Our funding comes from our readers, and we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through the links on our website.

The Best SSH Clients for Windows for Managing/Saving Sessions & Passwords!

ssh clients

Marc Wilson UPDATED: November 22, 2023

Believe it or not, Secure Shell (SSH) is becoming one of the most important remote connection protocols today.

Here is our list of the best SSH clients for Windows:

  1. Solar-PuTTY – EDITOR'S CHOICE – FREE TOOL This free tool, provided by SolarWinds, that builds on the functionality of the original PuTTY. This system offers a better interface that integrates file transfers with SFTP as well as SCP. The interface connects to remote computers with SSH and Telnet. Download 100% free tool.
  2. PuTTY This very old terminal emulator is an inspiration for all subsequent remote access systems. This tool offers Telnet, SSH, Rlogin, and raw socket connections plus SFTP and SCP for file transfers.
  3. SecureCRT This remote access system is available for macOS, Linux, and iOS as well as Windows. It offers terminal emulation and file transfer through an SSH tunnel.
  4. SmarTTY A free SSH client that has a multi-tabbed interface to allow multiple simultaneous connections. This tool also includes SCP capabilities for file transfers.
  5. mRemoteNG This popular, free remote desktop system includes a tabbed interface for multiple simultaneous connections. The system offers access with RDP, Telnet, Rlogin, VNC, and SSH.
  6. MobaXterm This easy-to-use remote access system is available in free and paid versions and is built for Unix and Linux, and well as Windows. The tool SSH and SFTP.

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.

Best SSH Clients for Windows

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 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.

The Best SSH Clients for Windows

Our methodology for selecting secure SSH clients

We reviewed the market for SSH clients for Windows that enable session and password saving and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:

  • A secure remote terminal utility
  • An encrypted password storage system
  • A system for storing connection settings to enable point-and-click immediate contact
  • The ability to maintain multiple sessions open
  • Session pause and resume functions
  • A free trial or a free tool
  • A free tool that is worth using or a paid tool that offers value for money

With these selection criteria in mind, we located a range of options for secure SSH clients that are written for Windows.

1. SolarPuTTY – FREE TOOL

SolarPuTTY

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.

Key Features:

  • Save credentials and private keys for auto-login
  • Open multiple sessions through tabs
  • Access to frequently used sessions
  • Reconnect automatically
  • SFTP file transfer Graphical User Interface
  • Support of automation of post-connection scripts

Unique Feature

One distinctive feature of SolarPuTTY is its ability to establish multiple sessions within a single console. It has a tabbed interface that lets you open multiple sessions in one window, making it more efficient than traditional PuTTY.

Why do we recommend it?

While reviewing SolarPuTTY, we found this SSH client to be exceptionally efficient and easy to use. Its graphical user interface and the ability to open multiple tabs for multi-session use, streamlined our access to SSH and Telnet, surpassing the standard PuTTY.

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.

Who is it recommended for?

Solar-PuTTY is highly recommended for system engineers and network administrators, particularly those working in Windows environments.

Pros:

  • Completely free to use
  • Integrates with SCP and SFTP giving it more functionality than PuTTY
  • Offers secure credential storage for fast and frequent access
  • Can color-code multiple sessions to help organize simultaneous connections
  • Can automatically reconnect if the connection is interrupted

Cons:

  • Like PuTTY, this tool is designed for technical professionals and requires basic networking knowledge before use

SolarPuTTY is free.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Solar-PuTTY is our top pick for an SSH client on Windows because it is a reliable tool that offers both SSH and Telnet connections and best of all, it is completely free to use. This free system allows you to store login credentials securely and if your connection gets dropped mid-session, the service will automatically re-establish your session. This is a secure, efficient, and trust-worthy tool with a tabbed interface that lets you work on multiple sessions simultaneously.

OS: Windows Server

Related Post: What Is SFTP?

2. PuTTY

PuTTY

PuTTY is one of the more popular and widely used SSH clients 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.

Key Features: 

  • 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

Why do we recommend it?

After using this SSH client, side-by-side with others, we found it to be significantly easier to set up and use than others. PuTTY is simple yet efficient for providing basic and secure remote access to networked devices. But, while PuTTY is great in providing secure SSH connections, it may be less suitable for advanced functionalities like file transfers.

Preferably, PuTTY is used as a way to establish remote shell access to UNIX or Linux-based endpoints 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.

PuTTY is a very basic tool. Although it provides what it promises, “a secure SSH connection,” it lacks additional functionality.

Who is it recommended for?

PuTTY is recommended for anyone, from home users with no technical expertise to network and systems administrators. It is for anyone (Windows or Linux users) who primarily needs to establish secure shell access to UNIX or Linux-based endpoints.

Pros:

  • One of the most popular SSH clients
  • Completely free and open-source
  • Supports both IPv4 and IPv6

Cons:

  • Better for connecting to Linux/Unix-based systems
  • Lacks additional functionality like file transfer

PuTTY is free.

To discover more comprehensive SSH clients for Windows, keep reading.

3. SecureCRT

Smart CRT

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.

Key Features: 

  • 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”

Unique Feature

The most distinctive feature of SecureCRT is its robust scripting and automation capabilities. This allows users to record and save scripts, enabling automation of tasks across multiple devices.

Why do we recommend it?

SecureCRT is amazing! While comparing it side-by-side with others, we found several key features that make it stand out as one of the best SSH clients for Windows. We found SecureCRT to have one of the best session management capabilities, plus, it includes other powerful features like scripting and automation, high-security standards, stable and reliable performance, and a user-friendly interface.

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.

Who is it recommended for?

Although anyone could use SecureCRT, as it is quite user-friendly, SecureCRT is more recommended for IT and network pros. Additionally, since it is not free, SecureCRT is more recommended for organizations that prioritize advanced functionalities and automation, and require cross-platform compatibility.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Interface is outdated, and can be clunky to use at times
  • Is a paid tool that requires a license

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.

4. SmarTTY

SmarTTY

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.

Key Features: 

  • Transfer files
  • Edit files in the app
  • Built-in terminal for COM ports
  • Support to public key authentication
  • Built-in Xming to run graphics

Unique Feature

A unique feature of SmarTTY is its native Windows file editing and conversion capabilities, which ensure familiar editing and consistent formatting across operating systems.

Why do we recommend it?

While using SmarTTY for a while, we found several compelling reasons to recommend it. For instance, this SSH client provides a multi-tabbed interface and also comes with a Smart Terminal. But if that is not enough, SmarTTY features a Windows-style GUI (for those Windows users), has built-in efficient file editing and conversion, and supports recursive SCP and TAR.

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.

Who is it recommended for?

SmarTTY is recommended for the ordinary Windows-environment users who need to manage multiple SSH sessions and need seamless file operations. It's especially good for people who are looking for a tool that can do more than PuTTY.

Pros:

  • Allows for extended functionality by emulating the SSH terminal
  • Offers multiple sessions support and quick tabs to go back and forth
  • Supports SCP file transfers

Cons:

  • Runs on Windows only
  • Only supports one type of file transfer
  • Has a higher learning curve than some of the other tools

Get SmarTTY client for Windows for free from their official site.

5. mRemoteNG

mRemoteNG

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.

Key Features: 

  • Import/Export and share connections
  • Multiple sessions through its tabbed interface
  • Organize connections through folders and icons
  • Inheritance from folder properties

Why do we recommend it?

Throughout our testing and evaluation, mRemoteNG proved to be a commendable tool for managing remote connections. We found this tool to be ideal for its efficient tabbed interface (for remote desktops), support for multiple protocols, ease of organization, and configurability.

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.

Who is it recommended for?

mRemoteNG is ideal for IT professionals managing multiple servers and diverse remote connections. It is also perfect for IT teams collaborating on infrastructure setups.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Interface can feel crowded when adding a large number of connection destinations

mRemoteNG is free from its official website.

6. MobaXterm

ModaXterm

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.

Key Features: 

  • X-11 forwarding capability
  • Extend capabilities with Plugins and add-ons
  • Encrypted file transfers
  • SSH Gateway
  • SSH tunnels for port forwarding

Unique Feature

MobaXterm's distinctive feature is its embedded X Server, which enables remote applications to be displayed on the Windows computer. It is also worth mentioning MobaXTerm’s comprehensive CLI toolset.

Why do we recommend it?

While actively testing and exploring MobaXTerm, we came up with various reasons to recommend it. For instance, it provides support not only for SSH, but also for other remote protocols like VNC, RDP, and even FTP.

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.

Who is it recommended for?

MobaXterm is recommended for systems and network administrators who access UNIX-based systems from Windows frequently. To maximize its usage, MobaXterm is most suitable for advanced users, particularly for those looking for advanced functionalities like X-11 forwarding and extended protocol support.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Must pay for Pro version for additional features and functionality

The MobaXterm Home Edition is free, and the Professional Edition starts at $69 per user. Download the MobaXterm Home Edition for free or subscribe to try the MobaXterm Professional Edition.

Final Words & Conclusion

If you are looking for a good SSH client for Windows, you don’t have to search anymore. 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 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.

Windows SSH Clients for Managing/Saving Passwords FAQs

How does an SSH client secure the connection to a remote server?

An SSH client secures the connection to a remote server by encrypting all data transmitted over the connection.

What is the default port for SSH connections?

The default port for SSH connections is 22.

Can an SSH client be used to transfer files between a local and a remote machine?

Yes, an SSH client can be used to transfer files between a local and a remote machine using protocols such as SCP (Secure Copy) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).

How does an SSH client handle authentication when connecting to a remote server?

An SSH client typically uses either password authentication or public key authentication to handle authentication when connecting to a remote server.

How does an SSH client differ from an SSH server?

An SSH client is used to initiate connections to remote servers, while an SSH server is installed on a remote machine to allow incoming connections.

X