SSH tunnel for VNC suddenly stopped working, error "channel 3: open failed: connect failed: Connection refused"

Posted October 14, 2014 11.9k views

I set up VNC on my Droplet using the instructions here. I then created an SSH tunnel from my Mac using this Terminal command:

ssh -L 5901:localhost:5901 vnc@IP

Initially this worked well, after entering my password a connection was created and I was then able to use Screen Sharing to connect to the machine using localhost:5901.

All of a sudden though, the connection dropped and the Terminal started outputting:

channel 3: open failed: connect failed: Connection refused

every couple of seconds. Disconnecting and reconnecting, after asking my password, resumes this same behavior.

How can I fix it? It seems very odd that it started happening with no action on my part.

These answers are provided by our Community. If you find them useful, show some love by clicking the heart. If you run into issues leave a comment, or add your own answer to help others.

Submit an Answer
2 answers

It’s likely that VNC is not running on your server, and that is the issue you are seeing. The log files for VNC will probably show you the error, and point towards a solution - /var/log/

Thanks @BrookDO ! Since this was almost two years ago it’s no longer relevant to me…but hopefully this helps someone else! 😀