How to set-up a Remote Desktop on Ubuntu VPS using TightVNC and LXDE


Remote Desktop (RD) is used by some people for faster access to internet, to download stuffs, or to automate some tasks like in autosurf traffic websites. The most commonly used VPS for this is a Windows VPS, but it can cost you several bucks.

Do you want to have a Remote Desktop using only a Linux VPS?

Linux VPSes come cheap nowadays, and using a minimal setup, one can use it for remote desktop purposes.


This article will show you on how to setup a Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) on top of Ubuntu 10.04 distribution. You will also need a remote control software, TightVNC will do the job.


1. 256MB Linux VPS Order $2.99
2. Secure Shell Client (SSH) Windows | Linux | Mac
3. TightVNC Windows
4. TightVNC Java (for Linux / Mac)

1. After getting a Linux VPS above, please login on your Account Panel (the login details can be accessed on your e-mail).

2. Wait for a few minutes for the panel to load properly. Then click the “Virtual Private Servers” tab on the left side. Then click “Manage”.


3. On the succeeding page, click “Reinstall”


4. On the Operating Systems list, select “ubuntu-10.04_32bit” and click “reinstall”. Wait for at least 10 minutes for the re-installation to complete.

5. IMPORTANT: After the re-installation, you need to re-set the root and console password. Set the password using your default password details from your e-mail.


6. Now, login to SSH using the program mentioned in the requirements. Login using your IP address and Password.

7. Once in the terminal, do the following steps one by one, just follow the prompts.

apt-get purge apache2* bind9* samba*

apt-get update

apt-get upgrade

apt-get install nano

apt-get install xorg lxde-core tightvncserver firefox

8. Once finished, you need to set a password for the default user, just choose any. And just press “n” on the following prompt if you dont want to create a read-only user account.

tightvncserver :1

9. Then, configure the VNC server:

tightvncserver -kill :1

nano ~/.vnc/xstartup

Uncomment this line (if not yet so)

#x-window-manager &

And in the very end of the file add these

lxterminal &
/usr/bin/lxsession -s LXDE &

Save by pressing [CTRL] [X]

10. Create a startup daemon

sudo nano /etc/init.d/vncserver

Paste this code (copy here)

#!/bin/sh -e
# Provides: vncserver
# Required-Start: networking
# Default-Start: S
# Default-Stop: 0 6


# The Username:Group that will run VNC
export USER=”root”

# The display that VNC will use

# Color depth (between 8 and 32)

# The Desktop geometry to use.

# The name that the VNC Desktop will have.

OPTIONS=”-name ${NAME} -depth ${DEPTH} -geometry ${GEOMETRY} :${DISPLAY}”

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

case “$1” in
log_action_begin_msg “Starting vncserver for user ‘${USER}’ on localhost:${DISPLAY}”
su ${USER} -c “/usr/bin/vncserver ${OPTIONS}”

log_action_begin_msg “Stoping vncserver for user ‘${USER}’ on localhost:${DISPLAY}”
su ${USER} -c “/usr/bin/vncserver -kill :${DISPLAY}”

$0 stop
$0 start

exit 0

Save by pressing [CTRL] [X]

11. Finalize settings

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/vncserver

sudo update-rc.d vncserver defaults

12. Reboot the VPS

sudo reboot

Connecting to the Remote Desktop

Just start the remote control client you downloaded above in the requirements, and login using your IP and the Password you set earlier in tightvnc.

Example, if your VPS IP address is then you will set in the box

the :1 is required because its the address where your video adapter is located. Then just enter your password.


What can I do in the Remote Desktop?

Well this tutorial just shows that you can setup a remote desktop connection using Linux VPS, a cheap alternative to the Windows VPS remote desktop.

The only thing you can do with this setup is browser access, so you can use this for automated surfing like in Websyndic or 10kHits traffic. You can leave the browser open as long as you like, and if you want to make it persistent (i.e. dont shutdown) just close the remote control client (dont logout!). You can again login there if you want and you will see the browser is still working.

It is possible to run some windows-based software there using a special add-on but with this configuration (256MB RAM) its very low that it can break the system making it hang.

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