VNC connection to CircleCi server only shows terminal

I’m trying to debug why some tests fail on Circle by connecting to the Circle’s browser using VNC. When I connect all I see is the visual linux terminal (I can minimise, close and write in it it etc). How do I open the browser itself?


Which browser are you trying to use?

1 Like

I’m running it with Capybara Selenium driver which uses Firefox by default

1 Like

You should be able to just type in firefox in a terminal and it will open, does it work if you try that?


Thanks, this opened the browser. I tested the issue using it and everything seems to be working. Is it possible to see the live running selenium test in action?

1 Like

Yes, if you start the tests from within VNC it should open up the browser just like it would if you ran it locally.


Thank you so much! Now it really makes a lot of sense :blush:


My pleasure! Glad this is making sense :smiley:

1 Like

Any suggestions as to why firefox would not be opening in the VNC window when running selenium tests?

A few weeks ago this seemed to work fine, but now my tests run… and I see no firefox.

No immediate ideas, but out of curiosity if you kick off the tests from within VNC do you see anything in the foreground?

No, unfortunately not. When I open firefox directly with “firefox” I do see a window. I have export DISPLAY=:1.0 as well. We’re using the pre-existing firefox install on the ubuntu 12 VM’s.

We have a few tests failing on the CI machine that we can’t duplicate elsewhere. Many of the tests actually pass when run via the VNC. We are taking screen shots of the failing page, but it’s not sufficient. Our next troubleshooting step is to try SauceLabs and record video of the tests.

I was starting selenium server with “background: true”, which caused the firefox windows to stay hidden. Simply restarting selenium after opening VNC solved the issue.


That makes sense, glad you got this figured out!