Raspberry PI Remote Management and Access Tools

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Raspberry PI can be managed remotely from your local network or from internet (if you have control with your router and a public IP address from your internet provider.

In this article I’ll list a number of ways and tools to access it for different needs. It will be separated in Raspberry PI OS Lite installation and Raspberry PI OS Desktop installation (last one adding to Lite more graphical ways). Also a final section on Smartphone access is included.

Every remote management tool will need that your get IP address to contact your Raspberry PI. For local area network management, you simply need your Raspberry PI local IP address (with ifconfig command from RPI terminal or identifying it from your router. Internet remote management will also require your external IP address from your router or from a browser inside local network and online services like whatismyip.com

Raspberry PI OS Lite Remote Management

Raspberry PI OS Lite doesn’t include a desktop environment, so remote access and management will not include any remote desktop management.

SSH (Secure Socket Shell) – port 22

SSH allows you to get remote terminal control from free software like Putty. By default it is enabled if you added the “ssh” empty file in your SD card after flashing with Raspberry PI OS. Otherwise, you need to enable it (raspi-config -> Interfacing Options -> SSH).

SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) – port 22

FTP is used mainly for websites file transfer management. With SFTP you can run your FTP session on SSH protocol (using same port and same security layer). It is supported from a wide range of FTP software like the famous and free Filezilla.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – port 21

Like SFTP, FTP is commonly used for transferring files between computers. But FTP doesn’t use SSH layer, so resulting in less secure communication.

SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) – port 22

Another remote access using SSH protocol. SCP is used to copy files between computers. Remote computer starting path maches user home folder.

SSHFS (SSH Filesystem) – port 22

Another file management way. But SSHFS differs from others because it mounts in your local PC the remote folder (so appearing as a local folder in your local PC). It uses FUSE (filesystem in user Space) amd is available for Linux, Unix and MacOS.

Rsync – port 873

rsync is an utility to syncronize file copies on two computer systems. Commonly found on Unix-like systems, it works as both a file synchronization and file transfer program.

Common usage of rsync is in conjunction with cron jobs, to keep costantly aligned files or folders.

SMB/CIFS (Session Message Block / Common Internet File System) – port 445

SMB (also known as Samba) / CIFS allows to share folders between Linux systems and Windows computers. By default, Raspberry PI OS doesn’t have CIFS/SMB enabled. You need to install and configure to get it working (take care on configuring correct Windows workgroup or domain).

Web Server – port 80 (http) or 443 (https)

Raspberry PI can easily host web server services. You can opt for Apache (the most spread) or NGINX (emerging one), Both are open source. Both allows you to expose for web browsers services publishing pages like html or php.

Raspberry PI OS Desktop Remote Management

With Desktop environment operating system you could also need accessing its graphical environment. Anyway, all following tools will be in addiction to Lite ones, which will be available also on Raspberry PI OS Desktop version.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) – port 5900

VNC allows you to remotely control desktop interface of your Raspberry PI (running VNC Server) from another computer or mobile device (running VNC Viewer). It also allows you to use your local keyboard and mouse to your remote PC.

Windows RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) – port 3389

Windows integrates by default a remote desktop client (RDP). This can be used and configured to pass keyboard and mouse events, but also file transfer fro mlocal computer to remote one. From Raspberry PI side, you need to install xrdp service from apt.

Teamviewer – port 5938

Teamviewer host for Raspberry PI is another option to manage your Raspberry PI from remote. In my past, I personally found really useful teamviewer to support my inexperienced parents with their Windows PC because it is really simple to install and use both from remote side and local side. I recently discovered that Teamviewer published their Raspberry PI host version, so it is for me a must to test.

Apache Guacamole

Apache Guacamole is quite different from previous options. It is more a remote desktop web gateway, allowing you to create a bridge from local and remote computers. It can support many protocols, including also RDP, VNS, SSH.

Raspberry PI OS smartphone apps

Finally, a brief mension to Smartphone apps which allows you to control your Raspberry PI shell and components.

For Android smartphones, I recommend Raspcontroller. It is simply to use, gives many useful info about Raspberry PI status (internal temp, resources load, GPIO control and so on). It also included an SSH shell client, able to record your most used commands for easy recall.

For Apple smartphones, one of best reviewed app is Dataplicity, a remote terminal for your Raspberry PI.

Please suggest your favourite remote management and access tool if not included in this list.

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Amazon raspberry pi boards box
Amazon Micro SD box