What would make WSL2 perfect for PHP development?

What would make WSL2 perfect for PHP development?

I've been using WSL2 to develop Drupal sites for some months now, and it has been a surprise to me how well it works. I have native Linux speed and great tools (I use Sublime through X server and VS Code).

However, there's a small issue that if solved, would make the development experience perfect: DNS resolution to dev environments. I'll describe how I work to illustrate what I mean with this.

I use Docksal to manage all my development environments on a WSL2 distribution using docker. So, to create a new Laravel project I would normally do this:


From there I can access the project using the generated local address from Linux. Docksal uses dnsmasq to resolve these addresses:

$ curl http://helloworld.docksal
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

However, I cannot access that address from Windows. What I've been doing until now is to add an entry in my Windows hosts file to redirect these new address to localhost:     helloworld.docksal

But once I added this entry, the site is still not accessible from Windows. I need to run a powershell script that I took from a github issue to create firewall rules, so I can actually access it.


I haven't found a solution for this yet, but what I would love to see is:

  1. The local address created in Linux doesn't require me to add a hosts entry in Windows.
  2. The firewall rules are automatically updated to allow access.

Installing a custom DNS entry

To solve the first issue I tried to use a custom DNS proxy (Acrylic) to redirect all *.docksal addresses back to localhost, like I'm doing with the hosts file. But when I try to execute the server it fails to start because UDP port is already in use:

2020-02-12 10:29:00.233 [E] TDnsResolver.Execute: TDualUdpServerCommunicationChannel.Bind: Binding to IPv4 address failed with Windows Sockets error code 10048.

What is using port 53 (the standard DNS port)? I used tcpview to find out.


It looks it is svchost. Using the PID and the Process Explorer I found that it was related to a service called Shared Access.


I had walked so far to stop digging now, so I opened the services and looked for ICS (maybe the initials for Internet Connection Sharing in English) and found it was configured to start manually.


I was feeling brave and tried to stop it, but I couldn't do it. It refused to stop with an error dialog that said (in a loose translation): "Windows couldn't stop the service in the local computer". Nice. I switched the service to Disabled and decided to reboot. Upon reboot, it was enabled again, set to start in "Manual" mode. So no luck so far to enable a custom DNS Proxy.

Enabling the firewall by default

I'm running the script I found in github manually when I can't access the sites in WSL2 (normally after a reboot), and since I don't often reboot I could keep doing it.

I don't know if the script creates security issues, but I if I get tired of running it manually I could configure it to run every time I boot or every hour even.

Update 2021-04-28: It is possible to run the script from WSL2. Since I'musing fish shell, I created the alias winfirewall to run it:

alias --save winfirewall 'powershell.exe start-process PowerShell -verb runas "C:\Users\alinares\firewall_rules.ps1"'

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