question about hkp protocol

John Clizbe JPClizbe at
Tue Jul 15 20:55:56 CEST 2008

kurt c wrote:
> Hello. I have a beginner question, I hope you guys don't mind.
> I'd like to know why it is that when the key server website is in the
> hkp protocol, I can never access it through my web browser. For example,
> if I type the url hkp://
> <> into my Firefox browser, it
> will say: Firefox doesn't know how to open this address because it's not
> associated with any program. I similarly can never export my public key
> through my GPA if the key server is in the hkp protocol. Can anyone
> enlighten me as to the reason for this? How can I access hkp sites?

HKP is implemented with HTTP over port 11371. It is not itself a browser protocol.

However, many keyservers operate web interfaces as well as the automated
responses. These web interfaces also operate on port 11371.

For restrictive firewalls, I know of several modern SKS keyservers that also
listen on port 80. And three that will accept commands via email.

hkp:// is equivalent to

Web server interfaces are primarily used for searching.

It's easiest to let GnuPG handle the details of submitting your key:

  gpg --keyserver --send-key 0xdecafbad

If you /really/ need to use the web interface, just don't type hkp:// as part of
the URL (you may type http://, but it's not needed) and be sure to add :11371 to
the host name

Most browsers will automatically prefix http:// if it is absent

BTW, should be used as a replacement for It is no longer regularly being updated.

John P. Clizbe                      Inet:   John (a)
You can't spell fiasco without SCO. hkp://  or
     mailto:pgp-public-keys at

Q:"Just how do the residents of Haiku, Hawai'i hold conversations?"
A:"An odd melody / island voices on the winds / surplus of vowels"

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