Home Linux Administration How To Install And Use PuTTY On Linux

How To Install And Use PuTTY On Linux

Access And Manage Remote Linux Systems With Putty

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 10K views

In this guide, we will learn what is PuTTY, how to install PuTTY on Linux and how to access and manage the remote Linux servers using PuTTY.

What is PuTTY?

PuTTY is a free and open source GUI client that supports wide range of protocols including SSH, Telnet, Rlogin and serial for Windows and Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

Generally, Windows admins use PuTTY as SSH and telnet clients to access the remote Linux servers from their local Windows systems. However, PuTTY is not limited to Windows. It is also popular among Linux users as well.

Install PuTTY on Linux

PuTTY is available in the official repositories of most Linux distributions.

For instance, you can install PuTTY on Alpine Linux using command:

$ sudo pkg add putty

on Arch Linux and its variants using the following command:

$ sudo pacman -S putty

On Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint:

$ sudo apt install putty

On CentOS 7/6:

$ sudo yum install epel-release
$ sudo yum install putty

On Fedora, RHEL, AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux:

$ sudo dnf install epel-release

On openSUSE:

$ sudo zypper install putty

Configure PuTTY

Once PuTTY is installed, launch it from the menu or from your application launcher. Alternatively, you can launch it from the Terminal by running the following command:

$ putty

This is how PuTTY default interface looks like.

Putty default interface
Putty default interface

As you can see, most of the options are self-explanatory. On the left pane of the PuTTY interface, you can do/edit/modify various configurations such as;

  1. PuTTY session logging,
  2. Options for controlling the terminal emulation, control and change effects of keys,
  3. Control terminal bell sounds,
  4. Enable/disable Terminal advanced features,
  5. Set the size of PuTTY window,
  6. Control the scrollback in PuTTY window (Default is 2000 lines),
  7. Change appearance of PuTTY window and cursor,
  8. Adjust windows border,
  9. Change fonts for texts in PuTTY window,
  10. Save login details,
  11. Set proxy details,
  12. Options to control various protocols such as SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, Serial etc.
  13. And more.

All options are categorized under a distinct name for ease of understanding.

Access remote Linux systems using PuTTY

Click on the Session tab on the left pane. Enter the hostname (or IP address) of your remote system you want to connect to. Next choose the connection type, for example Telnet, Rlogin, SSH etc.

The default port number will be automatically selected depending upon the connection type you choose. For example if you choose SSH, port number 22 will be selected. For Telnet, port number 23 will be selected and so on.

If you have changed the default port number, don't forget to mention it in the Port section. I am going to access my remote via SSH, hence I choose SSH connection type. After entering the Hostname or IP address of the system, click Open.

Connect to remote system using putty
Connect to remote system using putty

If this is the first time you have connected to this remote system, PuTTY will display a security alert dialog box that asks whether you trust the host you are connecting to.  Click Accept to add the remote system's host key to the PuTTY's cache:

Accept Putty security alert
Accept Putty security alert

Next enter your remote system's user name and password. Congratulations! You've successfully connected to your remote system via SSH using PuTTY.

SSH to remote system using putty
SSH to remote system using putty

Access remote systems configured with key-based authentication

Some Linux administrators might have configured their remote servers with key-based authentication.

For example, when accessing AWS instances from PuTTY, you need to specify the key file's location. PuTTY supports public key authentication and uses its own key format (.ppk files).

Enter the hostname or IP address in the Session section. Next, In the Category pane, expand Connection, expand SSH, and then choose Auth. Browse the location of the .ppk key file and click Open.

Specify key file location in Putty
Specify key file location in Putty

Click Accept to add the host key if it is the first time you are connecting to the remote system. Finally, enter the remote system's passphrase (if the key is protected with a passphrase while generating it) to connect.

Save PuTTY sessions

At work, you want to connect to the remote system multiple times. If so, you can save the session and load it whenever you want without having to type the hostname or ip address, port number every time.

Enter the hostname (or IP address) and provide a session name and click Save. If you have key file, make sure you have already given the location before hitting the Save button.

Save PuTTY sessions
Save PuTTY sessions

Now, choose session name under the Saved sessions tab and click Load and click Open to launch it.

Transferring files to remote systems using the PuTTY Secure Copy Client (pscp)

Usually, the Linux users and admins use scp command line tool to transfer files from local Linux system to the remote Linux servers. PuTTY does have a dedicated client named PuTTY Secure Copy Clinet (PSCP in short) to do this job.

If you're using windows OS in your local system, you may need this tool to transfer files from local system to remote systems. PSCP can be used in both Linux and Windows systems.

The following command will copy file.txt to my remote Ubuntu system from Arch Linux.

$ pscp -i test.ppk file.txt sk@


  • -i test.ppk : Key file to access remote system,
  • file.txt : file to be copied to remote system,
  • sk@ : username and ip address of remote system,
  • /home/sk/ : Destination path.

To copy a directory. use -r (recursive) option like below:

$ pscp -i test.ppk -r dir/ sk@

To transfer files from Windows to remote Linux server using pscp, run the following command from command prompt:

pscp -i test.ppk c:\documents\file.txt.txt sk@

You know now what is PuTTY, how to install and use it to access remote systems. Also, you have learned how to transfer files to the remote systems from the local system using pscp program.

For more details refer the project's website given below.


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