The vboxweb-service is required for connecting to a VBox Host from phpVirtualBox. On Debian Stretch, the service is installed and started whenever VBox is started (i.e. boot or after an upgrade) however it immediately exits if its configuration file is not present.

The configuration file is not created by default. You need to create it:
/etc/default/virtualbox

At a minimum, the file must contain two lines:

VBOXWEB_USER=vboxuser
VBOXWEB_HOST=127.0.0.1

Or if your phpVirtualBox web server and vboxwebsrv are NOT on the same host:

VBOXWEB_USER=vboxuser
VBOXWEB_HOST=192.168.1.207

Once the config file is created, you can start the service as root:

sudo service vboxweb-service restart

Verify the service is actively running:

sudo service vboxweb-service status

Additional config options:

SettingDescription
VBOXWEB_USERThe user as which vboxwebsrv will run.
VBOXWEB_HOSTThe host to bind to (localhost).
VBOXWEB_PORTThe port to bind to (18083).
VBOXWEB_TIMEOUTSession timeout in seconds; 0 = disable timeouts (300).
VBOXWEB_CHECK_INTERVALFrequency of timeout checks in seconds (5).
VBOXWEB_THREADSMaximum number of worker threads to run in parallel (100).
VBOXWEB_KEEPALIVEMaximum number of requests before a socket will be closed (100).
VBOXWEB_LOGFILEName of file to write log to (no file).
INSTALL_DIRThe location of the vboxwebsrv binary (/usr/lib/virtualbox).

For additional information, see the phpVirtualBox Github site

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