I believe my question was mistakenly closed and moved to SuperUser. The FAQ states that questions about

  • managing the hardware or software of servers, workstations, storage or networks

  • tools used for administering, monitoring, or automating these

  • deployment to and management of third-party provided information technology platforms

I am trying to run a web server in a VirtualBox instance that is only available to the host computer via the host interface while at the same time allowing it to piggyback on the host's internet connection be able to download OS updates etc.

To clarify, the question is about how to override the choice of default route by systemd in the guest OS. It is not about fiddling with VirtualBox settings.

I consider it highly unlikely that the problem can be solved by fiddling with VirtualBox settings, but, of course, I can't rule it out.

Server Fault is for questions about managing information technology systems in a business environment.


I fail to see how my question is more appropriate for SuperUser to which it has been relegated to die. This was done by an admin moderator¹ who thinks how to change to a directory, how to set an environment variable in a systemd service, how to install ImageMagick, and how to set a static IP address in OpenVPN, among others, were on-topic questions on ServerFault.

I believe a question about ensuring desired routing is correctly set up is just as topical here. I would like this action to be reversed.

¹: I mistakenly typed admin instead of moderator. Given that I am on a site for sysadmins, you can see how one might accidentally do that. However, that typo does not invalidate my reasoned argument that the migration was a mistake. I would hope the counter-arguments would be just as reasoned instead of boiling down to "moderators never make mistakes".

PS: Note VirtualBox on Arch.

  • Your question has been migrated to the place that can help you best with this. Why do you even question this?
    – Sven
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 6:44
  • 2
    "Why do you even question this?" ... First, that is more than a little bit patronizing. I question it because I have a brain and reasoning ability which tell me that system admins are supposed to be knowledgeable about overriding the default choices made by systemd on the guest host. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 10:00
  • 4
    Your question has been migrated by a moderator (not an admin) who currently has the second most reputation on our site and should know what is welcome here and what is not and most importantly, where you are most likely get the help you seek. So, I will ask again: Why do you question this? Honestly, you should thank him for taking the time to redirect you to a better spot.
    – Sven
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 10:14
  • 2
    The fact that I accidentally typed admin instead of moderator in my explanation does not invalidate my reasoned argument that migrating the question was a mistake and ServerFault not SuperUser was the a prior correct forum to pose the question. Your response boils down to "moderators never make mistakes, shut up" instead of providing a reasoned counter-argument. I will not participate in this any further. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 10:28
  • See my question on Unix/Linux.SE. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 13:20
  • 2
    It seems you accidentally typed forum when you meant Q&A site too.
    – user9517
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 21:03
  • @Iain While StackExchange sites are not internet or BBS forums, they are fora when one can seek answers to questions. See forum: "a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged". Keep in mind that the English language existed before phpbb. Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 15:21

4 Answers 4


While routing in itself would be topical here, and some VirtualBox questions could theoretically be topical, ServerFault doesn't really have a userbase that's knowledgeable about VirtualBox. In contrast, SuperUser has a much larger number of users knowledgeable about VirtualBox and how to make it work the way you want.

The point of the StackExchange group of sites is to help people find answers. By moving your question to the site that has the highest number of users knowledgeable in the area you're asking about, the moderators are doing their best to do just that.

  • 3
    Systemd cannot perform network operations that the underlying architecture does not allow. VirtualBox is, in my experience, not terribly flexible in what it allows the guest OS to do with its network interfaces - which is one of the reasons that it's got a limited user base here on ServerFault. If SuperUser cannot help you, perhaps a moderator at that place would be able to move the question to Unix/Linux instead - there are some extremely knowledgeable people there when it comes to systemd and other Linux internals.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 11:24
  • 1
    Also, my mention of how StackExchange works was not intended as a reflection on your familiarity with the sites. I do my best to write answers that will work not only for the original poster, but for anyone who comes later with a similar problem and finds that answer. I try to neither underestimate the intelligence nor overestimate the previous knowledge of the unknown persons who will at some point read the question and answer.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 11:26
  • I think that a super user do not is a sysadmin. If yo work with virtualboxes to create services, you are running a server, so is this the right place. Absolutely agree with the author of the question.
    – realtebo
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 21:07
  • 2
    @realtebo In my opinion, the right place for a question is the place where you can get a good response for it. Insisting on keeping the question on a site where the user base lacks the prerequisite knowledge and experience to answer it, merely because it is technically not off-topic, is not terribly productive. Also, "running a server" is not sufficient for ServerFault - there's a requirement of using "reasonable business information technology management practices". There is a majority view that VirtualBox doesn't fall in that category.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 6:33

I've been known to make mistakes before. It will probably even happen today. That said, I'm not going to discuss anything irrelevant to your migrated post, such as others' posts that you've linked to. If you're really interested in those, please post a new meta question.

Now on to your issue:

As others have mentioned, as a non-production-quality Type 2 "hypervisor", questions about VirtualBox are generally considered off-topic here.

The question is, is your question about VirtualBox?

You are trying to change the metrics of the multiple default routes assigned to your guest OS. But these were assigned to the guest by VirtualBox itself! Changing a VirtualBox setting seems to me like the most straightforward way to fix this to me.

It's certainly possible that you can work around VirtualBox's network settings within the guest. But if you ask about doing that, without mentioning that it is a VirtualBox guest, people are rightly going to point out that the networks it's in are doing things you don't want, and direct you to look at that aspect of the setup. So you're back to VirtualBox.

Having considered your question, it appeared to me that the most likely effective solution is to change VirtualBox guest or network settings, (or that VirtualBox is simply broken) not the guest OS configuration. Again, it's possible I'm mistaken. I made a whole bunch of mistakes yesterday and I am going to make some more today.

Finally, we get a large number of questions from people who are not sysadmins and not doing sysadmin work, who think that the site is here to ask sysadmins anything about their computers. Most of us can't stand it when people do that to us in real life, and we certainly don't want it here. So questions that look like someone is doing that are not going to be well received. When you ask a question here, you should make the business IT context as clear as possible.

  • 4
    You're being remarkably restrained here in the face of such whineyness. Nevertheless you seem a little tetchy - you need to go ride a bike. Pip pip !
    – user9517
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 21:01
  • @Iain Splendid idea! I think I shall do that just as soon as the bloody rain stops! Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 23:24

VirtualBox is generally considered to be a virtualisation platform only suitable for development and other non-production activities, therefore, in general, questions involving the specific foibles and oddities of that platform are considered off-topic for Server Fault.

  • That a reasonable argument. I thinks there is a little hole not covered: when a superuser is managing servers, he/she asks questions not welcome here, but asolutely ignored on superuser. Is just my opinion, of course.
    – realtebo
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 21:11
  • 4
    I'm sure asking a VirtualBox question on, say, english.se wouldn't go down well either, but that also doesn't make the question on-topic for Server Fault, either.
    – womble Mod
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 22:57

A decent way to solve the original issue was to configure the NAT interface using DHCP and use a static IP for the host only interface without a gateway setting. This fix was done completely in the guest OS with no involvement of VirtualBox settings.

This leads me to conclude that the question was mistakenly closed in haste due to a reflexive reaction by a moderator. This coupled the fact that this clique of moderators were unable to discuss this issue objectively without nitpicking and put-downs showed me that ServerFault is to be avoided.

Note that the question has received zero comments and answers on SuperUsers emphatically proving that the statement:

Your question has been migrated to the place that can help you best with this.

is false and I was right to challenge the attitude embodied in

Why do you even question this?

As for:

You're being remarkably restrained here in the face of such whineyness.

This is not whineyness. I pointed out a mistake so the moderator can learn from it. It seems doubtful that the set of people who responded with putdowns to my reasoned question are capable of learning from mistakes.


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