What is Citrix Receiver and How Does It Work?


Citrix Receiver is easy to install software which connects remote client devices to desktops and apps through the HDX protocol. The plug-ins available to versions of the Receiver depends on a client’s form factor, features, and capabilities. The HDX protocol is built on top of the ICA protocol which transfers keyboard and mouse input to the remote server and receives screenshot updates on the client device. The Receiver manages this traffic and the HDX protocol offers an HD experience of Windows apps to end-users working on the devices. 

What Does It Do? 

Primarily, the technology provides access to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop installations from comprehensive client devices. Some examples include Thin Client endpoints, Zero Client devices, Linux, Windows Mobile, Android, Mac OS X, Google Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, and embedded OS. It is regularly used for cloud apps or for enabling remote desktop access to specific servers within the cloud. Utilizing Citrix StoreFront with Receiver facilitates users self-service access to their apps and services with a common UI, not taking into account the hardware device, form factor, or operating system. 

Point of interest: the Receiver is available for a wide range of operating systems. Visiting the Citrix download page prompts it to identify the OS and the user is presented with the right client software to download. 

As Citrix added more products to its portfolio, the Citrix Receiver, previously known as ICA Client, became one of many other components that endpoint devices needed. The brand developed Receiver as a means to integrate all these features in a manner that allowed IT to centrally manage and update them all at once. The purpose was to spare administrators the hassle of having to maintain multiple packages. 

Citrix Receiver Benefits

A heterogeneous IT environment where administrators use hardware and software from different vendors is time-consuming and difficult to manage. When it comes to a Citrix Receiver deployment, the client device does not matter as the management takes place in a single, centralized location. If an application requires an update, all administrators need to do is update the servers and not the independent client devices which saves companies valuable time and money.


Imagine another scenario where users can switch devices without the need to reopen every system. For example, an employee may work on their laptop until the battery dies because they forgot the power cable. Even then, they can use their tablet to continue where they left off, and this is where the Receiver provides great flexibility because the device being used is not important. 

Companies use the Receiver to enable secure connections between one of their servers and a user’s computer. One can simply dial into the server and use it remotely as if they are sitting right in front of it. Furthermore, the Receiver is largely used in sectors such as healthcare, finance, and education which handle sensitive information and, as a result, demand-responsive systems. For instance, the Receiver simplifies the process of obtaining records for doctors and nurses by being well integrated into a program/database like the Chrome browser. They can utilize the program/database to access files and documents needed for patient care and support. 

Logging onto a server and accessing one’s desktop instead of installing everything onto the client machine has its own benefits. Companies are given better control of their data which prevents data theft and misuse in case a device is misplaced, stolen, or tampered with. Moreover, the Receiver facilitates roaming user profiles by maintaining all profile information online and downloading it to whichever machine an administrator may be using at the time. 

Notable Points

  • One needs a reliable broadband connection for Citrix Receiver to function smoothly. 
  • Citrix uses authentication to deliver and maintain security, so potential interruptions with the network or timing errors concerning the connection could lead to delays in synchronizing the two. 
  • The presence of multiple products and components can be overwhelming. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are available in varying editions with different features and pricing models. Choosing the best one to meet unique organizational needs and then configuring all the components may be confusing without the help of an experienced IT consultant.
  • The Citrix software is designed to fulfill compute-intensive requirements, which means that it is not the best solution for SMBs/SMEs looking to start small at the initial stage. 
  • While there are no performance gaps, not every feature is available to all devices. The Windows version has the most extensive set of attributes. 

Concluding Remarks

Citrix software offers remarkable versatility when it comes to revamping IT infrastructure performance. Even then, with so many configurations involved, it is easy to get sidetracked and lose direction in managing and maintaining systems. Please get in touch with a specialist and read our Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops post for a better understanding of how they are related to the Receiver. 

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