I've followed the recommendations I could find to prevent this from happening. I am using Vagrant, but once the boxes are spun, I'd like to do things with the ansible command sometimes.

$ grep host_key /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg                                                                                                               
host_key_checking = False

$ grep kafka01 ./inventory
kafka01 ansible_host= ansible_port=2231 ansible_user='vagrant' ansible_ssh_private_key_file='/home/me/project/project/.vagrant/machines/kafka01/virtualbox/private_key' ansible_ssh_common_args='-o StrictHostKeyChecking=no'

$ ansible kafka01 -m ping -i ./inventory                                                                                                               

 [WARNING]: Unhandled error in Python interpreter discovery for host kafka01: Failed to connect to the host via ssh: @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@  @    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 a host key has just been changed.  The fingerprint for the ECDSA key sent by the remote host is
SHA256:jn5ClU5g566Gsvobf8Xc45DJnIiAllN+RJkg35Nf9KE.  Please contact your system administrator.  Add correct host key in /home/me/.ssh/known_hosts to get rid of this message.  Offending ECDSA key
in /home/me/.ssh/known_hosts:19    remove with:    ssh-keygen -f "/home/me/.ssh/known_hosts" -R "[]:2231"  ECDSA host key for []:2231 has changed and you have requested strict
checking.  Host key verification failed.

kafka01 | UNREACHABLE! => {

What's going on here?

Edit: No, I don't want to keep deleting the key. I destroy/build these over and over again. I want to find the correct, long-term solution.

  • 2
    It is also possible that a host key has just been changed. try to remove the client entry in /home/me/.ssh/known_hosts
    – Siva
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 4:43
  • ... by the command proposed in the message ssh-keygen -f "/home/me/.ssh/known_hosts" -R "[]:2231 Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 8:22
  • @msp9011 That's the obvious answer, right? Problem is after I destroy then rebuild the keys have changed again. I don't want to keep deleting them. Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 15:10
  • @msp9011 only /etc/ansible/ Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 20:33
  • can u plz share version of ansible
    – Siva
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


You can add this in inventory:

ansible_ssh_common_args="-o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null"

It's ignoring check host and setting /dev/null as Known host file.

  • Please explain what this will do and remove the spaces at the beginning of the code block
    – 030
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 5:56

An alternative sintax to Dilson Rainov's answer, more ansible 2.x style (I think).

In your inventory define the host as:

      ansible_user: vagrant
      ansible_ssh_private_key_file: .vagrant/machines/default/virtualbox/private_key
      UserKnownHostsFile: /dev/null
      StrictHostKeyChecking: no
      ansible_python_interpreter: /usr/bin/python3
  • UserKnownHostsFile causes the check of the host fingerprint on an always empty file (replacing the check inside ~/.ssh/known_hosts)
  • StrictHostKeyChecking allows ssh to connect without the user confirming the detected fingerprint from the vagrant host

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