Chapter 12. Troubleshooting

It isn't working

If Guacamole isn't working, chances are something isn't configured properly, or something is wrong with the network. Thankfully, Guacamole and all its components log errors thoroughly, so the problem can usually be traced down fairly easily if you know where to look. Troubleshooting Guacamole usually boils down to checking either syslog or your servlet container's logs (likely Tomcat).

Failing all that, you can always post a question in the forums, or if you truly feel you've discovered a bug, you can create a new ticket in Trac. Beware that if something isn't working, and there are errors in the logs describing the problem, it is usually not a bug, and the best place to handle such things is through consulting this guide or the forums.

No graphics appear

If you never see any graphics appear, or you see "Connecting, waiting for first update..." for a while and then are disconnected, the most likely cause is a proxy.

Guacamole relies on streaming data to you over a persistent connection. If software between Guacamole and your browser is buffering all incoming data, such as a proxy, this data never makes it to your browser, and you will just see it wait indefinitely. Eventually, thinking the client has disconnected, Guacamole closes the connection, at which point the proxy finally flushes its buffer and you see graphics! ... just in time to see it disconnect.

The solution here is to either modify your proxy settings to flush packets immediately as they are received, or to use HTTPS. Proxies are required to pass HTTPS through untouched, and this usually solves the problem.

Even if you aren't aware of any proxy, there may be one in place. Corporate firewalls very often incorporate proxies. Antivirus software may buffer incoming data until the connection is closed and the data is scanned for viruses. Virtualization software may detect HTTP data and buffer the connection just like a proxy. If all else fails, try HTTPS - it's the only secure way to do this anyway.

Connections involving Unicode don't work

If you are using Tomcat, beware that you must set the URIEncoding="UTF-8" attribute on all connectors in your server.xml. If you are using a different servlet container, you need to find out whether it requires special options to support UTF-8 in URIs, and change the required settings to enable such support.

Without UTF-8 support enabled for URIs, Unicode characters in connection names will not be received properly when connecting, and Guacamole will thing the connection you requested does not exist. Similarly, if you are using the built-in administration interface, parameters involving Unicode characters will not save properly without these options enabled.


guacd and libguac-based programs (such as all client plugins) log informational messages and errors to syslog. Specifically, guacd uses syslog, and it exposes this logging facility to everything it loads (client plugins), thus if the VNC or RDP support plugins encounter errors, they log those errors over the logging facilities exposed by guacd, in this case syslog.

Once you guacd is started, you'll see entries like the following in syslog:

guacd[19663]: Guacamole proxy daemon (guacd) version 0.7.0
guacd[19663]: Unable to bind socket to host ::1, port 4823: Address family
              not supported by protocol
guacd[19663]: Successfully bound socket to host, port 4823
guacd[19663]: Exiting and passing control to PID 19665
guacd[19665]: Exiting and passing control to PID 19666
guacd[19666]: Listening on host, port 4823

Each entry relevant to Guacamole has the prefix "guacd", denoting the program that produced the entry, followed by the process ID, followed by the message. The entries above show guacamole starting successfully and listening on a non-default port 4823.

guacd errors

Unable to bind socket to any addresses.

This means that guacd failed to start up at all because the port it wants to listen on is already taken at all addresses attempted. The details of what guacd tried will be listed in the log entries above this. To solve the problem, find what port guacd was trying to listen on (the default is 4822) and check if any other service is listening on that port.

If another service is listening on the default port, you can always specify a non-standard port for guacd by using the -l PORT option (that's a lowercase "L", not a number "1"), where PORT is the number of the port to listen on. Beware that you will likely have to modify so that Guacamole knows how to connect to guacd.

Unable to start input thread

guacd creates two threads for each connection: one that receives input from the connected client, and the other that produces output for the client. If either of these fails to start, the above error will be logged along with the cause.

If it is the output thread that fails to start, the message will instead read: "Unable to start output thread".

Client finished abnormally

If the client plugin ever returns an error code, this will cause the connection to immediately terminate, with the cause of the error specific to the plugin in use. The cause should be detailed in the log messages above the error. If those log messages don't make sense, you may have found a bug.

Could not fork() parent

When guacd starts up, it immediately attempts to "fork" into the background (unless instructed otherwise). The word "fork()" above is a reference to the C function call that does this. There are several calls to this function, each of which might fail if system resources are lacking or something went wrong at a low level. If you see this message, it is probably not a bug in Guacamole, but rather a problem with the load level of your system.

This message may also appear as "Could not fork() group leader".

Unable to change working directory to /

One of the duties of guacd as it starts up is to change its working directory to the root directory. This is to prevent locking the current directory in case it needs to be unmounted, etc. If guacd cannot do this, this error will be logged, along with the cause.

Unable to redirect standard file descriptors to /dev/null

As guacd starts, it also has to redirect STDOUT, STDERR, and STDIN to /dev/null such that attempts to use these output mechanisms do not pollute the active console. Though guacd and client plugins will use the exposed logging facilities (and thus syslog) rather than STDOUT or STDERR, libraries used by client plugins are often written only from the mindset of a typical client, and use standard output mechanisms for debug logging. Not redirecting these would result in undesired output to the console.

If guacd cannot redirect these file descriptors for any reason, this error will be logged, along with the cause.

Error parsing given address or port: HOSTNAME

If you specified a host or port to listen on via commandline options, and that host or port is actually invalid, you will see this error. Fix the corresponding option and try again.

Error opening socket

When guacd starts up, it needs to open a socket and then listen on that socket. If it can't even open the socket, this error will be logged, and guacd will exit. The cause is most likely related to permissions, and is logged along with the error.

Unable to resolve host

If the hostname you specified on the commandline cannot be found, you will see this error. Note that this error is from guacd, and does not relate to whatever remote desktop servers you may be trying to use; it relates only to the host guacd is trying to listen on. Check the hostname or IP address specified on the commandline. If that checks out, there may be a problem with your DNS or your network.

Could not become a daemon

In order to become a "daemon" (that is, in order to run in the background as a system process), guacd must create and exit from several processes, redirect file descriptors, etc. If any of these steps fails, guacd will not become a daemon, and it will log this message and exit. The reason guacd could not become a daemon will be in the previous error message in the logs.

Could not write PID file

guacd offers a commandline option that lets you specify a file that it should write its process ID into, which is useful for init scripts. If you see this error, it likely means the user guacd is running as does not have permission to write this file. The true cause of the error will be logged in the same entry. Check which user guacd is running as, and then check that it has write permission to the file in question.

Could not listen on socket

When guacd starts up, it needs to listen on the socket it just opened in order to accept connections. If it cannot listen on the socket, clients will be unable to connect. If, for any reason, guacd is unable to listen on the socket, guacd will exit and log this message along with the cause, which is most likely a low-level system resource problem.

Could not accept client connection

When a client connects to guacd, it must accept the connection in order for communication to ensue. If it cannot even accept the connection, no communication between server and client will happen, and this error will be logged. The cause of the error will be logged in the same entry. Possible causes include permissions problems, or lack of server resources.

Error forking child process

When a client connects to guacd, it must create a new process to handle the connection while the old guacd process continues to listen for new connections. If, for any reason, guacd cannot create this process, the connection from that client will be denied, and the cause of the error will be logged. Possible causes include permissions problems, or lack of server resources.

Error closing daemon reference to child descriptor

When guacd receives a connection, and it creates a new process to handle that connection, it gains a copy of the file descriptor that the client will use for communication. As this connection can never be closed unless all references to the descriptor are closed, the server must close its copy such that the client is the only remaining holder of the file descriptor. If the server cannot close the descriptor, it will log this error message along with the cause.

Error sending "sync" instruction

During the course of a Guacamole session, guacd must occasionally "ping" the client to make sure it is still alive. This ping takes the form of a "sync" instruction, which the client is obligated to respond to as soon as it is received. If guacd cannot send this instruction, this error will be logged, along with the cause. Chances are the connection has simply been closed, and this error can be ignored.

Error flushing output

After the client plugin is finished (for the time being) with handling server messages, the socket is automatically flushed. If the server cannot flush this socket for some reason, such as the connection already being closed, you will see this error. Normally, this error does not indicate a problem, but rather that the client has simply closed the connection.

Error handling server messages

While the client plugin is running, guacd will occasionally ask the plugin to check and handle any messages that it may have received from the server it connected to. If the client plugin fails for some reason while doing this, this error will be logged, and the cause of the error will likely be logged in previous log entries by the client plugin.

Error reading instruction

During the course of a Guacamole session, instructions are sent from client to server which are to be handled by the client plugin. If an instruction cannot be read, this error will be logged. Usually this means simply that the connection was closed, but it could also indicate that the version of the client in use is so old that it doesn't support the current Guacamole protocol at all. If the cause looks like the connection was closed (end of stream reached, etc.), this log entry can be ignored. Otherwise, if the first two numbers of the version numbers of all Guacamole components match, you have probably found a bug.

Client instruction handler error

This error indicates that a client plugin failed inside the handler for a specific instruction. When the server receives instructions from the client, it then invokes specific instruction handles within the client plugin. In general, this error is not useful to a user or system administrator. If the cause looks benign, such as reaching the end of a stream (the connection closed), it can be ignored as normal. Otherwise, this error can indicate a bug either in the client plugin or in a library used by the client plugin.

It can also indicate a problem in the remote desktop server which is causing the client plugin to fail while communicating with it.

Error reading "OPCODE"

During the handshake of the Guacamole protocol, the server expects a very specific sequence of instructions to be received. If the wrong instructions are received, or the connection is abruptly closed during the handshake, the above error will occur.

In the case that the cause is the connection closing, this is normal, and probably just means that the client disconnected before the initial handshake completed.

If the connection was not closed abruptly, but instead the wrong instruction was received, this could mean either that the connecting client is from an incompatible version of Guacamole (and thus does not know the proper handshake procedure) or you have found a bug. Check whether all installed components came from the same upstream release bundle.

Error sending "args"

During the handshake of the Guacamole protocol, the server must expose all parameters used by the client plugin via the args instruction. If this cannot be sent, you will see this error in the logs. The cause will be included in the error message, and usually just indicates that the connection was closed during the handshake, and thus the handshake cannot continue.

Error loading client plugin

When the client connects, it sends an instruction to guacd informing it what protocol it wishes to use. If the corresponding client plugin cannot be found or used for any reason, this message will appear in the logs. Normally this indicates that the corresponding client plugin is not actually installed. The cause listed after the error message will indicate whether this is the case.

Error instantiating client

After the client plugin is loaded, an initialization function provided by the client plugin is invoked. If this function fails, then the client itself cannot be created, and this error will be logged. Usually this indicates that one or more of the parameters given to the client plugin are incorrect or malformed. Check the configuration of the connection in use at the time.

libguac-client-vnc errors

Error waiting for VNC message

The VNC client plugin must wait for messages sent by the VNC server, and handle them when they arrive. If there was an error while waiting for a message from the VNC server, this error message will be displayed. Usually this means that the VNC server closed the connection, or there is a problem with the VNC server itself, but the true cause of the error will be logged.

Error handling VNC server message

When messages are received from the VNC server, libvncclient must handle them and then invoke the functions of libguac-client-vnc as necessary. If libvncclient fails during the handling of a received message, this error will be logged, along with (hopefully) the cause. This may indicate a problem with the VNC server, or a lack of support within libvncclient.

Wrong argument count received

The connecting client is required to send exactly the same number of arguments as requested by the client plugin. If you see this message, it means there is a bug in the client connecting to guacd, most likely the web application.

libguac-client-rdp errors

Invalid parameter

If one of the parameters given, such as "width", "height", or "color-depth", is invalid (not an integer, for example), you will receive this error. Check the parameters of the connection in use and try again.

Failed to load cliprdr plugin

FreeRDP provides a plugin called "cliprdr" which provides clipboard support for RDP. libguac-client-rdp loads this plugin in order to support clipboard, as well. If this plugin could not be loaded, then clipboard support will not be available, and the reason will be logged.

Failed to load guac_rdpsnd plugin

In order to support sound, libguac-client-rdp builds a plugin for FreeRDP called "guac_rdpsnd" which must be loaded for sound to be available. If libguac-client-rdp cannot load this plugin, sound will not work, and the reason will be logged. A likely explanation is that libguac-client-rdp was built from source, and the directory specified for FreeRDP's installation location was incorrect.

Server requested unsupported clipboard data type

When clipboard support is loaded, libguac-client-rdp informs the RDP server of all supported clipboard data types. The RDP server is required to send only those types supported by the client. If the server decides to send an unsupported type anyway, libguac-client-rdp ignores the data sent, and logs this message.

Clipboard data missing null terminator

When text is sent via a clipboard message, it is required to have a terminating null byte. If this is not the case, the clipboard data is invalid, and libguac-client-rdp ignores it, logging this error message.

Servlet container logs

Your servlet container will have logs which the web application side of Guacamole will log errors to. In the case of Tomcat, this is usually catalina.out or HOSTNAME.log (for example, localhost.log).

user-mapping.xml errors

Errors in the relating to the user-mapping.xml file usually indicate that either the XML is malformed, or the file itself cannot be found.

Attribute "name" required for connection tag

If you specify a connection with a <connection> tag, it must have a corresponding name set via the name attribute. If it does not, then the XML is malformed, and this error will be logged. No users will be able to login.

Attribute "name" required for param tag

Each parameter specified with a <param> tag must have a corresponding name set via the name attribute. If it does not, then the XML is malformed, and this error will be logged. No users will be able to login.

Unexpected character data

Character data (text not within angle brackets) can only exist within the <param> tag. If it exists elsewhere, then the XML is malformed, and this error will be logged. No users will be able to login.

Invalid encoding type

There are only two legal values for the encoding attribute of the <authorize> tag: plain (indicating plain text) and md5 (indicating a value hashed with the MD5 digest). If any other value is used, then the XML is malformed, and this error will be logged. No users will be able to login.

User mapping could not be read

If for any reason the user mapping file cannot be read (the servlet container lacks read permission for the file, the file does not exist, etc.), this error will be logged. Check to see where the user mapping file is specified to exist, and then check that is both exists and is readable by your servlet container. errors

If a property is malformed or a required property is missing, an error describing the problem will be logged.

Property PROPERTY is required

If Guacamole or an extension of Guacamole requires a specific property in, but this property is not defined, this error will be logged. Check which properties are required by the authentication provider (or other extensions) in use, and then compare that against the properties within

Specified authentication provider class is not a AuthenticationProvider

The auth-provider property allows you to specify a custom authentication provider class which will handle all authentication, but these classes must implement the AuthenticationProvider interface. If the class specified does not, this error will be logged. Check that your authentication provider class implements AuthenticationProvider (if you implemented it yourself), and verify that you are specifying the correct class.

If you are certain that the class specified is correct, you may have placed the .jar file for your authentication provider in the wrong directory. Make sure the .jar file is in the directory specified by the lib-directory parameter in

Resource / not found

Guacamole requires that the file is in the classpath of your servlet container. If it is not, this error will be logged. Check that is in the proper location, and then restart your servlet container.

Missing "basic-user-mapping" parameter required for basic login

If you are using the authentication provider included with Guacamole, it requires the basic-user-mapping property to be set. If this property is missing, you will see this error. Add the missing property to, restart your servlet container, and try again.

Authentication errors

If someone attempts to login with invalid credentials, or someone attempts to access a resource or connection that does not exist or they do not have access to, errors regarding the invalid attempt will be logged.

Cannot connect - user not logged in

A user attempted to connect using the HTTP tunnel, and while the tunnel does exist and is attached to their session, they are not actually logged in. Normally, this isn't strictly possible, as a user has to have logged in for a tunnel to be attached to their session, but as it isn't an impossibility, this error does exist. If you see this error, it could mean that the user logged out at the same time that they made a connection attempt.

Requested configuration is not authorized

A user attempted to connect to a configuration with a given ID, and while that configuration does exist, they are not authorized to use it. This could mean that the user is trying to access things they have no privileges for, or that they are trying to access configurations they legitimately should, but are actually logged out.

User has no session

A user attempted to access a page that needs data from their session, but their session does not actually exist. This usually means the user has not logged in, as sessions are created through the login process.

Tunnel errors

The tunnel frequently returns errors if guacd is killed, the connection is closed, or the client abruptly closes the connection.

No such tunnel

An attempt was made to use a tunnel which does not actually exist. This is usually just the JavaScript client sending a leftover message or two while it hasn't realized that the server has disconnected. If this error happens consistently and is associated with Guacamole generally not working, it could be a bug.

No tunnel created

A connection attempt for a specific configuration was made, but the connection failed, and no tunnel was created. This is usually because the user was not authorized to use that connection, and thus no tunnel was created for access to that connection.

No query string provided

When the JavaScript client is communicating with the HTTP tunnel, it must provide data in the query string describing whether it wants to connect, read, or write. If this data is missing as the error indicates, there is a bug in the HTTP tunnel.

Tunnel reached end of stream

An attempt to read from the tunnel was made, but the tunnel in question has already reached the end of stream (the connection is closed). This is mostly an informative error, and can be ignored.

Tunnel is closed

An attempt to read from the tunnel was made, but the tunnel in question is already closed. This can happen if the client or guacd have closed the connection, but the client has not yet settled down and is still making read attempts. As there can be lags between when connections close and when the client realizes it, this can be safely ignored.

End of stream during initial handshake

If guacd closes the connection suddenly without allowing the client to complete the initial handshake required by the Guacamole protocol, this error will appear in the logs. If you see this error, you should check syslog for any errors logged by guacd to determine why it closed the connection so early.

Element terminator of instruction was not ';' nor ','

The Guacamole protocol imposes a strict format which requires individual parts of instructions (called "elements") to end with either a ";" or "," character. If they do not, then something has gone wrong during transmission. This usually indicates a bug in the client plugin in use, guacd, or libguac.

Non-numeric character in element length

The Guacamole protocol imposes a strict format which requires each element of an instruction to have a length prefix, which must be composed entirely of numeric characters (digits 0 through 9). If a non-numeric character is read, then something has gone wrong during transmission. This usually indicates a bug in the client plugin in use, guacd, or libguac.