The remote-control service LogMeIn has stated that all of its free remote control services will become subscription only in just a few days. This means that anyone (like myself) that has free computers in their control panel will lose access unless they start on a subscription agreement.

LogMeIn Buy Now prompt

It’s amazing they feel it’s acceptable to go from free (to free with 10 computers only) to $49 per year for two computers - and this is the introductory rate for existing members apparently.

I use LogMeIn to manage my family’s computers back home in Australia - I moved to Finland, so remote tech support was a necessity. I also use it to manage computers like my machines at home while I’m at work, and some close friends that I still help from time to time. This change means that unless I want to pay, I can no longer use their service to get in touch with my machines. LogMeIn was an amazing service because it required to router configuration or port forwarding, and close to no setup to get started on a new machine.

LogMeIn provides a web interface to allow remote connections to your computers, and houses them all under the same login. This means I don’t need to configure access routes to new machines, as well as not having to remember the host name and port of each one to connect to them. This was the “selling point” of the LogMeIn service. Although I’m preaching here how great the service is, I don’t feel I use it enough to pay such an amount for it. It’d be more worthwhile for me to code my own “admin” interface with VNC servers and their details available - allowing me to remote-login in a similar way to how I did with logMeIn.

I imagine there’ll be a number of people that feel the same way I do, and won’t be continuing their use of LogMeIn’s software. So what alternatives do we have? I’d say first up, if it’s only casual, TeamViewer is the strongest candidate. It doesn’t provide an administrative interface like LogMeIn, but it is free (for personal use) and damn easy to setup and use. It doesn’t require port forwarding, but (as far as I can tell) does require someone on the other end to initiate a “session”.

There’s also applications like UltraVNC and RealVNC, that provide an amazingly efficient remote-control application suite. I’ve used UltraVNC for years, and it’s by far my favourite. It does mean that I’ll have to go back to port-forwarding and recording port numbers and passwords etc., but at least it’s free and in my control indefinitely.