So I followed the guide on how to add a SSH key to GitHub, and added a new SSH key with a passphrase to GitHub and the SSH agent. Now, if I run ssh -T git@github.com as described in the guide to test if I set everything up correctly, it doesn't even prompt me for my passphrase, but immediately returns ssh: connect to host github.com port 22: Connection refused. I have both openssh-server and openssh-client installed and the SSH service is running.

the error

Help would be appreciated.

UPDATE: When I try and clone a repository which for which I have write access from a friend's GitLab instance, it throws the same error. Seems like this is a problem with SSH, not with the keys. (I have them added to the instance.)

  • You can't use ssh -T git@github.com. GitHub does not provide shell access.
    – A.B.
    Apr 18, 2015 at 18:28
  • 2
  • 1
    Yes, that's right: % ssh -T git@github.com Hi <you_username>! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.
    – A.B.
    Apr 18, 2015 at 18:30
  • For this reason, you should rephrase your question.
    – A.B.
    Apr 18, 2015 at 18:30
  • Check output of ssh -Tv git@github.com Apr 23, 2015 at 10:11

2 Answers 2


Have you tried using port 443, and adding ssh. subdomain prefix?

This command will test it. You should get an error since a shell is not supported.

ssh -T -p 443 git@ssh.github.com

Then you can use a full URL to specify the project path, see Stack Overflow answer for details:

  • This helps to confirm that at least the connection to github can be made. $ ssh -T -p 443 git@ssh.github.com The authenticity of host '[ssh.github.com]:443 ([]:443)' can't be established. RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:nThbg6kXUpJWGl7E1IGOCspRomTxdCARLviKw6E5SY8. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes Warning: Permanently added '[ssh.github.com]:443,[]:443' (RSA) to the list of known hosts. Hi xcaliber! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access. May 30, 2018 at 3:12
  • 4
    Thank you! This worked for me and made me realize that I also had to add this to my ssh config file # GitHub Account Host github.com HostName **ssh.github.com** Port **443** PreferredAuthentications publickey IdentityFile <path to your private ssh key> *note the HostName and Port Nov 5, 2018 at 17:09
  • ta behind corporate firewall this helped alot
    – aqm
    Mar 20, 2019 at 15:32

If you get a connection refused, it means you actually got a packet back which states that your destination does not accept your connection. This could mean a few things:

  1. github.com is down (not too likely, but you could always check their status on https://status.github.com/)

  2. you have an invalid IP address for github.com (manual entry in /etc/hosts or your resolver) which blocks ssh from at least your IP address

  3. you have a firewall along the way to github.com which blocks the ssh traffic (eg. local firewall or corporate firewall)

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