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Key servers are repositories of keys in public key systems, they are necessary infrastructure for the widespread and easy use of systems such as PGP and GnuPG. Normally KeyServers are publically accessible, allowing for querying, retrieval and long-term archiving of public keys.

Keyservers for OpenPGP

(OpenPGP is the standard that GPG and PGP adhere to).

If you're new to GPG, and wondering what you're supposed to do with your newly created key, here are some key servers you can upload and receive keys to/from.

Use a command like

gpg --keyserver <some.key.server> ...

Or even better, add a line to your $HOME/.gnupg/options file like

(In recent versions of GPG -- such as 1.2.1 or later -- the options file has been renamed to gpg.conf)

There are many lists of publically accessible key servers, but many of the are very out-of-date. At the time of writing was a good, current list.

(I use and recommend the mit KeyServer: hkp:// / StuartYeates)

"main" key server network

These servers synchronise with each other

  • everything at
  • (this uses round-robin DNS)
  • (a subset of the above)
  • (aka
  • (I think this is part of the above network...?)
  • (round-robin DNS for SKS, an entire network of new RFC2440 and RFC2440bis compatible keyservers - see

"Other" key servers

These servers (apparently?) don't synchronise with the above.

  • (this is on the redhat manual as an example. Interestingly, it says that Because most keyservers are synchronized, sending your public key to one keyserver is usually as good as sending it to them all. Yet i can't pick up keys from it using I also can't find keys on it from -- AlastairPorter