Jun 5, 2024 5 min read

Vagrant Glossary

Journey through the in-depth Vagrant Glossary to reveal crucial terms and clear definitions pertaining to virtualization, provisioning, and development environments.

Vagrant Glossary
Vagrant Glossary
Table of Contents


Step into the world of Vagrant, where the landscape of virtualization and development environments can seem like a maze without mastering key terms and concepts.

Embark on a journey through the Vagrant Glossary, unraveling essential definitions related to virtualization, provisioning, and development. Enhance your understanding effortlessly and expand your knowledge of Vagrant's capabilities.

Vagrant Terms


Ansible Provisioner: A Vagrant provisioner that uses the Ansible configuration management tool to provision the virtual machine.


Box: A format and extension (.box) for Vagrant environments that can be downloaded from Vagrant Cloud, copied between machines to replicate environments, and contain base images for operating systems.


Chef Apply: The Vagrant Chef Apply provisioner enables provisioning of the guest using Chef, specifically through Chef Apply. This method is well-suited for individuals already familiar with Chef and the broader Chef ecosystem.

Chef Client: The Vagrant Chef Client provisioner facilitates guest provisioning using Chef, by establishing a connection to an existing Chef Server and enrolling the Vagrant machine as a node in your infrastructure.

Chef Provisioner: A Vagrant provisioner that uses the Chef configuration management tool to provision the virtual machine.

Chef Solo: The Vagrant Chef Solo provisioner enables guest provisioning using Chef Solo. This method is well-suited for individuals with prior experience in Chef, possessing Chef cookbooks, or seeking to delve into Chef for the first time.

Chef Zero: The Vagrant Chef Zero provisioner facilitates guest provisioning using Chef Zero/local mode. This new provisioner offers a middle ground between running a full-fledged Chef Server and the limited capabilities of the Chef Solo provisioner. It operates an in-memory local Chef Server, simulating the validation and client key registration processes.

Configuration: The settings and parameters that define the behavior of a Vagrant environment, including machine settings, provisioners, and other customizations.


Destroy: A Vagrant command that removes the virtual machine and all associated resources.

Disposable Environments: The ability to quickly create and destroy virtual environments for experimentation, testing, or other temporary purposes.


Guest Machine: The virtual machine running on the virtualization platform. 


Halt: A Vagrant command that shuts down the virtual machine.

Host Machine: The physical machine running the virtualization platform.

Hyper-V: A Microsoft hypervisor-based virtualization system, which is also supported by Vagrant as a provider.

Hypervisor: The software layer that allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical host.


Instance: A virtual machine within the Vagrant environment, managed through Vagrant commands for tasks like suspending, resuming, reloading, shutting down, and destroying.


Machine: A virtual machine within a Vagrant environment, defined in the Vagrantfile.


Networking: Configuring network settings for the virtual machines, such as IP addresses, port forwarding, and private networks.


Plugins: Extensions for Vagrant that add new functionality, such as support for additional providers or provisioners.

Port Forwarding: The process of forwarding ports from the host machine to the guest machine, allowing access to services.

Private Network: A network that is not accessible from the outside world, used for communication between virtual machines.

Production Parity: The alignment between development and production environments, reducing the "works on my machine" problem.

Provider: Services used to set up and create virtual environments, with support for various virtualization software like VirtualBox, Hyper-V, and others.

Provisioner: Tools that customize the configuration of virtual environments, including support for configuration management systems like Chef, Ansible, Puppet, and others.

Provisioning: The process of setting up and configuring the virtual machine, including installing software, configuring services, and applying configuration management.

Provisioning Script: A script that is executed during the provisioning process to configure the virtual machine.

Public Network: A network that is accessible from the outside world, used for communication between virtual machines and the outside world.

Puppet Provisioner: A Vagrant provisioner that uses the Puppet configuration management tool to provision the virtual machine.


Reload: A Vagrant command that reloads the Vagrantfile and applies any changes to the virtual machine.

Reproducible Environments: The ability to create and share identical virtual environments, ensuring consistency across different development and deployment scenarios.

Resume: A Vagrant command that resumes a previously suspended virtual machine.


Salt Provisioner:  The Vagrant Salt provisioner enables guest provisioning using Salt states. Salt states are YAML documents that define the desired state of a machine, such as installed packages, running services, and the contents of specific files. Please note: The Salt provisioner is a built-in feature of Vagrant. If the vagrant-salt plugin is installed, it should be uninstalled to ensure the expected behavior.

Shell Provisioner: A Vagrant provisioner that allows running shell scripts to configure the virtual machine.

SSH: A Vagrant command that allows you to connect to the virtual machine via SSH.

Suspend: A Vagrant command that pauses the virtual machine, preserving its current state.

Synced Folders: A feature in Vagrant that allows sharing of files and directories between the host and guest machines.


Vagrant CLI: The command-line interface for managing Vagrant environments and executing Vagrant commands.

Vagrant Cloud: A platform for hosting and distributing Vagrant boxes, which are pre-configured virtual machine images.

Vagrant Environment: The complete set of virtual machines and associated configuration defined in a Vagrantfile.

Vagrant Workflow: The process of creating, managing, and distributing Vagrant environments.

Vagrantfile: Configuration file defining machine and software requirements, necessary steps to create a development-ready box, and customizations for virtual environments.

Vagrantfile Comment: A comment in the Vagrantfile that is ignored by Vagrant, used for documentation or notes.

Vagrantfile Function: A function defined in the Vagrantfile that can be used to encapsulate and reuse logic.

Vagrantfile Include: The ability to include other Vagrantfiles or files into a Vagrantfile, allowing for modular and reusable configurations.

Vagrantfile Load: The process of loading a Vagrantfile into memory, parsing its contents, and executing its configurations.

Vagrantfile Macro: A macro defined in the Vagrantfile that can be used to encapsulate and reuse logic, similar to functions.

Vagrantfile Require: The ability to require other Vagrantfiles or files into a Vagrantfile, ensuring that dependencies are met before execution.

Vagrantfile Syntax: The rules and structure for writing Vagrantfiles, including syntax for defining machines, provisioners, and other configurations.

Vagrantfile Syntax Error: An error in the Vagrantfile that prevents it from being parsed or executed correctly.

Vagrantfile Variable: A variable defined in the Vagrantfile that can be used to store and reuse values.

Virtualization: The process of creating a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, or network resource.

VirtualBox: An open-source virtualization software package developed by Oracle, which is one of the default providers supported by Vagrant.

Virtual Machine (VM): A software-based emulation of a physical computer, running its own operating system and applications.

Virtual Network Interface (VNI): A virtual network interface that allows communication between the host and guest machines.

Virtualization Platform: The software or hardware that provides the virtualization capabilities, such as VirtualBox or Hyper-V.

Guide to Install Vagrant

Ready to dive into using Vagrant? Ensure you have it installed correctly by following these detailed installation guides tailored to different distros.

With these installation guides, you'll be up and running with Vagrant in no time!

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