Ubuntu Server 12.04 remote desktop access


Solution 1

Type in Unity Search: Remote Desktop and activate the settings. This allows you to connect remotely to your Ubuntu.

See the following article for more details:


Solution 2

Use TeamViewer.

It is the best free solution available for Ubuntu. By best I also mean easiest to setup. And by easy to setup, I am not saying that I am 100% sure that no tweaks are required after installing it. But that you don't have worry about network settings or anything like that. Just have it installed on both devices and you can connect to other device and control it as you would be sitting behind it.

Solution 3

For management of a server I highly suggest ssh which is a command line tool. The vast majority of server management is editing files, installing software, and starting stopping services, all of which is trivial on the command line.

For ssh security, use keys and disable password authentication. See:


How to harden an SSH server?

Installing a desktop such as Unity adds very little, and VNC servers are commonly cracked. If you must VNC, tunnel it over ssh or use FreeNX with is fast and secure. I am not sure about TeamViewer.

In addition, IMO, a large desktop such as Unity adds packages potentially introducing security hole and complicating server management (upgrades).

IMO the best graphical solution is webmin. Webmin is a graphical interface for server management and is better suited to server management then any of the desktops (unity/gnome/kde/etc).

Webmin pic

For webmin see: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/webmin


Author by


Updated on September 18, 2022


  • englishandrew
    englishandrew 3 months

    I have an Ubuntu 12.04 server at home with GUI running.

    It does many things, like Apache virtual hosts (several WordPress sites hosted for me and my mates), Samba server, Mini DLNA server and some other stuff. It's great, we think it's the ants pants in our house, it serves media all round the house flawlessly (much more useful and better than our old rig which ran Windows 7). I use Webmin to manage just about everything on it. Big up to Webmin, it's great, but it has limitations (for me and my limited skills).

    Here's the thing. When I am away from home (a lot), I want to be be able to drive the Ubuntu server desktop (is that an oxymoron? maybe I mean Ubuntu server GUI) remotely (I know I should learn command prompt via ssh, but I am stupid and don't have time. ;) Last time I opened the port (22) to SSH, I read the logs and was getting hammered by hacking attempts. So I closed the port on the router.

    Our Internet connection at home is cable and super fast. When I am away from home I use a 3G connection on an iPad retina and a laptop running Windows. Way too slow to get torrents (not to mention expensive for data).

    So, my question is "How do I connect to my server remotely with VNC client or something like that and operate it like I am sitting in front of it with the GUI?"

    Webmin is good, but I want to use a browser on the server remotely and start torrents. So when I get home, everything is done and waiting for me to watch on my DLNA enabled devices at home.

    • englishandrew
      englishandrew over 9 years
      I read somewhere that there is something like VNC installed already with Ubuntu server. I'd like to use a "native" application rather than something that uses more resources and may not be optimised. Maybe VNC is it. I have used VNC at work previously, seemed pretty good (on a windows machine). Is this "the one" that I should use? I'll read the stuff on it and get it working if it is. I guess I am looking for advice on the best software to use, please.
    • englishandrew
      englishandrew over 9 years
      BTW my server GUI is Unity