When comparing PuTTY vs st, the Slant community recommends PuTTY for most people. In the question“What is the best terminal emulator? ” PuTTY is ranked 3rd while st is ranked 6th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro De facto standard client for SSH, Telnet and Rlogin
PuTTY is one of the oldest and most popular clients. It has earned the trust of a great number of users over a long period by being reliable, offering useful features and helpful support. It got into the 15 Essential Open Source Tools for Windows Admins list by InfoWorld.
Pro Can be used on any Windows computer, even without admin rights
Pro Lightweight and portable
Doesn't require much resources (memory and hard-disk). Can even be run on a system by just downloading without install.
Pro Source code available
Full source available. Compile and modify it yourself.
Pro Low memory usage
st is built to serve as a lightweight terminal emulator. It's very light and doesn't require many resources to run, making it able to run well on older and low-end machines.
Pro Extremely simple architecture
st consists of a single C file that takes seconds to recompile. This also makes it very easy to understand and customize.
Pro 24-bit "True Color" support
st supports color escape sequences for a full 16 million 24-bit color spectrum, instead of the typical 256 colors.
Pro Image previews
Handles image previews (e.g. in ranger) way better than other terminal emulators.
Pro Support for fontconfig
There is full XFT (X Free Type interface library) and fallback font support through fontconfig in st. If your selected font is missing a certain glyph or symbol, but one of your other installed fonts has it, it will be shown.
Pro Copyfree licensing
Copyfree licensing implies that the user has the freedom to copy, use, modify, and distribute what he/she possesses.
Pro Patches are great
The patches on the site are great. Scroll back, hide the mouse, etc.
Con Can not save passwords
Anyway, you can use "PuTTYgen" to generate a key pair, then use "Pageant" to do a password-less SSH remote login.
Con Ugly design, too simple
Looks very dated. Does the basic functions very well, but not much more.
Con Lacks features
It is JUST an SSH client. There are many other options with built in X-servers, Multitabbing, etc.
Con only one session
cannot open a second session in the same window
Con Tedious logging/tracing
Its tedious to set up logging and tracing (e.g. for serial connections).
Con No global settings
If you want to change a setting for all your connections, you'd have to do it individually.
Con No login scripting
Con Configuration requires recompiling
Though recompilation takes seconds, knowledge of C header files is required for customization.
Con Crashes when some characters are displayed
Con No scrollback by default
The best way to perform scrollback is to use a multiplexer (such as tmux, screen, or dvtm) if you want scrollback and reverse-search support.
Con Text is cut off when resizing windows
When reducing windows, lines do not wrap, they are cut off. When the window is made large again, some of the text is missing.
Con New features means installing patches
Just to get copy/paste support and scrolling, you have to install patches. And it's not that intuitive for a beginner.
Con Imperfect fontconfig support for CJK characters
st doesn't seem to use CJK fonts provided by fontconfig while other programs use such fonts.