Xshell is an amazingly powerful free-for-personal (and school)-use terminal emulator which supports SSH, SFTP, TELNET, RLOGIN and SERIAL protocols.

The program supports all the standards that matter. There's VT100, VT220, VT320, XTERM, LINUX, SCOANSI and ANSI terminal emulation; UTF-8 support means you're able to view multiple language on a single screen; SSH1/SSH2, password, MIT Kerberos and DSA/RSA public key support cover your authentication needs; there's X11 forwarding, ZMODEM/ SFTP/ ASCII file transfer, Javascript, Python and VB Scripting support, and the list goes on.

You may never use most of these, of course, but don't be put off. Xshell is extremely powerful, but it's also surprisingly straightforward in operation.

The program opens with a command line, for instance, which actually works as a simple local shell at your Windows user folder (C:\Users\[UserName]). You can browse your system, manipulate files and run many DOS commands as usual. A tabbed interface means you can have several command line sessions open in the same window, and this could make it worth installing the program all on its own.

When you do need to open a new session, a detailed Session Properties helps you configure every aspect of the program: authentication, login scripts, SSH, terminal standards, appearance, logins and more.

But when you just need a quick SSH session, type your host name or IP address in the address bar (, Xshell will prompt for a logon and get you connected.

The program's more advanced features are on hand as required, then, but they won't otherwise get in your way, and if you're already using any similar program then you'll soon feel at home here.

Please note, the download link takes you to the developer site where you must click "Download", then register to obtain a free home/ school licence. This doesn't involve anything unusual, though - you just have to provide your email address - and otherwise the program is entirely adware and nag screen-free.

What's new? (Changelog):

  • FIX: Issues using Xshell in Windows 10 RS1
    FIX: Unable to control Xshell after pressing Alt+space keys
    FIX: Pointless timeout message in VBS
    FIX: Simple mode turns off regardless of the view setting
    FIX: Cannot save font size when editing multiple sessions

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A very capable terminal emulator which is packed with features, yet is also relatively easy to use