How to Fix Shared connection to x.x.xx closed Ansible Error?


Ansible is an open-source automation tool used by IT professionals to manage and configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate tasks. However, sometimes while working with Ansible, users may encounter an error message that says "Shared connection to x.x.xx closed", which can be frustrating for those who are not familiar with the tool. This error usually occurs when a user tries to connect to a remote server via SSH using Ansible but the connection gets terminated abruptly.

Overview of the steps to fix the error

The good news is that this error can be resolved with some troubleshooting techniques and making changes in Ansible's configuration file. In this article, we will discuss how you can fix the "Shared connection to x.x.xx closed" Ansible error step-by-step.

The solution involves understanding how SSH connections work between different machines, identifying possible reasons for why these connections might get terminated abruptly (such as network issues or firewall restrictions), and updating settings within both your local machine and remote target server's configurations files accordingly. By following these steps carefully you should be able to fix this issue quickly without experiencing any further hiccups along the way!

Understanding the Error

Causes of the error

The 'Shared connection to x.x.xx closed' error in Ansible can be caused by several factors. One of the key reasons is network connectivity issues. When there are interruptions to the connection between the control machine and the target host, it can trigger this error.

The problem could be due to a slow or unstable network, or there may be a problem with DNS resolution, routing, or a malfunctioning switch. In addition, if there are many hops between the machines, it can also cause latency and packet loss.

Another reason for this error is firewall restrictions. If your target host has a restrictive firewall configuration that blocks traffic on certain ports used by Ansible, communication will fail and lead to this error message on your console output.

Symptoms of the Error

The 'Shared connection to x.x.xx closed' Ansible error manifests itself as an abrupt termination of an Ansible playbook run indicating that the SSH session was abnormally terminated before completion. The following are common symptoms you may observe −

  • Failed tasks within playbooks

  • Sudden termination of processes during execution

  • Slow performance when executing tasks

  • Errors messages referencing dropped connections such as "Connection reset by peer"

It's important to recognize these symptoms since they serve as clues to help diagnose what may have likely caused the issue in order to take appropriate remedial action promptly.

Troubleshooting Steps

The shared connection to x.x.xx closed Ansible Error is a common problem that can arise in any network. To troubleshoot this issue, there are a number of steps that need to be followed.

These steps will help identify the root cause of the problem and provide you with a way to fix it. The following are some of the troubleshooting steps −

Check network connectivity

One of the first things to check when encountering an issue with shared connection to x.x.xx closed Ansible Error is network connectivity. This can be done using different methods such as ping test or traceroute test.

Ping test

The ping command is used to check connectivity between two machines on a network. To perform this test, open your terminal and type ping followed by the IP address of the target machine.

If successful, you will see responses from the destination machine. If not successful, you may receive messages indicating that packets were dropped.

Traceroute test

The traceroute command is used to diagnose issues within a network by showing the path taken by packets from your computer or server to another computer or server on the internet. To perform this test, open your terminal and type traceroute followed by the IP address of your target machine.

Check firewall restrictions

If there is no issue identified in performing these tests then its necessary checking for Firewall restrictions which might have blocked communication between machines running Ansible and target machines.

Disable firewall temporarily

If there is really a Firewall restriction blocking communication between machines running Ansible and target machines then temporarily disabling it could allow for further testing if this was indeed causing it.

Add rules to allow Ansible traffic through firewall

If Firewall restriction persists after checking, then it's necessary to add rules to allow Ansible traffic through firewall using the ports Ansible runs on.

Check SSH Configuration Issues

Another potential issue is SSH configuration issues. To ensure that there are no SSH configuration issues, the following checks should be carried out −

Verify SSH connection settings

Ensure that the correct username and password combination were used. If not check with your system administrator for the correct login credentials. The next step would be to verify that SSH is running on target machine.

You can do this by logging into the target machine and run command "ps aux | grep sshd" or "systemctl status ssh". If these commands fail to return any output then it means that sshd service is not running and should be started.

Fixing Shared Connection to x.x.xx Closed Ansible Error

Update Ansible Configuration file

Updating the Ansible configuration file is the most common solution to fix the shared connection to x.x.xx closed Ansible error. One of the ways to do it is by increasing the timeout value in ansible.cfg file.

This is done by modifying the value of 'timeout' in the 'ssh_connection' section of ansible.cfg file. By default, this value is set to 10 seconds, which might not be enough for systems with slow network connections or high latency.

Increasing this value will give more time for Ansible to establish a connection with remote machines. Another way to update the Ansible configuration file is by changing ssh_args in ansible.cfg file.

This modification will add additional arguments or options when connecting over SSH and can be used to troubleshoot SSH issues with remote machines. For example, adding '-vvv' will increase verbosity level when connecting over SSH and provide more information about any issues that may occur during connection establishment.

Restart sshd service on target machine

Another solution for fixing shared connection to x.x.xx closed Ansible error is restarting sshd service on target machine. Sometimes, SSH may get stuck due to some internal errors and restarting it may resolve them.

To restart sshd service on target machine, one needs root access or sudo privileges on that machine. The command for restarting SSH varies depending on your Linux distribution −

For systems using SystemD −

systemctl restart sshd 

For systems using SysVinit −

/etc/init.d/sshd restart 

Ensure That..

After updating configuration files and restarting sshd service, it is important to ensure that all necessary changes have been applied correctly and verified by testing connectivity with remote machines using Ping, traceroute or SSH commands. One useful command to test SSH connection is −

ssh -vvv target-machine 

This command will establish a verbose SSH connection with the target machine and provide detailed information on any errors that may be occurring during connection establishment. It is important to ensure that all changes made to configuration files are properly documented, so that troubleshooting can be easier in case similar errors occur in the future.


Fixing Shared Connection to x.x.xx Closed Ansible Error requires a multi-faceted approach. It is important to first understand the causes and symptoms of the error before trying to fix it. Troubleshooting steps like checking network connectivity, firewall restrictions, and ssh configuration issues should be explored before updating Ansible Configuration File or restarting sshd service on target machine.

Updated on: 12-Jun-2023

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