How to automatically add server to known_hosts ? (and not use md5 fingerprint, as I mean secure way, please not send "auto yes/accept" solutions. I want to bring required credentials from server to machine)

I'd like to update automatically my ssh known_hosts file to accept new server.

I assume, that I need to add server's public key (id_rsa.pub obtained through secure channel), but what I see is that format is different (I've tried adding like this awk '{print "server "$1" "$2}' id_rsa.pub > .ssh/known_hosts with verification failed. Please note that I don't want to use md5 fingerprint due to flaws in md5). If something else than id_rsa.pub would be useful I can run commands on server and obtain results though trusted channel. (Please note that it is not network channel (think of physically bringing pendrive from place to another), so ssh-keyscan does not solve the problem, what's more id_rsa.pub is key of dropbear server that is not running at server, so only files with keys are available, not server)

1 Answer 1


The name id_rsa.pub looks like a user's public key. This has nothing to do with known_hostsknown_hosts stores host keys. Host keys, as the name indicate, authenticate a host (i.e. a computer), whereas user keys authenticate a user. Host public keys of OpenSSH are typically located in /etc or /etc/ssh and called something like ssh_host_rsa_key.pub.

Dropbear has a single file containing the private key. To extract the public key (in a format that is compatible between Dropbear and OpenSSH), run

dropbearkey -f /etc/dropbear/dropbear_rsa_host_key -y | sed -n 2p >host_key.pub

I don't think OpenSSH comes with a command to update the known_hosts file. It's easy enough to do manually:

echo "$server_name,$server_ip_address $(cat server_ssh_host_rsa_key.pub)" >>~/.ssh/known_hosts

If you want to hash host names (so that someone who reads your known_hosts file cannot know the names of these servers — it's a very minor privacy gain), run ssh-keygen -H afterwards.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .