I'm struggling with API access to my Free ESXI 6.5 instance.

Based on documentation there should be REST API endpoint on address https://server/rest. Also, there should be api-explorer on https://server/apiexplorer. But I don't have any of these endpoints on my ESXi.

Also, based on documentation there is Managed object browser on this address https:/server/mob. I was able to enable mob and also acces it but it's read-only. I'm not able to invoke any method (including turning-on VM for example). But again, based on the documentation this should work.

Is there any limitation in free ESXi 6.5 related to API access? Should I do anything? Can this be caused by the upgrade from ESXi 5.0 instead of clean installation?

I'm logging to ESXi via root account so I should have all permissions.


The ESXi API is only read-only in the free version. If you want to use it to trigger any action, you need to pay for it.

An older blog post directly from VMware:

Access to the vSphere API is governed by the various vSphere Editions which provides both read and write access to the API. If you are using vSphere Hypervisor (free edition of ESXi), the vSphere API will only be available as read-only.

This is still the case. Another quote from the VMware community regarding version 6.5:

you don't necessarily need to deploy vCenter Server, but you will need to assign a paid CPU license to the ESXi host in order to unlock the API.

Bottom line, with the free ESXi license you are restricted to read-only access via the API.

Some basic actions can be done through the command line interface via SSH. See the documentation for esxcli and for the vicfg-* commands for details.

  • Thanks for the confirmation. I'm aware of esxcli but I didn't find a way how to use it for turning VM on/off. So the best way for now is ssh+vim-cmd Nov 24 '17 at 6:38

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