Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo

Ubuntu Remote Desktop

What is Remote Desktop?

The remote desktop term refers to an operating system or software feature that permits the desktop environment of a personal computer to be executed remotely on a single system while being shown on an isolated client device. The applications of Remote Desktop have varying aspects. Some permit attaching to a session of an existing user and "remote controlling", either showing the blanking screen or remote control session. Remotely, taking over a desktop is a concept of remote administration.

Overview of Remote Desktop

Remote access can be described as the computer remote control by using other devices connected by an Internet connection or other networks. It is widely used by several business help desks and computer manufacturers for troubleshooting the problems of their customers.

The software of the remote desktop captures the keyboard and mouse inputs from the client (local computer) and transfers them to a server (remote computer). In turn, the remote computer transfers the display commands to a local computer.

The software of remote workstation that transfers the pixels instead of the display commands should be used for providing a like-local and smooth experience when applications along with several graphics including 3D or video models required to be remotely controlled.

Some key points are as follows:

  • The sharing of remote desktops is accomplished from a common server/client model.
  • The VNC viewer or client is installed over a local computer and connects to a server component by a network that is installed over a local computer.
  • All mouse clicks and keystrokes are registered as to when the client was performing operations on an end-user machine in a typical session of VNC.
  • Also, a remote desktop has a huge advantage for the development of security, companies can allow software engineers who might be geographically dispersed for operating and developing through a computer which could be held inside the cloud environment or company office.
  • The target computer within a scenario of the remote desktop can access each of its core programs.
  • Several of these core programs, including the primary clipboard, can be distributed between the remote desktop client and the target computer.

Uses of Remote Desktop

Some uses of a remote desktop are discussed below:

Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • The primary use of remote desktop software is remote implementation and remote administration. This requirement arises when the buyers of the software are far away from the vendors of their software.
  • Most of the software of remote access can be applied for "headless computers": rather than all computers having its keyboard, mouse, and monitor, or having a KVM switch, a single computer can have a remote control software, mouse, keyboard, and monitor, and control various headless computers.
  • A duplicate desktop mode is helpful for user education and support.
  • Remote control software associated with telephone communication could be nearly as useful for novice computer users as when the support staff was there.
  • A software of remote desktop could be used for accessing a remote computer: a physical PC to which a user doesn't have physical access but that could be interacted or accessed with.
  • Remote computers are primarily used for peer-to-peer connections in which a single device is unattended, unlike servers. The connection of a remote computer is only possible when both devices contain a network connection.

Since the arrival of cloud computing, remote desktop software could be hosted on USB hardware devices, permitting users for connecting the device to a PC linked to their Internet or network and remake their desktop to the cloud by a connection.

This model ignores one issue with the remote desktop software which needs a local computer to be changed on at the time if the user wants to remotely access it. (It is possible using a router along with the support of C2S VPN, and equipment of Wake-on-LAN, for establishing a virtual private network connection using a router on the internet when not connected to a LAN, switch on a system linked to a router, after that connect to it).

The products of a remote desktop are accessible in three models. These models are listed below:

  • Appliance
  • Software
  • Hosted service

Tech support scammers apply a remote desktop server for connecting to the computer of their victim and will Syskey the system if the victim doesn't co-operate.

Protocols of a Remote Desktop

The protocols of a remote desktop are listed as:

Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • Apple Remote Desktop protocol
  • Appliance Link Protocol
  • HP Remote Graphics Software
  • Independent Computing Architecture
  • PC-over-IP
  • Remote Desktop Protocol
  • Remote Framebuffer Protocol
  • Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (or SPICE)
  • Splashtop
  • Xpra
  • X Window System
  • Wake-on-LAN

Setting Up an Ubuntu Remote Desktop

On Ubuntu, the sharing of Remote Desktop applies the VNC protocol to permit computers outside or inside the local network for controlling a desktop session.
Important: These instructions govern every currently supported release of Ubuntu that executes the desktop environment of GNOME.

Sharing our Ubuntu Desktop

Using Ubuntu, there are two different ways for setting up a remote desktop. The method explained below is the one that the developers of Ubuntu added as a part of the system.

Another way is to apply a piece of software which is known as xRDP. The software is a hit or miss if running on the Ubuntu system. We will see the experience a little opposing because of the cursor and mouse glitches and basic graphics-based problems, while we can now access our desktop.

The actual sharing desktop process is straightforward. The complex bit is trying to use it from somewhere that is not on our home networks like our workplace, Internet cafe, or hotel.

Enable Sharing in the Ubuntu System

The guide is designed for the Ubuntu desktop of default GNOME. If we use other desktop environments, the procedure would not be the same. We can enable sharing our desktop system using the following steps:

  • We need to launch the app, i.e., Ubuntu settings, and choose the Sharing option from the left-hand side menu.
    Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • We will go to the tab, i.e., Sharing, choose the Screen Sharing option then turn on the Remote Login
    Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • Choose the Allow connections to control the screen
    Ubuntu Remote Desktop

Note: Choose Require a password for a few added securities and to sign in without accepting the connection on our Ubuntu PC.

  • We will flip the switch on the top of the window for enabling screen sharing when we are ready.

Find our internal IP address

We need to know the IP address assigned to our system before we connect to it using another computer. The IP address we need depends on whether we are connecting from a similar network or whether we are connecting from a distinct one. If we are in a similar house as a system we are connecting to, we are more than likely going to require the internal IP address. We will require the external IP address otherwise.

  • From the system running Ubuntu, we need to open our terminal window.
    Enter the below command in the terminal window:

Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • We will get the IP addresses list from the distinct interfaces on our system. The one we are looking for will start with 192.168. We are not searching for the one that ends with 255.

Important: If we see something different on our home network, it may start with 10.xxxxx, but that is generally for the connections of VPN. Also, it can begin with 172.16.xxxxx.

Find our external IP address

This external IP address is convenient to find. We need to implement the following steps from the system running Ubuntu:

  • We need to open our web browser.
  • Then, go to the Google
  • Enter 'what is my IP' within the search box and click on the Enter
    Ubuntu Remote Desktop
  • Google will return the output of our external IP address.
    Ubuntu Remote Desktop

Troubleshooting the Ubuntu Remote Desktop

We may get an error specifying that the connection can't be made due to the level of encryption being too high over the Ubuntu system. The initial thing for trying is to enhance the encryption level the viewer of VNC is attempting to apply. We need to right-click on the icon for our connection and press Properties. Try all encryption options in turn.

We can try the following instruction if none of the options are implemented. Enter the below command in the terminal window on Ubuntu:

gsettings set org.gnome.vino require-encryption false

Warning: Executing this command will transfer the credentials of the password "in the clear" (means that anyone "sniffing" for unencrypted network traffic could deflect), which is a threat to security.

Connect to our Ubuntu system from Windows

Whether we intend for connecting to Ubuntu from our home or somewhere else, it's worth trying out first at home to ensure it correctly runs.

Tip: Our system running Ubuntu operating system must be turned on and we must be logged in (however, the lock screen could be displaying).

We require to have software known as VNC Client for connecting from Windows. There are several to select from but this one is known as RealVNC.

We need to follow the following steps to connect from Windows:

  • First of all, we need to go to the website of RealVNC, and press Download VNC Viewer.
  • Press the executable (known as something like VNC-Viewer-6.0.2-Windows-64bit.exe) after the download process has been completed. This file would be placed in our downloads folder.
  • The initial screen we will find is the license agreement. Select the box to display us the "accept the terms and conditions" option and click OK.
  • Execute from the rest of the installer. Select the default options.
  • Choose Got It for moving to the primary interface.
  • Enter the internal IP address within the box that includes the "Enter a VNC server address or search" text to connect to our Ubuntu desktop.
  • Choose our server to connect.
  • A box will ask us for the password we created when we set up the desktop sharing.
  • Now, we should see our Ubuntu desktop on our other PC.
  • For disconnecting, we need to move the mouse cursor on the window's top and choose the icon, i.e., X for closing the connection.

Connect to Ubuntu desktop from the External World

We need to have the external IP address to connect to Ubuntu desktop from the external world. We might not be able to link when we try it the first time. The reason for it is that we require to open the port on our router to permit the external connections.

Tools for accessing Remote Desktop

Ubuntu Remote Desktop

Zoho Assist

It is a cross-platform, fast, and free remote support tool that permits us to support and access Linux servers or desktops without the protocols of remote connection like SSH, VNC, or RDP. Remote connections could be made from our favorite desktop plugin or browser, regardless of the network of the remote computer.

Features of Zoho Assist

  • With an entire host of aspects like multi-monitor navigation, file transfer, and clipboard sharing for aiding helpdesk technicians, IT support technicians, and MSPs.
  • Zoho Assist is a very secure tool with antivirus compatibility, action log viewer, and two-factor authentication.
  • 256-bit AES and SSL encryption ensure every session-related detail is passed from the encrypted tunnel.
  • We can configure every variation of Linux servers and computers like Fedora, Debian Linux Mint, Cent, Redhat, and Ubuntu to access them seamlessly anytime.
  • A user interface, i.e., clutter-free makes working convenient for first-timers.
  • We can customize various email templates and also rebrand the application of Linux remote desktop for using the portal URL, favicon, logo, and name of our company.

Remote Access Plus

It is a powerfully created remote support tool that enables IT technicians to troubleshoot and collaborate devices, placed anywhere around the world in some clicks. Simple client-server architecture and user interface enable smooth connectivity for help desk and IT technicians for troubleshooting a remote device.

Features of Remote Access Plus

  • We can video or voice call, or text chat with our end-user to resolve and understand the problem faster and better.
  • Remote Access Plus is packed with an action log viewer, 256-bit encryption, and two-factor authentication.
  • We can control and access any device of remote Linux without thinking about security.
  • Also, we can make custom groups for managing our Linux devices. It is especially useful if we have several Linux devices to handle as dynamic custom groups.
  • This tool is available in both a cloud and on-premise
  • Furthermore, we can select between three distinct editions: Professional, Standard, and Free depending on the number of handled Linux features and devices.
  • Using Remote Access Plus, we can take several Linux device remote control such as those executing on OpenSuSE, Mandriva, CentOS, Fedora, Red hat Enterprise Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, etc., and it supports 17+ languages as well.


It is a platform-neutral, high-performance, open-source, and free VNC implementation. TigerVNC is client-server software that permits users for launching and interacting with graphical applications with remote machines. tigervnc-vncserver applies a distinct mechanism that configures a virtual desktop for all users, unlike various VNC servers like Vino or VNC X that directly connect to the runtime desktop.


It is a cross-platform, secure, powerful, and popular remote control and access software that simultaneously connects to more than one device. We can use it at no cost for personal use and there's a premium release for business users.

TeamViewer is an all-in-one software for remote support which is used for file transfer, online meetings, and remote desktop sharing connected with the Internet. Also, it supports 30+ languages in the world.


It offers a secure, simple, and cross-platform remote access tool. It develops many technologies for VNC screen sharing along with products like VNC Viewer and VNC Connect. VNC Connect provides the ability for accessing remote systems, offer to administer unattended systems, remote support, share access to resources, etc.

We can find VNC to connect for home use at no cost which is restricted to five remote systems and three users. Although, any enterprise and professional user needs a subscription fee.


It is a cross-platform, high-quality, and free remote desktop application. It provides us with a personal secure server. NoMachine permits us to access each of our files, edit documents, play audio, watch videos, play games, etc.

It contains an interface that enables us to focus on our work and it is developed for working in a quick manner as if we are seated right in front of our remote computer. It has remarkable network transparency in addition.


It is a powerful, fully-featured, open-source, and free client of remote desktop for Ubuntu and other Unix-like systems. Remmina is specified in GTK+3 and wanted for travelers and system administrators, who require to work and access several computers remotely.

It is reliable, efficient, and supports more than one network protocol like SSH, XDMCP, NX, VNC, and RDP. Also, it provides a consistent and integrated feel and looks. Remmina permits users for maintaining a connection profile list, managed by groups, supports fast connections from users putting within the server address, and it offers a tabbed interface, organized by groups, and several more features.


It is a simple, open-source, and free protocol server of remote desktop based on rdesktop and FreeRDP. It applies a remote desktop protocol for presenting a graphical user interface to the user, Also, it can be used for accessing Linux desktops in partnership with x11vnc.

XRDP develops with LikewiseOPEN hence enabling us for logging into an Ubuntu server by RDP with an active directory password/username. However, XRDP is a nice project, it requires some fixes like taking over a previous desktop session. Also, the developers need for improving their documentation.

Apache Guacamole

It is a client-less, open-source, and free gateway of remote desktops. It supports many protocols such as SSH, RDP, and VNC. It requires a client software or no plugins, simply use an application of HTML5 web like a web browser.

It means that the use of our systems is not tied to the location or device. Furthermore, if we wish to employ it for enterprise use, we can receive commercial dedicated support from third-party companies.


It is a versatile, fast, and open-source remote access system. FreeNX is an SSH-based (secure) client-server system. The core libraries of this system are offered by NoMachine.


It is cross-platform and open-source remote desktop application which is the same as RDP or VNC. It provides remote access to the graphical user environment of a Linux System over a network with a protocol, which is tunneled from the Secure Shell protocol for data encryption.


It is a cross-platform and open-source client software and remote display server which provides the ability for accessing desktop screens and remote applications over SSH Sockets without or with SSL. Xpra enables us to run applications over a remote host by showing their screen on our local machine. Also, it supports forwarding of printing, clipboard, and sound features.

Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


Help Others, Please Share

facebook twitter pinterest

Learn Latest Tutorials


Trending Technologies

B.Tech / MCA