Believe it or not, Secure Shell (SSH) is becoming one of the most important remote connection protocols today.
SSH is used by many systems and network administrators to connect to their remote cloud computing resources.
It can help them create an SSH tunnel and solve problems while avoiding putting the resources at risk.
The SSH client is the key element to providing this secure and flexible SSH tunnel connection to any remote resource.
It provides access through the command line of the remote resource and lets you execute any command to monitor or fix issues.
There are many SSH clients available for free, but most of them do not fulfill the standards for serious everyday users.
We'll go over the the Top SSH clients for Windows in the following list and show all the different options and flexibility they have.
It all depends on what you need, but going with one or the other will certainly give you a good head start.
Here's the Best SSH Clients for Windows of 2020:
SolarPuTTY is a 100% free SSH client for Windows, developed by SolarWinds.
Although SolarPuTTY carries the name PuTTY, it does a lot more than just open SSH sessions to remote devices.
It also supports SCP, SFTP, and Telnet and comes with additional features.
- Save credentials and private keys for auto-login.
- Open multiple sessions though tabs.
- Access to frequently used sessions.
- Reconnect automatically.
- SFTP file transfer Graphical User Interface.
- Support of automation of post-connections scripts.
SolarPuTTY integrated a modern interface that is easy to use.
This interface lets you work on simultaneous sessions through its multi-tabbed single console, and allows you quick access to previous sessions.
But one of the best and most popular features is its tabbed interface.
With PuTTY, you had to open the interface multiple times, and swap between applications which made it difficult to navigate through.
But the SolarPuTTY can establish multiple sessions within the same console and lets you switch back and forth between them.
The homepage includes quick access “Single-click” logging of each session with saved credentials and private keys.
100% free SolarPuTTY from the SolarWinds website.
PuTTY is one of the more popular and widely used SSH client for Windows platforms.
This lightweight, free and open-source terminal emulator, can be found in all network and systems administrator toolboxes.
It is easy to use and can support multiple network protocols such as SSH, Serial, Telnet, SCP, SFTP, Rlogin, and Raw Socket connections.
Preferably, PuTTY is used as a way to establish remote shell access to UNIX or Linux-based end-points like network devices, servers, systems, virtual machines, etc.
It provides you with a text user interface to these remote end-systems.
It is also often used as a serial console application, as it can be configured to open serial connections.
PuTTY is an agile application. It can let you save session configuration, session logging, proxy settings, and screen customizations.
- Manage the SSH encryption key and protocol version.
- File transfer with command-line SCP and SFTP clients.
- Port forwarding over SSH.
- Supports IPv6.
- Supports public-key authentication.
- Supports local serial port connections.
PuTTY is a very basic tool.
Although it provides what it promises, “a secure SSH connection,” it lacks additional functionality.
To discover more comprehensive SSH clients for Windows, keep reading.
PuTTY from its official website: https://www.putty.org/
SecureCRT by VanDyke Software, is another popular SSH, Telnet client, and terminal emulator for Windows systems.
The main difference with previous tools is that SecureCRT is offered over a commercial license.
But being commercial has tons of advantages, for example, their tool is also supported by macOS and Linux systems, and their tech support can help you resolve issues related to the software.
Out-of-the-box, SecureCRT has tons of functionalities. For example, similar to SolarPuTTY, you can access and manage different remote sites from a single place.
It also comes with the “quick connect option” that lets you connect to previous sessions without any additional configuration.
SecureCRT supports various remote protocols as well, including SSH1, SSH2, Telnet, Telnet/TLS Rlogin, Serial, and TAPI.
- Advanced session management.
- Advanced Scripting: Automate and streamline repetitive tasks.
- Secure remote access, file transfer, and data tunneling.
- Change the look of the workspace with predefined color schemes.
- Compare the output of two sessions or organize your sessions with tab groups.
- Drag and drop multiple live sessions.
- Quick access to sessions with the “Recent Session List”
For one SecureRT license, the price starts at $99.00 with one year of updates.
SecureCRT is supported by Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
For Windows, it comes in two versions, the 64-bit, and 32-bit Windows PC Installer.
You can download a free trial version of SecureCRT.
SmarTTY is another free multi-tabbed SSH client with SCP support for Windows.
As most tools mentioned in this list, SmarTTY can also replace PuTTY’s functionality.
You can open multiple tabs for a single SSH sub-session, and also copy files and directories with SCP file transfer protocol.
- Transfer files.
- Edit files in the app.
- Built-in terminal for COM ports.
- Support to public key authentication.
- Built-in Xming to run graphics.
SmarTTY is updated frequently. Their latest SmarTTY version 3.0 provides new functionalities such as the Smart Terminal with auto-completion, a file panel, and a package management GUI.
free SmarTTY client for Windows from their official site.
mRemoteNG is a fork of the open-source and remote connections manager, mRemote.
mRemoteNG or mRemote Next Generation is also open source, but they fixed bugs and included new features to the traditional mRemote.
Similar to SolarPuTTy, the mRemoteNG interface allows you to view all your remote simultaneous connections from a single tabbed interface.
Of course, mRemoteNG supports SSH connections, but you can also connect through RDP, VNC, ICA, Telnet, HTTP/HTTPS, Rlogin, and Raw Sockets Connections.
mRemoteNG can also store credentials, something not possible with traditional PuTTY.
- Import/Export and share connections.
- Multiple sessions through its tabbed interface.
- Organize connections through folders and icons.
- Inheritance from folder properties.
Free and open source.
free mRemoteNG from its official website.
MobaXterm is another tabbed SSH client for Windows systems.
It is a popular terminal among systems and network admins that want to access UNIX-based systems, like AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, etc., and Linux (Ubuntu, RedHat, etc), from Windows.
MobaXterm, is also another improved version of the traditional PuTTY. Aside from fully supporting SSH, it also supports other remote protocols such as VNC, RDP, XDMCP, Telnet, rlogin, FTP, SFTP, etc.
MobaXterm provides similar features such as previous tools, but it includes a couple of unique functionalities.
For example, MobaXterm includes the embedded X Server based on X.org., which allows remote applications to be displayed on the Windows computer.
- X-11 forwarding capability.
- Extend capabilities with Plugins and add-ons.
- Encrypted file transfers.
- SSH Gateway.
- SSH tunnels for port forwarding.
This tool makes it easy to navigate through UNIX servers through your Windows systems.
It provides basic UNIX commands and tools like PS, AWK, Bash, find, and more.
It can highlight syntax and use different colors on specific keywords.
In fact, most systems admins have replaced the popular CygWin for MobaXterm.
The MobaXterm Home Edition is free, and the Professional Edition starts at $69 per user.
Final Words & Conclusion
If you are looking for a good SSH client for Windows, you don’t have to search any more.
Any of the tools shown in this list can provide you with secured SSH tunnels at a decent price, and in most cases, for free.
One of the preferred features, found in the new SSH clients, of many system admins is the ability to use multiple tabs to work with simultaneous SSH connections.
Admins also love to have the ability to save credentials and use the quick access to remote connections. Unfortunately these are features not available in the common PuTTY.
Although PuTTY is still the number one in popularity in this list, things are changing.
There are many far superior new tools out there, such as SolarPuTTY which lets you save the most frequently used sessions, and also export/import settings and share with other team members.