Configure HeidiSQL to Access Remote Database via SSH Tunnel

Here’s a quick guide on how to access a remote database in HeidiSQL using SSH Tunnel, which is a mechanism in SSH for tunneling application ports from the client machine to the server machine and vice versa.

Suppose HeidiSQL is already running, click on an existing session or create a new one by clicking the New button.

Basic Settings

Under the Settings tab, do the following:

  • Set the Network type to MariaDB or MySQL (SSH tunnel)
  • Set the Hostname / IP to
  • Set the Port to 3306
  • Enter the database username and password credentials.
  • Select the remote database that you want to access. Leave it empty if you want to access all the databases on the remote server.

SSH Tunnel Settings

Before continuing, make sure that you already have a .ssh folder in your home directory. If you don’t, open your terminal or command line and run the following command:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

That command will create a .ssh folder in your home directory and inside it, a new public/private SSH key pair will be created as well using the provided email address as a label.

When you’re prompted to “Enter a file in which to save the key”, just press ENTER to accept the default location which is your home directory. Afterwards, you’ll be prompted to set a passphrase which is optional. Just hit ENTER if you don’t want to set a passphrase.

Under the SSH tunnel tab, do the following:

  • Set the plink.exe location to the path of the plink.exe executable file. You can download it here if you don’t have the file yet. It can be found under the Alternative binary files section.
  • Set the SSH host + port to as the host and 22 as the port. The host IP address is just a placeholder, replace it with an actual one.
  • Set the Local port to 3307
  • Enter the database username and password credentials.
  • Increase or decrease the plink.exe timeout value or just leave the default value.
  • Set the Private key file to the path of the id_rsa.ppk file. If you currently don’t have one, download puttygen.exe here in order to generate one. The executable file can be found under the Alternative binary files section.

    Run puttygen.exe and click the Conversions menu item and then click Import key and then select the id_rsa private key file. Afterwards, make sure that the Type of key to generate is set to RSA and also, you can enter a Key passphrase if you want. Click the Generate button when you’re done.

Don’t forget to click the Save button before you click Open, otherwise, you’ll be repeating the process once you close and run HeidiSQL again.

Written on July 17, 2019