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1. Add the distant plugin to neovim

Install distant.nvim using your favorite neovim plugin manager. Below are a few examples of package managers that you can use to install and setup distant.

Using lazy

    branch = 'v0.3',
    config = function()

Using packer

use {
    branch = 'v0.3',
    config = function()

Using plug

Plug 'chipsenkbeil/distant.nvim', {
\ 'branch': 'v0.3',
\ 'do': ':lua require("distant"):setup()'
\ }

2. Install distant on your local machine


If you already have distant installed with a version that is compatible with the plugin, this step can be skipped. You can verify if distant is installed correctly by running :checkhealth distant.

Using the plugin, you can execute this command:


A prompt will be provided where you can download a pre-built binary for your local machine that will be placed in ~/.local/share/nvim/distant/ on Unix systems or ~\AppData\Local\nvim-data\distant/ on Windows.

You can verify that it is available by running :DistantClientVersion.

See the neovim installation guide for more information.

3. Install distant on your remote machine


If you want to just use distant to connect to an ssh server, you can skip this and the remaining steps and use :DistantConnect ssh://

Log into your remote machine and run this command to download a script to run to install distant. In this example, we'll use ssh to install distant on a Unix-compatible server (

ssh 'curl -L | sh -s -- --on-conflict overwrite'

See the distant CLI installation guide for more information.

4. Launch and connect to distant on your remote machine

Now that distant is available on both your local and remote machine, you can start a server and connect to it all in one step using this command:

:DistantLaunch ssh://

This will do the following:

  1. Log into on port 22 using ssh
  2. Start the distant server on an open TCP port using distant server listen --daemon
  3. Disconnect from the ssh server
  4. Connect to on the bound TCP port of the distant server


If you want more control over the port used by distant, you can provide an additional argument to DistantLaunch to spawn the server on the specified port such as this example to run distant on port 8080:

:DistantLaunch ssh:// distant.args="--port 8080"

5. Open a file on your remote machine

Opening a file is as simple as using a single command like below:

:DistantOpen /path/to/file.txt

This will open /path/to/file.txt by reading the remote file into a buffer in your local neovim instance. From then on, and changes made will be written back to the remote file.