I have a virtual private server running ubuntu, and I'm just curious (and expecting a solid "no" answer) if it's possible to install a desktop environment and remotely log into it. My only access right now is via shell.

I know, total noob question.


Yeah, you can. You'll need to install gdm or kde and then tunnel X over SSH.

ssh -X server

Now, you can start programs that require the X window server, and you'll get graphical windows. It's probably better to just run your server from the command line, however. You never really need a windowing system.


Yes, as described above. However many VPS have small limits on memory and disk space.


I have set up a working gui using xfce4 and vnc to connect to the vps

first apt-get install gdm xfce4

the apt-get install tightvncserver





now try connecting using any vnc client

xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:5901 where the x's are your VPS IP. Once connected you may need to type startxfce4 into the command line to start the gui.

I then installed firefox and can run xfce, the vncserver and about 4 browser windows in the 256MB limit of my VPS.

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