Filezilla error: GnuTLS error -50 in gnutls_priority_set_direct

Over the last few months, I’ve been getting this error in Ubuntu when I try to connect to an FTP site with Filezilla. I wanted to share a quick guide on how to run Filezilla in the meanwhile (until the Ubuntu repository version is updated)

The error itself:

GnuTLS error -50 in gnutls_priority_set_direct: The request is invalid.
Error: Failed to initialize TLS.

I’ve recorded a brief video below to talk you through the steps I use, or you can just scroll down and read the post.. whatever works best for you!

My view is that, adding other repositories slows Ubuntu installs, makes things messy and can create security or stability issues. So my guide is focused on running the latest version of Filezilla in Ubuntu without installing it. This way, you get to use the latest version, while awaiting the main repository to update your currently installed version.

If you only ever use applications from the Ubuntu Software Centre, then this is a good technique to be aware of, as it opens the door to many more applications, or to simply running software in a more portable way, rather than installing applications you only plan to use a few times.

For Filezilla:

1. Goto Filezilla’s website, and download the latest client version of the software.

2. Open the downloaded tarball file, and extracted the folder structure to somewhere easy to access from the terminal (I recommend your Documents area).

3. Open a terminal window, and go to the relevant folder, then drill down into the Filezilla “bin” folder

[email protected]:~$ cd Doc*
[email protected]:~/Documents$ cd File*
[email protected]:~/Documents/FileZilla3$ cd bin
[email protected]:~/Documents/FileZilla3/bin$ 

4. Now just execute the filezilla file. This should already have the execute as program flag, so you just need to type “./filezilla” to launch the program

And that’s it. It isn’t as nice as installing the update, but gives you flexibility on the version of Filezilla that you run, and doesn’t involve any installation.

Hopefully the main Ubuntu repository will be updated to avoid the current GnuTLS error -50 soon. In the meanwhile, I hope helps you avoid the constant “Failed to initialize TLS” error.



I'm passionate about technology, and particularly helping people make the most of it. I've spent the last 30 years helping others make the most of technology. My career started in IBM, but I choose to move into smaller business environments, to use a breadth of skills, and help businesses step change their IT services. My skills range from user based technology, through business systems (applications) to infrastructure. I also have a long background in IT security. I focus on what I consider to be "productive technology", i.e. adding genuine value to peoples lives. I'm not a big gamer, and don't hold much interest in what I consider to be disposable consumer technologies. During the day, you'll find me consulting with businesses or heading up an IT department. At the weekend, you'll find me sat at my Linux PC, writing PHP or Python code, or trying to help others on Twitter, this blog, or my YouTube channel: Artexic.