Troubleshooting "%TAC+: no address for get_server" on Cisco Devices

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The error message "%TAC+: no address for get_server" can send shivers down the spine of any network administrator. It signifies a problem with TACACS+ (Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus), a crucial security protocol for user authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) on Cisco devices. But fear not, for this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to tackle this issue head-on.

Understanding the Message

Before diving into solutions, let's break down the message:

  • TAC+: refers to the TACACS+ protocol.
  • no address for get_server: indicates the device cannot find the IP address of the configured TACACS+ server.

This implies a disconnect between the device and the server, hindering secure access control.

Potential Culprits

Several factors can lead to this error:

  1. Misconfigured IP Address: Double-check the IP address or hostname of the TACACS+ server in the device configuration. A typo or incorrect entry can easily be the culprit.
  2. DNS Mishap: If using a hostname, verify if DNS resolution works correctly. The device might not be translating the hostname to an IP address.
  3. TACACS+ Server Downtime: Ensure the server is up and running on the network, accessible by the device.
  4. Cisco IOS Bug: In rare cases, a software bug might be causing the issue. Check for relevant updates or known issues documented by Cisco.
  5. Configuration Discrepancies: Mismatches between TACACS+ configurations on the device and server can disrupt communication.
  6. Security Policies: Firewall rules or network segmentation might be blocking communication between the device and the server.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Verify Configuration:
    • Double-check the IP address or hostname of the TACACS+ server in the device configuration.
    • If using a hostname, ping it from the device to confirm DNS resolution.
    • Review other TACACS+ settings like key and secret strings for consistency with the server configuration.
  2. Check Server Status:
    • Ping the TACACS+ server IP address from the device to ensure network connectivity.
    • Verify the server is operational and accessible from the network.
    • Review server logs for any errors related to the device communication.
  3. Examine Cisco IOS:
    • Check for known bugs or vulnerabilities related to TACACS+ in your specific IOS version.
    • If necessary, consider applying updates or contacting Cisco support for reported issues.
  4. Review Security Policies:
    • Ensure firewall rules or network segmentation do not block communication between the device and the server.
    • Verify port access for TACACS+ communication (UDP port 49).
  5. Debug and Analyze:
    • Use the debug aaa authentication tacacs command on the device to capture detailed TACACS+ communication logs.
    • Analyze the logs for clues about the connection attempt and failure.
    • Search online forums and communities for similar experiences and solutions.

Advanced Troubleshooting

For complex scenarios, consider these steps:

  • Inspect Server Logs: Analyze TACACS+ server logs for specific error messages related to the device communication.
  • Packet Capture: Utilize network analysis tools to capture and analyze traffic between the device and the server, identifying potential communication issues.
  • Test Alternative Servers: If possible, try configuring the device with a different TACACS+ server for test purposes.
  • Contact Cisco Support: If all else fails, engage Cisco support for further assistance and potential bug fixes.


  • Document your troubleshooting steps and findings for future reference.
  • Back up your configurations before making any changes.
  • Always follow best practices for network security and hardening when resolving the issue.

By following these steps and utilizing the provided resources, you should be well-equipped to conquer the "%TAC+: no address for get_server" error and restore secure TACACS+ functionality on your Cisco devices.

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