Default outbound access in Azure

In Azure, virtual machines created in a virtual network without explicit outbound connectivity defined are assigned a default outbound public IP address. This IP address enables outbound connectivity from the resources to the Internet. This access is referred to as default outbound access.

Examples of explicit outbound connectivity are virtual machines:

  • Created within a subnet associated to a NAT gateway.

  • In the backend pool of a standard load balancer with outbound rules defined.

  • In the backend pool of a basic public load balancer.

  • Virtual machines with public IP addresses explicitly associated to them.

Diagram of explicit outbound options.

How is default outbound access provided?

The public IPv4 address used for the access is called the default outbound access IP. This IP is implicit and belongs to Microsoft. This IP address is subject to change and it's not recommended to depend on it for production workloads.

When is default outbound access provided?

If you deploy a virtual machine in Azure and it doesn't have explicit outbound connectivity, it's assigned a default outbound access IP.

Diagram of default outbound access.

  • Secure by default

    • It's not recommended to open a virtual network to the Internet by default using the zero trust network security principle.
  • Explicit vs. implicit

    • It's recommended to have explicit methods of connectivity instead of implicit when granting access to resources in your virtual network.
  • Loss of IP address

    • Customers don't own the default outbound access IP. This IP may change, and any dependency on it could cause issues in the future.

How can I transition to an explicit method of public connectivity (and disable default outbound access)?

There are multiple ways to turn off default outbound access:

  • Add an explicit outbound connectivity method.

    • Associate a NAT gateway to the subnet of your virtual machine.

    • Associate a standard load balancer configured with outbound rules.

    • Associate a Basic public IP to the virtual machine's network interface (if there's only one network interface).

    • Associate a Standard public IP to any of the virtual machine's network interfaces (if there are multiple network interfaces, having a single NIC with a standard public IP prevents default outbound access for the virtual machine).

  • Use Flexible orchestration mode for Virtual Machine Scale Sets.


When a load balancer backend pool is configured by IP address, it will use default outbound access due to an ongoing known issue. For secure by default configuration and applications with demanding outbound needs, associate a NAT gateway to the VMs in your load balancer's backend pool to secure traffic. See more on existing known issues.

NAT gateway is the recommended approach to have explicit outbound connectivity. A firewall can also be used to provide this access.


  • Public connectivity is required for Windows Activation and Windows Updates. It is recommended to set up an explicit form of public outbound connectivity.

  • Default outbound access IP doesn't support fragmented packets.

Next steps

For more information on outbound connections in Azure and Azure Virtual Network NAT (NAT gateway), see: