class fabric.connection.Connection(host, user=None, port=None, config=None, gateway=None, forward_agent=None, connect_timeout=None, connect_kwargs=None, inline_ssh_env=None)

A connection to an SSH daemon, with methods for commands and file transfer.


This class inherits from Invoke’s Context, as it is a context within which commands, tasks etc can operate. It also encapsulates a Paramiko SSHClient instance, performing useful high level operations with that SSHClient and Channel instances generated from it.


Many SSH specific options – such as specifying private keys and passphrases, timeouts, disabling SSH agents, etc – are handled directly by Paramiko and should be specified via the connect_kwargs argument of the constructor.


Connection has a basic “create, connect/open, do work, disconnect/close” lifecycle:

  • Instantiation imprints the object with its connection parameters (but does not actually initiate the network connection).

  • Methods like run, get etc automatically trigger a call to open if the connection is not active; users may of course call open manually if desired.

  • It’s best to explicitly close your connections when done using them. This can be accomplished by manually calling close, or by using the object as a contextmanager:

    with Connection('host') as c:'command')


    While Fabric (and Paramiko) attempt to register connections for automatic garbage collection, it’s not currently safe to rely on that feature, as it can lead to end-of-process hangs and similar behavior.


This class rebinds to local so both remote and local command execution can coexist.


Most Connection parameters honor Invoke-style configuration as well as any applicable SSH config file directives. For example, to end up with a connection to admin@myhost, one could:

  • Use any built-in config mechanism, such as /etc/fabric.yml, ~/.fabric.json, collection-driven configuration, env vars, etc, stating user: admin (or {"user": "admin"}, depending on config format.) Then Connection('myhost') would implicitly have a user of admin.

  • Use an SSH config file containing User admin within any applicable Host header (Host myhost, Host *, etc.) Again, Connection('myhost') will default to an admin user.

  • Leverage host-parameter shorthand (described in Config.__init__), i.e. Connection('admin@myhost').

  • Give the parameter directly: Connection('myhost', user='admin').

The same applies to agent forwarding, gateways, and so forth.

New in version 2.0.

__init__(host, user=None, port=None, config=None, gateway=None, forward_agent=None, connect_timeout=None, connect_kwargs=None, inline_ssh_env=None)

Set up a new object representing a server connection.

  • host (str) –

    the hostname (or IP address) of this connection.

    May include shorthand for the user and/or port parameters, of the form user@host, host:port, or user@host:port.


    Due to ambiguity, IPv6 host addresses are incompatible with the host:port shorthand (though user@host will still work OK). In other words, the presence of >1 : character will prevent any attempt to derive a shorthand port number; use the explicit port parameter instead.


    If host matches a Host clause in loaded SSH config data, and that Host clause contains a Hostname directive, the resulting Connection object will behave as if host is equal to that Hostname value.

    In all cases, the original value of host is preserved as the original_host attribute.

    Thus, given SSH config like so:

    Host myalias
        Hostname realhostname

    a call like Connection(host='myalias') will result in an object whose host attribute is realhostname, and whose original_host attribute is myalias.

  • user (str) – the login user for the remote connection. Defaults to config.user.

  • port (int) – the remote port. Defaults to config.port.

  • config

    configuration settings to use when executing methods on this Connection (e.g. default SSH port and so forth).

    Should be a Config or an invoke.config.Config (which will be turned into a Config).

    Default is an anonymous Config object.

  • gateway

    An object to use as a proxy or gateway for this connection.

    This parameter accepts one of the following:

    • another Connection (for a ProxyJump style gateway);

    • a shell command string (for a ProxyCommand style style gateway).

    Default: None, meaning no gatewaying will occur (unless otherwise configured; if one wants to override a configured gateway at runtime, specify gateway=False.)

  • forward_agent (bool) –

    Whether to enable SSH agent forwarding.

    Default: config.forward_agent.

  • connect_timeout (int) –

    Connection timeout, in seconds.

    Default: config.timeouts.connect.

  • connect_kwargs (dict) –

    Keyword arguments handed verbatim to SSHClient.connect (when open is called).

    Connection tries not to grow additional settings/kwargs of its own unless it is adding value of some kind; thus, connect_kwargs is currently the right place to hand in paramiko connection parameters such as pkey or key_filename. For example:

    c = Connection(
            "key_filename": "/home/myuser/.ssh/private.key",

    Default: config.connect_kwargs.

  • inline_ssh_env (bool) –

    Whether to send environment variables “inline” as prefixes in front of command strings (export VARNAME=value && mycommand here; this is the default behavior), or submit them through the SSH protocol itself.

    In Fabric 2.x this defaulted to False (try using the protocol behavior), but in 3.x it changed to True due to the simple fact that most remote servers are deployed with a restricted AcceptEnv setting, making use of the protocol approach non-viable.

    The actual default value is the value of the inline_ssh_env configuration value (which, as above, currently defaults to True).


    This functionality does not currently perform any shell escaping on your behalf! Be careful when using nontrivial values, and note that you can put in your own quoting, backslashing etc if desired.

    Consider using a different approach (such as actual remote shell scripts) if you run into too many issues here.


    When serializing into prefixed FOO=bar format, we apply the builtin sorted function to the env dictionary’s keys, to remove what would otherwise be ambiguous/arbitrary ordering.


    This setting has no bearing on local shell commands; it only affects remote commands, and thus, methods like run and sudo.


ValueError – if user or port values are given via both host shorthand and their own arguments. (We refuse the temptation to guess).

Changed in version 2.3: Added the inline_ssh_env parameter.

Changed in version 3.0: inline_ssh_env still defaults to the config value, but said config value has now changed and defaults to True, not False.


Terminate the network connection to the remote end, if open.

If any SFTP sessions are open, they will also be closed.

If no connection or SFTP session is open, this method does nothing.

New in version 2.0.

Changed in version 3.0: Now closes SFTP sessions too (2.x required manually doing so).

connect_kwargs = None

Keyword arguments given to paramiko.client.SSHClient.connect when open is called.

connect_timeout = None

Connection timeout

forward_agent = None

Whether agent forwarding is enabled.

forward_local(local_port, remote_port=None, remote_host='localhost', local_host='localhost')

Open a tunnel connecting local_port to the server’s environment.

For example, say you want to connect to a remote PostgreSQL database which is locked down and only accessible via the system it’s running on. You have SSH access to this server, so you can temporarily make port 5432 on your local system act like port 5432 on the server:

import psycopg2
from fabric import Connection

with Connection('my-db-server').forward_local(5432):
    db = psycopg2.connect(
        host='localhost', port=5432, database='mydb'
    # Do things with 'db' here

This method is analogous to using the -L option of OpenSSH’s ssh program.

  • local_port (int) – The local port number on which to listen.

  • remote_port (int) – The remote port number. Defaults to the same value as local_port.

  • local_host (str) – The local hostname/interface on which to listen. Default: localhost.

  • remote_host (str) – The remote hostname serving the forwarded remote port. Default: localhost (i.e., the host this Connection is connected to.)


Nothing; this method is only useful as a context manager affecting local operating system state.

New in version 2.0.

forward_remote(remote_port, local_port=None, remote_host='', local_host='localhost')

Open a tunnel connecting remote_port to the local environment.

For example, say you’re running a daemon in development mode on your workstation at port 8080, and want to funnel traffic to it from a production or staging environment.

In most situations this isn’t possible as your office/home network probably blocks inbound traffic. But you have SSH access to this server, so you can temporarily make port 8080 on that server act like port 8080 on your workstation:

from fabric import Connection

c = Connection('my-remote-server')
with c.forward_remote(8080):"remote-data-writer --port 8080")
    # Assuming remote-data-writer runs until interrupted, this will
    # stay open until you Ctrl-C...

This method is analogous to using the -R option of OpenSSH’s ssh program.

  • remote_port (int) – The remote port number on which to listen.

  • local_port (int) – The local port number. Defaults to the same value as remote_port.

  • local_host (str) – The local hostname/interface the forwarded connection talks to. Default: localhost.

  • remote_host (str) – The remote interface address to listen on when forwarding connections. Default: (i.e. only listen on the remote localhost).


Nothing; this method is only useful as a context manager affecting local operating system state.

New in version 2.0.

classmethod from_v1(env, **kwargs)

Alternate constructor which uses Fabric 1’s env dict for settings.

All keyword arguments besides env are passed unmolested into the primary constructor.


Because your own config overrides will win over data from env, make sure you only set values you intend to change from your v1 environment!

For details on exactly which env vars are imported and what they become in the new API, please see Mapping of v1 env vars to modern API members.


env – An explicit Fabric 1 env dict (technically, any fabric.utils._AttributeDict instance should work) to pull configuration from.

New in version 2.4.

gateway = None

The gateway Connection or ProxyCommand string to be used, if any.

get(*args, **kwargs)

Get a remote file to the local filesystem or file-like object.

Simply a wrapper for Transfer.get. Please see its documentation for all details.

New in version 2.0.

host = None

The hostname of the target server.


Whether to construct remote command lines with env vars prefixed inline.

property is_connected

Whether or not this connection is actually open.

New in version 2.0.

local(*args, **kwargs)

Execute a shell command on the local system.

This method is effectively a wrapper of; see its docs for details and call signature.

New in version 2.0.


Initiate an SSH connection to the host/port this object is bound to.

This may include activating the configured gateway connection, if one is set.

Also saves a handle to the now-set Transport object for easier access.

Various connect-time settings (and/or their corresponding SSH config options) are utilized here in the call to SSHClient.connect. (For details, see the configuration docs.)


The result of the internal call to SSHClient.connect, if performing an initial connection; None otherwise.

New in version 2.0.

Changed in version 3.1: Now returns the inner Paramiko connect call’s return value instead of always returning the implicit None.


Obtain a socket-like object from gateway.


A direct-tcpip, if gateway was a Connection; or a ProxyCommand, if gateway was a string.

New in version 2.0.

port = None

The network port to connect on.

put(*args, **kwargs)

Put a local file (or file-like object) to the remote filesystem.

Simply a wrapper for Transfer.put. Please see its documentation for all details.

New in version 2.0.

run(command, **kwargs)

Execute a shell command on the remote end of this connection.

This method wraps an SSH-capable implementation of; see its documentation for details.


There are a few spots where Fabric departs from Invoke’s default settings/behaviors; they are documented under Config.global_defaults.

New in version 2.0.


Return a SFTPClient object.

If called more than one time, memoizes the first result; thus, any given Connection instance will only ever have a single SFTP client, and state (such as that managed by chdir) will be preserved.

New in version 2.0.


Run an interactive login shell on the remote end, as with ssh.

This method is intended strictly for use cases where you can’t know what remote shell to invoke, or are connecting to a non-POSIX-server environment such as a network appliance or other custom SSH server. Nearly every other use case, including interactively-focused ones, will be better served by using run plus an explicit remote shell command (eg bash).

shell has the following differences in behavior from run:

  • It still returns a Result instance, but the object will have a less useful set of attributes than with run or local:

    • command will be None, as there is no such input argument.

    • stdout will contain a full record of the session, including all interactive input, as that is echoed back to the user. This can be useful for logging but is much less so for doing programmatic things after the method returns.

    • stderr will always be empty (same as run when pty==True).

    • pty will always be True (because one was automatically used).

    • exited and similar attributes will only reflect the overall session, which may vary by shell or appliance but often has no useful relationship with the internally executed commands’ exit codes.

  • This method behaves as if warn is set to True: even if the remote shell exits uncleanly, no exception will be raised.

  • A pty is always allocated remotely, as with pty=True under run.

  • The inline_env setting is ignored, as there is no default shell command to add the parameters to (and no guarantee the remote end even is a shell!)

It supports only the following kwargs, which behave identically to their counterparts in run unless otherwise stated:

  • encoding

  • env

  • in_stream (useful in niche cases, but make sure regular run with this argument isn’t more suitable!)

  • replace_env

  • watchers (note that due to pty echoing your stdin back to stdout, a watcher will see your input as well as program stdout!)

Those keyword arguments also honor the run.* configuration tree, as in run/sudo.




ThreadException (if the background I/O threads encountered exceptions other than WatcherError).

New in version 2.7.

ssh_config = None

The per-host SSH config data, if any. (See Loading and using ssh_config files.)

sudo(command, **kwargs)

Execute a shell command, via sudo, on the remote end.

This method is identical to invoke.context.Context.sudo in every way, except in that – like run – it honors per-host/per-connection configuration overrides in addition to the generic/global ones. Thus, for example, per-host sudo passwords may be configured.

New in version 2.0.

transport = None

A convenience handle onto the return value of self.client.get_transport() (after connection time).

user = None

The username this connection will use to connect to the remote end.