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Robert Radošić for Bornfight

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Setting up Jetbrains' Remote Development For WSL


JetBrains family of IDEs recently got an update that introduced remote development features to almost all of their editors, albeit in a beta state. As claimed by JetBrains , remote development allows you, among other things, to:

  1. Connect to remote environments from anywhere in seconds
  2. Secure sensitive code on a remote server
  3. Introduce your team to cloud dev environments
  4. Streamline onboarding and tech interviews

But, what this finally enables is frictionless development with WSL on Windows machines. Anyone that has used Jetbrains' IDEs with WSL knows about indexing problems, git issues etc. With remote development all of these go away since all that is done on the actual WSL system and presented to you on the Windows side with the new JetBrains Client.

Setting up remote development is easy and I'm gonna show you how...


  1. Windows Pro or greater
  2. WSL distro with SSH server enabled
  3. A JetBrains IDE version 2021.3 or greater (PHPStorm in this case)

Setting up

As I said previously, if you have all of the requirements satisfied setting up the project is really easy.
When you open up your editor you're going to be presented with a project selection screen as usual but with a new remote development option
Project selection

So, select this new option and let's continue. You are going to be asked your SSH username and server address. The address is "localhost" in case of WSL and the username is the one you chose during installation.
After that it's time to select your IDE, select whichever one you're using and select the folder of your project.

Note: If you're having problems with IDE backend installation you can use "other options" and upload the installer file manually.

When everything is finished the JetBrains Client will launch and you are ready to start developing.

Things to look out for

As this feature is still in beta some issues are to be expected. For example the IDE backend installation will fail in some cases but there is a manual workaround. Also, database tools have some weird issues, as well as the occasional UI glitch. Other than that, once it's out of beta it's definitely going to be the tool of choice when working with remote machines.

Top comments (3)

apmyp1990 profile image

I am using PHP Storm 2022.2 and remote development won't work. When I try to connect via SSH, but then when checking for IDE backend it just stops and nothing happens. The connection successes, but then it not even shows the possibl IDE choices.

The logs show this error:
Image description

Anybody facing the same problem?

wsszh profile image

Hi, I have the same problem in IDEA...Have you fixed it?

apmyp1990 profile image

No. NOw I am using PHPStorm with auto deployment. Remote was very laggy on a vmware machine.