ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

Jamie Beverly jamie.beverly at
Wed Sep 2 15:24:15 EST 2009

I frequently see this error when / goes away, e.g. hdd failure.

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 1, 2009, at 9:36 PM, Tim Rice <tim at> wrote:

On Tue, 1 Sep 2009, petesea at wrote:

I'm randomly getting the following error on a server from various remote

 ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

The server is running OpenSSH 4.5p1 w/GSSAPI Key Exchange patch.  The hosts
connecting to it should all be using OpenSSH 5.0p1 w/GSSAPI Key Exchange patch
and using gssapi-keyex authentication.

Normally, when I've seen this error, it means access to the SSH port is
blocked by TCP wrappers or something like that, but I'm sure that's not the
case here since /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny haven't changed for quite
some time.  Also, the failures are random from many different remote hosts and
I can try a connection from a host right after it's failed and it will work.

I've seen this with DNS failures when my hosts.allow entry is a domain
rather than an IP.

Under what other conditions might I get this error and how can I track down
what's causing it?

Tim Rice                Multitalents    (707) 887-1469
tim at

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