The venerable Firefox Plugin "Video Download Helper" has been a mainstay of internet video downloading for years. However since I upgraded to Ubuntu 22.04 it can not ever find the "Companion App" it needs to work.

(I did not find a satisfactory answer in this related question.)

Suspecting it was the sand-boxing used in the Firefox snap package, I removed that and used the .deb package as per the instructions on OMG Ubuntu install Firefox as a .deb.

I've tried both the .tar.gz and .deb versions of the companion app. When the app installs, it reports that it's installed correctly:

# sudo ./net.downloadhelper.coapp-1.6.3/bin/net.downloadhelper.coapp-linux-64 install --system
VdhCoApp: VdhCoApp is ready to be used

But then in the plugin does not work (tried restarting firefox, reinstalling plugin, etc.). If you go into the plugin configuration, there's a Recheck button in the "Verifying Companion App..." section, but clicking it does not seem to do anything.

How can I make this plugin work with Firefox 100.0.2 on Ubuntu 22.04?

EDIT: Same question for 21.10, with possibly useful answers.

9 Answers 9


i left the snap firefox package, launching it out of the sandbox with the command /snap/firefox/current/usr/lib/firefox/firefox-bin and installing extension the companion app get recognized.

so i modified /var/lib/snapd/desktop/applications/firefox_firefox.desktop with the same command to launch it out the sandbox from the icon

don't know if it will survive an upgrade and if it is safe or not

  • Sounds good, I'll give that a test. I only assumed the .deb version wasn't sandboxed, maybe it is too, and that's still the issue.
    – Kingsley
    Jun 2, 2022 at 6:55
  • 1
    Ok, that didn't work for me. I found the firefox.sh, extracted the absolute path and executable name /usr/lib/firefox/firefox. Running from that exe without args, I re-installed the extension, and companion-app .deb. But it just says: "An unexpected error occurred".
    – Kingsley
    Jun 6, 2022 at 0:06
  • I don't have a /usr/lib/firefox dir in my system, did you try with the snap firefox package?
    – ernia
    Jun 6, 2022 at 0:13
  • No, I used the .deb direct from mozillateam-ubuntu-ppa
    – Kingsley
    Jun 6, 2022 at 0:15

For me, the installation of firefox beta version via snap was the solution (https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/call-for-testing-native-messaging-support-in-the-firefox-snap/29759).
In this version, you get native massaging support inside the firefox snap package.

$ sudo snap refresh firefox --beta

I also installed the native lib for VideoDownloadHelper locally, for my user.

  1. download the package from https://www.downloadhelper.net/install-coapp
  2. select linux 64bits targz
  3. extract somewhere inside your $HOME
  4. run:
    ~/libs/net.downloadhelper.coapp-1.6.3$ ./bin/net.downloadhelper.coapp-linux-64 install --use
  5. check the installation:
    about:addons -> Video DownloadHelper -> Preferences -> Companion app installed
  • 4
    I needed to add permissions to the firefox snap: flatpak permission-set webextensions net.downloadhelper.coapp snap.firefox yes
    – misiu_mp
    Oct 23, 2022 at 21:46
  • @misiu_mp Thanks a lot! Your comment solved it for me (I had to install flatpak first). Perhaps you could turn your comment into an answer? To me this seems to be the cleanest solution. Jan 28 at 17:01

The best solution that worked for me was to uninstall firefox snap and install the deb package. This post was very helpful, now download helper works fine with its companion app.

  • Could you please elaborate on what you did to get it to work? I followed these directions too.
    – Kingsley
    Jun 15, 2022 at 5:54
  • 2
    Just use snap to remove firefox and download firefox deb package. Then install firefox deb via gdebi.
    – mahen23
    Jun 20, 2022 at 11:47
  • This method didn't work for me. I already mentioned that in the OP.
    – Kingsley
    Aug 14, 2022 at 23:39

If you want to download videos with Ubuntu, you might take my downloader into consideration. It has been developed for Linux with the very simple interface.

It is browser agnostic (so no need to change your firefox snap) with a focus on high quality audio & video. It can be installed from my ppa:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jentiger-moratai/mediatools
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ytdownloader

The downloader is a standalone app for many video sites and is operated by drag'n drop

If you have problems uploading use the "update" button to ensure to have the latest yt-dl backend

  • Is there a help file or other instructions for for ytdownloadhelper?
    – Pansmanser
    Jul 12, 2022 at 14:25
  • I've written the ytdownloader to simplify video downloads(and increase the downloaded quality). My downloader is a standalone application that works with drag&drop. All information can be found on github - the link in my answer. I do not know anything about the ytdownloadhelper. Question about my app will be happily answered either here or on github
    – kanehekili
    Jul 12, 2022 at 22:21
  • Thanks, @kanehekili. Looks like a great app. Worth mentioning that "ytdownloader" installs as "Youtube Downloader" in the dash, and runs in a window called 'Video Downloader". Trying to run 'ytdownloader' yields nothing. Nevertheless, works fine.
    – Pansmanser
    Jul 14, 2022 at 8:32
  • It should be "YtGui" in dash. I'll revise my readme.
    – kanehekili
    Jul 14, 2022 at 15:04
  • 1
    @24601 Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'll check it out
    – kanehekili
    Sep 5, 2022 at 8:35

I found that the easiest way out of this, without removing the snap was to have the Firefox package in a home folder.

Change to a desired location directory, for example cd ~/bin, then

wget https://download-installer.cdn.mozilla.net/pub/firefox/releases/103.0.2/linux-x86_64/en-US/firefox-103.0.2.tar.bz2

Extract the archive, then

cd firefox-103.0.2/firefox/

And you have the (at the time of posting) latest version, non snap. Video Download Helper can now locate the companion app, download works.

And the snap package is left in place, I suppose that at some next update the issue will be fixed.


Maybe it's not needed??

I found over the weekend that there is also a "Download with Web Browser" option that can work instead of using the companion app. Just proceed as normal, when the download begins, a dialogue window will popup prompting you to download the helper. But next to this is a button marked "Download with Web Browser" (or suchlike). Just click that.

On the few things I tested it seemed to work ok. But this was no comprehensive test, so YMMV.

  • 1
    I found that this doesn't work with the latest Firefox version, unfortunately. Aug 22, 2022 at 5:43
  • 1
    @GiorgosSaridakis - Can you please specify which version? I thought I was on the latest too.
    – Kingsley
    Aug 22, 2022 at 5:47
  • 2
    I doesn't work on 103.0.2, on two computers that I tried. Aug 22, 2022 at 5:49
  • 1
    Also: Video Download Helper exhibits different behavior on different hardware, I have to say. It catches the video from the webpage on one computer and not on the other. Both Ubuntu 22.04, both with Firefox 103.0.2. This was the same with previous versions, as well Aug 22, 2022 at 5:51

Not sure how I fixed this problem. However, this is what I did and one of these changes made it work again.

Removed and reinstalled video downloadhelper

In firefox Removed all download data Reset all addons to automatically update

In video downloadhelper Reset settings Reload extensions Download processor changed to ask

Restarted and started to work again.


I managed to get the VDH supplement app working. The path was simple: I followed the instructions provided by VDH on the page with the download of the supplementary app, however I didn't install the .deb version (I didn't know how to start it) but the tar.gz "version".

Basically I followed the download instructions on different linux distributions, the two command lines you find on the site do all the rest. The file was downloaded in the Download folder and then after the first command it is extracted in the Home and becomes executable when necessary, the second command I don't know but execute it.


I use Ubuntu 22.04 After install extension and companion app, refresh firefox with beta

sudo snap refresh firefox --beta

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.