You can use a variety of methods to connect to an Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance, such as Workbench, Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and third-party client tools. You can choose a method to connect to your instance based on the operating system of your instance, the operating system of your device, and the operations that you want to perform.

Connection methods

Operating system of your instance Operating system of your device Connection method
Linux Windows
UNIX-like operating systems such as Linux and macOS
Operating systems of mobile devices, such as iOS and Android Apps such as SSH Control Lite and JuiceSSH

For more information, see Connect to a Linux instance from a mobile device.

Windows Windows
Linux
macOS
Operating systems of mobile devices, such as iOS and Android Apps such as Microsoft Remote Desktop

For more information, see Connect to a Windows instance from a mobile device.

Note
  • All third-party client tools used to connect to instances require that instances to which you want to connect have public IP addresses or elastic IP addresses (EIPs).
  • After a Windows instance is created, it takes 2 to 3 minutes to initialize the operating system. Do not restart the instance while it is being initialized. After a non-I/O optimized Windows instance is created, it takes 10 minutes to initialize the operating system. Do not connect to the instance while it is being initialized.

Comparison of connection tools

The following table compares the advantages of VNC, Workbench, and other third-party client tools.

Item Workbench Session management Alibaba Cloud Client VNC Third-party client tool
Assignment of a public IP address or an EIP to the instance Optional.
Note Workbench cannot be used to troubleshoot network configuration exceptions, such as firewalls being enabled by mistake.
Optional. Optional. Optional. VNC can be used to troubleshoot network configuration exceptions, such as firewalls being enabled by mistake. Required.
Enabling services such as SSH on the instance Required. No required. No required. Optional. VNC can be used to troubleshoot SSH service exceptions, such as SSHD being disabled. Required.
Logons by using the ECS console Supported. Not supported. The Cloud Assistant client must be installed and the version of the client must support session management. Not supported. Alibaba Cloud Client must be installed. Supported. Not supported. The local client must be installed.
Independence of the instance operating system Workbench can be used to connect to both Linux and Windows instances. Session management can be used to connect to both Linux and Windows instances. Alibaba Cloud Client can be used to connect to both Linux and Windows instances. VNC can be used to connect to both Linux and Windows instances. Depends on the client tool. Most third-party client tools can be used to connect to Linux or Windows instances.
Simultaneous logons by multiple operating system users to a single instance Supported. Supported. Supported. Not supported. Depends on the client tool.
Ease of interaction Workbench supports copying and pasting text. Session management supports copying and pasting text. Alibaba Cloud Client supports copying and pasting text. Not supported. To copy or paste text, use the feature for copying long commands. Depends on the client tool.
Visibility into Linux system file resources Supported. Not supported. Not supported. Not supported. Depends on the client tool.
Permissions to control and modify hardware Not supported. Not supported. Not supported. Supported. VNC can be used to manage resources such as BIOS and troubleshoot exceptions such as system startup failures. Not supported.
Terminal configurability Supported, but depends on the capabilities that Workbench provides. Supported, but depends on the capabilities that the client tool provides. Supported, but depends on the capabilities that the client tool provides. Not supported. Supported, but depends on the capabilities that the client tool provides.