I know this may be a question about personal preferences.

But, in terms of: speed / memory usage / ease of configuration/ licensing , which is the best VNC server you know?

I have tried TightVNC, TigerVNC, UltraVNC and RealVNC , but right now I can't figure out which one is the best (any of these I listed or any other) in terms of what I worried about right now (speed/consumption/config/licensing).

What are your best choices?

  • 1
    This is very subjective and a "moving target" as well when each of the respective authors are continually adding additional features/functionality.
    – user48838
    Jun 21, 2011 at 18:19
  • Please read FAQ, or at least the part about "What kind of questions should I not ask here?" Jun 21, 2011 at 22:32

4 Answers 4


well, TurboVNC has VirtualGL support. This allows hardware acceleration over VNC, and has been one of the only two killer features I've ever seen in a VNC client/server. Of course, you have to SSH tunnel it to make it secure... The second was X11vnc's ability to attach to native X screens or virtual framebuffers.

This comparison might help you out; if you can't narrow down by features then they all should pretty much meet your needs.


I've honestly had terrible success with VNC servers on Linux lately. In response, I've switched to often just using X-forwarding to run stuff remotely..

To try it, from another Linux machine, you can quickly (usually) get going by adding "-X" when sshing in:

$ ssh -X me@myserverbox

Once you've logged in remotely, you can run apps over the network just by calling them up:

$ xclock

If everything's well, you'll see xclock appear locally, but it'll be running from the machine you sshed in to.

You can actually run entire window manager sessions over this.. But it's a bit of effort and you definitely want a really nice network for it.

You CAN also run X servers on Windows, so you can Xhost apps over in to windows - and to do it in OSX, you have to install X11, run it and then ssh in from a terminal running on X11.

Hope that helps ya a bit.

Edited: To correct terminology error

  • 5
    It's true that works, (although you shouldn't call it xhosting, that implies the horrific xhost <server> mechanism). The proper term is X forwarding, or X11-forwarding if you're feeling fancy. Beware of apps that need trusted X11 connections and the ssh clients that support them: if supported, you might need -Y instead or your windows will be blank. had it happen with Java GUIs. For Windows, the best X server is probably Xming. Jun 21, 2011 at 20:00
  • I know about X11-forwarding (and once upon a time I also have managed to use it with Cygwin in Windows!), but currently is not my desired solution. Anyway thank you! Jun 21, 2011 at 21:16
  • The TurboVNC suggestion above sounds pretty shiney and fun. I'll have to give that a whirl! Jun 22, 2011 at 23:39

I've tried several VNC Server on linux and for me the better server is X11VNC .

X11VNC is lightweight stable VNC Server that have a lot of options and allow a great integration with UltraVNC client.

  • 2
    +1 x11vnc every time, it "just works"!
    – jwbensley
    Mar 28, 2013 at 21:48

I currently have a Linux server and to dial into that I'm using NoMachineNX/FreeNX, it uses SSH (Port 22) to connect, it may be worth giving it a go. I can't exactly remember how I set it up, but it did involve some googling.



  • 1
    FreeNX uses SSH on port 22, not SSL.
    – joet3ch
    Jun 21, 2011 at 18:23
  • @joet3ch - Yep you're correct, my bad
    – Martin88
    Jun 21, 2011 at 18:33

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