Add a new user account with admin access on Linux

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How do I add a user account with admin (sudo) access on Ubuntu or CentOS Linux cloud server? How can I add a new user with admin account level access in Linux?

On the Linux operating system, one needs to use the sudo command to provide admin-level access. In other words, the sudo command grants admin privileges to ordinary users. This page shows how to create a new user with admin (sudo) access on both Ubuntu/Debian and CentOS/RHEL servers. Please note that the following commands will update /etc/passwd, /etc/group, and /etc/shadow files.

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Create a new user account with admin (sudo) access on Ubuntu or Debian Linux

Commands to add or create a sudo user (admin) on an Ubuntu or Debian Linux server:

  • Open the terminal application
  • For remote Ubuntu/Debian server use the ssh command and log in as the root user using either su or sudo.
  • Create a new user named marlena, run: adduser marlena
  • Make marlena user ‘sudo user’ (admin) run: usermod -aG sudo marlena
  • Verify it by running the id marlena command
  • Log in as marlena: su - marlena. Than run sudo command for verification. For example: sudo ls -l /etc/shadow

Ubuntu add new user with admin sudo account linux

A note about granting sudo account for an existing Ubuntu/Debian Linux user

The syntax is (must run as the root user):
# adduser {UserNameHere} sudo
## add user named 'sai' to sudo group ##
# adduser sai sudo

Another syntax:
usermod -aG sudo UserNameHere
Log in as the root user and add an existing user accout named ‘sai’ to sudo group:
usermod -aG sudo sai
id sai

See “How to create a new sudo user on Ubuntu Linux server” for more info.

RHEL or CentOS create a new user account with admin (sudo) access

Procedure to add or create a sudo user (admin) on CentOS or RHEL:

  • Open the terminal application
  • For remote CentOS server use the ssh command and log in as the root user using either su or sudo.
  • Create a new CentOS user named vivek, run: useradd vivek
  • Set the password, execute: passwd vivek
  • Make vivek user ‘sudo user’ on CentOS/RHEL, run : usermod -aG wheel vivek
  • Verify it by running the id vivek command

CentOS LInux add a new user account with admin sudo access

How to grant sudo access for an existing RHEL/CentOS Linux user

The syntax is as follows for the usermod command and id command:
# usermod -aG wheel User-Name-Here
Add an existing user account named kirsh to wheel group. In other words, type the following two commands:
# usermod -aG wheel krish
# id krish

See Add / Create a Sudo User on CentOS Linux 8 for more info.

Conclusion

You learned how to create a sudo (admin level access) user account on both Ubuntu/Debian and RHEL/CentOS Linux servers. See sudo docs here.

This entry is 4 of 6 in the Linux and Unix sudo Tutorial series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. Linux Login as Superuser ( root user )
  2. How can I log in as root?
  3. Ubuntu create a new sudo user on Ubuntu Linux server
  4. Add a new user account with admin access on Linux
  5. CentOS 8 Linux create a Sudo User
  6. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS create a sudo user

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


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