Linux Logout user / Logoff User Commands

by on May 15, 2007 · 17 comments· LAST UPDATED November 9, 2013

in , ,

I am a new Linux sysadmin. I am using Linux on HP server. How do I logout users from my systems? How can I forcefully logoff any user using bash shell on Linux?

A root user can logout and kill any user session forcefully using the following commands:

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesYes
Requirementspkill
Estimated completion time2m
a) pkill command - Kill processes by name.

b) kill command - terminate or signal a process.

c) logout command - Logout of a login shell. This command can be used by normal users to end their own session.

logout command syntax and example

If you are logged in as nixcraft user and just wanted to exit a login shell type the following command or hit CTRL+D:
$ logout
You will be logout of a login shell session or secure shell session.

Task: Linux logout all other users

If you would like to logout other users, you must login as root user. Next you need to use the pkill command.

pkill command syntax

The syntax is:

 
pkill -KILL -u {username}
 

Warning: Do not kill root user or other system level user process. The following example, will kill all process on your server. Do not run the pkill for root user:

pkill -KILL -u root

To see list of logged in user type who or w command:
# who
OR
# w
To logout a user called raj, enter:
# pkill -KILL -u raj
OR
$ sudo pkill -KILL -u raj

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rajdoe December 12, 2007 at 1:13 am

Thankssssss man !

Reply

2 songshu July 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Its one of things i hardly ever remember, never mind that i take the effort to write it down, but if you do need it a post like this is worth a million…
thanks

Reply

3 The Doctor June 12, 2009 at 1:44 am

Works in OpenBSD 4.5 also. Great tip.

Reply

4 Wildcard September 2, 2009 at 12:13 am

Whow, thanks for this posting! Just what I needed, highly appreciated!

Reply

5 Husen June 7, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks, I was looking for such a command

Reply

6 harris March 5, 2011 at 2:49 am

i want to show the login time and logout time of all users then i will sort it according to their name help me pls…

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7 Mehdi May 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thanks a lot!
pkill worked fine in the GUI session!
Regards;

Reply

8 Mohamad Aqashenas September 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thanks a lot.
I found here very usefull information about my quistions.
Best regards.

Reply

9 yaw October 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm

what’s the KILL flag do?

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10 arturo April 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

thanks, it works me to kill my locked sessions in a server

Reply

11 Raj May 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hey, Thanks… This is exactly i requried.

Reply

12 New_Linux_kid June 15, 2012 at 5:18 am

Thanks you buddy….I have seen some of your posts regarding Linux commands. They are very useful for beginners like me.

Reply

13 shivendra August 24, 2012 at 5:32 am

if i logged twice from putty as same user root then if i want to logout one root user then how i would do it.As same user logged twice then in that case if i kill process of root -user then both will get kill…so is their is any ip based parameter to logout one root ?

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14 sunnogo August 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Mark! do the work!

Reply

15 Scott April 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Wow. What bad information. Lets say you have root logged in under two sessions.

pkill -KILL -u root

That kills all processes owned by root. Meaning most system processes.

Let’s say you have one user in multiple sessions and that user is not root. Well, you just killed both sessions, even if that’s not what you wanted.

This is terrible advice, and the article should be called “Linux Kill All Processes by User”, and have nothing to do with “logging off”.

Reply

16 nusantara August 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

how The system should send an email alert when the root user has logged out from ssh/terminal.

Reply

17 Kreso November 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

@Scott, if you know the better command how to logout the user you could write it here, not just come and start wonder here how bed info that is!

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