Telnet How-To

This page is a basic quick reference for how to use telnet.

If you have questions about installing a telnet client, check out our Telnet Applications page.

If you don't have a place to telnet to, select one from our Telnet Places page.


Telnet is a text based application, often used at the command line of an operating system. This requires accessing a shell for your particular operating system. Below you will find instructions for different operating systems and how to access the command line and then run the telnet application. Generally speaking, telnet is used like this:

        prompt$ telnet 23

        telnet <servername-or-ip> [port-number]


  1. Click the start button
  2. Choose "run" from the start menu
  3. Type "cmd.exe" in to the run box
  4. At the cmd prompt, type: telnet 23

Mac OS X

  1. Open the Applications menu or folder
  2. Select the Utilities folder
  3. Start the application
  4. At the shell prompt, type: telnet 23


  1. Open the your preferred terminal application
  2. At the shell prompt, type: telnet 23


If you have additional questions, check our our Telnet FAQ.