I am using Windows 7 and going to purchase a VPS with Ubuntu OS. I used to use VPS with Windows 2008 Enterprise OS and used windows remote desktop to remote the VPS.

Now if I switch to Ubuntu VPS can I still use remote desktop like with Windows 2008 Enterprise VPS ? I think Teamviewer software can help me to use remote desktop from Windows to Ubuntu VPS, am I right ?


This would depend on the VPS and what is installed under Ubuntu.

If it's a server install, it probably has a number of GUI (X) items not installed, since it can have a dramatic impact on how much disk space and CPU cycles are used.

If it does have the workstation version with the default workstation packages, there is a desktop sharing ability using VNC to connect to it.

Alternatively, you can get an X server for your Windows system and ssh in with putty (using X-forwarding enabled) to launch graphical applications to appear locally on your Windows machine while running on the remote system.

Your best bet is to learn how to use the command prompt, though. It will let you run a leaner system, lower CPU usage, and simplify how to connect to your machine (just using SSH instead of a slower graphical interface).

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    Can I open Firefox and surf web on VPS if I use command prompt ? – JatSing Feb 13 '12 at 21:32
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    ...yes...there are issues you'd have to work around if you have it running locally and remotely (there's another switch to use) but yes, you can launch most GUI programs on a remote Linux system to view locally as long as you're running an X server on your local system and forwarding X. – Bart Silverstrim Feb 13 '12 at 21:35
  • So these GUI programs will use resources from the VPS or from my local Windows system ? For instance, if I run Firefox on VPS and use SSH then Firefox will use cookies from the VPS or from my local Windows ? – JatSing Feb 14 '12 at 0:06
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    You might want to google how X Windows works, but the program will run on your remote system, while the display is on your computer. X reverses the definitions of server and client. So you run an X Server on your computer, connect to the Linux system with X forwarding enabled, and the remote Firefox session will use the memory/CPU/storage of your UNIX-like system while displaying the window on your local system. – Bart Silverstrim Feb 14 '12 at 0:41
  • I tried Xming with Ubuntu Cloud Guest : try.cloud.ubuntu.com. OMG it's very slow to forward GUI apps to Xming running on local Windows 7. It takes around 10 seconds to launch xclock and Firefox even can't show up fully. I wonder if especially the Ubuntu Cloud Guest is slow or it's normal speed for the most X-forwarding ? – JatSing Feb 14 '12 at 10:28

What you suggest is theoretically possible but I would recommend against it.

You would probably be much better served with one of the control panel interfaces like cPanel or Webmin.

  • cPanel (thankfully?) doesn't support ubuntu. Last I looked, webmin had some laughable misconceptions about how .deb packages are supposed to work. buyer beware – stew Feb 13 '12 at 21:18
  • cPanel ONLY supports CentOS. You can use VNC technology to connect to VPS machine instead RDP. I recommend to you install Tightvncserver – erm3nda Sep 23 '14 at 22:26
  • If you discard to enable visual tools, i suggest you to use ssh for manage server, winscp to manage files and folders with easy (GUI), and x-forwarding for use little GUI applications on vps, like LibreOffice or something like that. – erm3nda Sep 23 '14 at 22:28

Yes you can, you just need to install vnc4server, tightvnc or realvnc. I use windows 7 on my desktop with tightvnc viewer as well as my windows 8 laptop.


Yes you can, but this will result to installing many files to your system and increasing your disk usage and also cpu/ram usage.

1. Install the Desktop Environment and VNC server

Usually an Ubuntu VPS does not come with a graphical desktop environment or a VNC server installed, so you must first install those. To use the minimum disk space and minimum resource I used Xfce desktop environment and TightVNC myself.

sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies tightvncserver

To complete the VNC server's initial configuration after installation, use the vncserver command to set up a secure password.


2. Configure the VNC Server

You should configure vnc so that it first starts the desktop environment then the vnc service. Firstly, kill the vnc server that you started in the first step:

vncserver -kill :1

Prepare the startup file

nano ~/.vnc/xstartup

Put these lines into the file:

xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
startxfce4 &

Make sure the file is executable

sudo chmod +x ~/.vnc/xstartup

Now start the vnc server and you are ready to use it:


3. Usage

You can use any windows vnc client to connect to your server from port 5901. Personally I like mRemoteNG to manage multiple servers.

To setup vnc so that it starts automatically after each restart, you need to set it up as a service. You can read the details of these step and the setup as a service from this page which I used as reference:


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