When you first start using a fresh Linux server, adding and removing users is often one of first things you’ll need to do. In this guide, we will cover how to create user accounts, assign
sudo privileges, and delete users on a CentOS 8 server.
This tutorial assumes you are logged into a CentOS 8 server with a non-root
sudo-enabled user. If you are logged in as root instead, you can drop the
sudo portion of all the following commands, but they will work either way.
Throughout this tutorial we will be working with the user
sammy. Please susbtitute with the username of your choice.
You can add a new user by typing:
- sudo adduser sammy
Next, you’ll need to give your user a password so that they can log in. To do so, use the
- sudo passwd sammy
You will be prompted to type in the password twice to confirm it. Now your new user is set up and ready for use!
Note: if your SSH server disallows password-based authentication, you will not yet be able to connect with your new username. Details on setting up key-based SSH authentication for the new user can be found in step 5 of Initial Server Setup with CentOS 8.
If your new user should have the ability to execute commands with root (administrative) privileges, you will need to give them access to
We can do this by adding the user to the wheel group (which gives
sudo access to all of its members by default).
usermod command to add your user to the wheel group:
- sudo usermod -aG wheel sammy
Now your new user is able to execute commands with administrative privileges. To do so, append
sudo ahead of the command that you want to execute as an administrator:
- sudo some_command
You will be prompted to enter the password of the your user account (not the root password). Once the correct password has been submitted, the command you entered will be executed with root privileges.
While you can add and remove users from a group with
usermod, the command doesn’t have a way to show which users are members of a group.
To see which users are part of the
wheel group (and thus have
sudo privileges), you can use the
lid is normally used to show which groups a user belongs to, but with the
-g flag, you can reverse it and show which users belong in a group:
- sudo lid -g wheel
The output will show you the usernames and UIDs that are associated with the group. This is a good way of confirming that your previous commands were successful, and that the user has the privileges that they need.
If you have a user account that you no longer need, it’s best to delete it.
To delete the user without deleting any of their files, use the
- sudo userdel sammy
If you want to delete the user’s home directory along with their account, add the
-r flag to
- sudo userdel -r sammy
With either command, the user will automatically be removed from any groups that they were added to, including the
wheel group if applicable. If you later add another user with the same name, they will have to be added to the
wheel group again to gain
You should now have a good grasp on how to add and remove users from your CentOS 8 server. Effective user management will allow you to separate users and give them only the access that is needed for them to do their job.
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