I have set up my tmux to use screen-256colors and it works great with vim.

However, when I ssh to a remote host from within tmux, screen-256colors isn't recognized, so I'm getting errors like this:

E558: Terminal entry not found in terminfo 'screen-256color' not known. Available builtin terminals are:
    builtin_dumb defaulting to 'ansi'

Other than editing each remote .bashrc (similarly to this suggestion), is there any way to set the TERM correctly and automatically on the remote host?

2 Answers 2


You can copy the necessary terminfo descriptions to remote hosts.

  1. On the local system, dump the description to text format:

    infocmp xterm-256color > xterm-256color.ti
    infocmp screen-256color > screen-256color.ti
  2. Copy to the remote host and compile:

    tic xterm-256color.ti
    tic screen-256color.ti

The descriptions will be stored in ~/.terminfo.

(infocmp and tic are part of the ncurses or ncurses-bin packages in most Linux distributions, as well as most BSDs that use ncurses.)

  • Thanks for the quick and neat answer! I wish I could +2 this one
    – Yoav Aner
    Jun 2, 2012 at 21:38
  • Agree. Worked like charm ! Mar 11, 2014 at 10:09

I have this in my .bashrc:

alias ssh='TERM=screen ssh'

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