Last updated
Developer(s) RealVNC
Stable release
VNC Server - 6.11.0

VNC Viewer - 6.22.826

/ September 29, 2022;12 days ago (2022-09-29)
Written in C++ / Java
Operating system
Type Remote administration software
License RealVNC: 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 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, macOS, and 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 was launched in 2010, designed to interface to the embedded server on Intel AMT chipsets found on Intel vPro motherboards. RealVNC removed VNC Viewer Plus from sale on 28th February 2021. [4]

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"). [5]

With the release of VNC 5.0 late December 2013, RealVNC software editions used a single binary which superseded VNC Enterprise Edition and VNC Personal Edition. [6]

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. [7]

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, [8] RealVNC published a Wayland developer preview in July 2014. [9] [10]


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.

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Virtual Network Computing</span> Graphical desktop-sharing system

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop-sharing system that uses the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB) to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse input from one computer to another, relaying the graphical-screen updates, over a network.

TightVNC is a free and open-source remote desktop software server and client application for Linux and Windows. A server for macOS is available under a commercial source code license only, without SDK or binary version provided. Constantin Kaplinsky developed TightVNC, using and extending the RFB protocol of Virtual Network Computing (VNC) to allow end-users to control another computer's screen remotely.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft which provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. The user employs RDP client software for this purpose, while the other computer must run RDP server software.

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  1. VNC Open - RealVNC
  2. "VNC Automotive launches as an independent company". 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  3. "Docs | Supported platforms for VNC Connect | VNC Connect". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  4. "Product End of Life (EoL) notice". RealVNC. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Docs | How is VNC Connect licensed? | VNC Connect". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  6. "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.
  7. "RealVNC rebrands as VNC Connect 6.0, switches to subscription-based model". BetaNews. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  8. "[RFC weston] remote access interface module". 2013-10-18.
  9. "VNC Wayland Developer Preview". 2014-07-08. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  10. "RealVNC Wayland developer preview email". 2014-07-09.