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What Is a Superuser?

Published on July 30, 2021 · Updated on July 30, 2021
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By Jeanelle Horcasitas

Technical Writer

What Is a Superuser?

A superuser is an account with broad privileges, making it useful for system administration. This account is known by other names as well, such as “root”, “administrator”, and “supervisor”.

The superuser’s privileges are unrestricted and it can perform any available action on a system, including potentially dangerous ones like adding or deleting users or installing and removing software. Because of these broad privileges and the potential dangers that come with them, it’s generally considered good practice to create other, non-superuser accounts for regular work and avoid using the superuser account in day-to-day functions.

On Unix-like systems, you can create non-superuser accounts that are members of the sudo group. Members of the sudo group have the ability to prepend any command with sudo to temporarily elevate their permissions to that of the superuser. This makes it possible to perform administrative tasks without having to switch to the root account.

You can learn more about superusers and sudo-enabled accounts by following one of our tutorials on How To Add a Sudo-enabled User.

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About the authors
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Technical Writer

Educator and writer committed to empowering our community by providing access to the knowledge and tools for making creative ideas into a reality

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