First, make sure that parallel-ssh is installed.


ParallelSSH uses gevent’s monkey patching to enable asynchronous use of the Python standard library’s network I/O.

Make sure that ParallelSSH imports come before any other imports in your code. Otherwise, patching may not be done before the standard library is loaded which will then cause ParallelSSH to block.

If you are seeing messages like This operation would block forever, this is the cause.

Run a command on hosts in parallel

The most basic usage of parallel-ssh is, unsurprisingly, to run a command on multiple hosts in parallel.

Examples in this documentation will be using print as a function, for which a future import is needed in Python 2.7 and below.

Make a list or other iterable of the hosts to run on:

from __future__ import print_function
from pssh.pssh_client import ParallelSSHClient

hosts = ['host1', 'host2', 'host3', 'host4']

Where host1 to host4 are valid host names. IP addresses may also be used.

Create a client for these hosts:

client = ParallelSSHClient(hosts)

The client object can, and should, be reused. Existing connections to hosts will remain alive as long as the client object is kept alive. Subsequent commands to the same host(s) will reuse their existing connection and benefit from much faster response times.

Now one or more commands can be run via the client:

output = client.run_command('whoami')

Once the call to run_command returns, the command has started executing in parallel.

Output is keyed by host and contains a host output object. From that, SSH output is available.

Standard Output

Standard output, aka stdout for host1:

for line in output['host1'].stdout:
<your username here>

There is nothing special needed to ensure output is available.

Please note that retrieving all of a command’s standard output by definition requires that the command has completed.

Iterating over stdout for any host to completion will therefor block until that host’s command has completed unless interrupted.

stdout is a generator. Iterating over it will consume the remote standard output stream via the network as it becomes available. To retrieve all of stdout can wrap it with list, per below.

stdout = list(output['host1'].stdout)


This will store the entirety of stdout into memory and may exhaust available memory if command output is large enough.

All hosts iteration

Of course, iterating over all hosts can also be done the same way.

for host, host_output in output.items():
    for line in host_output.stdout:
        print("Host [%s] - %s" % (host, line))

Exit codes

Exit codes are available on the host output object.

First, ensure that all commands have finished and exit codes gathered by joining on the output object, then iterate over all host’s output to print their exit codes.

for host, host_output in output.items():
    print("Host %s exit code: %s" % (host, host_output.exit_code))

See also

Host output class documentation.


By default parallel-ssh will use an available SSH agent’s credentials to login to hosts via private key authentication.

User/Password authentication

User/password authentication can be used by providing user name and password credentials:

client = ParallelSSHClient(hosts, user='my_user', password='my_pass')

Programmatic Private Key authentication

It is also possible to programmatically use a private key for authentication.

The helper function load_private_key is provided to easily load all possible key types. It takes either a file path or a file-like object.

File path:
from pssh.pssh_client import ParallelSSHClient
from pssh.utils import load_private_key

pkey = load_private_key('my_pkey.pem')
client = ParallelSSHClient(hosts, pkey=pkey)

Host Logger

There is a built in host logger that can be enabled to automatically log output from remote hosts. This requires the consume_output flag to be enabled on join.

The helper function pssh.utils.enable_host_logger will enable host logging to standard output, for example:

from pssh.utils import enable_host_logger

output = client.run_command('uname')
client.join(output, consume_output=True)
[localhost]       Linux

Using standard input

Along with standard output and error, input is also available on the host output object. It can be used to send input to the remote host where required, for example password prompts or any other prompt requiring user input.

The stdin attribute is a file-like object giving access to the remote stdin channel that can be written to:

output = client.run_command('read')
stdin = output['localhost'].stdin
stdin.write("writing to stdin\\n")
for line in output['localhost'].stdout:
writing to stdin

Errors and Exceptions

By default, parallel-ssh will fail early on any errors connecting to hosts, whether that be connection errors such as DNS resolution failure or unreachable host, SSH authentication failures or any other errors.

Alternatively, the stop_on_errors flag is provided to tell the client to go ahead and attempt the command(s) anyway and return output for all hosts, including the exception on any hosts that failed:

output = client.run_command('whoami', stop_on_errors=False)

With this flag, the exception attribute will contain the exception on any failed hosts, or None:

for host, host_output in output.items():
    print("Host %s: exit code %s, exception %s" % (
          host, host_output.exit_code, host_output.exception))
host1: 0, None
host2: None, AuthenticationException <..>

See also

Possible exceptions can be found in pssh.exceptions module.