Virtual Terminal

What Does Virtual Terminal Mean?

In computing, a virtual terminal (VT) is a program that emulates the functionality of a classic terminal used during the early days of computing for accessing a server or a corporate mainframe.

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In e-commerce, a virtual terminal is a Web-based solution that allows merchants to process credit card transactions. It is an alternative to a swipe machine.

A virtual terminal is also known as a terminal emulator.

Techopedia Explains Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal allows a PC to connect to a remote server, usually to perform a file transfer or run an application. In the past, this functionality used to be performed by a physical terminal, but is now emulated in software. The PC and the server may be running different operating systems, but can communicate using well-known network protocols such as Telnet, SSH, FTP, etc. A virtual terminal normally has a command-line interface, which requires typing cryptic commands to communicate with a server.

PuTTY is a well-known example of a virtual terminal.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.