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I would like to run few commands such as stop or start web server as a root user. How do I allow a normal user to run these commands as root?
You need to use the sudo command which is use to execute a command as another user. It allows a permitted user to execute a command as the superuser or another user, as specified in the /etc/sudoers (config file that defines or list of who can run what) file. The sudo command allows users to do tasks on a Linux system as another user.
sudo is more more secure than su command. By default it logs sudo usage, command and arguments in /var/log/secure (Red Hat/Fedora / CentOS Linux) or /var/log/auth.log (Ubuntu / Debian Linux).
If the invoking user is root or if the target user is the same as the invoking user, no password is required. Otherwise, sudo requires that users authenticate themselves with a password by default. Once a user has been authenticated, a timestamp is updated and the user may then use sudo without a password for a short period of time (15 minutes unless overridden in sudoers).
Following is general syntax used by /etc/sudoers file:
- USER: Name of normal user
- HOSTNAME: Where command is allowed to run. It is the hostname of the system where this rule applies. sudo is designed so you can use one sudoers file on all of your systems. This space allows you to set per-host rules.
- COMMAND: A simple filename allows the user to run the command with any arguments he/she wishes. However, you may also specify command line arguments (including wildcards). Alternately, you can specify "" to indicate that the command may only be run without command line arguments.
How do I use sudo?
Give user rokcy access to halt/shutdown command and restart Apache web server. First, Login as root user. Use visudo command edit the config file:
Append the following lines to file:
rokcy dbserver=/etc/init.d/apache-perl restart
Save and close file . Now rokcy user can restart Apache web server by typing the following command:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache-perl restart
Password: Restarting apache-perl 1.3 web server....
The sudo command has logged the attempt to the log file /var/log/secure or /var/log/auth.log file:
# tail -f /var/log/auth.log
May 13 08:37:43 debian sudo: rokcy : TTY=pts/4 ; PWD=/home/rokcy ; USER=root ; COMMAND=/etc/init.d/apache-perl restart
If rokcy want to shutdown computer he needs to type command:
$ sudo /sbin/halt
Before running a command with sudo, users usually supply their password. Once authenticated, and if the /etc/sudoers configuration file permits the user access, then the command is run. sudo logs each command run.
a) Allow jadmin to run various commands:
jadmin ALL=/sbin/halt, /bin/kill, /etc/init.d/httpd
b) Allow user jadmin to run /sbin/halt without any password i.e. as root without authenticating himself:
jadmin ALL= NOPASSWD: /sbin/halt
c) Allow user charvi to run any command from /usr/bin directory on the system dev02:
charvi dev02 = /usr/bin/*
- FreeBSD > Becoming super user (su) or enabling su access to user
- Read man pages of sudo and sudoers
- sudo project home page
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