All About Direct Connections



A direct connection is one that you broker yourself, without endpoints having to connect to RealVNC’s cloud service.

You must know the IP address or hostname of the remote computer at the moment you want to connect, and you will likely need to reconfigure intermediate firewalls and routers in advance too.

By default, VNC Connect uses port 5900 TCP/UDP, so you must allow this port inbound to VNC Server and/or outbound from VNC Viewer. See the set up instructions below for a private network such as a LAN or VPN, or a public network such as the Internet.

Establishing a direct connection

To establish a direct connection:

  1. On the remote computer you want to control, make sure direct connectivity is enabled.

  2. On the local computer or mobile device you want to control from, enter the IP address or hostname of the remote computer in the VNC Viewer search bar (you don’t need to sign in):

    You may also need to qualify the address with a port number if VNC Server is listening on a port other than the default 5900, for example for port 5980 or for port 80.

  3. Authenticate to VNC Server running on the remote computer. The password you enter depends upon which subscription you have. Find out what this is.

Enabling direct connectivity on a remote computer

You must enable direct connectivity on each remote computer you want to control. You can do this when you license VNC Server:

  • If you sign in to VNC Server at install-time using your RealVNC account credentials, simply follow the in-app instructions.
  • If you apply an offline license (either desk-side or remotely), direct connectivity is automatically enabled.

You can check whether direct connectivity is enabled for a computer by examining the VNC Server dialog and checking for IP addresses:


Setting up a direct connection over a local network (LAN or VPN)

You will need:

  1. A remote computer to control:

  2. A local device to control from:

  3. Both connected to the same local network:


Now do this:

  1. Download VNC Server to the computer you want to control.
  2. Use VNC Server to look up the private (internal) IP address of the computer.
  3. Download VNC Viewer to the device you want to control from.

  4. Enter the private IP address in VNC Viewer to establish a direct connection.

  5. Enter the user name and password you typically use to log on to the VNC Server computer.

Setting up a direct connection over the Internet*

*to maximise security, RealVNC strongly recommends cloud connections be used for connecting from the Internet.

You will need, in addition to the above:

  1. Both devices connected to the Internet:

  2. Make and model of your router:


Now do this:

  1. Configure the VNC Server computer’s firewall to add an exception for VNC.

  2. Configure the VNC Server computer’s router to forward port 5900.

  3. Look up the VNC Server computer’s public (external) IP address.

  4. Enter the public IP address in VNC Viewer to establish a direct connection.

  5. Enter the user name and password you typically use to log on to the VNC Server computer.

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  • You say at the very beginning,"Direct connectivity is only available with some subscriptions." Without telling us which subscriptions can use this option & which can't, you have missed an opportunity to provide useful information.

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  • I second Fr Coffey's comment.

    I used to be able to direct connect within our LAN, but when I "upgraded" to VNC Viewer 7.1.0(r49525) x64 (Apr 3 2023) I can no longer establish a direct connection. Does my version not allow me to Direct Connection? It seems a bit silly to have to go to the cloud in order to come back into the LAN and make a connection! Right?

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  • I also agree with the comment about not telling us which license we would need for direct connections. It makes the entire article useless and for both writer(s) and readers a complete waste of time.

    Also, why are cloud connections (which may lead to serious costs if a metered connection has to be used) free and must be paid for direct connections? RealVNC should explain this, because it makes users distrust the privacy - if we opt for the "free" cloud option, is our data monitored to allow RalVNC to earn money in some other way, like ads? 

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  • I dont see any responses to the above questions from REALVNC. Perhaps not surprising, since after having used the free subscription for "Home users" intended for amateurs and academics through a free subscription that was included on Raspberry Pi, now appears to have gone away, rendering all the past functionality useless. I can still connect existing devices, but if I try to add a device (server) or change a server to another user, that appears to be impossible under the "Home" plan. This appears to be designed to force existing "Home" users to buy a Professional or Enterprise plan, which defeats the objective of serving those who originally fell into the "Home" category. The above chart at the top of the page says it all - if you are a Home user, forget about previous functionalilty. Not a smart way to encourage amateurs and academics to use the software.

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  • Hi all,

    We've added images to the top of the article to explain which subscriptions include direct connectivity.

    The only exception is that Home (now Lite) subscription when used on Raspberry Pi OS receives some additional features free of charge, such as direct connectivity - we'll add this to the article soon.

    Kind regards,


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  • Hi all,

    Thanks for posting! Please stay on topic with comments, you can post in our community for help on other issues:

    I'll be tidying up off-topic comments on this article shortly.

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