Adding and deleting users is one of the core things to be done after launching a new Linux server as it is not advisable to give various users access to the root account.
Sudo (short for Super-user do) Access allows users to execute commands with the security privileges of another user, by default the root user.
In this guide, we are going to go through the steps of adding, deleting and granting sudo access to users on a Debian 9 server.
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Updating System Packages
It is always recommended that you update the system to the latest packages before beginning any major installations. This is done with the command below:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
Note: Commands used in this guide except specified with the
sudo prefix before the command was issued as the
Step 1: Adding a New User Account
Issue the command below to create a new user account using the
adduser command. Don’t forget to replace
ayodele with your desired user name:
As shown above, you will be prompted to enter a password for the new account and also confirm the new password. You will also be prompted to enter certain information about the user account (Full name, Room Number, Work Phone, Home Phone and Other). This is optional so you can proceed to press the
ENTER key for the default.
Step 2: Adding users to the sudo group
By default on Debian systems, members of the group sudo are granted with sudo access. To add a user to the sudo group use the usermod command replacing
ayodele with the name of the user
usermod -aG sudo ayodele
Step 3: Testing Sudo Access
After granting sudo access, we can test by carrying out a command that only a root user can perform. First, we need to switch to the user by typing:
cd moves the working directory to the home account of
We can now test by adding "sudo" to the beginning of the command that you want to run with sudo access which in this case is to install a package which is can only be done by the root user.
If you receive the
bash: sudo: command not found error, or
-su: sudo: command not found error. Issue the command to install
sudo as the
apt install sudo
Next, we can then proceed to test
sudo apt-get install nginx
With the above message, we have successfully granted sudo access to the user account.
Step 4: Deleting a User Account
In cases where a user account is no longer needed, it is always advisable to delete the old account. As root (and adding
sudo if you have sudo access on another user account), you can delete the user account itself, without deleting any of the user's files by issuing the command below:
To delete the user's home directory after the user is deleted, issue the following command as root:
deluser --remove-home username