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SSH login warning: remote host identification has changed

I recently reprovisioned/rebuilt one of my VPS servers and was using SSH to log in remotely from a Mac OS X Terminal session. I got an ugly looking error that appeared really bad at first. Digging further, I learned that this was just an artifact of the fact that since the server had just been rebuilt, the host key information was not what the client side expected. Happily this was a quick fix from the command line on the client side and then I was back up and running.

DIFFICULTY Basic - 1 | Medium - 2 | Advanced - 3
TIME REQUIRED 2 min
RELATED PRODUCTS Linux-based VPS or dedicated servers

You may see an error that looks something like this:

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
@ WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED! @
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NASTY!
Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.
The fingerprint for the RSA key sent by the remote host is
06:ea:f1:f8:db:75:5c:0c:af:15:d7:99:2d:ef:08:2a.
Please contact your system administrator.
Add correct host key in /home/user/.ssh/known_hosts to get rid of this message.
Offending key in /home/user/.ssh/known_hosts:4
RSA host key for domain.com has changed and you have requested strict checking.
Host key verification failed.

From the OS X Terminal command line, type:

ssh-keygen -R [your domain name or IP address]

This will clear the issue on the client side hosts file.

The next time you type to use SSH to connect to the host, you should then see something like:

The authenticity of host '[your host information]' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 06:ea:f1:f8:db:75:5c:0c:af:15:d7:99:2d:ef:08:2a.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

At this point, you can type "yes" and proceed with the SSH login process.


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