selected free port. This server does a local lookup using the native host resolver, so it will deal correctly with VPN configurations and split-DNS setups, as well as mDNS, local /etc/hosts etc. For this the hostagent has to be compiled with CGO_ENABLED=1 as default Go resolver is broken.

These tcp and udp ports are then forwarded via iptables rules to, overriding the DNS provided by QEMU via slirp.

Currently following request types are supported:

  • A
  • AAAA
  • TXT
  • NS
  • MX
  • SRV

For all other queries hostagent will redirect the query to the nameservers specified in /etc/resolv.conf (or, if that fails - to and

DNS over tcp is rarely used. It is usually only used either when user explicitly requires it, or when request+response can’t fit into a single UDP packet (most likely in case of DNSSEC), or in the case of certain management operations such as domain transfers. Neither DNSSEC nor management operations are currently supported by a hostagent, but on the off chance that the response may contain an unusually long list of records - hostagent will also listen for the tcp traffic.

During initial cloud-init bootstrap, iptables may not yet be installed. In that case the repo server is determined using the slirp DNS. After iptables has been installed, the forwarding rule is applied, switching over to the hostagent DNS.

If useHostResolver is false, then DNS servers can be configured manually in lima.yaml via the dns setting. If that list is empty, then Lima will either use the slirp DNS (on Linux), or the nameservers from the first host interface in service order that has an assigned IPv4 address (on macOS).

VMNet networks

VMNet assigns a “real” IP address that is reachable from the host.

The configuration steps are different for each network type:


Managed (

socket_vmnet is required for adding another guest IP that is accessible from the host and other guests.

# Install socket_vmnet
brew install socket_vmnet

# Set up the sudoers file for launching socket_vmnet from Lima
limactl sudoers >etc_sudoers.d_lima
sudo install -o root etc_sudoers.d_lima /etc/sudoers.d/lima


Lima before v0.12 used vde_vmnet for managing the networks. vde_vmnet is still supported but it is deprecated and no longer documented here.

The networks are defined in $LIMA_HOME/_config/networks.yaml. If this file doesn’t already exist, it will be created with these default settings:


# Path to socket_vmnet executable. Because socket_vmnet is invoked via sudo it should be
# installed where only root can modify/replace it. This means also none of the
# parent directories should be writable by the user.
# The varRun directory also must not be writable by the user because it will
# include the socket_vmnet pid file. Those will be terminated via sudo, so replacing
# the pid file would allow killing of arbitrary privileged processes. varRun
# however MUST be writable by the daemon user.
# None of the paths segments may be symlinks, why it has to be /private/var
# instead of /var etc.
# socketVMNet requires Lima >= 0.12 .
# socketVMNet has precedence over vdeVMNet.
  socketVMNet: /opt/socket_vmnet/bin/socket_vmnet
# vdeSwitch and vdeVMNet are DEPRECATED.
  vdeSwitch: /opt/vde/bin/vde_switch
  vdeVMNet: /opt/vde/bin/vde_vmnet
  varRun: /private/var/run/lima
  sudoers: /private/etc/sudoers.d/lima

group: everyone

    mode: shared
    mode: bridged
    interface: en0
    # bridged mode doesn't have a gateway; dhcp is managed by outside network
    mode: host

Instances can then reference these networks:

limactl start --network=lima:shared
  # Lima can manage the socket_vmnet daemon for networks defined in $LIMA_HOME/_config/networks.yaml automatically.
  # The socket_vmnet binary must be installed into a secure location only alterable by the admin.
  # The same applies to vde_switch and vde_vmnet for the deprecated VDE mode.
  # - lima: shared
  #   # MAC address of the instance; lima will pick one based on the instance name,
  #   # so DHCP assigned ip addresses should remain constant over instance restarts.
  #   macAddress: ""
  #   # Interface name, defaults to "lima0", "lima1", etc.
  #   interface: ""

The network daemon is started automatically when the first instance referencing them is started, and will stop automatically once the last instance has stopped. Daemon logs will be stored in the $LIMA_HOME/_networks directory.

The IP address is automatically assigned by macOS’s bootpd. If the IP address is not assigned, try the following commands:

sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --add /usr/libexec/bootpd
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --unblock /usr/libexec/bootpd


  # Lima can also connect to "unmanaged" networks addressed by "socket". This
  # means that the daemons will not be controlled by Lima, but must be started
  # before the instance.  The interface type (host, shared, or bridged) is
  # configured in socket_vmnet and not in lima.
  # - socket: "/var/run/socket_vmnet"


Warning “vz” mode is experimental

⚡ RequirementLima >= 0.14, macOS >= 13.0

For VZ instances, the “vzNAT” network can be configured as follows:

limactl start --vm-type=vz --network=vzNAT
- vzNAT: true

The range of the IP address is not specifiable.

The “vzNAT” network does not need the socket_vmnet binary and the sudoers file.

Lima user-v2 network

⚡ RequirementLima >= 0.16.0

user-v2 network provides a user-mode networking similar to the default user-mode network and also provides support for vm -> vm communication.

Warning This network mode is experimental

To enable this network mode, define a network with mode: user-v2 in networks.yaml

    mode: user-v2

Instances can then reference these networks from their lima.yaml file:

limactl start --network=lima:example-user-v2
   - lima: example-user-v2


  • Enabling this network will disable the default user-mode network
  • Subnet used for this network is with used for host connection and used for DNS resolution
Last modified October 1, 2023: docs: socketfilterfw needs sudo (b0b9486)