Best remote desktop for Linux

man working on linux machine over two monitors

Choosing the best remote desktop for Linux will enable you to access computers and mobile devices remotely from your Linux computer. But there are far fewer options available for Linux users than for Windows or Mac owners, and these tend to be much more difficult to use.

This can make it hard to select the right option, particularly if you don’t want too steep of a learning curve. Many Linux remote desktops are open-source and versatile, but they also require significant tech skills to install and use.

To help you find your way through the confusing jargon surrounding Linux remote desktops and select the right option for your business, we’ve put together this guide. In it, we take a close look at the leading Linux remote desktop programs available today.

Which is the best remote desktop for Linux?

With its excellent versatility and cross-platform compatibility, Remmina comes in as our clear number-one remote desktop program for Linux. Not only is it free, but it also offers support for multiple protocols, and is open-source. TeamViewer is another excellent remote desktop for Linux, and provides an option for those who are willing to pay a little more for a beginner-friendly solution.

VNC Connect and TightVNC are advanced options utilising the VNC protocol for more tech-savvy users across paid and free plans, while Chrome Remote Desktop offers users a basic, beginner-friendly option that can be used on numerous devices via the Google browser.

How much does remote desktop for Linux cost?

Like much of the software developed for Linux, many remote desktop programs are free for commercial use. Options like Chrome Remote Desktop and Remmina are excellent choices for those who require a simple solution. There are a few paid options, and prices can range from a couple of dollars a month to tens or even hundreds of dollars a month with high-end programs like TeamViewer.

The best remote desktop for Linux, compared

The best remote desktop for Linux available right now


Remmina logo

(Image credit: Remmina)

Best remote desktop for Linux overall


  • File transfer: Yes
  • Integrated chat: No
  • Unattended access: Yes


  • Supports numerous operating systems
  • Open-source and free
  • Different remote access protocols supported


  • Technical knowledge required
  • Limited extra features

Score: 4.5/5

Remmina is one of the most versatile remote desktop programs we’ve used, and it’s well-deserving of its position as the leading remote desktop for Linux. It supports the most common connection protocols, including RDP, VNC, Spice, and SSH, and it can be used on numerous operating systems and distributions.

On top of this, Remmina is completely open-source, and its code is available to edit. This won’t be a major factor for most, but it’s excellent news for anyone who wants to customise their remote desktop program.

Alongside the base program, Remmina also offers loads of plugins and add-ons. Among these is a neat file transfer tool, although you won’t get anything too fancy. Many of the add-ons are related to security and performance rather than the user interface.


TeamViewer logo

(Image credit: TeamViewer)

Best remote desktop for Linux for beginners


  • File transfer: Yes
  • Integrated chat: Yes
  • Unattended access: Yes


  • Quite easy to use
  • Excellent additional tools
  • A focus on security


  • Very expensive
  • Security features can be complex for small teams

Score: 4.5/5

TeamViewer is a strong contender for the top spot on our list of best remote desktop software, thanks to its versatility and robust security features. TeamViewer is cloud-based and works seamlessly across virtually all operating systems. 


While the cost might be a hurdle for some, with individual plans starting at $24.90  per month and multi-user business plans starting at $50.90 per month, a 14-day free trial is also available for customers looking to test the system out.

TeamViewer prioritizes data security with end-to-end AES encryption to ensure your data is protected at all times. We also found TeamViewer had one of the most user-friendly options for a Linux remote desktop access service we’ve used to date, perfect for people new to RDP services.

VNC Connect

RealVNC logo

(Image credit: RealVNC)

A versatile provider of remote desktop for Linux


  • File transfer: Yes
  • Integrated chat: Yes
  • Unattended access: Yes


  • Intuitive cloud-based remote desktop
  • Excellent privacy and security
  • Supports numerous operating systems


  • Performance can be a little poor
  • Limited support for trial users

Score: 3.5/5

VNC Connect capitalizes on the popular VNC connection protocol and enhances it with a set of valuable features. Among these additions are user-friendly interface improvements, particularly noticeable compared to other Linux remote desktop options, and robust 256-bit AES encryption for enhanced security.

Unlike traditional VNC programs, VNC Connect does require a subscription. However, with the most expensive yearly plan costing approximately $55, it remains a cost effective option. White a 14-day free trial allows you to explore the software, it’s important to note that limited support is available during the trial period.

Another minor drawback is VNC Connect’s potential for lag under scenarios with heavy screen activity. But its advanced security features, including built-in encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA), provide a strong shield for your remote connections. 

Read our full VNC Connect review.


TightVNC logo

(Image credit: TightVNC)

A remote desktop for Linux with excellent additional features


  • File transfer: Yes
  • Integrated chat: No
  • Unattended access: Yes


  • Native Java viewer
  • Built-in file transfer tool
  • Great for advanced users


  • Quite difficult to use
  • Limited support resources

Score: 3/5

TightVNC offers a robust remote desktop solution for Linux users, particularly those facing limited bandwidth or unreliable connections. Notably, it’s completely free to use. While boasting a Java viewer and various features, TightVNC prioritizes efficiency, making it ideal for basic remote access tasks. This focus on efficiency comes at a cost in terms of speed, however, rendering it unsuitable for demanding applications such as remote gaming.

An important caveat to consider is the lack of built-in security features in TightVNC. Data transmissions are not encrypted by default, leaving them vulnerable to potential interception. While this might not be a major concern for advanced users who can implement additional security measures like VPNs, it’s a crucial factor for others to keep in mind.

Read our TightVNC review.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop logo

(Image credit: Google)

A versatile, platform-independent option


  • File transfer: No
  • Integrated chat: No
  • Unattended access: Yes


  • Can be used on any device with the Chrome browser
  • Very easy to set up
  • Completely free forever


  • Limited features
  • Chrome required on all devices

Score: 3/5

Chrome Remote Desktop boasts some of the best cross-platform compatibility we’ve seen. All that’s needed to use it is the Chrome browser, which means that it can be used on any device that supports this. Also, the service free-to-use and boasts excellent performance, making it an attractive option.

Simplicity comes with limitations, however. Features like file transfer and a built-in text chat are noticeably ascent.If you prioritize basic functionality, a tight budget, and broad device support, Chrome Remote Desktop emerges as a compelling choice for your Linux remote desktop needs.

Remote desktop for Linux: FAQs

Want to find out more about the best remote desktop for Linux devices? Our FAQ section is a great place to start.

Can I remote desktop from Linux to Windows?

Yes, most of the leading remote desktop programs enable you to connect between platforms. For example, TeamViewer will enable you to view and control your Windows device from a Linux host. We've also outlined how to remote desktop into Ubuntu in a step-by-step guide.

Yes, majority of many popular remote desktop programs offer the ability to bridge the gap between different operating systems. For instance, you can utilize TeamViewer to access and manage a Windows machine from you Linux computer. We’ve even provided a dedicated guide outlining the steps for setting up remote desktop access on Ubuntu, making it easier to get started.

What is remote desktop and how does it work?

Remote desktop programs enable you to remotely access one device from another. The software will establish a connection between the two devices, enabling you to use the remote device as if you were physically there.

Is remote desktop access safe?

Yes, using a reliable remote desktop program is safe. With the right security measures in place, having a remote desktop program installed presents no more risk than downloading your favourite game.

How we review remote desktop for Linux

When we review remote desktop programs, we begin by scouring the platform’s website for information. Once we’ve determined what it claims to offer and how it works, we subscribe to a premium plan (if required), download the program, and test it.

During testing, we aim to understand how functional, user-friendly, and fast a Linux remote desktop program is. We look at how well it connects to other devices, including mobile devices if they are supported. We also test integrated tools such as file transfer or text messaging, and record any interesting findings.

The benefits of using remote desktop for Linux

File sharing

Most remote desktop programs enable streamlined file sharing between the host and remote devices. If you have more than one remote device connected to the same network, this will enable you to access files on any of them with little trouble.

Unattended access

Let’s say you run Linux on your personal computer and need to access your work device. With a Linux remote desktop program, you will be able to access and control everything on an unattended device from virtually anywhere.

Remote support

With the right Linux remote desktop program, you will be able to provide remote technical support to people across the world. You will be able to access their device(s) remotely, explaining difficult concepts or fixing problems yourself.

Further reading on remote desktops

If you are curious about remote desktop programs and want to find out more about the technology, we have a range of resources at your disposal. Discover the functionalities of XRDP and what TeamViewer can offer, or learn the ropes of using Microsoft Remote Desktop and Windows 10’s remote desktop capabilities.

If you need walkthroughs for setting up remote access via Microsoft or Apple OSs, see how to use remote desktop on Mac and how to remote desktop from Mac to Windows.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance technology and finance writer, whose scientific background in the natural sciences lends rigour and nuance to his informative, accessible articles. His reviews on website builders, web hosting and business web development grace the virtual pages of TechRadar Pro,, and, as well as IT Pro Portal. Well-versed in blockchain, cloud computing and cybersecurity, Daniel takes a keen interest in all aspects of B2B and B2C tech.