If you manage remote servers, you will likely be familiar with PuTTY and use it every day. Whether you’re a server admin, IT support or something else, the tools you use to do your job can have a real influence over how easy that job is. While PuTTY is good, it isn’t the only game in town.
SSH stands for Secure Shell and is a secure connection protocol that enables you to connect to other computers or servers over an insecure network. Many smaller businesses use this as well as enterprise as an extra layer of security when talking to remote machines. Even if you use a VPN or secure connection, using SSH is another layer of protection to keep your machines secure.
If you’re in the mood for a change, here are some top quality SSH clients for Windows. Some of them will work with Linux and Mac too. Each is free or has a free option. Most work with Linux or Mac and will have support for RDP, Telnet, SSH, ICA and more.
PuTTY is the default. It’s free, open source and used almost everywhere. It is also very easy to use, secure and can handle most servers and server type. It also plays well with other security including VPNs and private circuits. It builds on Telnet and is as easy to use.
Install, set it up, select an IP address or server name and connect. If you use port restrictions, add the port and you’re good to go. The core product is free and contains most of the features we look for in an SSH client. There is a premium version too with some extra features.
Solar PuTTY is a very good SSH client for Windows. Created by Solarwinds, this SSH client is also free. It looks and feels a bit like PuTTY and works in much the same way. It uses a comfortable tabbed interface with logical navigation, nice interface and programmable config defaults for faster login.
The design and feel of Solar PuTTY is a step up from basic PuTTY and is nicer to work with. It has the same features though so it’s only the usability that’s a benefit here.
SmarTTY is a great SSH client for Windows. It has a much more modern design with more menu options and better navigation. It works in much the same way but offers extras like the ability to run multiple sessions in the same instance with tabs, send to tray instead of close and the ability to work with hyperlinks. It’s a powerful package that offers more than PuTTY.
Using SmarTTY is simple if you already know PuTTY. Menus are in similar places, the same requirements are handled for logins and it is as secure as any client here. It just looks nicer.
KiTTY is a PuTTY fork that has been taken further than the original. It looks a lot like PuTTY but has a slicker design and some extra quality of life functions. One key feature is automatic login which uses a config file to automatically log onto remote servers within a secure network. It is a potential security hole but makes logging in so much faster.
KiTTY also has a send to tray functions, hyperlink compatibility and some extra design flourishes that make it nice to work with.
MremoteNG is another open source SSH client worth checking out. It is quite the powerful little program with multiple session support, script support, x server support, a huge protocol compatibility list and a ton of other features too. The main benefit here is support for extensions. You can bolt on a number of features to the basic client should you wish to so you can tune it to your exact needs.
The design has been pared back to keep your attention on the task rather than the interface and it works all the better for it.
MobaXterm offers a free and a premium version but the free option is enough for most requirements. The premium is $69 so it’s just as well! This SSH client has support for tabs, x server, multiple protocols, multiple OS support and extensions should you need them.
The design is simple and easy to get to grips with. The look and feel is familiar and there are no real downsides or compromises. The premium version does add some bells and whistles but for most companies, it is unnecessary.
Terminals may be last but it is certainly not least, not by a long shot. It’s available from GitHub and is constantly updated and well supported. It’s a very simplistic PuTTY alternative that pares back everything you don’t need to concentrate on the features you do need.
It isn’t the prettiest program you’ll ever use but everything you need is present and accounted for. As a free program, it works well and is very stable. Well worth checking out.
If you manage remote servers, PuTTY or Telnet get the job done but there are options. If you’re looking for extra features or quality of life upgrades, these other programs offer plenty. As long as your organization is okay with automatic logons or scripts, you should be logging in and out of remote machines faster than ever!
If you need help maintaining remote servers, building networks, securing networks or anything tech, contact New Jersey Computer Help. We have the expertise you need to maintain your IT!