Comparison of SSH clients

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For more details on this topic, see Secure Shell.

An SSH client is a software program which uses the secure shell protocol to connect to a remote computer. This article compares a selection of notable clients.

General[edit]

Name Developer Status First release Latest release Current version Based on License Source available
AbsoluteTelnet Celestial Software (Brian Pence) Active 1996 2014-01-31 9.83[1] Proprietary No
ConnectBot Kenny Root / Jeffrey Sharkey Active 2007-11 2015-08-28 1.8.6 Apache Yes
CRAX Commander Soft4U2 Marcin Słowik Active 2013-09 2015-12-01 1.10.6 libSSH2 Proprietary Yes
Dropbear Matt Johnston Active 2003-04-06 2016-03-18 2016.73 MIT Yes
eSSH Client Ecode Software Inactive 2002-07 Proprietary No
lsh Niels Möller Active 1999-05-23 2013-06-26 2.0.4 GPL Yes
OpenSSH The OpenBSD project Active 1999-12-01 2016-02-29 7.2 ossh BSD Yes
PACManager David Torrejón Vaquerizas Active 2010-01-01 2015-06-05 4.5.5.5 OpenSSH, Telnet, FTP, vncviewer, rdesktop, cu, remote-tty, mosh, cadaver GPL Yes
PuTTY Simon Tatham Active 1999-01-22 2016-03-05 0.67[2] MIT Yes
Reflection for Secure IT Attachmate Active 2012-11-12 F-Secure SSH Proprietary No
SecureCRT VanDyke Software Active 1998-06 2016-03-31 8.0 Proprietary No
SSH Tectia Client/ConnectSecure SSH Communications Security (former Tectia) Active 1995-07 2013-07 Own implementation in C Proprietary No
SunSSH Open Solaris Active 2001 OpenSSH 2.3 CDDL Yes
Tera Term TeraTerm Project Active 2004 2016-05-31 4.91[3] TeraTerm 2.3 (1994–1998) BSD Yes
TN3270 Plus SDI USA, Inc. Active 2006 Proprietary No
TtyEmulator FCS Software Active 2002-05 Proprietary No
Xshell NetSarang Active 2015-09-25 Proprietary No
ZOC Terminal EmTec, Innovative Software Active 1995-07-01 2015-01-14 6.64 Proprietary No

Platform[edit]

The operating systems or virtual machines the SSH clients are designed to run on without emulation; there are several possibilities:

  • Partial indicates that while it works, the client lacks important functionality compared to versions for other OSs but may still be under development.

The list is not exhaustive, but rather reflects the most common platforms today.

Name OS X Windows Cygwin BSD Linux Solaris Java OpenVMS z/OS AIX HP-UX iOS Android Maemo Windows Phone
AbsoluteTelnet No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
CRAX Commander Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
Dropbear Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes ?
eSSH Client Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? No No No No No ?
lsh Yes No No Partial[Note 1] Yes Yes ? ? ? No No No No No ?
OpenSSH Included partial Included Included Included[Note 2] Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[Note 3] Yes Yes ?
PACManager No No No Partial Yes No No No No No No No No No No
PuTTY Partial Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? No No No No No Beta
SecureCRT Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No No No Yes No No ?
SmartFTP No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
SSH Tectia Client/ConnectSecure No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes[Note 4] No Yes Yes Yes No No No ?
Tera Term No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
TN3270 Plus No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
TtyEmulator No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
WinSCP No Yes No No No No No No No No No Yes[Note 3] No No ?
Xshell No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No
ZOC Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No ?
Name OS X Windows Cygwin BSD Linux Solaris Java OpenVMS z/OS AIX HP-UX iOS Android Maemo Windows Phone
  1. ^ lsh supports only one BSD platform officially, FreeBSD.
  2. ^ The majority of Linux distributions have OpenSSH as an official package, but a few do not.
  3. ^ a b Only for jailbroken devices.
  4. ^ In the form of a Java Secure File Transfer API.

Technical[edit]

Name User interface SSH1 SSH2 Additional protocols Tunneling Session
multiplexing[Note 1]
Kerberos IPv6 Terminal SFTP/SCP Proxy client[Note 2]
TELNET rlogin Port
forwarding
SOCKS[Note 3] VPN[Note 4]
AbsoluteTelnet GUI (multi-session,
single-window)
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP
Dropbear command line No Yes No No Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes ?
lsh command line No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ?
OpenSSH command line Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ProxyCommand
PACManager GUI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP; Generic
PuTTY GUI or command line Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[Note 5] Yes Yes Yes[Note 6] SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP; Telnet; Local
SecureCRT GUI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP; Telnet; Generic
SmartFTP GUI (multi-session,
single-window)
No Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP
Tera Term GUI Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Yes Yes SCP SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP; Telnet
TN3270 Plus GUI Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No SOCKS 4
TtyEmulator GUI or command line Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes No SOCKS 4,4a, 5; HTTP Local
WinSCP GUI or command line Yes Yes No No limited[Note 7] No No No Yes Yes simple Yes SOCKS 4, 5; HTTP; Telnet; Local
Xshell TDI or command line Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes SOCKS 4, 5
ZOC TDI or command line Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No ? No Yes Yes SCP SOCKS 4
  1. ^ Accelerating OpenSSH connections with ControlMaster.
  2. ^ Can the SSH client connect itself through a proxy? This is distinct from offering a SOCKS proxy or port forwarding.
  3. ^ The ability for the SSH client to perform dynamic port forwarding by acting as a local SOCKS proxy.
  4. ^ The ability for the SSH client to establish a VPN, e.g. using TUN/TAP.
  5. ^ The version 0.63 supports GSSAPI. Successfully tested on Win 8 using Active Directory
  6. ^ The PuTTY developers provide SCP and SFTP functionality as binaries for separate download.
  7. ^ WinSCP connection tunneling.

Features[edit]

Name Keyboard mapping Session tabs ZMODEM transfers Find text in buffer Mouse input support[Note 1] Unicode support URL hyperlinking Public key authentication Smart card support Hardware encryption FIPS 140-2 validation Scripting Shared Database
AbsoluteTelnet full Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ?
OpenSSH ? No No ? Yes[Note 2] Yes not native[Note 3] Yes Yes[Note 4] Yes Partial[Note 5] No No
PACManager No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes ?
PuTTY No No[Note 6] No No Yes Yes No[Note 7] Yes No[Note 8] No[Note 9] No No No
SecureCRT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
SmartFTP Partial Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes AES-NI Yes No ?
Tera Term Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
TN3270 Plus Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes No No No Yes ?
TtyEmulator No No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No Yes ?
Xshell Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No
ZOC full Yes Yes Alt+F Yes UTF-8 Yes Yes No No No Yes ?
  1. ^ The ability to transmit mouse input to text mode applications such as Midnight Commander
  2. ^ Only when the terminal itself supports mouse input. Most graphical ones do, e.g. xterm
  3. ^ No native URL highlighting; however most graphical consoles support URL highlighting
  4. ^ OpenSSH needs to be patched to ask for the pin of the smartcard. If you don't want to patch OpenSSH you can use ssh-agent (the link is in french).
  5. ^ Validated when running OpenSSH 2.1 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 in FIPS mode or when running OpenSSH 1.1 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 in FIPS mode
  6. ^ PuTTY does not support directly, but many wrappers are available that do (e.g. PuTTY Connection Manager, SuperPuTTY, MTPuTTY, PuTTYTabManager, mRemoteNG, and WinSSHTerm).
  7. ^ PuTTY does not support smart cards, but is supported in puttywincrypt, PuTTY-CAC, and in Smartcard Authentication – Secure & Easy putty version.
  8. ^ PuTTY does not support AES-NI but a branch of PuTTY named PuTTY-AES-NI does.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]