MIT PGP Public Key Server
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you send mail with a question, please check that it isn't
already answered below.
Can you delete my key from the key server?
No, we cannot remove your key from the key server. When you submit
a key to our key server the key is also forwarded to other key
servers around the world, and they in turn forward the key to still
other servers. Deleting the key from our server would not cause it
to be deleted from any of the other servers in the world and so this
is not an effective way to ensure the discontinued use of your key.
So, you can't delete my key, is there anything I
If you still have the private key, you can use your PGP software to
generate a revocation certificate, and upload that to the keyserver.
The exact procedure for generating a revocation certificate varies
depending on what PGP software you are using, please consult the
documentation for more information. This will not delete your key
from the key server, but it will tell people who download it that
the key has been revoked, and should not be used.
But the reason I want to delete my key from the keyserver
is that I lost the private key (so I can't generate a revocation
certificate), can you please delete my key for me?
Can I delete old email addresses / IDs from my key on the
No, For the same reasons you can't delete a key.
I'm having trouble submitting my key with a photo to the
keyserver, any idea what the problem is?
This problem should now be fixed.
I think spammers got my email address from the PGP
keyserver. What can I do?
Yes, there have been reports of spammers harvesting addresses from
PGP keyservers. Unfortunately, there is not much that either we or
you can do about this. Our best suggestion is you take advantage of
any spam filtering technology offered by your ISP.
I get a "Malformed Key" error when trying to upload a
revocation certificate. Why doesn't this work?
Try applying the revocation certificate to your local key-ring and
then re-uploading your key to the keyserver.
I can't look up keys on the keyserver, and may be seeing the
error "connection timed out." However, I can read this FAQ.
The usual cause for this is that your machine is behind a firewall
that is blocking traffic (on port 11371) to the keyserver, and are
using an older cached URL. Please remove the ":11371" from the URL
and try again. Alternately, you can try using
the email interface.
Some look ups on the keyserver fail with the error "Error
handling request. Exception raised."
This is the key server's exceptionally obtuse way of saying: "There
were too many responses to your query, please try a more specific
Please send bug reports or problem reports to