Paramiko “Unknown Server”

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I’m trying to get started with the Paramiko library, but the library is throwing an exception as soon as I try to connect with the following simple program:

import paramiko
ssh = paramiko.SSHClient()
ssh.connect('', username="boatzart", password='mypassword')

The error I get is:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "", line 6, in <module>
File "build/bdist.macosx-10.7-intel/egg/paramiko/", line 316, in connect
File "build/bdist.macosx-10.7-intel/egg/paramiko/", line 85, in missing_host_key
paramiko.SSHException: Unknown server

This occurs no matter which server I try.

I experienced the same issue and here’s the solution that worked out for me:

import paramiko

client = paramiko.SSHClient()
client.connect('', username=username, password=password)
stdin, stdout, stderr = client.exec_command('ls -l')

This is to set the policy to use when connecting to a server that doesn’t have a host key in either the system or local HostKeys objects. The default policy is to reject all unknown servers (using RejectPolicy). You may substitute AutoAddPolicy or write your own policy class.

More details at paramiko api doc. Hope this helps.

After that you can save into an other keyfile file for next usage as follows.


You can always load from a file as follows.


The exception was raised because you are missing a host key, the rather cryptic “Unknown server” is the clue – since the exception was raised from missing_host_key

Try this instead:

import paramiko

paramiko.util.log_to_file('ssh.log') # sets up logging

client = paramiko.SSHClient()
client.connect('', username=username, password=password)
stdin, stdout, stderr = client.exec_command('ls -l')

The correct way is either:

I encountered this issue and wanted to post a workaround here. The issue was indeed the ssh server sending ecdsa keys, which are not supported (yet) with paramiko. On my debian Wheezy system I disabled ecdsa by commenting out a single line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

# HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key

Restarted sshd, and it was back to using RSA. There were some ecdsa keys in my known_hosts file so I just deleted it to reset, and logged in manually to recreate the keys. From there, paramiko worked perfectly as expected, with RSA host key checking.

I had this error: I can connect from the shell, but paramiko says “Unknown server workdevel114”.

There were two similar entries in known_hosts:

[email protected]> grep workdevel114 ~/.ssh/known_hosts
workdevel114 ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAAAgQC8qGbuI1BaBodi7sKWLfV8Eh+De80Th7HFLD4WiJWo57THl0Q+QcopUaU3pF....
[email protected]> grep I1BaBodi7sKWLfV8Eh+De80Th7HFLD4WiJWo57THl0Q+QcopUaU3pF ~/.ssh/known_hosts
workdevel114 ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAAAgQC8qGbuI1BaBodi7sK...
|1|f/auQ9nY5dFbVtOdY3ocjtVO9dM=|esvazUDTT3VIcLk9DxmPI6FZt1s= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAAAgQC8qGbuI1BaBodi7sKWLfV8Eh+De80Th7HFLD4...

The seconds entry (|1|….) seems to confuse paramiko. I guess it is related to this ticket:

I solved it by adding this line:


But this disables host-checking of the ssh protocol in this case: Paramiko thinks the host key is unknown, but it is known. The known Key gets ignored. I don’t care because man-in-the-middle attacks are very unlikely in my environment.


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