Putty Equivalent for Mac OS X

by Stephen on May 17, 2011 · 19 comments

in Mac

Did you just switch to Mac and searching for something similar to PuTTY?

In Mac, there is a similar, built-in application called Terminal.

To start Terminal, go to your Mac’s Applications folder => click on the Utilities folder => then click on Terminal.

How to access a web server using the Terminal?

# ssh username@server.address.com
# ssh root@unixnewbie.org
- when prompted for the password, enter your web server password.
- to quit the session, type "exit".

Where are the Terminal settings/preferences?

On the top left of your screen, next to the Apple logo, click on Terminal => click on Preferences. From there, you can select various themes and settings.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex July 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Thank you for the tip!


Dave September 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Good info, but how do you capture the text from the ssh session? If it follows the normal linux/unix format there’s probably an option flag for logging and then some way to name the output file. Can you help me out with the actual syntax?


Stephen September 28, 2011 at 7:24 am

Hello Dave!

1. Simply use your mouse to drag and highlight the text => command + c to copy.

2. Or if you meant to store the output to a text file, use “> textfile.txt“. i.e.: “ls -al > output.txt

Hope this helps. If not, please let me know. Take care.


Mickey November 14, 2013 at 1:38 am

If you want to capture everything in an ssh (or telnet) session, you can use something called “tee” – it works the same way under Linux and most Unix systems.

ssh user@hostname | tee filename

This will capture everything from your entire ssh session into a file.


Dev Man September 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

While what you are saying about terminal is true, is is very limited and what it can do and it is by no means a PuTTY equivalent application. Thus I have undertaken to write an equivalent application. I am currently supporting OS X 10.6 and later (Lion). I will update the post soon and leave instruction on where to find it.

Dev Man


Brad Rhoads January 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Any progress on this? I need putty on the mac!


Matt October 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

Dev Man,

I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Not sure if you know this but PuTTY has a project to port it to the Mac. I believe it’s based on the unix port which would make sense. The project has been stalled for years because they no longer have a Mac developer. This may be a good place to start instead of reinventing the wheel.

This is the common problem with all Mac converts form Windows who are network admins. This usually involves looking for equivalents for PuTTY, WinSCP, HyperTerminal & Solarwinds TFTP server. I had this same issue. My goal was to stay as native as possible vs. using Fink or MacPorts. Check these out in the freeware/shareware arena.

JellyFiSSH (v.4 was freeware; v.5 is in the AppStore for a fee)
Cyberduck (download from website is nagware, AppStore has fee)
ZTerm (shareware)
goSerial (ZTerm alternative)
TFTPServer.app (actually search for that whole name to find it)


Shai Samuel October 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Look also at this: http://www.openssh.org/macos.html. With:

NiftyTelnet 1.1 – (SSH is an SSH1-only implementation which comes with a scp-style program)
MacSSH – (SSH2-only implementation)
Fugu – (an implementation of SFTP and SCP for Mac OS X)

I would love to get your preferences…


Adrian Newby December 9, 2011 at 12:44 am

In general, most Mac guys use iTerm. It’s much closer to PuTTY than the horrible Terminal.

I have no affiliation with the project but I’ve used it for over 10 years. Don’t be fooled by the 0.10 version number. It’s rock solid.



Mark July 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I’m a Unix/Linux admin and long-time Putty user who converted to OS X. I think iTerm is closer to Putty than anything else on OS X. You can setup iTerm to auto-focus on hover, and also to copy-on-select, both of which are real time savers for me.

The only thing iTerm lacks is paste-on-right-mouse-click, which I really miss. Instead, is has paste-on-middle-button-click, but of couse there’s no middle button on the Magic Mouse that came with my Mac, and none of the Magic-Mouse “tuners” (like Magic Prefs) gave me a reliable middle-button-click experience. You’ll probably find yourself using the default Command-V to paste if you use iTerm.


Pradip August 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks. But how do I bookmark my hosts? I putty I have the list of boxes i login to saved.


Gary Wilson (earthgecko) October 2, 2012 at 9:17 am

PuTTY SSH client has the rather unique and easy-to-setup log facility. So you can write a log of all your sessions. The same is possible with terminal ssh client on Linux (mac as well I would imagine), but it is quite a pain to setup and get working.

I run ubuntu and I still use the Linux version of putty – it is a classic app and still has more features than most all other ssh clients.

I need a mac putty equivalent for some devops self documenting infrastructure stuff and sad to see that putty has not been ported to mac.


Yassale November 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Thank you for help.


Anonymous December 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Anyone who can start understanding that PuTTY is not Telnet or FTP client? How about understanding full meaning of that “TTY” in the name? It also refers to serial ports and PuTTY can work with them. Do we have equivalent on Mac OS X or we will keep giving useless advice on networking applications in this case?


subzerothought May 5, 2013 at 12:36 am

LOL. Thank You anonymous. My thoughts exactly. I want to create a serial connection to a GSM module and vary the Baud rate etc blah blah ….. but I must be an idiot I didn’t realise (English spelling) I could just open terminal on my MAC to ……. wait! …. the preferences let me have a pink screen with lime green text? woohoo!!


JimBob September 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

This did not work for me. Is there something else I have to do?


Annyonnmuss December 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

THey need to add a automatic password filling in.


Robert de Bath May 22, 2014 at 2:29 am

PuTTY was ported to the Mac and did work for a while.
Problem is the MAC development system costs money and currently no putty developer or contributor has a reason to pay for it. Most of them would have to buy a physical mac to run it on too.

The old code is still there if someone want’s to send Simon some patches.


Rob March 17, 2015 at 6:21 am

I need to store(save the ip’s) the connections just like in Putty. Can I do it in Terminal?
If not which app can do it?


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