I'm working on getting VNC up and running on a Pi 0 W. I had this working before, so I'm trying to retrace my steps. I didn't take any notes because it was a proof of concept and I left things as the default, but clearly I should have.

I noticed that the Raspberry Pi Foundation heavily recommends the Real VNC "companion app" (whatever that means) in their documentation. I recall using this the last time around, and for some reason I recall it crashing every so often, or there was a time limit to how long it worked.

Is this program required, or is this simply a business deal between the two, and any regular VNC client will connect to the RealVNC server on the Pi? The article doesn't make the distinction. I didn't find anyone talking about it online, so I suspect it's a regular VNC server.

Tangentially to this question, I am able to use RealVNC to connect to the Pi, but not UltraVNC. I'll figure that out somehow, but that's not what this question is about.

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    RealVNC is rock solid for me. There is no time limit. But you can install a different server if you want to. You will need to uninstall Realvnc server (that's because pretty much all vnc servers use the same name (vncserver). I think it especially gives the beginning user an easy way into remote access with what is probably the best VNC server / client combo (at least it has features that are sorely lacking in other programs)
    – Dirk
    Sep 25, 2018 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


RealVNC uses standard VNC x11 protocols but includes proprietary code - which effectively requires you to use their proprietary viewer. It MAY work with other clients, but obviously this excludes the RealVNC extensions.

Depending on your requirements the "advantages" may be worth the use of proprietary code and the need for a special viewer. In my case it needs x11 (which macOS does not include) and doesn't work with the macOS vnc client although their proprietary viewer includes its own x11 stack.

I believe RealVNC's cloud service is no longer included in the Pi offering (but have never used it).

See https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/a/59606/8697 for discussion of alternatives. I use tightvncserver (and have for several years).

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