How To Choose A Good Terminal Emulator


In computer science, the first program a young student learns to write is called “Hello World”. This program is simple yet teaches the fundamentals of programming while being very easy to follow through. It’s also a good introduction to terminal emulators, which are special software used to control the shell. Nowadays, with GUI becoming more and more popular, these programs are still used by developers, sysadmins, and many other users.

Selecting the correct terminal emulator is important. You can choose to get desktop-based emulators along with web-based terminal emulators. A web-based one can be good for a business in some cases. It is vital to choose the best one if you want it to fulfill your requirements. Read on to find out how a web-based terminal emulator can help you out.

Why Does the Choice Matter?

The selection of the right terminal emulator can greatly impact your computing experience. A properly chosen terminal emulator can amplify your productivity, ease your workflow, and make system control a breeze. It’s not merely about aesthetics or personal preference. The terminal emulator you choose can influence how you interact with your computer’s file system, perform administrative tasks, and even code. For power users, developers, and system administrators, the choice of terminal emulator is often critical, as it can offer advanced features like split views, tabs, transparency, different color schemes, and even scripting capabilities. Spend some time researching and testing before jumping in, and remember, the key is to find a balance between functionality, ease of use, and performance that best suits your specific needs.

A good terminal emulator can significantly boost productivity, especially for developers and system administrators. One of the most beneficial features is tabbed browsing, which allows you to open multiple sessions in the same window, enabling simultaneous operations without needing to switch between different windows.

In addition, many terminal emulators offer split views. You can have multiple panes open within one window, each running its own command line. This is particularly useful when monitoring the output of different processes at the same time.

Keyboard shortcuts and scripting capabilities are another key productivity enhancer. Being able to automate repetitive tasks or quickly trigger commands with a simple keyboard stroke can save an incredible amount of time.

Lastly, customization options like color schemes, transparency, and font size are not just about aesthetics. They can also help reduce eye strain, making it easier to work for extended periods.

In essence, a good terminal emulator can streamline your workflow, enabling you to work more efficiently and effectively. From multitasking with tabs and split views to automating tasks with scripting, the benefits are substantial. As always, it’s about selecting the right tool for your specific needs.

Functionality Options

When it comes to a web-based terminal emulator, this may be accessed fast by any device that has a web browser. So, you can use it on a laptop, mobile phone, desktop, or even tablet. Terminal emulator software has to be employed by different users such as salespeople, shop floor staff, programmers, etc. It is therefore a benefit to have such flexibility.

Employing the web to host the emulator allows the user as well as system owners to have more flexibility of some internet-based applications. Business applications that run on the legacy system you have may then be seamlessly integrated with some other systems along with processes in your organization. For instance, you can get a net terminal emulator at Turbosoft.

Terminal emulators may seem to have little difference between them, but when you look into the details, there is a lot of variety. The terminal emulators differ in features like customizability, vocabulary size, size and quality of fonts, coloring schemes, and many more.  

Provides Security

You may feel like installing a desktop emulator as this may give much security, a web terminal emulator tends to be more secure in comparison to its locally installed counterpart.

It is necessary to know that web services and also web browsers use increasingly sophisticated security features present at the time. The level of security tends to be vital, because it lets the user carry out important tasks safely, like internet banking. It also allows your web-based terminal emulator to have the most recent security present, whilst possessing the agility of the modern web browser-based application.

Image by Freepik

You need to avoid getting desktop terminal emulators that are rather clunky. Moreover, the security is usually out of date. This results in a huge threat surface that may expose your most vital business systems.

When it comes to desktop terminal emulators, these do not usually get security patches from respective providers. These are usually handled as old applications by some vendors and, therefore, get little investment. Due to this, many years can go by without any update, allowing the likelihood of you being exposed to threats.

The range of possible uses for a web server in your home continues to grow, which means that there are security risks out there, waiting for you. For starters, it lets the emulator connect internet via an SSH tunnel which is laid across your network. Once a remote connection has been established, the traffic can only go through text-based communication and is 99% encrypted. This gives users an extra layer of security while using a web emulator.


Performance Features

Many desktop terminal emulators may not have architectural examination and revision for some years, therefore leading to slow and bloated software which is not perfect for today’s operating systems.

Modern web-based terminal emulators tend to be pure HTML. They do not employ applets and plug-ins. Different activities can then be handled centrally in one place. The native HTML use makes certain that you receive all the positive points from the most optimized along with the quickest application present, i.e. the web browser.

Image by Freepik

If you are looking for a good business selling terminal emulation software, you should look at the services they provide and if you need them. Your business can be helped out if you are able to get the right services that are compatible with your existing infrastructure. 

The traditional terminal emulator has been a mainstay of Unix-like operating systems and is still widely familiar to developers. Web-based terminal emulators, however, make it easy to provide text terminal interfaces over the Internet for simple tasks, and also for complex processes. A web-based terminal emulator will usually make use of the HTML5 <canvas> or <svg> tags but abstracts the complexity out into the backend. Thus, while there are numerous options available for a desktop computer or even smartphones with native apps, there are limited options readily accessible through a web browser. In other words, it is possible to surf the internet using your local terminal emulator. Terminal web browsers allow users to run any application in a special kind of window called Xterm or similar.


One of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a terminal emulator is compatibility with your operating system. Why? The terminal emulator is, in a way, the bridge between you and your computer’s operating system. If the bridge is unstable or simply doesn’t fit, the communication will be flawed. For example, if you’re a MacOS user, you’d want to ensure your terminal emulator works seamlessly on it. Similarly, those using Windows or Linux-based systems need to check whether their chosen emulator supports their operating system. Incompatibility can result in glitches, reduced functionality, or even the inability to use the emulator altogether. Therefore, always ensure to check the compatibility of a terminal emulator with your operating system before you choose it. Remember, a tool is only as good as its fit for the job.


Customizability is another significant aspect to consider when choosing a terminal emulator. A customizable terminal emulator allows you to personalize your working environment according to your preferences. This includes modifying the color scheme, adjusting the text size and font, setting up keyboard shortcuts, and even changing the command prompt to make it more visually pleasing or easier to use. Customizability also extends to more advanced features like allowing you to create and manage multiple terminal sessions from the same window, or rearrange the layout of your terminals. These features can significantly enhance your productivity by creating a more enjoyable and efficient working environment. Always remember, a tool that adapts to your needs, rather than the other way around, is often the better choice.

Support and Updates

Regular updates and active support are crucial when choosing a terminal emulator. Updates are not just about adding new features; they are also about fixing bugs and compatibility issues, improving performance, and enhancing security. Therefore, an emulator that is regularly updated indicates a commitment to continuous improvement and a focus on user needs.

Active developer support is equally important. Good support can mean the difference between hours of frustration and a quick fix. Look for an emulator that has an active community of users or a responsive customer service team. This will ensure that if you encounter any problems, you’ll have a place to turn for reliable assistance. Remember, a tool’s value is also determined by the quality of the support that backs it. Choose a terminal emulator that prioritizes not only your needs but also your peace of mind.

Popular Terminal Emulators

Let’s discuss some popular terminal emulators in the market today.

  1. iTerm2: A replacement for Terminal and the successor to iTerm on MacOS, iTerm2 brings the terminal into the modern age with features you never knew you always wanted. It has a robust search tool that enables you to navigate through past commands and profiles swiftly. iTerm2 supports operating system features such as window transparency, full-screen mode, Exposé Tabs, and standard keyboard shortcuts. You can split a tab into multiple panes, each one showing a different session. Also, it offers Unix-style mouse reporting for applications running in the terminal. Most importantly, iTerm2 is actively maintained and frequently updated with new features and bug fixes.
  2. Konsole: Considered as the standard terminal emulator for the KDE desktop environment, Konsole offers an ideal blend of simplicity and power. Renowned for its customizable interface, Konsole allows users to tweak the appearance and function of their terminal to their liking. It supports multiple profiles, each with its own settings and specifications, enabling users to manage different projects effectively. Konsole also supports tabs, split views, and a robust set of keyboard shortcuts, providing users with a streamlined, efficient workflow. It is an open-source project with an active community, which means it is constantly refined and updated to cater to user needs and the latest advancements in technology.
  3. Hyper: A direct product of the modern JavaScript, HTML, and CSS era, Hyper is a terminal emulator built on web technologies. Designed with a view to bring command-line applications to the forefront of computing, it features a beautiful and extendable experience for command-line interface users. Hyper is extensible, allowing users to add new functionality and features through plugins and themes. Its extensive customization capabilities mean you can make it look and work precisely the way you want. Hyper’s key features include multi-tab support, split views, hotkey functionality, and web-like design. It’s an open-source project, ensuring frequent updates, and a vibrant community of developers who contribute to its development and improvement.
  4. Alacritty: Billed as the “fastest terminal emulator in existence”, Alacritty stands out due to its focus on simplicity and performance. Built using Rust programming language, it provides blistering speeds and lower system resource usage, making it an ideal choice for power users who demand efficiency and stability. Alacritty is a cross-platform solution, running equally well on macOS, Linux, BSD, and Windows. While it doesn’t offer tabs or splits natively, it is designed to integrate tightly with terminal multiplexers like TMUX and screen, effectively providing similar functionality. Alacritty’s performance and minimalistic ethos make it a compelling option for users looking to streamline their terminal experience. As an open-source project, it benefits from a diligent community that continually works on updates and improvements.
  5. Terminator: If productivity through multitasking is your primary requirement, then Terminator is worth considering. It is an open-source terminal emulator mainly used on Linux which focuses on arranging terminals in grids (tiled terminal emulator) and saving layouts. Multiple terminals can be opened in a single window thanks to a tabbed interface, and these can be arranged horizontally or vertically, or a combination of both. You can even group and organize terminals and dictate operations across multiple terminals simultaneously. It’s a good fit for power users and developers who work with multiple terminal applications or tasks at the same time. While its interface may not be as polished as others on this list, it more than compensates for it with its powerful features and performance.

Remember, each of these emulators has its unique strengths. The best choice often depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the systems you’re working with.


Choosing the right terminal emulator can significantly enhance your productivity and overall computing experience. It’s not just about finding an emulator with the right features, but also one that aligns with your work style, preferences, and the specific requirements of your projects. Whether you prioritize speed, customization, ease of use, or the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, there’s a terminal emulator out there that’s perfect for you. Remember to experiment and explore different options before settling on your choice. The right tool can make all the difference in your coding journey. Happy exploring!

Check out GadgetPreview for more


Leave A Reply