CLion 2021.1 Help

Remote development

There are several options for remote development in CLion, each targeting a particular subset of the setups: Full Remote Mode, WSL, and two variants of using GDB/gdbserver, GDB Remote Debug and Remote GDB Server.

Watch this webinar recording and refer to the tables below for a summary on remote development options in CLion.

System and IDE configuration

Full Remote ModeWSLGDB Remote DebugRemote GDB Server
Local OSmacOS / Linux / WindowsWindowsmacOS / Linux / WindowsmacOS / Linux / Windows
Remote OSLinuxCertain Linux distributionsAny OS supporting gdbserverAny OS supporting gdbserver and SSH
Connection protocolSSHSSHTCP / UDP or serial lineTCP / UDP or serial line;
SSH for uploading
Required tools rsync for macOS / Linux clients;
tar for Windows clients
-gdbserver on targetgdbserver on target
Sources locationLocallyLocallyLocally;
symbol file also placed locally
SynchronizationAutomatic for all sources;
manual resync of header search paths
Not requiredManualAutomatic for the binary
BuildingRemotelyOn WSLNot specifiedLocally (cross-compilation required)
RemotelyOn WSLProgram runs remotely under gdbserver;
CLion's GDB connects to the running process
and debugs it locally
Similar to GDB Remote Debug

Project-level settings

Full Remote ModeWSLGDB Remote DebugRemote GDB Server
Project formatCMake / MakefileCMake / Compilation database / MakefileAnyCMake
ToolchainRemoteWSLNot specifiedDefault on macOS/Linux;
MinWG, Cygwin, WSL on Windows
Path mappingsCreated automatically,
customizable in deployment entry
Not requiredNot created automatically,
should be set up in run/debug configuration
Not created automatically,
should be set up in run/debug configuration

Steps of the workflow

Full Remote Mode

  1. Create a remote toolchain:
    - provide credentials and check the connection,
    - wait for tools detection, provide the paths manually if required.

  2. Set the Remote toolchain as default or create an associated CMake profile.

    Switch to the remote toolchain in Settings/Preferences | Build, Execution, Deployment | Makefile.

  3. If needed, adjust path mappings in the deployment entry.

  4. Use the default profile or select the profile from step 2 for build, run, and debug.

    Call Tools | Makefile | Clean and Reload Makefile Project.

    In the configuration settings, point Executable to the remote binary.


  1. Configure WSL.

  2. Create a WSL toolchain and provide credentials.

  3. Set the WSL toolchain as default
    or create an associated CMake profile.

  4. Select the default profile or the profile from step 3 for build, run, and debug.

GDB Remote Debug

  1. Place the binary on the remote machine and symbol file on the local machine.

  2. In CLion, create a GDB Remote Debug configuration:

    • provide the symbol file location,

    • specify connection details,

    • set up path mappings.

  3. Launch the program under gdbserver on the remote machine.

  4. In CLion, debug the configuration created on step 2.

Remote GDB Server

  1. Create a Remote GDB Server configuration:

    • provide the credentials to access the target,

    • configure the uploading process,

    • (optional) set the gdbserver connection details.

  2. Select the Debug CMake profile and start a debug session for the created configuration.

Last modified: 02 July 2021