How to install and Configure VNC Server on Ubuntu 22.04

Estimated reading: 4 minutes 172 views
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a technology that allows remote control of another computer using the  Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB). In this guide, we’ll cover how to Install and Configure VNC Server on Ubuntu 22.04

VNC works in a client/server model. The VNC client is installed on the local computer while the VNC server is installed on the remote system to be managed. The server transmits a duplicate of the remote computer’s display screen to the viewer(client).

Install and Configure VNC Server on Ubuntu 22.04

We install with user: green
Install the VNC server on Ubuntu by running the commands below in your terminal.

sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install tightvncserver

Install Desktop Environment

Ensure you have a Desktop Environment installed on your Ubuntu. For this guide, we’ll install the Xfce desktop environment.

sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies

You can choose to use other Desktop environments.

Configure VNC Server

Once you’ve finished the installation of the Desktop environment and VNC server. Configure the VNC server on Ubuntu as follows.

1. Set a secure access password

Run the vncpasswd command to set a password for your VNC server.

$ vncpasswd
Password:
Verify:

When prompted, enter and verify your password to set.

2. Start the VNC server

Start VNC Server on Ubuntu 22.04 using the command:

$ vncserver :1

3.Kill VNC Server

Kill the VNC Server using the command:

$ vncserver -kill :1
Killing Xtightvnc process ID 14357 

4. Set VNC Server Desktop Environment

The VNC configuration file is located on ~/.vnc/xstartup. Edit it with your favorite text editor.

sudo nano ~/.vnc/xstartup

Add the following line at the end of the file.

exec /usr/bin/startxfce4 &

Finally, start VNC Server with ;

  • Display number [1]
  • Screen resolution [800×600]
  • Color depth [24]
$ vncserver :1 -geometry 800x600 -depth 24 

Connect to the VNC Desktop

You can connect to a remote desktop using a VNC client and SSH tunneling.

You need to install ufw firewall and enable port 5901 before connecting.

sudo apt install ufw sudo ufw allow 5901

Then install the vncviewer client

sudo apt install tigervnc-viewer

On Arch Linux, install it with:

sudo pacman -S tigervnc

Once your SSH tunnel is running, connect to localhost:5901 using  VNC client. When prompted for the password, enter the password created during the VNC server configuration.

Once connected, you’ll see the default Xfce Desktop environment

Configure Systemd

By setting up the VNC server to run as a systemd service you can start, stop, and restart it as needed, like any other service. You can also use Systemd’s management commands to ensure that VNC starts when your server boots up.

First, create a new unit file called /etc/systemd/system/[email protected]:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/[email protected]

Add:

[Unit]
Description=Start TightVNC server at startup
After=syslog.target network.target

[Service]
Type=forking
User=green
Group=green
WorkingDirectory=/home/green

PIDFile=/home/green/.vnc/%H:%i.pid
ExecStartPre=-/usr/bin/vncserver -kill :%i > /dev/null 2>&1
ExecStart=/usr/bin/vncserver -depth 24 -geometry 1280x800 :%i
ExecStop=/usr/bin/vncserver -kill :%i

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Don’t forget to replace Greencloudwith your actual remote user username. Save the file and exit when done.

Reload systemd and start VNC

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable --now vncserver@1

Stop the current instance of the VNC server if it’s still running:

vncserver -kill :1

Then start it as you would start any other systemd service:

sudo systemctl start vncserver@1

Check status:

$ systemctl status vncserver@1

Conclusion

You now have a secured VNC server up and running on your Ubuntu 22.04 server. Now you’ll be able to manage your files, software, and settings with a user-friendly graphical interface, and you’ll be able to run graphical software like web browsers remotely.