I know that SSH from the command line is easy enough, but would like to give my students that use OS X a GUI option.

Is there a PuTTY equivalent for the Mac?

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    Why is Terminal.app not working for you? After all it's a GUI app. Do you mean SSH or SFTP? – Gerry May 25 '12 at 7:43
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    Not being an OS X user, it seems I may have been unaware of all that Terminal.app does. I thought it was just a command line. – Eric Wilson May 25 '12 at 13:36
  • @EricWilson - It is just a command line - You have ssh from the command line. – Fake Name Apr 24 '13 at 22:23
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    A GUI SSH client? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? By its nature SSH gives you a command line. I'll do my best to answer, but I'm not sure I'm really understanding what you want. If you could clarify it would be very helpful. – iconoclast Apr 24 '13 at 23:07
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    Have any of you guys used PuTTY? The big thing that it does is allows setting SSH options like port forwarding via GUI instead of command line options which can be confusing to a new user. Don't forget that SSH is more than just a secure version of Telnet. – Bert Aug 11 '13 at 20:40

12 Answers 12


If you are looking for something that keeps track of servers/connections via a GUI, Terminal.app will already do that for you. Launch it and then from the menu select Shell > New Remote Connection. This will give you a connections manager window.

New Remote Connection Window Terminal.app

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  • Forgot about this. – Moshe May 25 '12 at 5:20
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    Better to use the built in tools. A GUI SSH client seems sort of silly, except to allow saving profiles. – geoffc May 25 '12 at 20:39
  • Would be nice if we could give our host aliases... eg: TS001-UTWEB0002 could be called/aliased "jenkins" – Ajay Gautam Oct 21 '15 at 19:26
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    @AjayGautam: ~/.ssh/config can have aliases and more – Nick Bastin Oct 9 '16 at 21:21
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    The built in tool is very limited. For example, it doesn't let you specify proxy servers, private keys, options etc. – Ahmedov May 17 '19 at 10:29

The best GUI application for SSH (and everything else you can do on the command line) is iTerm 2. While the original iTerm had a tabbed interface before Terminal did, iTerm 2 again eclipses Terminal by adding:

  • Support for 256 colors (you'll never go back to 16 colors after using 256)
  • Split panes (the sort of thing you can do in GNU screen or tmux, but at the level of the terminal emulator rather than in a program running on the server)
  • Special provision for integrating with tmux (an alternative to GNU screen, and which most people regard as better & faster than screen)
  • Terminal-level auto-completion (I don't use this feature so I can't detail how it has advantages over shell-level autocompletion: especially if you use the fish shell or zsh, then it may not be better)
  • Growl support
  • an Exposé-like view of your tabs
  • a full-screen view (and you can choose from either its own or OS X's built-in full-screen mode; I greatly prefer iTerm's own full-screen mode, since it doesn't force you to move to a new 'Space', thus allowing Command-Tab to still work properly)
  • paste history (a good complement to the shells' command histories)
  • Search
  • Instant Replay

and a lot more. Some are mentioned here but some are not, such as co-processes, triggers,smart selection, semantic history, and so on. Development is pretty active, but documentation seems to lag behind. I highly recommend it. I've been using it for years now and have never missed Terminal.

(It's possible Terminal does some of the things I mention here--it's been so long since I've used it that I don't recall, but when I switched I paid close attention to the differences and there were lots of advantages to iTerm. And it keeps getting better every few weeks or months.)

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  • iTerm2 really is a better terminal app. I use it exclusively, as Terminal does not have most of the features I use. However, from what I can tell, iTerm2 does not offer the connection management feature that Terminal does. – dhempler Jan 5 '15 at 21:38
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    Perhaps not... what exactly is the purpose of the connection management feature? What problem does it solve? If just saving a list of servers that you often connect to, why not just use .ssh/config: that's the standard SSH solution, and quite powerful as well, and it works across ssh, sftp, scp, and any other ssh-related utility. You can also sync it across machines, so you can easily connect to any server from any other server. – iconoclast Jan 7 '15 at 0:43
  • ssh www or ssh www.dev (or whatever alias you want to use) is much easier than typing out (and remembering!) the username and port and path to your key file, and any other SSH options you want to use, especially when you have dozens or even hundreds of machines you connect to. And you write settings that apply to multiple machines, which I'm guessing the connection management in Terminal.app can't do. – iconoclast Jan 7 '15 at 0:46
  • :O Where has this been all my (mac using only at work) life?! It's great. You can even use the mouse to control htop like in linux-proper. – Recct Apr 2 '15 at 8:54
  • I'm new to SSH. When I try to connect to a host, it always puts my computer's name as the username when connecting. How can I stop it from doing that? – www139 Feb 24 '16 at 15:44

You could also take a look as ZOC6 seems pretty cool.

ZOC6 product page

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    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – jherran Jul 13 '15 at 15:16
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    @jherran What's he supposed to provide? Not like he can upload the .dmg in his answer. – Tanner Faulkner Sep 12 '15 at 16:08
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    30-day free trial. It costs $79.99 to purchase a license. – Jonathan Hult Feb 18 '19 at 23:53

Configure ssh options and connect to ssh hosts manually always make me feel bored and have a lot of trouble. At Codinn we made a couple of GUI tools to make using ssh effortless. Those tools helped ourselves, and may also help you.

Core Shell is a PuTTY alike tool with lots of extra features:

  1. Full-featured terminal, supports 24bit true color.
  2. Support everything in OpenSSH, agent forwarding, certificates, proxy jump, etc.
  3. Can read your existing ssh_config file as the source of advanced options, especially helpful for experienced users.
  4. Also included advanced options editor, a handy way to tune per-host advanced options.
  5. Tightly integrated with macOS Keychain, don't have to enter passwords or passphrases repeatedly.
  6. Always tries to restore your connections after network failure or waking up from sleep.

Preview Manage Hosts via Tags Advanced Options Editor

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I'm getting along well with Royal TSX.

This is useful for SSH, RDP and VNC based terminals or web-based interfaces. It has a built-in credential management and team-sharing features.

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You could try SecureCRT and SecureFX from VanDyke Software.

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    Welcome to the site. Be sure to disclose if you have a relationship with product you recommend. If the faq isn't clear, you can comment to me and I'll help you if needed. – bmike Apr 24 '13 at 22:26

Fugu is what you are looking for.

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    Welcome to the site! We are looking for detailed answers which in this case means that it would be really appreciated if you could add a link to the application as well as a description of the features (especially relating to the requirements stated in the question). – nohillside Aug 8 '13 at 16:09
  • FYI, this app has not been updated in 7+ years. – Jonathan Hult Feb 18 '19 at 23:49
  • Fugu is an SFTP or SCP client – not SSH. There is a newer version on source forge - only 4.5 years old... – Adrian Zaugg May 11 at 21:54

vSSH is actually an ssh client based on putty. I got it from the app store for about $10.00, so it's a great deal compared to ZOC.

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If you want to start a gui program from ssh, you can use x11 and relay it with xeyes.

See https://dyhr.com/2009/09/05/how-to-enable-x11-forwarding-with-ssh-on-mac-os-x-leopard/

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You need to try Termius (available also as mobile app)

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Just download Wine and download PuTTy.exe and right click and run through wine and when wine opens hit enter (application support) and give it a second and it will open, just make sure you have a server

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    Interesting, but no thanks 😊 – Eric Wilson Jul 13 '15 at 14:10

CyberDuck is a great option. I used it this semester in complement with Terminal. (CyberDuck is fully functional, we just coded in VI, so using the Terminal for SSH worked better for me.)

You can get CyberDuck for free online, or at a cost on the App Store.

Another option is FileZilla. I used it on Windows for FTP, but I believe that it supports SSH as well. It definitely runs on Mac as well as Windows, so it's another option. FileZilla is also free.

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    I'm not sure if the OP is asking for SFTP connections, but CyberDuck or FileZilla would definitely not be suited for SSH connections. – Gerry May 25 '12 at 7:44
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    @Moshe, there is no way to use CyberDuck as a SSH (secure shell) client. – Gerry May 25 '12 at 15:46

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