Why should I care about this?

This lets you run a GUI program on a server but view it on your client PC. My situation is: I have an older/terrible laptop, but I have a higher powered Linux server that I have access to. I can use X11 forwarding to run computationally intensive stuff on my server so it runs faster and frees up resources on my laptop. But I still get the benefit of being able to interact with the GUI on my laptop. Mostly I’ve been using it to run Jetbrains Webstorm on my server for Angular/React development.


First install Webstorm on your server (apt/whatever). I went with the snap:

sudo snap install webstorm --classic

Make sure you have a jdk installed, ex:

sudo apt install openjdk-15-jdk

(note: you can search for the latest with apt search openjdk.*-jdk)


Connect to your remote Ubuntu server using the “-X” ssh flag:

ssh -X hp.lan

Success (hopefully)!

Webstorm Over SSH


Server Side:

  • You can try running “xeyes” to narrow down the problem to your X11Forwarding or the app itself
  • Make sure /etc/ssh/sshd_config has “X11Forwarding yes”
  • Make sure you see something when you do “echo $DISPLAY” from your active ssh session

Client Side:

  • Make sure you connect with the -X flag (or set X11 forwarding as default w/ “ForwardX11 yes” in ~/.ssh/config)