keys.pgp.net -- The Email Based Key Server System
For those people unable to use the
WWW interface to the key servers,
and who do not make enough lookups to warrant maintaining a local copy of the
keyring by copying it from the
FTP interface to the key servers,
a set of supported email based servers have been set up which all respond to
The actual servers may change over time, but the idea is that this address
(sites wanting to become part of the service should read our
The announcement is available as
When a mail system wants to contact keys.pgp.net, it asks the DNS for its MX RRs
and will be given the list of all the keyservers, but as all authorative
NameServers for pgp.net implement the ROUND_ROBIN option of BIND to cycle the
list on each request, the order of the list is "randomised"
(ensuring that the load is roughly balanced).
As the mail system is due to keep trying MX RRs until it manages to
deliver the email, it will tolerate failures of keyservers.
Thus we have a long lived address which is robust and can be managed.
For the efficiency freaks amongst us, a second level has been added so that
users can restrict their requests to "nearby" servers in their own country.
Thus users in the UK can contact email@example.com in the
knowledge that their request will be sent to a "local" server
(typically in the UK, but if there are insufficient servers in the UK,
suitable servers can be added to the MX RRs).
For non English speaking countries, accessing the national server will
help in the local language(s) with an English version appended at the end.
Thus firstname.lastname@example.org will return help in German first,
then English. The currently available languages for the help text are
but when things have settled, we'll add more
The currently registered domains are
The Old Scheme
An English verion of the list of servers covered by the old, ad hoc scheme is
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