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RealVNC logo.svg
Developer(s) RealVNC
Stable release
6.2.1 / December 1, 2017; 8 months ago (2017-12-01)
Written in Java
Operating system AIX
Platform Java Platform
Type Remote administration software
License GPL / Proprietary software

RealVNC is a company that provides remote access software. The software consists of a server and client application for the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol to control another computer's screen remotely.


Andy Harter (CEO of RealVNC Limited) and other members of the original VNC team at AT&T founded RealVNC Limited in 2002.

Platforms, editions, versions[edit]

For a desktop-to-desktop connection RealVNC runs on Windows, on Mac OS X, and on many Unix-like operating systems. A RealVNC client also runs on the Java platform and on the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and Google Android devices. A Windows-only client, VNC Viewer Plus is now available, designed to interface to the embedded server on Intel AMT chipsets found on Intel vPro motherboards.

For remote access to view one computer desktop on another, RealVNC comes in one of three editions:

  1. Open Edition (formerly "Free Edition") – free registration and activation[not in citation given] required, Free software version distributed under the GNU General Public License; runs on various flavors of Unix (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX) and versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista (i.e. Windows NT 4, 2000, XP, Server 2003), newer Windows operating systems must use the Personal or Enterprise editions.[1] Note that users who wish to use this free version, as supplied by the site, may need (for example) to patch and compile the XFree86 source code by themselves, as the free binaries available for download are outdated and typically fail to operate in modern environments.[2] Fortunately, almost all Linux distributions include an updated/customised version of the RealVNC free edition. For example, in Debian and its derivatives, the RealVNC server and client appear under the packages named vnc4server and xvnc4viewer, respectively. (Until June 2012, the opensource "Free Edition 4.1.3" was downloadable without any registration at As of June 2012, the "free edition 4.1.3" has been renamed to "open edition 4.1.3" and now requires a registration at There is also a new "Free Edition 5.x" that requires a "free licence key".)
  2. Personal Edition – commercial version geared towards home or small-business users, with authentication and encryption, remote printing, chat and file transfer; runs on Windows, Mac OS X and various flavours of Linux and UNIX.
  3. Enterprise Edition – commercial version geared towards enterprises, with enhanced authentication and encryption, remote printing, chat, file transfer and a deployment tool for Windows; runs on Windows, Mac OS X and various flavours of Linux and UNIX.

As of release 4.3 (released August 2007) separate versions of both the Personal and Enterprise editions exist for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Release 4.6 included features such as HTTP proxy support, chat, an address book, remote printing, unicode support, and connection notification.

Users must activate each of the server versions ("Free", "Personal", "Enterprise").[3]

With the release of VNC 5.0 late December 2013, RealVNC software editions used a single binary which superseded VNC Enterprise Edition and VNC Personal Edition.[4]

In November 2016, RealVNC released the updated version of their software, now called VNC Connect (version 6.0). The new version introduces a cloud connection option using a subscription-based pricing model. Users can choose between three subscription levels; Home (free for non-commercial use), Professional and Enterprise. Home and Professional subscriptions are cloud connections only. The Enterprise subscription supports hybrid connections that include the traditional direct (peer to peer) connections and/or cloud connections.[5]


RealVNC clients using vncviewer can run in full-screen mode; they use the F8 function-key as the default key for bringing up an options menu (which includes the option to, among other things, switch off full screen mode or to forward a Control-Alt-Delete key-sequence).


The server component of RealVNC allows a computer to be remotely controlled by another computer.


RealVNC uses the RFB protocol. It defaults to TCP port 5900. When making a connection over the Internet, the user must open this port in the local firewall as well as configure port forwarding to forward TCP Port 5900 (or the customized port respectively) to the local machine address if behind a NAT Router.

As an alternative, one can tunnel VNC through SSH, avoiding the opening of additional ports and automatically traversing the NAT router. SSH also provides encryption of the connection between the VNC server and viewer.

After proposing remote access interface for Weston in October 2013,[6] RealVNC published a Wayland developer preview in July 2014.[7][8]


The VNC protocol is pixel based. Although this leads to great flexibility (e.g., any type of desktop can be displayed), it is often less efficient than solutions that have a better understanding of the underlying graphic layout, like X11. Those protocols send graphic primitives or high-level commands in a simpler form (e.g., open window), whereas RFB just sends the raw pixel data.


  1. ^ "VNC feature comparison". RealVNC Limited. Retrieved 2012-03-27. 
  2. ^ Adam Tkac, Red Hat (2008-02-04), VNC compilation against Xorg 1.4, RealVNC, retrieved 2008-09-26 
  3. ^ "Licensing FAQ". RealVNC Limited. Retrieved 2012-10-04. VNC Server requires a license key, and you cannot establish remote control without one. You can only install it as many times as you are licensed to do. 
  4. ^ "What happened to VNC Enterprise Edition and VNC Personal Edition?". RealVNC Limited. Retrieved 2014-04-07. Following the release of VNC 5.0 VNC is now a single binary which supersedes VNC Enterprise Edition and VNC Personal Edition. 
  5. ^ "RealVNC rebrands as VNC Connect 6.0, switches to subscription-based model". BetaNews. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-07. 
  6. ^ "[RFC weston] remote access interface module". 2013-10-18. 
  7. ^ "VNC® Wayland Developer Preview". 2014-07-08. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. 
  8. ^ "RealVNC Wayland developer preview email". 2014-07-09. 

External links[edit]