The 5 Best Remote Desktop Clients for Linux

Want to control a computer that you don’t have physical access to? Maybe you’re helping a non-tech friend with their computer through a voice call and want more control over their system.

The solution to all these problems is a remote desktop client. On Linux, you will find a plethora of free and open-source remote desktop apps that allow you to establish connections and access a remote computer efficiently. But which one works best and has superior functionality over the rest? Let’s find out.

Not only Linux, but TeamViewer is also the top choice for a remote desktop client for Windows and macOS users. At first glance, you’ll find that the app interface is easy to understand, with several sections categorizing the options available.

With two different licenses to choose from (personal and business), TeamViewer offers a host of features to their users, including remote access, file transfer, and text chat support.

To connect to a remote computer, just type the partner ID of the other system, select the connection type—Remote control or File transfer—and click Connect. TeamViewer secures its connections with passwords, and it will also ask you for a password before establishing the connection.

Likewise, if you want someone to access your machine, give them your ID and password which are displayed under the Allow remote control section and ask them to send a connection request.

TeamViewer is available for most Linux distributions and you can install it on your computer for free.

If you’re using Arch Linux, you can get TeamViewer from the AUR with yay.

yay -S teamviewer

Remmina may look unappealing at first, with its simplistic appearance and complicated use, but the underlying features it offers are a total game-changer. Remmina allows you to connect to other remote systems via various protocols such as SSH, VNC, RDP, FTP and more.

Frankly, Remmina is not as simple as TeamViewer, but in defense it is not for users looking for an attractive user interface. All that matters: it does its job well. Unlike other easy-to-use remote desktop apps, you must first set up a VNC server on the remote machine and only then can you access the system with Remmina.

To add a connection, click on the To add button in the top left corner of the window. Then select your preferred remote control protocol (VNC in this case) and fill in the rest of the information such as server address, username, password, etc. Once you click Connectthe app will open a new window with the remote system desktop.

Remmina is available on most Linux distro repositories and can be installed using the default package manager. If your system supports snap packages, you can install Remmina with the following command:

sudo snap install remmina

Note that the basic installation of Remmina does not include the protocol plugins. Therefore, you have to install them manually afterwards. For VNC support, install the libvncserver package on Arch-based distributions and the remmina-plugin-vnc package on Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions.

If you’ve used TeamViewer before, you’ll probably like NoMachine better than the rest of the apps on this list. Primarily because they both have a similar look and feel.

But unlike TeamViewer, you don’t use the username and password for the connection. Instead, users must manually add a connection and NoMachine automatically saves the connection details for future use.

NoMachine allows you to choose between three different protocols for your connections, namely NX (direct connection via the Internet), SSH (secure shell connection) and HTTPS (secure connection via a web browser).

To add a connection, click on the To add and enter the server address next to the Host label. Then name your connection and specify the port information. Then select the protocol from the drop-down menu and press Connect.

To install NoMachine, you need to download the latest package archive from the website and install it manually on your computer.

To download: no machine

Remark: If you are using Arch Linux, you can easily download NoMachine with an AUR helper like yay.

Imagine a variant of Remmina that only supports VNC connections and nothing else. A minimal and easy-to-use VNC viewer that just gets the job done. That’s TigerVNC for you.

When starting the app you quickly notice that there is not much to see or do. You get a text field for the VNC server address and some classic theme buttons to establish connections and preferences.

TigerVNC offers you the choice to configure the settings, which you can access by clicking Options. If you plan on using the same settings again, there is also an option to: Save the configuration as a file. You can then load the file when you want to use the saved configuration and TigerVNC will automatically make changes to the settings.

To install TigerVNC on Ubuntu and Debian based systems:

sudo apt install tigervnc

Arch-based distributions:

sudo pacman -S tigervnc

Install TigerVNC on Fedora and CentOS with:

sudo dnf install tigervnc

Last but not least, RealVNC’s VNC Viewer has everything you need in a remote desktop client. The simple yet striking interface combined with the extensive catalog of features makes for a breathtaking (not literal) user experience.

Although the VNC Connect software suite offered by RealVNC is paid software, you can still download the free version of VNC Viewer from its official website. There are two plans to choose from: Professional and Enterprise. Both plans offer similar features and are per-device, meaning you’ll need to buy the plan again to add a new device.

Installing the application is easy. All you need to do is download the VNC Viewer package from the link below and grant executable permissions to the file. Then double click on the file to launch VNC Viewer.

When launching the app, you will see a minimal layout with a special field to enter the host address. To connect to a remote system, type the address and press Enter to establish the connection.

To download: RealVNC VNC Viewer

Remote Computing Made Easier on Linux

Remote desktop clients make it easy to connect to a system that is completely on the other side of the world. With the advent of the Internet and the development of software, remote computing has multiplied to an era where remote working has become the norm.

Don’t use Linux as your daily driver? Do not worry. There are several remote desktop clients available for other operating systems such as Windows and macOS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *