Best Secure Shell (SSH) client for Windows and Mac OS

If you play around with Linux, or have gotten a Raspberry Pi – what is the best way to “remote into” it? Well, if you have it booting to “run level 5”, or X-Windows, you can install a VNC server, and use TightVNC to see the remote desktop. It’s not great, especially if you are used to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) with you remote into a Windows machine, but it’s reasonable.

Much more common, and much easier though – is to “bring up a terminal window” on the remote machine. Particularly if you boot to “run level 3”, which is a console prompt, without X-Windows. In the olden days, you might have used telnet. However, that had zero security. The modern equivalent is Secure Shell, or more commonly referred to as SSH.

SSH from Windows:
I’ve tried many different solutions and BY FAR, the best SSH client I’ve found is:

SmarTTY –

It’s free, ad-free, and seems really well-built. You establish a connection to a remote host, and from that window:


Right away, I have rich, color-coded terminal emulation and all my key mappings (like the dreaded backspace), just work. There are also some cool features, like:


Built-in “SCP” (secure copy) to pull or push files or whole directories:


So for me, it has 100% of everything I need in an SSH client, and it’s a really professional looking app – oh, and it’s free, so it’s a no-brainer!

SSH from Mac OS:
Your first thought might be to find an app in the App Store or maybe some other program you can download. However, the terminal window in Mac OS is, to me, the best SSH client. If you are not familiar, click on the Spotlight search in the top-right of your window:


then type in “terminal”:


and then in your terminal window, you would typically type:

$ ssh username@computername

So in my case, I want to log in as user “pi” on hostname “raspi21”, so I type:

$ ssh pi@raspi21

It gives me a prompt letting me know that it doesn’t know about that hostame, and asks whether my computer should trust the fingerprint ID of that remote server. I type yes, and as you can see, I get the same, rich terminal experience as shown above with SmarTTY:


Above, everything within the red box is part of the remote SSH session. To exit out, I literally type “exit”, which brings me back to my Mac OS prompt, and then I can type “exit” from there to end the terminal window.

You can also run “scp” from the Mac OS command line for Secure  Copy, but that takes in arguments, there is no pretty UI for that, that I’ve found.

Bottom Line:
If you are looking for the best SSH and SCP clients, I’ve found these to be the best:

Posted in Computers and Internet, General, Infrastructure, Linux, Organization will set you free, Raspberry Pi, Security, Uncategorized
3 comments on “Best Secure Shell (SSH) client for Windows and Mac OS
  1. […] the Pi, when you first boot up, if you connect to it over the network with an SSH client (here’s what I recommend), you’ll see […]


  2. […] Assuming you have a brand new Pi (Raspberry, Banana, Orange, or otherwise) – with Raspbian installed on your SD card, SSH into it from your Windows machine. I REALLY like SmarTTY for several reasons: […]


  3. […] about when you are Windows? To know me is to know how much I hate puTTY, and REALLY love SmarTTY (also see here). Look at the options I have when setting up a new SSH connection in […]


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