When a Windows user looks for the best SSH client, PuTTY is always the first choice. But over the years, things have changed and people are looking for SSH clients that can offer more than what PuTTY has to offer. If you too, are looking for the same and want an SSH client with integrated file transfer, and an SSH server, you are at the right place
Here in this post, we will discuss the 10 best PuTTY alternatives that can help perform tasks like –
- Logging into a cloud server
- Managing servers remotely
- Saves credentials
- Multiple session support
- Grants quick access to recent sessions
- Integrates with Windows search and more.
What is an SSH client?
Secure Shell, popularly known as SSH is all about securely accessing remote servers over the Internet. It is the replacement of Telnet and it prevents data from interception. This means SSH connections can encrypt data transfer for the devices on the same network. Due to this, when the need to secure logins, transferring files, accessing headless systems arise, SSH clients are used.
Also, older versions of Windows do not provide SSH clients. It is in the Windows 10 version that you get PuTTY as an optional SSH client.
Now, let’s come to the point and uncover the best SSH clients for Windows and PuTTY alternatives. Using these clients, you can get command-line access to a remote system running an SSH server.
Best SSH Clients and Alternatives to PuTTY – Windows 2021
When looking for Windows SSH clients that can replace PuTTY, I was able to find several options. But only a few were able to make it to this list because of their features, ease of use, installation process, price, support & documentation.
List of Contents
1. Solar PuTTY
Price – Free
With a multi-tab interface, Solar PuTTY is one of the best PuTTY alternatives and a new SSH client that supports multiple sessions in one console. Using this free SSH client and alternative to PuTTY, you can perform tasks like saving credentials, quickly accessing recent sessions, managing multiple sessions, and perform searching as it integrates with Windows search, which isn’t possible with PuTTY.
In addition to this, Solar PuTTY also works with telnet, SCP, SFTP TFP protocols, and you don’t need to install it, you can run it directly from a USB stick.
- No installation required
- Manager multiple session from one console
- Automate all scripts when the connection is established
- Save private keys for easy login
Price – $69 per user
Another professional and popular PuTTY alternative for Windows is MobaXterm. This fully-featured Windows SSH client helps boost productivity and offers several features like X 11 server, plugin support, multi-execution, ssh tunnels, and more that aren’t present in other clients. Also, to make editing easy, MobaXTerm automatically opens an SFTP browser that makes connecting to remote machines easy.
Although the free version has certain limitations like it allows to establish only 2SSH tunnels, and you can run up to 12 sessions, but it is enough to get an idea about the SSH client.
- Tabbed terminal with SSH
- X11-Forwarding capability
- Embedded X server
- A portable SSH client application
Another PuTTY fork with added features and add-ons that make file transfer easy is ExtraPuTTY. Using this alternative to PuTTY, you can sequence commands, integrate file transfer via FTP, TFTP, SCP, SFTP, ZModem, and more. Also, it allows you to automate the sequencing of commands, URL hyperlinks, automate login scripts and do a lot more.
- Automatic command sequencing
- Integrates FTP, SCP, Ymode, Xmodem, and other protocols
- Easily change PuTTY settings during the session
- Keyboard shortcuts for pre-defined commands
Price – Free
Fork of mRemote, this tabbed, multi-protocol SSH client helps manage remote connections on Windows. Using mRemoteNG best PuTTY alternative, you can view all remote connections and undock panels, move them to the side, or move to another screen. Moreover, it makes maintaining a list of connections a breeze and supports importing connections from Active Directory.
- Supports majorly all protocols like RDP, VNC, ICA, Telnet, SSH, HTTP, rlogin, and more
- Raw socket connection
- Powerful SSH client with tabbed interface
- Create nested containers to divide connections
5. Bitvise SSH Client
Bitvise SSH Client is compatible with all versions of Windows & Servers and is used to initiate connections to SSH servers. Moreover, using this PuTTY alternative for Windows, you can run scripted commands or perform file transfers. It also lets you access the terminal console on an SSH server so that you can initiate port forwarding or file transfer.
- Single-click remote desktop forwarding
- Remote administration tools
- Single Sign-on and NTLM user authentication
- Create FTP-to-SFTP bridge
Price – Free
Another free PuTTY alternative that offers an FTP solution for file transfer is FileZilla. Using this SSH client, you can share files over FTP and FTP over TLS. Also, it supports Dropbox, WebDAV, Google Cloud Storage, Amazon S3, etc. Using it, you can resume and transfer large files. This open-source software works under the terms of GNU and it also comes with a bug and feature request tracker.
- Tabbed user interface
- Allows remote file editing
- Network configuration wizard
- Remote file search, synchronized directory browsing
Price – starts at $79.99
Seventh on our list is ZOC, a well-established terminal emulator and telnet client known for its great user interface. Using this SSH client and one of the best PuTTY alternatives, you can scrollback, open multiple windows, and access text-based shell accounts from both Windows and macOS.
Also, you can connect with mainframes through Secure shell, Serial cable, Telnet, etc.
- Supports a wide variety of emulations
- A tabbed session with an overview screen
- Full keyboard remapping
- Different logging and scroll back functions
Price – Free
SmarTTY SSH client for Windows is a free multi-tabbed SSH client that supports SCP. Moreover, using this PuTTY alternative, you can open new tabs without any hassle and avoid the annoyance caused by multiple windows. It also offers a smart terminal mode to auto-complete files, folders, and recent commands.
Moreover, the Windows-style GUI helps explore remote directory structure and download, upload single files with SCP protocol.
- Multiple tabs in one SSH session
- Smart terminal mode
- Transfer files and whole directories
- Built-in hex terminal
Price – Free and open-source SSH client
Used for file transfer WinSCP provides file manager functionality and also has scripting capabilities. This SSH client provides tools to copy files between local and remote servers. It also uses FTPs, FTP, S3, SCP, and more protocols to transfer files. What makes it the best choice as a PuTTY alternative is the file manager functionality.
- Integrated text editor
- Scripting & task automation
- Copy files between the local computer and remote servers
Price – Free
Fork of original PuTTY SSH client KiTTY comes with several add-ons that are missing in PuTTY. This best SSH client allows you to launch the starter using the launcher command and login scripts after sessions are established. Moreover, it comes with the ability to run local scripts on remote devices and comes with bonus lightweight chat and text editor features.
- Option to filter sessions
- Easily manage URLs and Hyperlinks
- Automatic Command/Passwords
- Autosaved sessions
We hope you enjoyed the comprehensive list of the best PuTTY alternatives that you can use on Windows. Using alternatives like SmarTTY, MobaXterm, KiTTY, and others explained above, you can enjoy all the benefits that PuTTY misses out on.
As most of the alternatives are free and open-source, you can download and use them to see which one meets your needs. If you ask for our recommendation, we would like to suggest Solar-Putty and MobaXterm.
Q1. Is there an alternative to PuTTY for Windows?
SolarWinds, MobaXterm, FileZilla, KiTTY are some of the well-known alternatives for PuTTY. Using them, you can securely transfer files and they include SSH protected remote access functionality.
Q2. Is there something better than PuTTY?
Several SSH clients are better than PuTTY. One amongst them is Solar-PuTTY, an application that allows managing remote sessions and connecting to any device on the network.
Q3. Do I need PuTTY on Windows 10?
If you want to transfer files using SSL instead of RDPing you can use PuTTY.
Q4. Why is MobaXterm better than PuTTY?
Where PuTTY is a great SSH client without an SSH server that allows access to remote machines via command line, MobaXterm supports protocols like SSH, VNC, FTP, SFTP and offers a tabbed interface, so that you can access different interfaces.