This error has arise when I add gns repository and try to use this command:

#sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys F88F6D313016330404F710FC9A2FD067A2E3EF7B

the error is:

gpg: keyserver receive failed: Server indicated a failure
  • as I've explained in my answer and comment to the downvotes, it's related to DNS and the way that dirmngr in version 2.1.6 did reverse DNS that have been removed in version 2.1.8 I recall, but 2.2.x I've installed from Debian testing/unstable (Debian 9 current as at writing this) also fixed this issue. – Hvisage Feb 4 '18 at 15:52

Behind a firewall you should use the port 80 instead of the default port 11371 :

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv 9A2FD067A2E3EF7B

Sample output:

Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.mTGQWBR2AG/gpg.1.sh --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv 9A2FD067A2E3EF7B
gpg: key 9A2FD067A2E3EF7B: "Launchpad PPA for GNS3" not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:              unchanged: 1
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  • Not port 11371 or 80 related behind firewall. seems to be rather related to DNS resolution when you start to google the net... ``` Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.imkAGGXMO8/gpg.1.sh --receive-keys --debug-all -vvv --keyserver hkp://sks1.cryptokeys.org.za:80 gpg: DBG: chan_3 -> KEYSERVER --clear hkp://sks1.cryptokeys.org.za:80 gpg: DBG: chan_3 <- OK gpg: DBG: chan_3 -> KS_GET -- 0x9C1384B1168FD423 gpg: DBG: chan_3 <- ERR 167772379 Server indicated a failure <Dirmngr>``` – Hvisage Feb 1 '18 at 15:40
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    I get the same error using dirmngr 2.2.5, and adding hkp:// and :80 resolved the issue – david.libremone Apr 11 '18 at 15:25

It has to do with DNS and what your DNS server does or does return for dirmngr ;( It got introduce since 2.1.16 with dirmngr, and I've been looking for solution myself on 2.1.6 with Debian's default packages. ;(

The correct answer, is: Upgrade to version 2.2.x or later that fixed this problem first time.

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  • @StephenKitt it wasn't a different answer, I gave the reason why it broke, as the other answer was a totally inadequate answer with all the wrong reasons why it was failing after I've investigated the 2.1.6 versions on Debian. There wasn't any real other fix than to get the latest version from a testing/unstable branch to get passed this problem, which was not HTTP/firewall related, but the DNS issue – Hvisage Feb 4 '18 at 15:50
  • Sorry, the comment above is a canned comment which wasn’t quite appropriate. Your edited answer does indeed answer the question, thanks. – Stephen Kitt Feb 4 '18 at 16:02

This issue was really though for me, none of the proposed solutions worked for me until I found this post on reddit. I just went and added this line to /etc/resolv.conf

nameserver # Google dns

you can try any other dns and see which one works for you.

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Encountered the same issue on ubuntu 18.04, running dirmngr 2.2.4. I went with the option of checking my dns settings and added my local dns server 'nameserver' and google's 'nameserver'. Then it worked.

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  • Specifying explicit DNS servers in my network config solved it for me. Gentoo, using NetworkManager. – Pistos Dec 28 '18 at 22:55
  • Also remember Quad9 ( for helping to filter out malware/etc. in a privacy-advocacy manner ;) – Hvisage Dec 31 '18 at 10:14
  • Where add??? I just switched to dns and am getting this issue – Trees4theForest Aug 20 '19 at 13:06

Add 0x before key, so that it turns 0xF88F6D313016330404F710FC9A2FD067A2E3EF7B.

This plus GAD3R's answer solved it for me.

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