How to Remote Desktop in Linux

Remote Desktop, done over the Virtual Networked Computing protocol or VNC, has become increasingly common as every major operating system now comes with a VNC client and server installed. Linux is no exception as major distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint come with Vinagre, the Gnome Desktop VNC client, pre-bundled into the system. Distributions that run the KDE Desktop typically come with Vinagre's KDE counterpart, Krfb, pre-installed as well.

Connecting to a Remote Desktop in Linux

Step 1

Open your Remote Desktop/VNC client. On Ubuntu and Linux Mint, the application is located under the Internet tab of the main Applications menu. This should be the case for most Linux distributions, though the name of the client may vary.

Step 2

Enter the remote machine's IP address and choose your bandwidth options. If you wish to set other options such as desktop sharing or refresh rate, you should do so under Preferences or Advanced before connecting.

Step 3

Once you have connected, enter the password required to access the remote desktop. If it doesn't connect right away, you may want to change your bandwidth settings. Some Mac OS X VNC servers are known to crash VNC clients if the user attempts to connect with a bandwidth other than the maximum.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to a VNC server

  • Installed VNC client or viewer


If you cannot connect, you may need to open ports 5500 and 5900 on your router or firewall. Often these will be closed by default for security reasons.

Many VNC servers run a small Web host so you can access your remote desktop through a Web browser. You can access this at the Web address http://myhost:5900 where myhost is the name of the VNC server you are connecting to.


The VNC protocol is insecure by its very nature. Most security experts suggest that you tunnel your VNC connection over the Secure Shell or SSH protocol if you are connecting over the public Internet. If you don't need global access, then set your VNC server to only allow local connections.

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