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Notes and resources on telnet. Telnet is a way to log on to a remote computer in text mode. It is often useful as a troubleshooting tool, but running a telnet server is considered a security risk. ssh is a more secure alternative for many purposes.

Aside: Just thinking about my difficulties in learning Linux -- I had never (or not in a long time) used telnet. When I tried to use it, I kept making dumb mistakes in the syntax. Now, I finally get it (mostly, anyway). The point is, other Linux newbies, even with extensive dos/Windows experience, may have the same problem. (I have extensive dos/Windows experience.)

See AboutThesePages.



Some ways to invoke telnet. The remote computer must be running a telnet server, or be able to do so under the control of a program like inetd or xinetd.


telnet church100.home

telnet <server> <port>


  • server can be an IP address or a <machine.domain> name that resolves to one. ("Resolves" implying that there is some means on the client machine to get the actual IP address from the machine.domain name -- a hosts file, a local DNS server, or a remote DNS server.)
  • port can be a number or a well recognized name, like pop3, telnet, daytime, echo, chargen, imap(?), etc.

Common Mistakes

Mistakes I have made (re the Windows telnet client):

  • Don't separate the machine name and port with a colon -- use a space
  • "Red Hat Linux 6 Unleashed" showed the command as $ telnet popserver pop-3 -- I needed to use "pop3" -- and the syntax sucks -- it should be shown as $ telnet <popsserver> pop3

Windows Specific

Many (most | all ?) versions of Windows have a telnet client included. Type telnet or more at a command prompt.

Hints for the Windows telnet client:

  • To make a (new) connection with the telnet window displayed especially to a specific port, select Connect -> Remote System from the menu.
  • If you can't see what you type, enable "local echo" on the Terminal -> Preferences menu -- you can overtype any of the selections in the combo boxes.

<Currently, no significant content below this line.>


  • () RandyKramer - 29 Jul 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#29 Jul 2002][]]

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