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How to speed up X over SSH on a slow network connection?

I've installed firefox on CentOS 5.6 and I'm using X11 SSH to remotely login to view the browser.

Firefox browser does run, but its VERY slow. I type a key on the keyboard and maybe 5 seconds delay it shows up.

Are there any special configuration requirements when trying to do this I should be aware of?

I'm using #ssh -Y username@hostname.com from Mac (Snow Leopard) xterm (X11) to remotely login to server.

If there's a better alternative than ssh -Y, such as using VNC or something else, would be interested to know.

marked as duplicate by Gilles, Michael Mrozek Feb 23 '12 at 7:11

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X Forwarding is really only useful on local networks, and even then it can be a bit slow.

While encrypted VNC sessions are a little speedier than SSH X Forwarding, NoMachine or FreeNX is loads better.

  • NX is also a very good alternative. I use it for acessing servers at work from home (10/1 Mbps DSL) and works well. – Renan Feb 22 '12 at 3:49

Try ssh -C, it enables compression.

From the manpage:

   -C     Requests  compression of all data (including stdin, stdout, stderr, and data for
          forwarded X11 and TCP connections).  The compression algorithm is the same  used
          by  gzip(1),  and the ``level'' can be controlled by the CompressionLevel option
          for protocol version 1.  Compression is desirable on modem lines and other  slow
          connections, but will only slow down things on fast networks.  The default value
          can be set on a host-by-host basis in the configuration files; see the  Compres‐
          sion option.

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