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All about cloud connections

A cloud connection is one that is brokered by RealVNC’s cloud service. Cloud connections are extremely secure, convenient and reliable, but both the remote computer you want to control and the local device you want to control from must both be connected to the Internet.

Once brokered, where possible, our cloud service then negotiates a peer-to-peer session between two endpoints, so session data is transmitted directly between them; this is likely to be more performant. However, intermediate network hardware may mean this is not possible, so the cloud service automatically falls back to a relay session if necessary, to ensure the cloud connection succeeds. Note that session data relayed via our cloud service is encrypted end-to-end, so cannot be deciphered by RealVNC, nor anyone else.

Note

If you need to comply with a particular regulatory compliance regime that disqualifies session data being routed via our servers, you can disable relayed cloud connections. Note, however, this does mean these connections will fail.

To establish a cloud connection, sign in to VNC Viewer using your RealVNC account credentials (email address and password). The remote computer will automatically appear as part of your team; click or tap to connect:

../_images/faq-get-connected.png

To actually connect, you must then 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 cloud connectivity

For Home and Professional subscriptions, cloud is the only connectivity option, so it is automatically enabled, and cannot be disabled.

If you have an Enterprise subscription, you have more flexibility. You can establish a cloud connection to a particular computer, a direct connection, or both. Read our guide to cloud versus direct for more information.

With an Enterprise subscription, you must explicitly enable cloud connectivity on each remote computer you want to control. You can do this at the same time as you license VNC Server:

  • If you sign in to VNC Server at install-time using your RealVNC account credentials (email address and password), simply follow the in-app instructions.
  • If you enter a license key (either desk-side or remotely), follow the instructions below to add the computer to the team.

You can check whether cloud connectivity is enabled for a particular computer by signing in to your RealVNC account and seeing whether it appears for your team on the Computers page:

../_images/cloud-connectivity-check-team-online.png

Adding a computer to a team at the command line

Run the appropriate command below as an administrator to enable cloud connectivity. Optionally, you can join one or more existing computer groups (to restrict discovery) and specify a friendly name at the same time:

  • Windows:
    INSTALL-DIR\vncserver.exe -service -joincloud TOKEN [-joingroup GROUP-NAME]... [-joinname FRIENDLY-NAME]
  • Mac:
    sudo /Library/vnc/vncserver -service -joincloud TOKEN [-joingroup GROUP-NAME]... [-joinname FRIENDLY-NAME]
  • Linux:
    sudo vncserver-x11 -service -joincloud TOKEN [-joingroup GROUP-NAME]... [-joinname FRIENDLY-NAME]

Note

To obtain a TOKEN, navigate to the Deployment page of your RealVNC account. Either copy and paste the token itself, or download the JSON file and specify a path.

For example:

C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server\vncserver.exe -service -joinCloud C:\my-token.json -joinGroup Sales -joinGroup Win -joinname SalesPC

...adds the computer to the team (providing the token is valid) and, within the team, to the Sales and Win groups (providing they exist), plus specifies a meaningful name.

Negotiating proxy servers

If there’s an intermediate proxy server when you add a computer to a team, supply location and credentials. For example, under Windows:

  • SOCKS proxy server:
    vncserver.exe -service -proxyserver=socks://SERVER:PORT -proxyusername=NAME -proxypassword=OBFUSCATED-PWD -joinCloud TOKEN
  • HTTP proxy server:
    vncserver.exe -service -proxyserver=http://SERVER:PORT -proxyusername=NAME -proxypassword=OBFUSCATED-PWD -joinCloud TOKEN

If the proxy server requires a password, first obfuscate that password using the vncpasswd utility, located in the same directory as VNC Server. Run the following command, and follow the instructions:

vncpasswd -print

Disabling cloud connectivity

You can disable cloud connectivity for a remote computer, but note that VNC Viewer users will never be able to automatically discover and establish cloud connections to it. Only direct connections will be possible.

Disabling cloud connections but retaining auto-relicensing

You can disable cloud connections but, providing the computer remains connected to the Internet, leave the computer in communication with RealVNC’s cloud service. This means the cloud service will automatically apply your new license key each time you renew, saving you having to apply it manually.

To do this, turn off Allow cloud connections in the VNC Server Options dialog:

../_images/cloud-connectivity-disable-via-vncserver-options.png

Alternatively, set the underlying AllowCloudRfb parameter.

Disabling all communication with RealVNC’s cloud service

You can remove the computer from the team altogether, so that it never ‘phones home’ to RealVNC’s cloud service, and can be disconnected from the Internet. Note this means you will need to manually apply your new license key each time you renew.

To do this, sign in to your RealVNC account, navigate to the Computers page and choose Remove from team:

../_images/cloud-connectivity-remove-team-online.png

Alternatively, run the appropriate command below as an administrator:

  • Windows:
    INSTALL-DIR\vncserver.exe -service -leavecloud
  • Mac:
    sudo /Library/vnc/vncserver -service -leavecloud
  • Linux:
    sudo vncserver-x11 -service -leavecloud
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