How to Configure Linux for Remote Access

Linux is a free and open-source operating system based on the Unix operating sytem. It has quickly gained popularity as an alternative to both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems. One of the most popular versions of Linux is Ubuntu, mostly because of ease of use and its slick graphical interface. Using Ubuntu, it's relatively simple to configure Linux for remote access. This will allow you to work on your Linux system from anywhere in the world as if you were sitting right in front of your computer at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Linux box running Ubuntu
  • Internet connection
  • Remote computer


    • 1

      Turn on Remote Desktop networking. Go to "System" on the Desktop, then "Preferences," then "Remote Desktop". Underneath "Sharing" on the "Remote Desktop" tab, make sure the choices "Allow other users to control this desktop" and "Allow other users to view this desktop" are checked. Check "OK" and close the boxes.

    • 2

      Configure the "Advanced remote properties". Some of these include: "Only allowing local connections" (that is, connections from the Linux system itself); "Use of an alternate port other than the default port of 5900"; and "Disable wallpaper when transmitting remotely." Disabling the wallpaper is a good choice to conserve network traffic and increase the speed of your sessions.

    • 3

      Locate the IP address of this Linux computer. You need this to be able to connect remotely. How this is done depends on how your computer is connected to the internet. If this is a standalone Linux computer tied straight into the Internet, skip to Step 4. If you are connected through a router, go to Step 5.

    • 4

      IP Address For Linux Computer Connected Directly To The Internet: You can use a Web-based resource, such as the one given in "Resources" below, to find your IP address. Write this down. Go to Step 7.

    • 5

      IP Address For Linux Computer Behind A Router: You will have to forward ports in order for other computers to access the remote desktop services. You will first need the IP address of the Linux computer. Open up a terminal window and type in the command "ifconfig." The IP address of your Linux computer will be in the form of a series of 4 numbers separated by dots, like this: Write this down.

    • 6

      Log in to your router by typing "" into the address bar on your Web browser. You should be presented with a login screen for your router. Log in with the router admin name and password. Look for an "Advanced" or "Expert" screen where the port forwarding options are. Enter this screen and create a new service or new forwarding name. When prompted, enter "5900" (no quotes) for the port number, and your Linux computer's IP address for the server name or number. You will have to do this for both the TCP and UDP services. Be sure to save the changes to your configuration file. Go to Step 7.

    • 7

      Test the Remote Desktop configuration by going to another Linux computer on the same network. Open a terminal screen and type the following command: "vinagre hostname:0" Leave out the quotes and substitute the name of the Linux computer where you are connecting for "hostname."

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also connect a windows system to the Linux remote desktop by employing a free VNC program such as Tight VNC.
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