12 Best PuTTY Alternatives

June 20, 2024

Introduction

PuTTY is a free and open-source SSH and Telnet client that allows users to connect to other systems remotely. It was initially developed for Windows but has since been ported to macOS and Linux. While PuTTY is a dependable terminal emulator, there are many alternatives that provide more streamlined interfaces and a broader range of features.

This tutorial provides an overview of the 12 best alternatives to PuTTY, detailing their key features and pros and cons.

An overview of 12 best PuTTY alternatives.

What Are the Best PuTTY Alternatives?

The list below presents the twelve best PuTTY alternatives for 2024, catering to a variety of needs and budgets with both free and paid options.

These alternatives offer advanced features not available in PuTTY, such as enhanced session management, built-in multi-tab functionality, and integrated support for additional protocols like SCP and SFTP.

Feature/ClientProtocol
Support
User
Interface
Multi-Session ManagementCustomizationScriptingPlatformSecurity FeaturesCost
BitviseSSH, SFTP, SCP, FTPSGraphicalYesHighPowerShellWindowsHighFree
TermiusSSH, SFTP, Mosh, TelnetGraphical/MobileYesModeratePython, JavaScriptWindows, Linux, macOS, iOS, AndroidHighFree, Paid (starting at $10)
XShell 7SSH, SFTP, Telnet, rlogin, Serial, LocalGraphicalYesHighJavaScript, Perl, VBWindowsHighFree, $99 for Bussiness
Solar-PuTTYSSH, Telnet, FTP, SCP, SFTPGraphicalYesLowExternal ScriptingWindowsModerateFree
KiTTYSSH, TelnetGraphicalLimitedHighLight Text EditorWindowsHighFree
SuperPuTTYSSH, Telnet, rlogin, RAW, SCP, SFTPGraphicalYesModerateExternal ScriptingWindowsModerateFree
SmarTTYSSH, SCP, SFTPGraphicalYesModerateExternal ScriptingWindowsHighFree
mRemoteNGSSH, RDP, VNC, Telnet, HTTP/HTTPSGraphicalYesHighExternal ScriptingWindowsHighFree
MobaXtermSSH, SCP, SFTP, Telnet, RDPGraphicalYesHighExternal ScriptingWindows, macOS, LinuxHighFree, Paid (starting at $69)
OpenSSHSSHCLINoLowBashAll PlatformsHighFree
ZOCSSH, Telnet, rloginGraphicalYesHighREXXWindows, macOSHigh$79.99
SecureCRTSSH, Telnet, rlogin, Serial, RAWGraphicalYesHighVB, JavaScript, PythonWindows, macOS, LinuxHigh30-day trial/Paid (starting at $119)

Note: The functionalities, features, and prices listed in the table are accurate as of the date this article was written. However, they may change with new updates and subsequent software releases.

1. Bitvise SSH Client

Bitvise SSH Client  as an alternative to PuTTY

About

Bitvise SSH Client is a free Windows application that is available in both installable and portable versions. This PuTTY alternative supports all Windows desktop and server versions and offers GUI and command-line interfaces.

It is known for its robust encryption and single-click remote desktop forwarding, which makes it ideal in scenarios that require strong encryption and advanced scripting capabilities, like conducting secure file transfers or managing server farms.

Bitvise SSH Client interface example.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Single-click remote desktop forwarding.
  • SSH and SFTP support, with FTP to STFP bridge.
  • Supports all Windows versions.
  • Allows SSH obfuscation.
  • Supports scripting using sexec, stermc, and stnlc.
PROSCONS
Wide range of public key authentication types.Designed exclusively for Windows.
Secure connections with strong encryption.Steep learning curve for new users.
Comprehensive Windows support.Tabbed interface adds unnecessary steps during use.
Powerful scripting options.The help section is not as comprehensive as some other options.

Price

The Bitvise SSH Client is free of charge. The installer can be downloaded from the official Bitvise page; no registration is required.

2. Termius

Termius SSH client as an alternative to PuTTY.

About

Termius is an SSH tool designed for remotely accessing and managing UNIX-based systems from desktop and mobile platforms. It offers a sleek interface and synchronization across all devices.

System administrators, developers, and other IT professionals can use Termius to manage multiple servers across various locations from any device. This capability helps streamline workflows, facilitates continuous integration, and optimizes deployment practices.

Termius SSH client user interface.

Operating System

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android

Key Features

  • Synchronizes session data, host details, and credentials across all devices.
  • User-friendly interface that enhances readability and workflow.
  • Incorporates SSH, Mosh, and Telnet support.
  • Generates RSA/DSA keys directly within the app.
  • Stores frequently used commands for quick access.
PROSCONS
Available on all major operating systems.Advanced features like SFTP, terminal tabs, and background mode are locked behind a premium subscription.
Clean design and easy navigation.Fewer options for customizing the user interface and terminal settings.

Price

The Starter package is a free version that provides access to essential Termius features. You can download the Starter package for your operating system from the official Termius website.

Advanced features and enhanced support are available through a monthly subscription. As of the time this article was written, prices range from $10 to $30 per user per month, depending on the number of features included.

3. Xshell 7

Xshell 7 secure client emulator as an alternative to PuTTY.

About

Xshell is a powerful terminal emulator designed for Windows. It offers advanced functionality for complex networking tasks and supports a wide array of protocols, including SSH, Telnet, and rlogin.

The emulator is best suited for advanced users, such as system administrators and developers, who require robust terminal capabilities, scripting, and secure network management.

Xshell user interface example.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Redirection of TCP/IP data to an intermediate server via dynamic port forwarding.
  • Users can personalize workflows by mapping keys and assigning shortcuts.
  • The interface highlights important text snippets, making it easier to track logs and command outputs.
  • Supports scripting using VB, JavaScript, and Python, which allows users to automate tasks and configure complex operations.
  • Provides SSH Tunneling for secure data transmission.
  • Users can manage multiple sessions via tabs within a single window.
PROSCONS
Highly detailed interface with optional audio alerts for completed tasks or errors.Only runs on Windows systems.
Broad protocol support ensures compatibility with various network environments.The interface can be challenging for new users to navigate.
Allows extensive customization to fit the user’s specific needs.Free version restricted to non-commercial use.

Price

Only users who intend to use XShell 7 for non-commercial purposes can download the free version from the NetSarang official website.

Business users must purchase a yearly subscription for the basic package, which costs $99 at the time this article was written.

4. Solar-PuTTY

SolarPuTTY SolarWinds SSH tool as an alternative to PuTTY.

About

Solar-PuTTY by SolarWinds is a free SSH utility for Windows systems designed to simplify the management of remote sessions. It supports multiple protocols, such as SSH, Telnet, SCP, and SFTP, all within a user-friendly interface that does not require a traditional installation. You can just download Solar-PuTTY and launch it.

With its robust feature set and no-cost entry point, it is a solid choice for IT professionals, casual users, and educators.

Solar-PuTTY SSH client interface.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Tabbed interface for managing multiple connections in one organized window.
  • The tool automatically logs in and re-establishes connections.
  • Executes scripts automatically after a connection is established.
  • It allows you to backup or migrate saved sessions to a new system.
  • Customizable appearance, including fonts and session colors.
  • Save credentials and assign them to multiple servers.
PROSCONS
Quick setup with no installation.Registration on SolarWinds' website is required before downloading the app.
A high degree of automation.Users need basic networking knowledge to use this tool effectively.
Customizable and user-friendly GUI.Available only on Windows.

Price

Solar-PuTTY is free and available for personal, educational, or professional use without a financial commitment.

5. KiTTY

KiTTY SSH client alternative to PuTTY.

About

KiTTY is an advanced fork of the original PuTTY client. It enhances the familiar PuTTY interface by adding new functionalities and features.

This free and portable client is well-suited for system administrators who require advanced capabilities to manage remote systems and for casual users who benefit from its no-cost access.

KiTTY user interface example.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Built-in chat system and text editor that facilitates communication within the terminal.
  • It supports login scripts but has limited support for after-login automation.
  • Users can automate commands and assign shortcuts for quick access.
  • Auto-saves sessions and allows session filtering.
  • ZModem integration supports direct file transfers between the host and the client.
PROSCONS
It can be used directly from a USB or external drive without installation.Supports only SSH and Telnet.
Users who are familiar with PuTTY will find KiTTY easy to use.The GUI is somewhat outdated and lacks some functionalities of modern clients.
Supports scripting and command automation.Documentation within the tool could be more comprehensive.

Price

KiTTY is free and can be used in home and business environments without restrictions.

6. SuperPuTTY

The SuperPuTTY alternative to PuTTY.

About

SuperPuTTY is an extension for the PuTTY client that improves the existing user interface by introducing new features such as tab management. It requires an installed copy of PuTTY to work.

The SuperPuTTY add-on is best suited for individuals already familiar with and using PuTTY but requires enhanced session management and organizational capabilities.

An example of the SuperPuTTY interface.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Customizable GUI that allows users to manage multiple sessions in a single window.
  • Options for keyboard shortcuts.
  • Has basic scripting capabilities.
  • Supports SSH, Telnet, rlogin, RAW, SCP, and SFTP protocols.
PROSCONS
PuTTY users will find the UI familiar and enhanced with tab management.SuperPuTTY is not a standalone tool as it requires the original PuTTY for SSH.
Expands the list of available protocols compared to PuTTY.It lacks the advanced features most experienced users need.
A free solution that is easily integrated with a familiar tool.The interface may feel dated compared to modern SSH clients.

Price

SuperPuTTY is a free and open-source solution.

7. SmarTTY

SmarTTY SSH client as a PuTTY alternative.

About

SmarTTY is a free SSH client that enables users to manage multiple SSH sessions from a single window. It supports SCP for easy file transfers between local and remote systems.

Compared to other PuTTY alternatives, SmarTTY's interface design is distinct, with session tabs located at the bottom of the main screen and an index panel on the left side.

SmarTTY SSH client interface design.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key Features

  • Users can manage multiple SSH sessions in a single window through a multi-tabbed interface.
  • Supports drag-and-drop file transfers directly within the SSH session.
  • Includes a full-featured graphical SFTP client for browsing remote files.
  • Allows users to create and manage SSH keys directly within the client.
  • Supports auto-completion of commands and file paths.
PROSCONS
User-friendly tabbed interface for managing multiple connections.Challenging for users who only need basic SSH functionality.
Integrated SCP and a graphical SFTP client to streamline the transfer of files and directories.Primarily supports SCP and SFTP for file transfers, which may be a limitation for some users.
Built-in key generator for creating SSH key pairs.A Windows-only tool.

Price:

SmarTTY is free and available for download, without registration, from the official Sysprogs website.

8. mRemoteNG

mRemoteNG client as an alternative to PuTTY

About

mRemoteNG is an open-source remote connection manager with a user-friendly multi-tab interface. It started as a fork of mRemote and is available as a free download.

This tool supports various protocols, including RDP, VNC, SSH, and Telnet, making it highly versatile for different remote access needs. mRemoteNG is primarily used by IT professionals who manage multiple remote connections and need a scalable tool to oversee multiple sessions.

Example of mRemoteNG user interface.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key features

  • Supports a wide range of network protocols such as SSH, Telnet, HTTP/HTTPS, rlogin, and RAW.
  • Supports RDP (remote desktop and terminal service), VNC, and ICA (Citrix Independent Computer Architecture).
  • Provides a multi-tab interface that allows users to manage numerous remote sessions in a single window.
  • All user credentials are securely stored and managed.
PROSCONS
An open-source tool with an active community and regular updates.The interface becomes more difficult to use with many connections.
Lightweight and easy-to-use GUI.Only available on Windows.
Supports secure credential storage.Limited customization options for the user interface.

Price

mRemoteNG is free to use and modify under the terms of the GNU General Public License (Version 2).

9. OpenSSH

OpenSSH as a PuTTY alternative.

About

OpenSSH is the standard tool for managing secure network communications and remote operations. It is a viable cross-platform alternative to PuTTY and has become a standard in the network administration profession due to its robust security features and compatibility across various platforms. For example, the OpenSSH client and server are included in modern Windows operating systems by default.

Users can only interact with OpenSSH via a command-line interface. It is widely used in environments that deal with sensitive information and need to prioritize secure and encrypted communication, such as finance, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Note: To learn more about SSH, read our detailed guide on how SSH works.

Operating Systems

  • Linux
  • Windows
  • macOS

Key Features

  • It provides strong encryption over an unsecured network using SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).
  • Supports multiple authentication methods, including Kerberos, one-time passwords, and public keys.
  • Enables multiple SSH connections to reuse a single connection through session multiplexing.
  • Allows redirection of network ports from one network device to another over a secure channel.
  • Supports X11 forwarding, which enables users to run applications that require a graphical interface on remote machines.
  • Includes utilities for generating, managing, and converting authentication keys for SSH.
PROSCONS
Highly secure.Command-line interface only.
Universally supported across all major operating systems.Lots of complex configuration options.
Open-source and free to use.Limited built-in functionalities.

Price

OpenSSH is open-source, and individuals and organizations can use it free of charge and without restrictions. It is easy to install and use, but the command-line interface can pose a challenge for inexperienced users not accustomed to working in a terminal window.

10. MobaXterm

MobaXterm tool as an alternative to PuTTY,

About

MobaXterm is a comprehensive networking toolkit available in free and paid versions. It appeals to a broad audience, from casual home users to advanced IT professionals, because it offers an enriched terminal experience complete with multi-tabbed session management and built-in network tools.

While the free version is a solid introduction to the software's capabilities, the paid version is often recommended for those who need more advanced features and fewer restrictions.

MobaXterm networking tool interface example.

Operating System

  • Windows

Key Features

  • Includes remote desktop and terminal capabilities with X11 forwarding.
  • Support for plugins.
  • Comes with limits on the number of sessions, SSH tunnels, and macros. (free version)
  • Customizable GUI. (paid version)
  • Allows removal of unwanted tools and applications. (paid version)
  • Offers unlimited sessions, SSH tunnels, and macros. (paid version)
  • Includes support for a master password. (paid version)
PROSCONS
The interface is simple and easy to use.A paid version is required for advanced features.
Supports multiple network and file transfer protocols.Only available on Windows.

Price

Pricing for the paid version varies based on the number of users. When this article was written, the starting price for a setup of 1 to 10 users was $69. The price decreases gradually with the number of users, dropping to $41 for over 500 users.

11. ZOC Terminal

ZOC Terminal as a PuTTY alternative.

About

ZOC Terminal is a professional and commercial SSH and Telnet client. This paid software is available for Windows and macOS. It is primarily designed for advanced users who repeatedly need to access text-based shell accounts from a Windows or macOS platform.

Example of ZOC terminal interface.

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • macOS

Key Features

  • It provides secure and encrypted access to remote servers via a wide range of protocols, including SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, TAPI, and Serial.
  • It supports extensive scripting in various languages like Python and Perl, allowing users to automate many routine tasks.
  • A rich user interface with customization options.
PROSCONS
Advanced features such as tabbed sessions, scripting, and robust session management.A lack of a free version may put off individual users and small businesses.
Compatible with various network environments and legacy systems.It may be overwhelming for users looking for a more straightforward solution due to the available options.

Price

ZOC Terminal is a commercial software with a starting price of $79.99 at the time this article was written. Pricing can vary based on the chosen license and additional features required.

12. SecureCRT

SecureCRT SSH client as an alternative for PuTTY.

About

SecureCRT is a professional-grade SSH terminal emulator that supports all standard data transfer protocols. Due to the high level of security and stable performance, this emulator is primarily used in professional settings and critical environments where it is vital to maintain connections without drops or interruptions.

Example of SecureCRT emulator interface.

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux

Key Features

  • Strong encryption protocols with support for various authentication methods.
  • A tabbed interface enables users to manage multiple sessions efficiently.
  • Supports scripting in VB, JavaScript, and Python to help automate tasks.
  • Lots of customization options for menus, key mappings, and toolbar settings.
PROSCONS
High security level due to robust encryption, comprehensive authentication options, and secure protocols.As a paid solution, it may not appeal to casual users in non-commercial settings.
Tabbed sessions, session restoration, and layout customization.Regular software updates, necessary to maintain security, can incur additional costs.
Available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Price

SecureCRT is a proprietary and paid solution. The company offers a 30-day trial to help you determine if the software meets your needs.

At the time of writing, the price for one SecureCRT user license was $119, including a year's worth of upgrades. The price varies based on the number of user licenses purchased.

Conclusion

You now have a comprehensive overview of PuTTY alternatives, each offering expanded features and enhanced usability. With this information, you should be able to choose the option that best fits your requirements and preferences.

Regardless of how good an SSH client's security is, there is always a risk of a cyber-attack. Learn how privileged access management can help you reduce the attack surface.

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Vladimir Kaplarevic
Vladimir is a resident Tech Writer at phoenixNAP. He has more than 7 years of experience in implementing e-commerce and online payment solutions with various global IT services providers. His articles aim to instill a passion for innovative technologies in others by providing practical advice and using an engaging writing style.
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