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How to set up user accounts in Linux

Easy steps to create user accounts in Linux, securely and quickly. Learn how to set up your account today!

Updated October 17, 2023

Setting up user accounts in Linux is like assigning seats at a multi-genre concert. Each seat provides access to different performances, and similarly, each user account grants different levels of access to the system’s resources. Whether you’re a system administrator responsible for a multi-user system or a curious enthusiast, understanding how to manage user accounts is a fundamental skill. So, let’s dive into the world of users and groups in Linux, shall we?

Understanding User Accounts in Linux

In the Linux world, user accounts are more than just slots in a system. They are comprehensive profiles that determine what each user can or cannot do. These actions range from reading files and executing commands to making system-wide changes.

Root User Versus Standard Users

The “root” user is like the director of the concert, with unrestricted access to all areas and control over all functions. In contrast, standard users have limited access. They can only view their own data and cannot make changes affecting other users or the core system.

Creating a New User

Let’s start with the basics: creating a new user. This process is like issuing a ticket to the concert, providing new attendees (users) with access to the event (system). We’ll explore the command-line method, which is the universal way to do this across all Linux distributions.

sudo adduser username

Assigning a Password to New User

After creating a new user, you must assign them a password. This step is akin to giving them a unique code to access their seat—their slice of the Linux environment.

sudo passwd username

Granting Sudo Privileges

Sometimes, standard users need to perform actions reserved for the root user. This situation is like a regular attendee needing access to a VIP area. This is where sudo comes into play, a powerful command that grants temporary privileges for specific tasks.

sh Copy code sudo usermod -aG sudo username Creating and Managing Groups In Linux, groups help define a set of privileges or access rights. It’s like having different fan clubs at a concert, where each club has its own perks and access levels. Here’s how you create a new group:

sudo groupadd groupname

Modifying User Properties

Occasionally, you’ll need to change a user’s properties, maybe to update their group information or change their home directory. It’s akin to changing seats to get a better view of the stage.

sudo usermod options username

Deleting a User Account

There may come a time when a user no longer needs access, similar to an attendee leaving the concert. In such cases, the user account should be removed for security reasons.

sudo deluser username

Understanding User Sessions

Each login by a user starts a session, indicating they’re present and active. It’s like checking in at the concert. Linux provides commands to view who’s logged in and what they’re doing, ensuring system management and security.

Managing User Sessions

Just as concert security might need to escort an unruly attendee out, you may sometimes need to end a user session. This action can be due to various reasons, like system maintenance, security, or resource allocation.

Best Practices for User Account Management

Managing user accounts isn’t just about knowing commands. It’s about understanding best practices to ensure system security and efficiency. This includes regular password updates, monitoring user activities, and setting appropriate permissions.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Sometimes, you’ll face challenges—users unable to log in, forgotten passwords, or account lockouts. Troubleshooting these common issues efficiently is crucial to maintain a secure and functional system.


In conclusion, managing user accounts in Linux is an essential skill, akin to managing the diverse crowd at a concert. It involves understanding the different types of users, knowing how to create and delete accounts, assign privileges, manage groups, and troubleshoot common issues. With this guide, you’re well-equipped to ensure a harmonious Linux environment, where every user knows their place and how to enjoy the system’s resources without stepping on anyone else’s toes.