RDP vs VNC: Which Remote Desktop Technology Should I Use? [Comparison]


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vnc vs rdp

Sometimes you need to access a work computer from home and use the resources you have there. Or take control of your client’s computer and show him how to fix an issue. These feats are possible by many protocols and software, including the very popular Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Network Computing (VNC). In this article, we introduce these two technologies and compare RDP vs VNC in detail. After reading this article, you should know the differences between RDP and VNC.

What Is RDP?

What is RDP?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a protocol developed by Microsoft which lets users remotely take graphic control of another computer. RDP servers work only with Windows although the client is available for almost all operating systems including Linux, Mac, and Android.

RDP is an actual semantic protocol; meaning, the data it transfers goes deeper than what is visually happening. This model makes the transfer fast and efficient. RDP is used for desktop sharing, as well as letting many remote computers share the resources of a target computer, through different profiles.

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What Is VNC?


Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a desktop sharing system that uses a protocol named RFB. It lets people remotely control a computer whilst the main user can watch and interact as well. VNC is pixel-based. Meaning it barely gets involved with the underlying graphic layout, making it flexible but less efficient. VNC is used mostly for technical support, as well as educational purposes. VNC is platform-independent. You can use many cross-platform apps, including TightVNC and RealVNC, to share your desktop across different computers.

What Are the Differences between RDP and VNC?

difference between rdp and vnc

It’s not right to say RDP is better than VNC or the opposite. These protocols have different use cases, although they are commonly confused. Now, we will point out the main differences between RDP and VNC.

1. The Way They Work(How is VNC Different from RDP)

As we mentioned, VNC is a pixel-based protocol. So it sends the changes across the network in what is essentially an image exchange. This makes VNC slower than RDP. But it also makes cross-platform sharing easier. On the other hand, RDP is semantically involved with the underlying graphic layout. This makes RDP much more efficient as the data is much more compressed.

RDP also logs into the computer, creating a real desktop session. This means you can use RDP to share the resources of the same computer between many remote users, through different profiles. 

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2. Their Use Cases

VNC is used as a screen-sharing platform that also lets the remote computer take control. This is great for remote customer support and educational demonstrations because all users are sharing the same screen and the mentor can ‘show’ the steps to the students, or the customer can show the problem to the support technician. But RDP is not a screen-sharing platform and will kick the extra use out of the session.

3. RDP vs VNC performance

RDP is a fast and efficient way to connect to a Windows computer and use it as if you are there. It is faster and easier to work with. It is not a screen-sharing solution, but rather a resource-sharing solution. That’s why it’s used in VPS servers to let many users access the same physical server and use it separately.

Citrix VS Microsoft RDP: Which One's a Better Remote Desktop Technology?

4. The Platforms They Work Within

the platforms they work within

RPD is a Windows original and comes pre-installed on Windows computers. Also on the server-side, it works only on Windows computers. But many client-side applications let you use RDP on platforms such as Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android.

VNC is platform-independent and can be used across platforms. There are VNC applications for different operating systems, and there are no limits in using them to connect to different computers on different platforms.

5. Security issues [VNC vs RDP security]

RDP operates within an encrypted channel, and each update improves the encryption methods. The older versions of RDP are vulnerable to an attack called ‘man-in-the-middle‘ that can result in the attacker gaining unauthorized access to your session.

You can use RDP securely through SSL/TLS on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016. VNC can use an SSH tunnel. But this is not a universal feature in VNC software. It also gives full access to the remote user, which can be an issue.

RDP vs VNC: Which Remote Desktop Technology Should I Use? [Comparison]

When Should I Use RDP and When Should I Use VNC?

✅ RDP is useful in situations such as:

  • Sharing the resources of one computer (e.g. A physical server) with several users
  • Accessing a computer remotely without needing to share the screen
  • When you need Multi-monitor support

✅ VNC is useful in situations such as:

  • Support services in which the technician and user both need access to the computer.
  • Educational purposes when the teacher wants to show the steps to a student.
  • When the server is on a different platform than Windows.

RDP vs VNC quick comparison

Speed Main Use Case Can run on different OS Security channel
RDP Fast Resource sharing platform Linux, Windows, macOS, Android SSL/TLS
VNC Slow Screen sharing platform Linux, Windows, macOS SSH tunnel

What Are Some RDP and VNC Alternatives?

rdp and vnc alternatives

RDP and VNC are still top-rated solutions for the purposes they serve. But there are other popular and up-to-date solutions that you can try:

  1. TeamViewer
  2. NoMachine 
  3. AnyDesk

One is the world-renowned TeamViewer. As the name indicates, TeamViewer is an all-around solution for team interaction, including computer connection and desktop sharing. It is free and works across all popular platforms.

Another one is NoMachine which is free and uses NX technology for establishing the connection. It is accessible across all popular Platforms. Finally, AnyDesk, which is another popular and free tool for computer cross-platform remote access.

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RDP and VNC are both prominent and great platforms, but they have different use cases. RDP is a Windows-based solution for sharing resources of the same computer, whilst VNC is mostly a screen-sharing solution for support and educational purposes.

Note: You can download the PDF version of this article by clicking on the button:



1. Can I use RDP on my Linux?

Yes. RDP was originally developed for Microsoft Windows. But, as it became so popular over time, it is now available on Linux, Mac, iOS, and even Android.

2. What is the main difference between RDP and VNC?

There are several differences between RDP and VNC. However, the main difference is that RDP creates virtual desktop sessions while VNC will only show the physical display of what the remote user sees.

3. What is XRDP?

XRDP is an open-source and free implementation of Remote Desktop Protocol used in operating systems other than MS Windows (like Linux and its distributions). XRDP allows you to establish a Remote Desktop Connection to your Linux server from a Windows machine.

4. XRDP vs. VNC, which one should I use?

Both XRDP and VNC can be really helpful for users. However, VNC holds some advantages over XRDP, such as its ease of use and the consistency of VNC sessions, which makes it in more demand (especially between newbie users).

5. VNC vs. Remote Desktop, which one is better?

In general, Remote Desktop Protocol is known to be more functional and faster than VNC. However, both RDP and VNC can be the best option for different users with different purposes in mind. For more information about the specific usages of RDP and VNC see the “When should I use RDP and when should I use VNC?” section on the above article.

6. VNC vs. Remote Desktop, which one is safer?

Although both of these services provide acceptable security for users, RDP is more powerful and secure against outside attacks than VNC. This is because of the inscrutable encryption of RDP sessions.

An SEO-Specialist who loves digital marketing and has a background in creating content. Matt loves teamwork and enjoys working with professional people. He always tries to bring more things to the team.


Leave A Comment

12 thoughts on “RDP vs VNC: Which Remote Desktop Technology Should I Use? [Comparison]”

  1. Is it possible to access a computer using a webpage? I mean is there website that can do that? Or it is just possible using a software

  2. What is the best and most powerful client for VNC? Since I am a student I want to know which client of VNC are people using these days

  3. I really need to use VNC for something urgent. I didn’t quite understand how can I use vnc protocol for my needs

  4. What is the difference between a VPS and RDP and VNC?? Because I think VPS actually almost des what RDP and VNC do. By the way great article, thanks!

  5. I believe comparing VNC with RDP is a bit misleading. VNC is a kind of sharing screen platform. To give you a better picture… Using VNC you can help a customer as a part of a CRM system. Whilst, RDP is for a user to have control over another PC in another region. So as to say it works as a VPS.
    Any how, thanks for the great work!

  6. In the section about security issues, you are somehow saying that RDP is safer than VNC! or VNC is more secure? could you please clarify. I want to get one and I am not sure if it should be an RDP or VNC!! thanks

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