Vim + Tmux + Cloud Virtual Machine = Increased Productivity


Recently I’ve been working with a kick-ass combination of Vim, tmux, and my cloud virtual machine that has increased my productivity.


  1. Open terminal
  2. ssh into cloud VM
  3. Create a new tmux session (tmux new -s [session name]) or attach to an existing one (tmux attach -t [session name])
  4. List tmux sessions with tmux list-sessions
  5. Use Vim, open like 50 tabs, don’t care about it
  6. Lose network connection, put computer to sleep, abruptly or accidentally close terminal application because you’re like F**k this. I’m going home, or intentionally detach from tmux session (ctrl-b d)
  7. Reattach to tmux session
  8. BAM, it’s like you never left!


  • Your cloud VM is almost always on, unlike local machine, so your tmux sessions never die
  • Vim is installed on most machines; with most GUI editors, you’ll need to mount a filesystem if you’re working on a remote machine
  • If your cloud VM has a public IP or you’re inside a VPN, you can share your environment and in-progress work with others; and if you’re developing for the web and want to test your site on various hardware and browser combinations, just point them to one URL – no more shitty simulators
  • You’re not tied down to hardware. Install your ssh key on various computers and never carry around a laptop ever! The way cloud computing should be.

Basic tmux Commands

The below commands should be run within a tmux session.

  • New window ctrl-b + c
  • Switch window ctrl-b + n
  • Split pane vertically ctrl-b + %
  • Split pane horizontally ctrl-b + "
  • Switch pane ctrl-b + o

Post your own tips, circle-jerk comments, or contrarian drivel below.