I've got a VPS with Debian running on it. I connect to it using SSH and configure it in a console mode.

Now I want to install some graphical interface to it and use my VPS in graphical mode from my PC.

What free software could you advice me? It will be laggy, won't it?


If all you want to run GUI applications on the server, you don't need to run anything beyond the application itself. Unix GUIs are based on the X Window System, and one very nice property of X is that it's network-transparent: the application that wants to display stuff doesn't need to be running on the same machine as the program that's talking to the display hardware.

If your client is running a unix system, simply run ssh and start the GUI application: it will be displayed on your local machine. You may need to enable X forwarding, if it is not active by default; see How do I work with GUI tools over a remote server? If your client is running on Windows, you can use PuTTY and Xming, also covered in the aforementioned thread.

A remote display can be quite slow (it's especially the latency that can be annoying). There are programs that compress and cache the traffic to make remote X faster. The best of the breed is NX, of which there is a free implementation FreeNX.


You're looking for a VNC that can host an entire X session with no real display, such as TightVNC. What desktop environment you run in your TightVNC session will have little influence on the lag introduced by the network (unless it has flashy many-frame animations and detailed window decorations), but if your VPS is low on memory and CPU grunt you may be better off running openbox or fluxbox or something super light anyway.


If you look for a solution with very low latency you should use kde-remote-desktop. This is by far faster than vnc or a X11-tunnel via ssh.


I don't know about interfaces for remote connections, but fastest graphical interface have window managers such as Openbox or tiling managers like i3, awesome, etc. Also you can try xfce, but it is a desktop environment, so it has much more stuff and probably slower.

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