Gnome is included with the Desktop version of Ubuntu. All our disk images are the server version so they do not come with an included desktop environment. You can easily install one from the command line however.
This guide will walk you through setting up VNC on your server.
Another option is x2go which is an alternative open source remote desktop platform that generally provides better performance than VNC and automatically tunnels all connections over SSH so they are secure. You can set up x2go with the XFCE desktop by running the following commands.
# This script will set up an xfce desktop environment which can be
# accessed remotely via the x2goclient http://wiki.x2go.org/doku.php/doc:installation:x2goclient
apt-get -y install software-properties-common xubuntu-desktop;
add-apt-repository -y ppa:x2go/stable;
apt-get -y install x2goserver x2goserver-xsession;
Once done you’ll be able to connect to your desktop using the x2go client.
In this guide, we will be setting up VNC on a Ubuntu 16.04 server and connecting to it securely through an SSH tunnel. The VNC server we will be using is TightVNC, a fast and lightweight remote control package. This choice will ensure that our VNC connection will be smooth and stable even on slower internet connections.