Exceptional points (EPs) are peculiar band singularities and play a vital role in a rich array of unusual optical phenomena and non-Hermitian band theory. In this paper, we provide a topological classification of isolated EPs based on homotopy theory. In particular, the classification indicates that an $n$-th order EP in two dimensions is fully characterized by the braid group B$_n$, with its eigenenergies tied up into a geometric knot along a closed path enclosing the EP. The quantized discriminant invariant of the EP is the writhe of the knot. The knot crossing number gives the number of bulk Fermi arcs emanating from each EP. Furthermore, we put forward a non-Hermitian no-go theorem, which governs the possible configurations of EPs and their splitting rules on a two-dimensional lattice and goes beyond the previous fermion doubling theorem. We present a simple algorithm generating the non-Hermitian Hamiltonian with a prescribed knot. Our framework constitutes a systematic topological classification of the EPs and paves the way towards exploring the intriguing phenomena related to the enigmatic non-Hermitian band degeneracy.