Where Do I Begin?
So, for example, you have a Mac Mini dedicated server hosted in Unihost and you are ready to do something with it. The first question on your mind is probably “How can I connect to this thing?”
Nearly all modern servers are “headless” (meaning they have no dedicated monitor, keyboard or mouse) and are controlled over a network using remote desktop software. This article will cover a few popular (and free!) remote control programs as well as the pros and cons of using each of them.
MacOS X comes by default with Virtual Network Connection (VNC) capabilities. Although this feature is disabled according to factory presets, howeever, Unihost engineers will have enabled this feature on your MacMini before you receive your IP address to connect remotely.
A VNC client running on a Mac or PC can easily connect to a VNC server running on your remote Mac mini.
Mac-to-Mac sessions are inherently reliable, because they’re using the same version of VNC code on both sides of the connection.
PC or Linux to Mac connections have been known to occasionally exhibit buggy behavior, but in most cases you will have no trouble if your software is up to date.
VNC is based on open source software, which is why there are several versions that have been developed independently from the same starting point (i.e. the open source version). This means that each of the following VNC clients (which will allow your local computer to talk to your remote Mac mini) share similar capabilities, although there are some differences as well. Moreover, each offers a free and a paid service tier — with certain features only offered via the paid tier.
Encryption is only offered in the paid service tier. In practice (and especially when connecting to another computer on your own local network) this is not such a great danger, but where data must be transmitted over the public Internet, and where security is a primary concern, this sort of unencrypted communication should be avoided.
All connections to Unihost will have to traverse the Internet. So, best practice dictates that you will either need to secure your connection in another way, or you can choose the paid service tier.
UltraVNC is a newer fork of the original VNC codebase that adds video compression to improve performance, a nifty graphical toolbar and an optional encryption module. It also seems to be a bit more stable than RealVNC. If you don’t already have the RealVNC client installed, this version is preferable to RealVNC just for these few additional features.
TigerVNC is a high-performance, platform-neutral implementation of VNC (Virtual Network Computing), a client/server application that allows users to launch and interact with graphical applications on remote machines. TigerVNC provides the levels of performance necessary to run 3D and video applications, and it attempts to maintain a common look and feel and re-use components, where possible, across the various platforms that it supports. TigerVNC also provides extensions for advanced authentication methods and TLS encryption.
TightVNC is a very popular free VNC software available for Windows and Linux. In this software, you can easily take control of the remote machine and handle all its functions, such as program management, file management, and more. The best thing about TightVNC is that it’s completely free to use, and you can use it for both personal and commercial projects. Also, it comes with cross-platform support, which allows you to take control of machines on other platforms such as Windows and Linux.