Create a sudo user in Ubuntu

This article describes how to grant superuser (sudo) access to a new or existing user on the Ubuntu, Debian, or Debian-based Linux distribution.

Create a new user

  1. Use adduser command followed by the new <username>:
root@server:~# adduser newuser
  1. At the prompt, enter the password for the new user twice to set and verify it.
New password:  
Retype new password:  
passwd: password updated successfully
  1. If you want to add contact information for the new user, enter it at the prompt
    or press ENTER to proceed with the defaults. When you finish, enter y to
    verify that the entered information is correct:
Changing the user information for newuser
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
  Full Name []: New Hire
  Room Number []:
  Work Phone []:
  Home Phone []:
  Other []:
Is the information correct? [Y/n] y

Grant root permissions for a new or existing user.

  1. Use visudo to edit the sudoers file.

    root@server:~# visudo

Or you can just directly edit the sudoers file, by using an external editor, such as nano and vim.

root@server:~# nano /etc/sudoers

For detailed information, invoke man sudoers in your terminal.

Adding the user to sudoers

  1. Add the newly created user by inserting <username> ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
    at the end of the user privilege section, as shown in the following example:

    # User privilege specification
    root    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
    newuser ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

    In nano, press the CTRL+s to save and then CTRL+x to exit from nano.

Verify the permission change

  1. Use su followed by the <username> to switch to the new user account:

    root@server:~# su - newuser  
  2. Use sudo -i to verify that the user account can elevate permissions.
    At the prompt, enter the new user's password:

newuser@server:~$ sudo -i
[sudo] password for newuser:
  1. Use whoami to verify that you are currently the root user:
root@server:~# whoami

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