I'm trying to set up my Zero W to use as a headless server, so I've taken the following steps:

  1. Flashed Raspbian Buster Lite onto the SD card
  2. Put a file named wpa_supplicant.conf in the boot/ directory with the details for my home's wifi network
  3. Put a blank file named ssh in the boot/ directory

The Pi boots up, and I can find what I'm pretty sure is the right IP address with nmap, since it says the MAC address is Pi-related:

MAC Address: B8:27:EB:6B:8F:D0 (Raspberry Pi Foundation)
Nmap scan report for
Host is up.

But I can't seem to ssh in with that IP address, and I always get Connection Refused:

ssh -vvv [email protected]
OpenSSH_7.6p1 Ubuntu-4, OpenSSL 1.0.2n  7 Dec 2017
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug2: resolving "" port 22
debug2: ssh_connect_direct: needpriv 0
debug1: Connecting to [] port 22.
debug1: connect to address port 22: Connection refused
ssh: connect to host port 22: Connection refused

I've put the ssh file into the boot/ directory several times now, and it always disappears when I put the SD card back into my computer, so I assume something is checking it. But I'm not able to connect. Any help?

  • That only works if you're running Raspbian or Raspbian Lite. It doesn't work if it's the first boot of NOOBS.
    – Dougie
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 17:49
  • I'm running Raspbian Lite. As my answer below says, I turned out to be using the wrong IP address.
    – Crit
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


Turns out I was looking at the wrong nmap output, and the wrong IP address. Once I put that in, I could connect just fine.

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