Headless Proxmox or Similar on Ubuntu Server?

Hi there, I’m working on setting up a media server with Ubuntu server, got the shares working, mergerfs good with all my disks, all that is good to go. I’m running into an issue though:

I’m trying to set up a proxmox on top of the ubuntu install but ran into issues (borqued my OS), then tried headless virtualbox and got most of it working, but then can’t rdp or VNC into the hosts that I make on it (they kept getting listed as IPs which did me no good connecting from another machine), and now I’m hoping I could get some suggestions.

Worst case, I’m thinking I can physically go to the box, load up a GUI, and create a VM with proxmox that I can access from elsewhere on the network but that seems like a less than optimal solution.

I’d love to get help/suggestions. Thanks!

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Are you planning to actually use proxmox or is it just for testing? If you actually wanna use proxmox you should install it on bare metal and use it to create VMs for Ubuntu and whatever else you want.

Planning for unnessesary nested virtualization seems like a bad idea. Don’t virtualize a virtualization platform if it’s not for testing purposes imo.

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Hi there,

I agree with @maximal . Proxmox itself is based on Debian, and it is meant to be used as a hypervisor installed directly on the host system. Proxmox itself is not a media server either. It basically does what you tried to achieve with VirtualBox in Ubuntu, which is running VMs.

A proper, optimal solution would be to just install Proxmox directly on the host system, and spin up a Ubuntu VM for example, and install your media server applications like Plex within the Ubuntu VM instead. Otherwise, if its purely a media server, you could probably get away with setting up Ubuntu and then the media server applications directly on it, skipping virtualization if unnecessary.

Also, do bear in mind that Proxmox is mainly managed from the generated web UI console or over ssh. VNC may not work when trying to connect to the Proxmox host OS directly, without proper configuration


You have a few options:

  • install proxmox bare-metal and have an Ubuntu VM with Plex and whatnot
  • install proxmox inside a VM (nested virtualization - not recommended)
  • install Ubuntu, KVM+QEMU for virtualization (instead of VirtualBox) and cockpit if you want a webGUI for the host. Make sure ssh server is enabled and running, you still need it. On your client device, install Virt-Manager and use it to have a GUI to remote into and administer your VMs from the Ubuntu server.
  • try your luck with containers (LXD) if you only intend to have Linux VMs and if you think you can handle it (it’s a little more complicated than VMs and not as easy as Proxmox or VirtManager).
  • Debug your current setup with VirtualBox (probably needs a network bridge to your LAN)

Proxmox only works on Debian. It is recommended that you use the Proxmox iso and not install Proxmox on top of a Debian base (although you can, if you know what you are doing). Proxmox already has a default network bridge, so you should be able to remote into the VMs right after you install the OSes with the webVNC from the Proxmox webGUI (and disable the Firewall checkbox in Proxmox when initially configuring the networking part of the VM - you can modify afterwards though). On Ubuntu however, you’d have to configure a network bridge manually to have networking inside KVM virtualized OSes. Also, I believe VirtualBox might be giving IPs from subnet, which is being NAT-ed under VirtualBox, but I could be wrong, I haven’t used it in years. Stop using VirtualBox.

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Hi All,

Thanks for the suggestions. Those are in line with what I was thinking, however naturally once you get things set up, the last thing you want to do is undo all of it!

I think I’ll probably end up going that route with a baremetal proxmox install. I was hoping there wasn’;t something glaring that I have missed.

I was planning on using the machine for home automation/mediaserver/a VM testing machine, so a more robust solution is probably ideal. Thanks all!


Might not be a bad idea to keep your system as is, get another drive and install proxmox on it. Make that your boot drive and then figure out how to pass through your whole Ubuntu system and your array drives through to a VM that’s just essentially all your original hardware, but passed through. It would basically just cost you another drive… Thats what I’d do.


Honestly, that’s probably the easiest solution. Thanks a ton for that! Lol, my wife isn’t thrilled with me constantly saying, “ITS WORKING” and then…nope…sorry, gotta change something!


This hit too close to home!