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Stable release
VNC Server - 6.7.2

VNC Viewer - 6.20.817

/ June 1, 2020; 12 months ago (2020-06-01)
Written inC++ / Java
TypeRemote administration software
LicenseRealVNC: Proprietary software; VNC Open: GPL[1]

RealVNC is a company that provides remote access software. The software consists of a server (VNC Server) and client (VNC Viewer) 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. The automotive division of RealVNC spun out as a separate company (VNC Automotive) in 2018.[2]

Platforms, editions, versions

For a desktop-to-desktop connection RealVNC runs on Windows, on Mac OS X, and on many Unix-like operating systems. A list of supported platforms can be found on the website.[3] 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 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 requires one of three subscriptions:

  1. Home – free registration and activation required
  2. Professional – commercial version geared towards home or small-business users, with authentication and encryption, remote printing, chat and file transfer
  3. Enterprise – commercial version geared towards enterprises, with enhanced authentication and encryption, remote printing, chat, file transfer, and command-line deployment

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 ("Home", "Professional", "Enterprise").[4]

With the release of VNC 5.0 late December 2013, RealVNC software editions used a single binary which superseded VNC Enterprise Edition and VNC Personal Edition.[5]

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.[6]

Client (VNC Viewer)

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).

Server (VNC Server)

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


RealVNC uses the RFB protocol. RFB 6.0 defaults to TCP/UDP 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,[7] RealVNC published a Wayland developer preview in July 2014.[8][9]


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.

Differences between RDP and VNC

RDP is a fast and efficient way to connect to a Windows computer and use it as if you are there. It is faster and easier to work with. It is not a screen-sharing solution, but rather a resource sharing solution. That’s why it’s used in VPS servers to let many users access the same physical server and use it separately.

RDP is a Windows original and comes pre-installed on Windows computers. Also on the server-side, it works only on Windows computers. But many client-side applications let you use RDP on platforms such as Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android.

VNC is platform-independent and can be used across platforms. There are VNC applications for different operating systems, and there are no limits in using them to connect to different computers on different platforms.[10]


  1. VNC® Open - RealVNC®
  2. "VNC Automotive launches as an independent company" (in en). 2018-07-24. 
  3. "Docs | Supported platforms for VNC Connect | VNC® Connect" (in en). 
  4. "Docs | How is VNC Connect licensed? | VNC® Connect" (in en). 
  5. "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." 
  6. "RealVNC rebrands as VNC Connect 6.0, switches to subscription-based model". 2016-11-02. 
  7. "[RFC weston remote access interface module"]. 2013-10-18. 
  8. "VNC® Wayland Developer Preview". 2014-07-08. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. 
  9. "RealVNC Wayland developer preview email". 2014-07-09. 
  10. Allen, abrian. "RDP vs VNC: Which Remote Desktop Technology Should I Use?". 

External links