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How to Add a User to Sudoers in Ubuntu

Ubuntu, like many other Linux distributions, uses the sudo mechanism to grant administrative privileges to regular users. This allows users to execute commands with elevated privileges, while also serving as a security measure to prevent unauthorized changes. If you wish to provide a user with such privileges, you'll need to add them to the sudoers file.

In this article, we'll explore various methods to add a user to the sudoers list in Ubuntu.

What is the sudoers file?

Before we proceed, it's crucial to understand the sudoers file. Located at /etc/sudoers, this configuration file determines which users can run which commands, and on which machines. As a security measure, you should never edit this file directly with a standard editor like nano or vim. Instead, always use visudo, which checks for syntax errors before saving. A misconfigured sudoers file can lock you out of your system!

Method 1: Add the user to the "sudo" group

The most straightforward method to grant a user sudo privileges is to add them to the "sudo" group. By default, members of this group have sudo access.

Open a terminal. Use the usermod command followed by -aG (append to group) and then the group name, like this:

sudo usermod -aG sudo username

Replace "username" with the actual username.

The user will need to log out and back in for the changes to take effect.

Method 2: Edit the sudoers file using visudo

If you want more fine-grained control over user permissions or if you'd like to add users manually, you can edit the sudoers file directly.

Open a terminal. Type sudo visudo to edit the file.

Navigate to the section labeled "User privilege specification".

To give a user full sudo privileges, you can add the following line:

username ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

If you wish to grant specific commands or limit to specific machines, you can tailor this line accordingly. Be cautious and ensure you understand the implications of the permissions you're granting.

Save and exit. With visudo, you'll typically use the standard save commands associated with the vi editor unless you've changed the default editor.

Method 3: Using sudoers.d directory

Instead of editing the main sudoers file, you can also add configuration snippets to the /etc/sudoers.d directory. This modular approach can help manage permissions more cleanly.

Open a terminal. Create a new file in /etc/sudoers.d/, named after the user or the purpose of the configuration:

sudo touch /etc/sudoers.d/username

Edit this file using visudo by specifying the filename:

sudo visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/username

Add the appropriate permissions, similar to the direct sudoers file edit method.

Save and exit.


Granting sudo privileges should always be done with care. Ensure you fully trust the user and understand the implications of the permissions you're providing. Always use visudo when working with the sudoers file or snippets to avoid locking yourself out of your system due to a syntax error. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility!

About this post

Posted: 2023-09-28
By: dwirch
Viewed: 307 times




Linux Commandline




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