VCNs and Subnets

This topic describes how to manage virtual cloud networks  (VCNs) and the subnets in them. This topic uses the terms virtual cloud network, VCN, and cloud network interchangeably. The Console uses the term Virtual Cloud Network, whereas for brevity the API uses VCN.


Avoid entering confidential information when assigning descriptions, tags, or friendly names to your cloud resources through the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console, API, or CLI.

Overview of VCNs and Subnets

A VCN is a software-defined network that you set up in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure data centers in a particular region . A subnet is a subdivision of a VCN. For an overview of VCNs, allowed size, default VCN components, and scenarios for using a VCN, see Overview of Networking.

You can privately connect a VCN to another VCN so that the traffic does not traverse the internet. The CIDRs for the two VCNs must not overlap. For more information, see Access to Other VCNs: Peering. For an example of an advanced routing scenario that involves the peering of multiple VCNs, see Transit Routing: Access to Multiple VCNs in the Same Region.

Each subnet in a VCN consists of a contiguous range of IPv4 addresses that do not overlap with other subnets in the VCN. Example: The first two IPv4 addresses and the last in the subnet's CIDR are reserved by the Networking service. You can't change the size of the subnet after creation, so it's important to think about the size of subnets you need before creating them.

Subnets act as a unit of configuration: all instances in a given subnet use the same route table, security lists, and DHCP options. For more information, see Default Components that Come With Your VCN.

Subnets can be either public or private (see Public vs. Private Subnets). You choose this during subnet creation, and you can't change it later.

You can think of each Compute instance as residing in a subnet. But to be precise, each instance is actually attached to a virtual network interface card (VNIC), which in turn resides in the subnet and enables a network connection for that instance.

IPv6 addressing is currently supported only in the US Government Cloud. For more information, see IPv6 Addresses.

About Regional Subnets

Originally subnets were designed to cover only one availability domain (AD) in a region. They were all AD-specific, which means the subnet's resources were required to reside in a particular availability domain. Now subnets can be either AD-specific or regional. You choose the type when you create the subnet. Both types of subnets can co-exist in the same VCN. In the following diagram, subnets 1-3 are AD-specific, and subnet 4 is regional.

This image shows a VCN with a regional subnet and three AD-specific subnets.

Aside from the removal of the AD constraint, regional subnets behave the same as AD-specific subnets. Oracle recommends using regional subnets because they're more flexible. They make it easier to efficiently divide your VCN into subnets while also designing for availability domain failure.

When you create a resource such as a Compute instance, you choose which availability domain the resource will be in. From a virtual networking standpoint, you must also choose which VCN and subnet the instance will be in. You can either choose a regional subnet, or choose an AD-specific subnet that matches the AD you chose for the instance.


If anyone in your organization implements a regional subnet, be aware that you may need to update any client code that works with Networking service subnets and private IPs. There are possible breaking API changes. For more information, see the regional subnet release note.

Working with VCNs and Subnets

One of the first things you do when working with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources is create a VCN with one or more subnets. You can easily get started in the Console with a simple VCN and some related resources that enable you to launch and connect to an instance. See Tutorial - Launching Your First Linux Instance or Tutorial - Launching Your First Windows Instance.

For the purposes of access control, when you create a VCN or subnet, you must specify the compartment where you want the resource to reside. Consult an administrator in your organization if you're not sure which compartment to use.

You may optionally assign descriptive names to the VCN and its subnets. The names don't have to be unique, and you can change them later. Oracle automatically assigns each resource a unique identifier called an Oracle Cloud ID (OCID). For more information, see Resource Identifiers.

You can also add a DNS label for the VCN and each subnet, which are required if you want the instances to use the Internet and VCN Resolver feature for DNS in the VCN. For more information, see DNS in Your Virtual Cloud Network.

When you create a subnet, you may optionally specify a route table for the subnet to use. If you don't, the subnet uses the cloud network's default route table. You can change which route table the subnet uses at any time.

Also, you may optionally specify one or more security lists for the subnet to use (up to five). If you don't specify any, the subnet uses the cloud network's default security list. You can change which security list the subnet uses at any time. Remember that the security rules are enforced at the instance level, even though the list is associated at the subnet level. Network security groups are an alternative to security lists and let you apply a set of security rules to a set of resources that all have the same security posture, instead of all the resources in a particular subnet.

You may optionally specify a set of DHCP options for the subnet to use. All instances in the subnet will receive the configuration specified in that set of DHCP options. If you don't specify a set, the subnet uses the cloud network's default set of DHCP options. You can change which set of DHCP options the subnet uses at any time.

To delete a subnet, it must contain no resources (no instances, load balancers, DB systems, and orphaned mount targets). For more details, see Subnet or VCN Deletion.

To delete a VCN, its subnets must contain no resources. Also, the VCN must have no attached gateways. If you're using the Console, there's a "Delete All" process you can use after first ensuring the subnets are empty. See To delete a VCN.

For information about the number of VCNs and subnets you can have, see Service Limits.

Required IAM Policy

To use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you must be given the required type of access in a policy  written by an administrator, whether you're using the Console or the REST API with an SDK, CLI, or other tool. If you try to perform an action and get a message that you don’t have permission or are unauthorized, confirm with your administrator the type of access you've been granted and which compartment  you should work in.

For administrators: see IAM Policies for Networking.

Using the Console

To create a VCN
To create a subnet
To edit a subnet
To delete a subnet
To delete a VCN
To manage tags for a VCN
To manage tags for a subnet
To move a VCN to a different compartment
To move a subnet to a different compartment

Using the API

For information about using the API and signing requests, see REST APIs and Security Credentials. For information about SDKs, see Software Development Kits and Command Line Interface.

To manage your VCNs, use these operations:

To manage a VCN's subnets, use these operations: