Ubuntu Linux: Add a User To Group

by on May 6, 2012 · 9 comments· LAST UPDATED June 10, 2013


How do I add a user to group under Ubuntu Linux operating system using command line options?

You need to use the following commands:

Tutorial details
DifficultyIntermediate (rss)
Root privilegesYes
Requirementsuseradd / usermod
Estimated completion time5 minutes
[a] useradd command - Create a new user or update default new user information or add a new user to secondary group.

[b] usermod command - Modifies the system account and make changes to existing user accounts.

First, login as the root user

You must login as the root user. You can switch to the root user by typing 'su -' and entering the root password, when prompted. However, sudo command is recommend under Ubuntu Linux for switching to root user:

su -


sudo -s


sudo useradd ...

Ubuntu Linux: add a new user to secondary group

Use the following syntax:

useradd -G Group-name Username
passwd Username

Create a group called foo and add user tom to a secondary group called foo:
$ sudo groupadd foo
$ sudo useradd -G foo tom

# groupadd foo
# useradd -G foo tom

Verify new settings:

id tom
groups tom

Finally, set the password for tom user, enter:
$ sudo passwd tom
# passwd tom
You can add user tom to multiple groups - foo, bar, and ftp, enter:
# useradd -G foo,bar,ftp tom

Ubuntu Linux: add a new user to primary group

To add a user called tom to a group called www use the following command:

useradd -g www tom
id tom
groups tom

Ubuntu Linux: add a existing user to existing group

To add an existing user jerry to ftp supplementary/secondary group with usermod command using -a option ~ i.e. add the user to the supplemental group(s). Use only with -G option:

usermod -a -G ftp jerry
id jerry

To change existing jerry's primary group to www, enter:

usermod -g www jerry

For more information and options read the following man pages:
man 8 useradd
man 8 usemod

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 macsim June 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

For debian based system you can use adduser

#adduser tom group


2 Jorge September 16, 2012 at 2:57 am

I want to create many users with same permission at Amazon EC2.
How can i do it?


3 Kiara October 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

im unable to login tothe new users created using “useradd” command.please help.


4 khan November 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

# useradd -G foo,bar,ftp top

should be
# useradd -G foo,bar,ftp tom


5 vikas January 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi Kiara,
You have to specify a password for the new user.

$passwd username hit on enter then try


6 Jonathan June 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Mis-spelled jerry in line:

usermod -g www jeryy

should be:

usermod -g www jerry


7 nixCraft June 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Thanks for the heads up!


8 Nicolas Lussier September 11, 2013 at 1:58 am

It dos not work for me on debian Jessie. I can add the group but eaven if I added the group to the user the user cant acces to the folder …
usermod -a -G Group-name Username

permission on the folder are drwxrwsr-x and the user cant add annithing to this !!! So it fail It as been over 2h I’m playing with this with no succes !!!
more If I look for which group the user have I get withdifferent result:
in the Username shell the commande “groups” give me
and the comande “groupes name1″ give me
Username Group-name

Anny help will be welcom


9 Josiah Luscher March 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I don’t think this works; at least not any more. You have to use:
“usermod -a -G group username”


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