PuTTy is the most basic and popular open-source SSH clients used to securely connect to a remote server or device and manage it efficiently.
Initially, this standard terminal emulator was developed for Windows-based systems, but there are versions available now for UNIX and Linux systems as well.
No doubt, PuTTy’s network software has been enhanced over the years now, but what if you want more features and functionality than what PuTTy has to offer?
The market has spoken and many other free alternatives that may be even better than PuTTy have popped up with added benefits, functionality and more!
Below are some of the Best Alternatives to PuTTy for SSH client connections:
Some of the PuTTy replacements mentioned here are free, while others are paid versions. You can choose the one that best suits your requirements and needs.
Here’s the Best Putty alternatives for SSH connections in 2021:
Solar-PuTTy is a FREE SSH client developed by an IT industry leader Solarwinds. It lets you remotely and securely connect to any device or server and is developed for Windows systems.
Solar-PuTTy utility is user-friendly, as it allows you to save private keys or credentials to any session for quick logins every single time.
Moreover, you can even automate scripts to establish a connection just as you login.
What makes it convenient is the fact it is light and portable. That means you can run the executable file, NO need for installation.
Plus, the ‘Windows Search’ integration makes it easier to find saved sessions, Usernames, IP addresses, and Tags in no time.
You can even color-code each session for easy recognition.
The best thing about Solar-PuTTY is its tabbed interface, which makes it better than PuTTy. And its integration with SFTP and SCP for secure file transfers is another bonus!
- Single console with a tabbed interface to manage multiple sessions seamlessly (like Firefox/chrome/opera tabs)
- Includes Windows Search Integration to find saved sessions, IP address or Tags
- Does not require Installation
- Supports SSH, SCP, SFTP and Telnet protocols
- Saves credentials (even private keys) for Auto-login
- Graphical Progress Bar for SFTP file transfers
- Allows to automate all scripts once connected
- Auto Reconnection in case of connection failure
- Assign Color Codes to any PuTTy session
If you are searching for a PuTTy alternative that will allow you to establish multiple sessions via a single tabbed interface, Solar-PuTTy is your best choice.
This is our All Around Winner in terms of Price (FREE), Features, Flexibility and Capabilities it has built-in.
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KiTTy is a fork version of the PuTTy project. This means that the KiTTy was developed by copying and slightly changing the source code of PuTTy.
It is an open-source, FREE SSH client mainly designed only for the Microsoft Windows system interface. But, you can still get access to remote computers that run on Mac OS, Windows, UNIX and Linux systems.
KiTTy tool gets updated every now and then to stay ahead of the game.
With KiTTy, admins and server engineers can create scripts in order to automatically access and run commands on the command line of a remote device.
It can even allow you to run multiple sessions at the same time.
WinSCP and pscp are two of its SCP implementations and additionally, the KiTTy tool also features a built-in text editor and a chat system.
Since KiTTy is a fork version of PuTTy, most of the features, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are almost similar to PuTTy.
It has an easy-to-use GUI with a configuration box and individual session icons.
- Free, open-source
- Built-in Chat system and Text Editor
- Designed for Windows platform, but can login to computers that run on other OS
- Session Filtering options provided
- Includes two SCP implementations viz. WinSCP and pscp
- Auto Scripts/Login Scripts once a session is established
- Allows you to launch multiple sessions
- Connects via SSH, Telnet and rLogin protocols
- Portable: Does not require Installation
- Can run Local Scripts on remote devices/computers
- Can Auto-Save sessions via Windows Registry
- Add Automatic Passwords
KiTTY program is ideal for people who like and are used to the User Interface of the original PuTTy, but at the same time are looking for a few more impressive features.
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MobaXterm is an advanced terminal emulator with inbuilt X11 server integration, designed for Windows.
It has a free version, ideal for home use and also a ‘Paid’ version for enterprises.
Even though it is made for Microsoft Windows systems, it supports a few Linux/Unix commands.
It comes with a wide range of functions for people who want to manage systems remotely including programmers, IT admins, webmasters, etc.
MobaXterm can run multiple SSH sessions simultaneously, which can be seamlessly accessed via a tabbed interface. The free version lets you run up to 12 SSH sessions, whereas the paid version supports unlimited sessions.
All the file transfers are carried out through SFTP protocol, whereas a terminal session is handled by X Server system. You can expand the MobaXterm’s abilities with the use of plug-ins, and even tunnel protocol with HTTPS.
MobaXterm Features (Free Version):
- Provides remote network tools such as VNC, RDP, FTP, SSH, X11, MOSH, etc.
- Supports a few Unix/Linux commands (cat, ls, bash, grep, rsync, awk, etc.)
- Embedded X11-Forwarding and X Server
- Tabbed interface for SSH: Maximum 12 sessions
- Built-in Text Editor, GUI File
- Light and Portable: Does NOT require Installation
- Maximum 4 macros
- Offers two SSH tunnels
- Maximum 360 seconds for Nfs, Tftp and Cron
- Remote Session Manager
- Remote Desktop Manager
- Automatic SFTP browser
- Plugins support
Some Extra Features Only Available in Professional (Paid) version:
- Unlimited SSH sessions
- Graphical SFTP browser
- Customizable startup message and logo
- Modify profile scripts
- Remove unwanted tools, screensavers, games
- 12 months of solid Professional support
- Lifetime right to use
- Unlimited number of Tunnels
- Unlimited Macros
- Unlimited run time for network daemons
- Master Password Support
mRemoteNG is yet another fork version of mRemote – which is an open-source remote connection manager.
mRemoteNG has a few additional features and bug fixes to mRemote.
mRemote stands for ‘multi-remote’ sessions.
Hence, mRemoteNG has a tabbed interface that lets you view multiple remote connections in a single, powerful window.
The application updates regularly, so you will have a highly reliable tool for remote connections.
It runs on Windows, and also comes with various communication systems. But some of these, such as rLogin and RDP, are not so secure. Thus, it is recommended to NOT use these to access remote devices over the Internet.
On a positive note, you can use SSH and HTTPS with mRemoteNG.
- Supports SSH, VNC, rLogin, Telnet, ICA, RDP, Telnet, HTTPS and other protocols
- Free, open source
- Tabbed interface, multi-protocol features
- Simple, clean interface
- Integrated secure file transfer; supports SFTP and SCP
- Allows you to undock panels
mRemoteNG is perfect for anyone who wants a basic remote desktop manager and SSH client with simple UI.
The best thing about mRemoteNG as PuTTy alternative is that it is not crowded with complex features, it is open-source and free to download.
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5. Xshell 6 Client
Xshell 6 is another powerful SSH client or terminal emulator that supports Telnet, SSH1, SSH2, rLogin, SFTP and SERIAL connections.
This also makes it one of the better PuTTy alternatives due to its wide set of features!
Xshell has a free version for home use, and there’s also a paid version available for businesses.
Xshell 6 runs on Windows systems, but it is able to interact with Unix and Linux environments.
You get to choose between SSH1 and SSH2 security options.
It also provides rLogin option, but since it is NOT encrypted, it is better to stick to the SSH option only.
It is one of the best PuTTy alternatives to offer a tabbed interface and dynamic port forwarding.
Xshell 6 Features:
- Full CMD functionality
- Launch multiple sessions at the same time with Xshell’s superior Session Manager
- Tabbed Interface
- Customization: Set key mappings, dock UI elements, define sessions and layouts
- Apply ‘Highlight Sets’ to each session as per your needs
- Uses PKCS#11 and GSSAPI authentication and encryption methods
- Master Password feature
- X11 Forwarding
- Built-in terminal lock
- Supports JScript, VBScript and Python
- Custom Keyboard/Key Mappings
Free version is available to download for home and school applications, whereas the Single User ‘Xshell 6’ License costs $99 (includes 1 year maintenance).
6. Bitvise SSH Client
Bitvise is a highly flexible SSH Client and a powerful PuTTy alternative with myriads of functions. Most importantly, it is Free to use.
It is a Windows application with state-of-the-art terminal emulation as well as a file transfer system.
It features command-line and graphical SFTP support; while the terminal emulator supports bvterm, vt100 and xterm protocols.
Terminal emulator as well as file transfer system is protected by SSH protocol.
Bitvise SSH Client comes with powerful tunneling features such as remote administration to the SSH server and dynamic port forwarding via integrated proxy.
Most importantly, the command line version allows for FTP-to-SFTP bridge.
Bitvise SSH Client Features:
- Free SSH Client with Graphical SFTP functionality
- Dynamic Port Forwarding via HTTP or Socks proxy
- Supports bvterm, xterm and vt100 protocols
- Scriptable command line options
- Supports DSA, RSA and ECDSA Public Key Authentication
- FTP to SFTP Bridge
- Supports SSO (Single Sign-On)
- Remote Console
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PuTTy Tray is another fork version of PuTTy that has an amazing feature of minimizing to the system tray when not in use.
This is what adds practicality to the tool.
It is a free, open-source tool that runs on any Windows environment. You can set the tool to run directly on system startup.
For terminal emulation, you can use a secure SSH system or rLogin. But rLogin does not have encryption, so it is better to only use it as SSH client.
One downside about PuTTy Tray is that it does NOT encompass a file transfer function.
PuTTy Tray Features:
- Supports URL hyperlinking
- Minimizes to System Tray
- Light and Portable Installation
- Free, open-source
- Customizable Icons
- Blinking Tray Icon when receives a Bell Signal
- Supports Android adb
- Window Transparency can be configured
- Includes ‘Always on Top’ Setting
PuTTy Tray is a good PuTTy alternative, especially for users who want to seek advantage of the URL hyperlink integration.
Only thing is that the project has not been updated by the developer for a very long time.
SuperPuTTy is a GUI-based Windows Manager that is hosted on GitHub.
It is mainly designed to provide the much-needed tabbed interface, as the standard PuTTy program lacks it.
With this feature, you can easily access and manage various sessions through a tabbed window.
It is an open-source program and absolutely free to download and use.
Along with a powerful tabbed interface, SuperPuTTy also provides you with a customizable UI.
It supports various protocols such as SSH, Telnet, RAW and rLogin. It is better to use only SSH option, as other protocols do NOT include authentication and encryption.
The secure file transfer functions in SuperPuTTy support SFTP and SCP methods.
- Supports SCP and SFTP methods for secure file transfer to the remote host
- Supports SSH, rLogin, RAW and Telnet protocols for terminal emulation
- Tabbed interface
- Free, open-source
- Customizable user interface
- Tab manipulations feature allows you to move tabs
- Set keyboard shortcuts for commonly used commands
- PuTTy configuration integration
Though SuperPuTTy is one of the potential PuTTy alternatives, it has not been updated by developers for a long time.
With this, we conclude our detailed post on Best PuTTy alternatives for SSH Connections.
As we can see, there are myriads of PuTTy alternatives available for Windows systems that come with terminal emulation as well as file transfer functionality.
For terminal emulation, you should only stick to SSH as it is protected with encryption.
While for file transfers, SCP and SFTP are good options.
Most of these PuTTy alternatives are free to download and use; only a few of them offer paid versions.
For your remote access system needs, you can download one of the SSH clients or terminal emulator from the list above.