SSH client tools are applications that are used when you need to connect securely to a remote computer or host over the network.
These tools use the secure shell protocol to encrypt the connection. There are several factors that are important, such as achieving secure logins, transferring files securely, and accessing headless systems.
From an SSH client you need to connect to an SSH server on a remote host. These can include single-board computers, TV boxes, a system that doesn’t support a local terminal, and most frequently to a remote Linux box or a network device.
SSH is a cryptographic network protocol that was created to replace Telnet, and there are a number of different client options available.
In this article I have collected some of the best SSH client tools for Windows, Mac, and Linux so let’s see them below:
Table of Contents
PuTTY is a client program for SSH, and it allows you to run a remote secure session over a network.
It allows you to use remote machines, and it is free and open source. It was originally made for Windows, but it also runs on Mac and Linux machines.
It gives you control over the SSH encryption key, and it uses its own format of key files. You can also do local, remote, or dynamic port forwarding.
PuTTY is the most popular SSH client tool out there and you can even use it without installing (portable version).
Bitvise is another SSH client tool which works only on Windows (supports all versions up to the newest Windows 10).
It provides secure SSH features and SFTP client capabilities. It is free and supports an unlimited number of user connections.
It is compatible with all of the major SSH/SFTP servers, and it is easy to install and set up. It has a user-friendly interface, and it is compliant with FIPS, HIPAA, and PCI requirements.
It offers secure remote access via GUI and Console. You also get scripted connections, and it supports authentication via active directory.
It has also two-factor authentication, as well as locked file transfer mode. It supports virtual accounts, and you can limit the bandwidth for user groups.
WinSCP is a well known secure file transfer software (SCP, SFTP etc) but it includes also an SSH client that allows remote connections over the network.
It is easy to use and provides everything you need to transfer files smoothly or connect remotely to a host.
It is easy enough for beginners to use, and it has a simple graphical interface.
You can choose the basic interface you want to use when you install it, and it is free and open source.
It also offers a basic file manager and file synchronization functionality. It has an integrated text editor, and it allows you to have all regular SSH authentication types such as password, public key, and other.
It will also optionally store session information, and it can retain the original dates and timestamps on uploaded files. Finally, you can use it as a remote editor.
SecureCRT is a commercial product and is designed for use with Windows, Mac, and Linux, to provide terminal emulation for computers.
You get secure remote access, file transfer, and data tunneling, and you can configure, manage, and organize all of your sessions with complete control over scrollback, key mappings, colors, fonts, and more.
You can access all of your network devices from one client with SSH, and it uses the high productivity GUI with multi session launch, tabbed sessions, tab groups, tiled sessions, cloned sessions, and more.
You can also automate repetitive tasks and implement smart cards for secure two-factor authentication.
AbsoluteTelnet provides SSH, Telnet, dialup and more in a tabbed multi-session interface or a single session interface.
You get many options, including dynamic port forwarding, SFTP, port forwarding, file transfer, and IDNA.
It supports single sign-on through advanced security authentication, and it has encryption in many different protocols including Blowfish, Twofish, AES, and more.
It provides maximum security, supports connections on serial ports greater than COM9, and has a variable scrollback size.
DropBear is a smaller SSH server and client, and it is open source. It has a small memory footprint that is suitable for environments that are lacking a lot of memory.
It offers X11 forwarding and authentication agent forwarding for OpenSSH clients. It can run from inetd or standalone, and the server, client, keygen, and key converter can be compiled into a single binary.
The features can be disabled when you are compiling to save space, and it can tunnel through multiple SSH hosts in one command. It is available for many “nix” platforms, including Linux, Mac OS X, and others.
This is another paid/commercial SSH client tool that works on Windows, MAC and Linux.
When you use Termius, you can organize hosts into groups. The groups can share settings, but each host can have its own separate preferences.
You can sync all of the data securely across devices because it uses end-to-end encryption. Termius will gather commands from all of the servers and provide suggestions while you are typing, and you can add shell commands that are used frequently as Snippets.
These Snippets can be executed on multiple hosts. It also provides an excellent terminal experience for iOS and Android, and you can upload and download files using the integrated SFTP client. It is accessible from the terminal on all of the devices that you connect.
KiTTY is a fork version of PuTTY, which is considered the best Telnet and SSH client in the world.
It is designed for Microsoft Windows, and it has all of the features of the original PuTTY software.
It allows you to run a remote session over a network and use remote machines. It is free and open source, and it gives you control over the SSH encryption key, and it uses its own format of key files. You can also do local, remote, or dynamic port forwarding and tunneling.
This SSH client comes from the well known Solarwinds vendor.
SolarPuTTY allows you to manage remote sessions in a professional way. You can manage them from one console with a tabbed interface.
You can save credentials or private keys to any session to make login very easy. In addition, you can automate all of the scripts you are using when the connection is established, and it is integrated with Windows Search, so you can easily find your saved session.
It supports SCP, SSH, Telnet, and SFTP, and you can do graphical SFTP file transfers. It includes more than 1200 application performance monitoring templates, and it will monitor the server performance and hardware health.
mRemoteNG is a fork of mRemote, and it is an open source, tabbed, and multi-protocol remote connections manager for Windows.
It has some bug fixes and new features that improve it over mRemote. You can import and export connections, which are stored in an XML file.
You can easily share it with other devices. It supports a number of remote connection protocols, including RDP, VNC, ICA, SSH, Telnet, Raw, Rlogin, and HTTPs.
It has a clean interface with connections that you can place in folders. Each connection opens a new tab, so it is easy to switch between connections.
You can also completely encrypt the files and add external tools, including ping, tracert, or WinSCP.
MobaXterm is a toolbox for remote computing. It is a Windows application that has functions used by programmers, webmasters, IT administrators, and anyone else who needs to manage remote jobs.
It is an all in one network application, so you can connect using SSH, and it has a graphical SFTP browser that helps you edit the remote files.
You can see the remote applications on the desktop using the X server. It is free to download and use, and they offer a professional version for a fee. The user interface is intuitive, and it is an efficient tool for IT professionals.
SmarTTY is a free multi-tabbed SSH client that allows you to copy files and directories with SCP in addition to SSH connections.
You can copy and edit with one application, and it has a smart terminal with auto-completion, file panel, package management GUI, and more.
It supports up to 10 sub-sessions per connection, and you open the new tab for each one. In Smart Terminal Mode, it is easy to navigate the files and view them or edit them.
You can transfer individual files or entire directories, and you can edit the files in place. It has a built-in hex terminal for COM ports, and you can save communication logs to files.
ZOC Terminal is a professional terminal emulation software for both Windows and MacOS. It has many features that make it reliable and secure, and it has a modern interface that is easy to use.
You get tabbed sessions with thumbnails. It also has an address book with folders and color coded hosts. You can customize it to suit your preferences and needs.
In addition, it offers extensive logging, full keyboard remapping, and scrollback. There are user defined buttons, automatic actions, scripting with 200 commands and a macro recorder. It has a lot to offer to users, and it is easy to use.
Xshell is a powerful SSH client. It allows you to easily create, edit, and launch sessions with the Session Manager and Inheritable Session Properties.
It has many different authentication methods, protocols, and algorithms to handle any situation, and you get access to tools such as CMD, WSL, Powershell, and more directly within Xshell.
It also supports custom aliases for commands that you use frequently. The interface is tabbed and intuitive, and you can create quick command buttons.
You can draft and edit multiple lines of string before sending it. It also has instant tunneling so you can create tunnels even while you have a session running. They offer several different plans for a fee.
ShellNGN is a web-based SSH client with SFTP, VNC, RDP, and more. It offers all-in-one server management.
They offer a cloud version and an installed version, with tabbed sessions where you can manage all within one window.
You can connect with a single click, so you won’t need to remember IP addresses, login details, and credentials.
You can also automate commands with customized snippets. It allows you to browse files, upload and download files, and edit files easily.
You can use RDP to have a remote desktop from your browser, and it supports mobile.
SuperPuTTY is a Graphical User Interface-based Windows application that is used for tab management of PuTTY SSH clients.
PuTTY is a complete program, but it doesn’t have a tabbed interface. SuperPuTTY executes all of the PuTTY commands and includes the much needed Windows management.
However, it does not perform any SSH or terminal management, so you should use PuTTY and this program will help to enhance the experience.
Secure Shell Chrome Extension is a terminal emulator and SSH and SFTP client. It is an xterm compatible terminal emulator, and it works with Chrome.
It uses Native-Client to connect directly to SSH servers, so you don’t need external proxies. It includes an SFTP command line client, and on Chrome OS, you can create SFTP mounts and access them from the Files app. It also includes an alpha build of Mosh.
WinSSHTerm is a tabbed SSH solution for Windows. It combines PuTTY, KiTTY, WinSCP, and VcXsrv.
It works as a user-friendly interface for both PuTTY and KiTTY, and you can open multiple sessions in multiple tabs.
It has an intuitive GUI, and it supports x applications and file transfers. The installation is simple, and it will automatically download what you need.
You will also have the option of installing PuTTY, KiTTY, WinSCP, and X-Server. You can create shortcuts on the keyboard to easily move between windows, and it has a minimalistic design that is easy to navigate. You can also do some customization.
There are many different SSH client tools available, and many are open source and free to use.
They allow you to connect securely to remote terminals and also many of them include file sharing, file transfers, uploads, and downloads.
Some of them offer additional features, and you can open multiple tabs that are easy to switch between.
You will want to use the one that works best for you and the kinds of applications you need. PuTTY is the most popular today, and there are several others that improve and enhance it. However, you can use any on this list if you are looking to set up a secure remote network connection.
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