Being able to connect to remote devices and terminal sessions is critical if you work in IT. Telnet is no longer viable as sessions are not secure, and only transmit data as plain text over the network.
This means that SSH (Secure Shell) is the most popular communication method for this kind of purpose. Traffic is encrypted across an SSH connection, making it far more secure than Telnet.
SSH is used to connect to many devices and appliances, such as network switches, IoT devices, Linux and Unix Servers, routers, and much more.
For this reason, we have decided to try and find some of the best SSH clients available today. There are plenty of apps out there that purport to do what we want, but we wanted to test them out for ourselves and give you some feedback.
Here is our list of the five best SSH clients for Windows:
- Solar-PuTTy – EDITOR’S CHOICE This SSH-based client includes a template that enables the creation of connection presets, storing the connection data for often-contacted remote devices. The system allows Telnet connections and includes SCP and SFTP. Runs on Windows. Download for free.
- Putty This longstanding Windows-based free tool provides non-secure protocols but also SSH-protected options.
- SecureCRT This paid tool offers SSH-protected connections as one of its many terminal emulator options. Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- mRemoteNG This free remote access system offers a file transfer system and a remote command line access option and connections can be secured with SSH. Runs on Windows.
- MobaXterm This remote access system is free for home use and provides SSH for connection security. Runs on Windows.
Let’s dive in and see what is on offer for us.
Here's the Best SSH Clients for Windows
What should you look for in an SSH client for Windows?
We reviewed the market for SSH clients written for Windows and analyzed options based on the following criteria:
- A GUI interface
- Tabs or buttons that give access to simultaneous open sessions
- Secure storage for target settings, providing rapid connections
- A password locker to automatically log in to each remote device
- An integrated secure file transfer utility
- A free trial to enable the system to be assessed before buying or a free tool
- Value from a tool that is well priced or a free system that is worth installing
With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for a list of excellent SSH clients for Windows and most of them are free to use.
1. Solar-PuTTy – FREE TOOL
SolarWinds have made a connection tool that does everything that Putty does, and much more. The app, called Solar PuTTy, is a slightly more advanced SSH client than Putty. It offers some of the enhanced features that we couldn’t find in Putty, such as credential saving and multi session capabilities.
This is possible thanks to the multi tab feature that lets users connect to multiple sessions from one window. Of course there is also recent session saving for quick access to popular devices.
Solar PuTTy supports the same protocol set as Putty, which means you can connect to SSH, Telnet, and just about any other remote access protocol that you would need to connect to. Saved sessions mean that connecting is just a simple matter of clicking on the session that you want to log on to and the password will be saved for that connection.
- Completely free
- Integrates with SCP and SFTP giving it more functionality than PuTTY
- Offers secure credential storage for fast repeat access
- Can color-code multiple sessions to help organize multiple simultaneous connections
- Can automatically reconnect if the connection is interrupted
- Like PuTTY, this tool is designed for technical professionals and requires basic networking knowledge before use
The app is free to use and can be downloaded from below!
SolarWinds Solar-PuTTy is our top pick for an SSH client for Windows because it is very straightforward to use but still offers powerful features. This system lets you store connection data for a list of devices, enabling connections to be forged at the click of a button. This is a great time-saver for repeated access to managed devices. The tool also supports on-off connections. You can easily manage multiple open sessions.
Download the tool for free: https://www.solarwinds.com/free-tools/solar-putty/registration
Operating system: Windows
Putty is a very popular choice. Not only is it free to use and sparing on system resources, but it offers plenty of connectivity options as well. It works with SSH, telnet, SFTP for transferring files to devices and webservers, and also rlogn.
Putty is so popular because it offers IT professionals plenty of options to connect with. SSHs connectivity is essential for logging into remote systems securely. The application is also great because it lets you save your connections.
This means that you don’t have to remember the details of your connection every time you want to communicate with a device.
Putty does not save user credentials though, which means that you will need to remember your sign on. The Putty client is available in both 32bit and 64bit and is very easy to use. Putty is portable and requires no setup to get it running.
It may lack some of the more advanced features such as credential saving. This is a basic app that gets the job done when you only need to connect to devices occasionally. If your job requires that you connect to many devices all day every day, then there are better options out there.
- One of the most popular SSH clients
- Completely free and open source
- Supports both IPv4 and IPv6
- Better for connecting to Linux/Unix-based systems
- Lacks additional functionality like file transfer
SecureCRT is another SSH client in our list. It is feature rich in that has support for SSH1, SSH2, Telnet, Rlogin, serial and TAPI protocol. SecureCRT is not a free application like some of the other examples in our write up, but it offers quite a lot of extra functionality.
Whether or not this is worth the cost is for you to decide based on your requirements and budget.
There are some additional features that SecureCRT has that other SSH clients don’t have.
Things like color customization and line wrapping are features that are available in this release. Other new features include the paste confirmation warning, the ability to drag and drop multiple sessions, management of sessions, enhanced encryption, as well as recently connected session list.
This app has a few unique characteristics that may or may not bode well for you. There are good features such as the multi session support and the ability to drag and drop sessions between screens.
The last session saved option is also a nice touch.
- Provides additional functionality while remaining lightweight
- Supports terminal emulation for Windows
- Good option for managing multiple open sessions
- Available cross-platform on Windows, Mac, and Linux, making it a more flexible option than other tools
- Interface is outdated, can be clunky to use at times
- Is a paid tool that requires a license
mRemoteNG is another example of an SSH client for you to possibly consider trying. It is a good offering that supports multiple protocols and also handles multiple connections to all of the devices.
The menu and layout of this application are both pleasing on the eye and is not too complicated to use. Your connections and saved sessions are saved on the left-hand side of the connection Window.
mRemoteNG also has support for plenty of different connection protocols. Essentials such as Remote Desktop Protocol, Virtual Network Computing, Independent Computing Architecture, Secure Shell, Telnet, HyperText Transfer Protocol/Secure, Remote Login and even Raw Sockets are all supported.
It has some similarities to Solar Putty that make it really good as a Putty alternative. For instance, it also allows you to open multiple sessions in a single tabbed window. On top of this you can also create folders to store these connections in, making it easy to locate them when you need them.
- Open source tool with an active community
- A lightweight GUI option for managing remote connections
- Supports a variety of protocols such as RDP, VNC, and Telnet
- Can securely store credentials for future use
- Interface can feel crowded when adding a large number of connection destinations
mRemoteNG is a great application if you don’t need anything else but a solid remote connection application. If you would like to try it out for yourself then you can download it from here.
Our final example in our write up for this list of SSH clients is none other than MobaXterm. It also does much more than just SSH as it provides SSH, telnet, Rlogin, RDP, VNC, XDMCP, FTP, and SFTP functionality.
MobaXterm is not necessarily anything ground breakingly different to the other contenders in our list, but there are a few additional options that make it noteworthy. These additional options include support for x-server, the ability to use plugins, custom macro functionality and more.
MobaXterm has its own embedded terminal that has the ability to highlight keywords and even change text colors to help make your commands easier to read. Like so many of the examples in our comparison this program offers tons of additional features. So many features that it is not immediately clear that they would be of any use to the average person.
If you work in IT and need to access Windows and Linux machines then this is a very good choice though. It is easy to install, setup and use.
- Great for accessing Linux/Unix systems from a Windows operating system
- Simple interface that is easy to learn
- Supports multiple remote protocols, including SFTP/FTP
- Supports X-11 forwarding, ideal for heavy remote users
- Must pay for Pro version for additional features and functionality
If you would like to download it and try it yourself then you can download it from the link below!
Using an SSH client is useful for many people that need to access remotes systems and get work done. The 5 examples that we have added into our list could all easily get the job done for you.
I have used pretty much every remote access application out there, and when I need to use SSH connections I normally end up using either SolarPutty or Putty – As of lately, SolarPutty has been my goto, as its saves more information than the Original Putty App and its lightweight, fast, and Free to use.
I have used Putty and MobaXterm in the past as well, and the new versions that we tested for this review work well. I was particularly surprised with just how easy it was to get started with Solar Putty, as I mentioned above, so I highly recommend that you give it a try for yourself and see if it works for you.
Thanks for looking at our SSH Client list for Windows, we hope it has been helpful in your quest to find the Best SSH Clients for your own specific requirements.
SSH Clients for Windows FAQs
What are some popular SSH clients?
Some popular SSH clients include:
- Solar-PuTTy, is a robust admin-friendly client supporting both SCP and SFTP.
- PuTTY, a free and open-source SSH client for Windows and Unix platforms.
- OpenSSH, a suite of secure networking tools that includes an SSH client and server.
- SecureCRT, a commercial SSH client for Windows and Unix platforms.
- Bitvise SSH Client, a free and commercial SSH client for Windows platforms.
What are the benefits of using an SSH client?
The benefits of using an SSH client include:
- Secure and encrypted communication between the local and remote systems.
- Remote access to files, applications, and services on the remote system.
- Authentication and authorization controls to manage access to the remote system.
- Support for a variety of operating systems and network configurations.
How can I troubleshoot issues with an SSH client?
To troubleshoot issues with an SSH client, you can try the following:
- Check the connection settings for your SSH client to make sure they are correct.
- Verify that you have the necessary permissions and access to the remote system.
- Check for connectivity issues, such as network or firewall settings that may be blocking the connection.
- Try restarting the remote system, or rebooting the local machine to see if the issue is resolved.