Unlocking the Power of Secure Remote Access: 10 Best SSH Clients for Mac

Unlocking the Power of Secure Remote Access: 10 Best SSH Clients for Mac

Remote work and server management are becoming more and more popular; therefore, securely accessing and controlling remote servers has become critical. To ensure that the connection is protected, users should use Secure Shell protocol (SSH) which is encrypted to prevent data leakage.

SSH protocol is used to login in or transfer files remotely to website servers.

In this blog, we will discuss the basics of SSH and the top 10 best ssh client for Mac you can choose from.

Let’s begin understanding what Mac OS SSH is:

What is SSH?

SSH or Secure Shell is a cryptographic network protocol. It facilitates a secure channel for communication between two systems, commonly between a locally based client and a remote server. It plays a significant role in replacing insecure information transmission protocols such as Telnet, which allows plain text data transmission making it susceptible to eavesdropping and unauthorized access.

When you use SSH, data transferred between the client computer and SSH server are encrypted, ensuring the third communication party cannot intercept ion between these parties. It allows you to securely copy to and from the SSH server, making it convenient for transferring essential data or backing up files.

This technology lets you connect to a distant remote computer, execute instructions, run programs, and efficiently manage files and processes.

How Does SSH Work?

SSH for Mac works on a client-server model, i.e. by establishing an encrypted connection between the local client computer and the remote server. Cryptographic algorithms and public keys are set to maintain security and confidentiality.

Upon initiating an SSH connection, the server and client perform a cryptographic handshake establishing a secure connection. It involves identifying both parties to prevent any security attacks. This connection allows the secure transfer of files and commands and performs operations remotely.

Some key features of the SSH tool for Mac include:

1. Encryption

Strong encryption algorithms are used to protect data from any hijacks during transmission. Passwords and confidential data transferred over this channel can not be intercepted or tampered with by any third party.

2. Authentication

Various authentication methods, such as password-based authentication and public key authentication, are supported by SSH to protect your data during transmission. Public key authentication is considered more secure as it involves using cryptographic key pairs, reducing the risk of brute force attacks.

3. Portability

Whether you are a Windows Mac OS or Linux user, SSH is supported across all these operating systems and platforms, thus making it a versatile choice for remote server administration. You can leverage and manage servers over this network.

4. Secure File Transfer Protocol

While synchronizing data across various devices, beat in an organization or between 2 parties, this becomes an important feature to transfer files, data passwords, etc safely.

Top 10 Best SSH Clients for Mac OS

Top 10 Best SSH Clients for Mac OS

1. Mac Terminal

It is a built-in SSH client CLI application available on macOS. It allows the execution of various commands, runs scripts, and performs system operations directly.

  • Features: Comes pre-installed on macOS, supports SSH connections, and offers basic terminal functionality.
  • Pros: Free, lightweight, and easy to use.
  • Cons: Limited features compared to dedicated SSH clients, needs more advanced customization options.
  • Price: Free (included with macOS).

2. SSH Client

It is a robust iOS app that allows establishing secure connections with remote servers or computers using SSH protocol. It establishes secure and authenticated connections and communicates between the host system and the system command-line interface (CLI).

  • Features: It provides a simple and intuitive interface for SSH connections, supports key-based authentication, and allows for file transfers. It provides many advanced features like Multiple Editor Support, a graphical user interface, Universal Binary App, Built-in Passcode Features, Local Notification alerts, and RSA/DSA Key Generation. It is one of the best SSH clients for Mac, available for free on the App and Mac App Store.
  • Pros: User-friendly, supports multiple concurrent connections, and offers drag-and-drop file transfer.
  • Cons: Lacks advanced features for power users.
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases for additional features).
Ready to Take Control of Your Remote Server?

Discover the power of SSH Client and unlock the full potential of SSH!
Try Now!

3. Terminus

Termius is a command-line solution that provides secure remote access to Linux and IoT devices to fix issues quickly.

  • Features: Offers a modern and customizable interface, supports SSH, SFTP, and serial connections, and includes features like themes, multiple panes, and tab management.
  • Pros: Customizable appearance, support for various SSH connection types, and good user experience.
  • Cons: Some features require a paid subscription and occasional performance issues.
  • Price: Free (with an optional subscription for advanced features – $9.99/month or $69.99/year).

4. WebSSH

Web-based SSH is a secure network protocol that remotely controls servers, network devices, and other devices.

  • Features: A web-based SSH client that can be accessed through a web browser, supports key-based authentication, and includes features like multi-session support and SFTP file transfers.
  • Pros: Platform-independent, easy to use, and does not require installation.
  • Cons: Limited customization options may be less feature-rich than dedicated desktop clients.
  • Price: Free

5. Zen Term Lite

Zen Term Lite is an advanced terminal emulator that supports SSH, ZModem, and a variety of authentication mechanisms. It can connect to hosts running Linux, UNIX, and Mac.

  • Features: Lightweight SSH client with a minimalist interface, supports SSH, SFTP, and Telnet connections, and includes features like auto-record key-based authentication.
  • Pros: Lightweight and fast, suitable for simple SSH tasks, and easy to use.
  • Cons: There are no advanced features or caution choices.
  • Price: Free (with optional in-app purchases for additional features).

6. Secure ShellFish

It is a free SSH tool for Mac. With a restricted free feature set and a monthly subscription, Secure ShellFish is the best ssh and remote files app for iPadOS.

  • Features: Provides a graphical interface for SSH connections, supports key-based authentication, and allows for file transfers.
  • Pros: User-friendly, includes a file browser, and offers integration with other apps.
  • Cons: Limited customization options, occasional performance issues.
  • Price: Free (with optional in-app purchases for additional features).

7. Secure Shell App

Secure Shell App is a stand-alone ssh client for Chrome OS that uses Native-Client to connect directly to ssh servers.

  • Features: Offers a streamlined interface for SSH connections, supports key-based authentication, and provides features like session bookmarks and multi-factor authentication.
  • Pros: Easy to use, supports multiple connections, and offers security features.
  • Cons: Limited customization options, occasional bugs.
  • Price: Free (optional in-app purchases for additional features).

8. iTerm 2

iTerm2 is a Terminal replacement and the successor of iTerm, bringing the terminal into the current day.

  • Features: A powerful multiple terminal window emulator supporting SSH connections, split panes, multiple profiles, and extensive customization options.
  • Pros: Highly customizable, supports advanced features and scripting and offers excellent terminal replacement and management capabilities.
  • Cons: Forging may have a severe learning curve.
  • Price: Free (an open-source project).

9. Hyper

HyperTerminal software allows IT professionals to connect to other computers, Internet telnet sites, BBSs, online services, and host computers via a modem or null modem cable. It can also take serial control of external devices and handle problems with modem setup and use.

  • Features: A modern terminal emulator that supports SSH connections, offers a customizable interface with themes and plugins, and includes features like tab management and split panes.
  • Pros: Stylish and customizable interface, supports various plugins, and offers good performance.
  • Cons: Limited native functionality compared to other clients, occasional compatibility issues with certain configurations.
  • Price: Free (an open-source project).

10. Solar-PuTTY

Solar-PuTTY is a terminal emulator with a browser-based user interface that allows users to connect to SSH, Telnet, and networks. It provides a safe environment and maintains numerous sessions in one window, making remote collaboration and troubleshooting easier.

  • Features: A feature-rich SSH client with a user-friendly interface, supports SSH, Telnet, and SFTP connections and includes features like session management, script recording, and advanced authentication options.
  • Pros: Intuitive interface, extensive feature set, and strong security options.
  • Cons: Limited customization options, occasional performance issues.
  • Price: Free.

SSH1 Vs. SSH2: What’s the Difference?

Features SSH1 SSH2
Security It was the originally developed SSH protocol in 1995 with major security enhancements. However, over time, some shortcomings of SSH1 were discovered related to the encryption algorithm. SSH2 was developed as a more advanced version of the SSH protocol to address the security issues of the previous version. It was created with shorter encryption algorithms like AES,  improved key exchange methods, host authentication, and breach resistance.
Encryption Algorithms It was developed with a 3DES encryption algorithm. Though they were a revolution, it is considered weak by today’s algorithm. It supports many encryption algorithms like Twofish, Blowfish, AES, etc. It provides higher data security.
User authentication methods
  • Public key (RSA only)
  • Rhosts RSA
  • Password
  • Rhosts (rsh-style)
  • TIS
  • Kerberos
  • Public key (DSA, RSA, OpenPGP)
  • Host-based
  • Password
  • (Rhosts dropped due to insecurity)
Key Exchange Diffie Hellman key exchange algorithm had security weaknesses leaving it vulnerable to attacks and compromised confidentiality. A hash-based message authentication codes(HMACs) feature was added to Diffie Hellman key exchange to ensure the integrity of key exchanges.
Protocol Design Limited extensibility and flexibility options are available. It maintains compatibility while allowing more flexibility and extensibility.
Compatibility It is not compatible backwards with SSH2. Both parties require the same protocol version for successful communication. SSH2 is backwards compatible with SSH1, thus allowing connection to SSH servers with SSH1 protocols.


Best SSH clients for Mac are an essential tool for remote management and ensure data protection during remote operations. Its features include secure remote access, file transfers, tunneling, and X11 forwarding. SSH creates a secure connection or tunnel between the client and server, encrypting the data transmitted to ensure confidentiality and integrity.

Using SSH and top-performing tools like SSH Client, you can ensure confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity.


No, SSH (Secure Shell) and SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) are different protocols for different purposes.
SSH is used largely for secure remote access, file transfers, and remote computer tunneling.

On the other hand, SSL/TLS is commonly used to secure web communications. It encrypts data transmitted over the internet between a client (web browser) and a server (webserver). SSL/TLS is commonly used to secure websites, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged between the client and server.

SSH creates a secure connection or tunnel between a client and server, typically for secure remote access files and file transfers. It is focused on securing individual connections between systems.

A VPN connects a private network to a public network (such as the Internet). It enables users to safely connect to a private network from a faraway place. VPNs encrypt all communication between the user’s device and the private network, assuring the security of all data sent.

Yes, SSH is considered a secure protocol when implemented correctly. It uses strong encryption algorithms and secures key exchange methods. SSH provides authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of the remote system, preventing unauthorized access.

SSH Client is a popular alternative if you’re looking for an excellent option. It offers similar functionality to PuTTY and provides a secure and reliable SSH client experience.