VNC: Controlling a Raspberry Pi from Anywhere

Sometime you wish you could remotely control your Single Board Computer (SBC), the Raspberry Pi (RBPi). This could be because you have set up your RBPi as a home security system with a camera that you want to monitor remotely, or the RBPi is in control of some appliance that you would like to switch on/off from a remote location. Ordinarily, to access an RBPi from outside your home network, you would need to give it an IP address, and set up your home router accordingly. However, there is another method to bypass all that.

Before you begin, make sure your RBPi has the latest OS installed, and is set up to access your home network. Also, as you will be exposing the RBPi to the Internet, change its default password at the setup process. Once you have done this, you can use VNC Connect to access your SBC from anywhere.

Using VNC, you can easily connect to any computer remotely on the same network. Additionally, VNC Connect allows you to connect to any computer from anywhere using a cloud connection, and this includes the RBPi as well. Once you have set it up, the VNC Viewer app will allow you to access the graphic interface of your RBPi from any other computer or smartphone.

The most recent version of the RBPi operating system, namely PIXEL, comes with VNC Connect already present. Others can install it via the apt-get command. You will need to install both realvnc-vnc-server and realvnc-vnc-viewer. Once you have done that, run the raspi-config and set VNC as enabled. This will allow you to set up VNC Connect.

Use a browser to go to the sign-up page of RealVNC Raspberry Pi. Enter your email address in the sign up box. The on-screen instructions will now guide you to complete setting up your account with a password.

On the screen of your RBPi, you should see a VNC icon, which you can click to open. Now, click on the Status Menu and select Licensing. Here, you can enter your email address and its password you created on the sign-up page. On the next prompt, select Direct and Cloud Connectivity, to make your RBPi accessible online.

Now go to the computer or smartphone from which you would like to control your RBPi, and download the VNC Viewer application therein. Open the application, and enter your email address and its password you created on the sign-up page.

This should make your RBPi pop-up automatically as an option. You can use to open up the connection. It will prompt you for the username and password of your RBPi. By default, this is pi as username and raspberry as password, unless you have changed the password as instructed earlier. It takes only a few seconds to connect to your RBPi.

Now, as long as your RBPi is connected to the Internet, you can log into and access its graphic desktop from anywhere. That means you have complete control of any software on the RBPi, check on the status of any project it is running, or even play the games stored on your private server.