Debian

How to Install VNC Server on Debian 10?

VNC or Virtual Network Computing is a protocol used to access the graphical desktop environment of your computer and control it remotely.

In this article, I am going to show you how to install the VNC server on Debian 10 and access it from a remote computer. So, let’s get started!

Switching to X Session:

At the time when this is written, the VNC server program Vino (default VNC server for GNOME 3 desktop environment) does not work with the Wayland display server. However, GNOME 3 desktop environment on Debian 10 uses the Wayland display server by default. So, you must use the X11 display server instead of the VNC server Vino to work on the Debian 10 GNOME 3 desktop environment.

To switch to the X11 display server, log out from the GNOME 3 desktop environment as shown in the screenshot below.

To confirm the logout operation, click on Log Out as marked in the screenshot below.

Now, before logging in to the GNOME 3 desktop environment, click on the gear icon (

) and click on GNOME on Xorg as marked in the screenshot below.

Once you’ve set the X11 display server, log in to your GNOME 3 desktop environment as usual.

Installing VNC Server on Debian 10:

In this article, I am going to use the built-in Screen Sharing feature of the GNOME 3 desktop environment to access the Debian 10 graphical desktop environment remotely. The GNOME 3 desktop environment uses the Vino VNC server to implement the Screen Sharing feature.

The Vino VNC server comes pre-installed on Debian 10 GNOME 3 desktop environment. If in any case, Vino is not installed, you can install it easily from the official package repository of Debian 10 using the APT package manager.

First, update the APT package repository cache with the following command:

$ sudo apt update

The APT package repository cache should be updated.

To make sure that Vino is installed on your Debian 10 operating system, run the following command:

$ sudo apt install vino -y

Vino is already installed as you can see in the screenshot below.

Enable Screen Sharing on Debian 10:

Once you have Vino installed, you can enable Screen Sharing from the GNOME Settings app.

Open the Settings app from the Application Menu of Debian 10.

Then, navigate to Sharing section and click on the toggle button as marked in the screenshot below to enable Sharing.

Once Sharing is enabled, click on Screen Sharing as marked in the screenshot below.

Finally from the Screen Sharing window, click on the toggle button as marked in the screenshot below to enable Screen Sharing.

Screen Sharing should be enabled.

From the Access Options section, you can configure authentication methods for your VNC server.

New connections must ask for access: This is the default authentication method. When this authentication method is selected, you will get a prompt message every time a remote VNC client tries to access your computer. If you allow access to your computer, only then can the remote VNC client access your computer.

Require a password: In this method, you can set a password for the VNC server which the remote VNC client must enter to access your computer.

Since I prefer the password authentication method, I will set password authentication for the VNC server in this article.

To set a password for your VNC server, select Require a password from the Access Options section and type in your desired password in the Password textbox as marked in the screenshot below.

Finding the IP Address of Your Computer:

Once you have Screen Sharing enabled, the person who wants to connect to your computer remotely needs to know the IP address of your computer.

You can find the IP address of your computer with the command below:

$ hostname -I

The IP address of my computer is 192.168.20.168. Take note that it will be different for you, so make sure to replace it with yours from now on.

Accessing Your Computer Remotely with Vinagre:

In this section, I will use the Vinagre remote desktop client to show you how to connect to your computer via VNC. But, you can always use other VNC clients as well.

The Vinagre remote desktop client may not be installed on your computer. If you need any help installing Vinagre on your Linux distribution, you can read the article How to Install Vinagre Remote Desktop Client on Linux.

First, open Vinagre remote desktop client from the Application Menu of your computer.

Once Vinagre is opened, click on Connect.

Now, select VNC from the Protocol dropdown menu, type in the IP address of your remote computer in the Host textbox, and click on Connect as marked in the screenshot below.

You will then be prompted for the VNC password if you have configured password authentication as I did.

Type in your VNC authentication password and click on Authenticate as marked in the screenshot below.

With that, you should be connected to your Debian 10 computer remotely.

Accessing Your Computer Remotely with VNC Viewer:

One of the most popular cross-platform VNC clients is RealVNC’s VNC Viewer. This however does not support the type of encryption that the Vino VNC server supports. So, to be able to access your Debian 10 computer remotely with the RealVNC VNC Viewer, you need to disable encryption for the Vino VNC server.

To disable encryption for the Vino VNC server, run the command below on your Debian 10 computer.

$ gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

Once encryption is disabled, you can access your computer with the RealVNC VNC Viewer as usual.

To connect to your computer remotely with the RealVNC VNC Viewer, type in the IP address of your computer in the VNC Viewer app and press <Enter>.

Then click on Continue.

You will then be prompted for the VNC password if you have configured password authentication as I did.

Type in the authentication password of your VNC server and click on OK as marked in the screenshot below.

And just like that, you should be connected to your Debian 10 computer.

Conclusion:

In this article, I have shown you how to switch to the X11 display server on the GNOME 3 desktop environment of Debian 10 as well as how to enable Screen Sharing from the GNOME Settings app. I have also shown you how to configure authentication methods for the Vino VNC server from the GNOME Settings app and how to disable Vino VNC server encryption from the command line. Finally, I have shown you how to access your Debian 10 computer remotely using the Vinagre remote desktop client and RealVNC VNC Viewer as well.

About the author

Shahriar Shovon

Shahriar Shovon

Freelancer & Linux System Administrator. Also loves Web API development with Node.js and JavaScript. I was born in Bangladesh. I am currently studying Electronics and Communication Engineering at Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), one of the demanding public engineering universities of Bangladesh.