Alright, so we have a virtual machine running a basic copy of Ubuntu and we can edit files from our machine and have them synced into the virtual machine. Let us now serve those files using a webserver.

We could just SSH in and install a webserver and be on our way, but then every person who used Vagrant would have to do the same thing. Instead, Vagrant has built-in support for automated provisioning. Using this feature, Vagrant will automatically install software when you vagrant up so that the guest machine can be repeatably created and ready-to-use.

»Installing Apache

We will just setup Apache for our basic project, and we will do so using a shell script. First, we need to add some html content which will be served by the Apache webserver. This will act as our DocumentRoot folder. To do this create a subdirectory named html in the project root directory. In the html directory create a html file named index.html. For example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <h1>Getting started with Vagrant!</h1>

The script below will symlink our shared folder /vagrant so that apache serves the html folder when accessing the root page locally. Now, create the following shell script and save it as bootstrap.sh in the same directory as your Vagrantfile:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

apt-get update
apt-get install -y apache2
if ! [ -L /var/www ]; then
  rm -rf /var/www
  ln -fs /vagrant /var/www

Next, we configure Vagrant to run this shell script when setting up our machine. We do this by editing the Vagrantfile, which should now look like this:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/bionic64"
  config.vm.provision :shell, path: "bootstrap.sh"

The "provision" line is new, and tells Vagrant to use the shell provisioner to setup the machine, with the bootstrap.sh file. The file path is relative to the location of the project root (where the Vagrantfile is).


After everything is configured, just run vagrant up to create your machine and Vagrant will automatically provision it. You should see the output from the shell script appear in your terminal. If the guest machine is already running from a previous step, run vagrant reload --provision, which will quickly restart your virtual machine, skipping the initial import step. The provision flag on the reload command instructs Vagrant to run the provisioners, since usually Vagrant will only do this on the first vagrant up.

After Vagrant completes running, the web server will be up and running. You cannot see the website from your own browser (yet), but you can verify that the provisioning works by loading a file from SSH within the machine:

$ vagrant ssh
vagrant@bionic64:~$ wget -qO-

This works because in the shell script above we installed Apache and setup the default DocumentRoot of Apache to point to our /vagrant directory, which is the default synced folder setup by Vagrant.

You can play around some more by creating some more files and viewing them from the terminal, but in the next step we will cover networking options so that you can use your own browser to access the guest machine.

»Next Steps

You have successfully provisioned your first virtual machine with Vagrant. Read on to learn about networking.