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How to Create Users in Linux

Adding users without a graphical user interface (i.e., GUI) can be cumbersome at times. Today we will show you how to create new users in Linux and modify the type of user created.

14 Dec, 21 by Antoniy Yushkevych 7 min Read

List of content you will read in this article:

As you know, Linux is a system where multiple people can interact with one system at one time. In order to reach this objective, Linux uses a useradd command. This command’s primary aim is to add the accounts of the new users to your Linux system. 

If you are a system administrator, you have the authority to manage users and the groups of the system. You can create or remove the users as well. Here, we are going to talk about creating several new accounts with the use of useradd command. Along with that, you will see many more functions.

Let’s begin!



The useradd Command

Here is the general syntax to begin with:

sudo useradd test_user

The useradd command here creates a new account. It runs according to some of the default values mentioned in the /etc/default/useradd file.

Along with this, the command also runs through the /etc/login.defs file. This file imbibes certain information like range of user IDs, password expiration policy, and much more.

Now, in order to login as a new user, you have to set the user password first. How do you do that?

Simply, write this command:

passed username

After you execute this command, you need to enter the details. Always set a password with alphanumerics. 


Changing password for user username.

New password:

Retype new password:

passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.

Now, have a look at the list of commands to fulfill several other requirements.


The useradd command automatically creates a home directory of the user in /home. If you want to change the location, use -d (- - home).

Now, look at the following command to create a user having /opt/username as the home directory.

sudo useradd -d /home/test_user test_user


When we talk about groups in Linux, they are primarily used in the administration and the usage of several user accounts. 

Groups generally define certain privileges. For instance, read, write, and execute permissions. These permissions are given to a particular resource to be shared among other users.

The useradd command automatically creates a group with the name as that of the username. With the exact copy of the GID as that of the UID. 

Now, -g (- -gid) helps to create a user that has a certain login group. You have to mention the GID number or the group name.

useradd -g 1000 test_user 


As you know, the users are known by their respective UID and username. 

When we talk about User Identifier, UID, it is simply a positive integer that is allocated to every user in the Linux system. It helps to understand different types of actions that a user is able to perform on the system. 

In the login.defs file, a range of user IDs is mentioned. The system automatically allocates the available user identifier from this range. 

In order to execute the command, use the following syntax:

useradd -u 1234 test_user

If you further want the verification of the users UID, type this:

id -u username




The Linux operating system inhibits two kinds of groups. Primary group and secondary group. The secondary group is also called a supplementary group. 

Every user can be assigned to only one primary group. Whereas in the case of secondary groups, the number is either zero or more.

Have a look at the below-stated command mentioning both the primary group ‘users’ as well as secondary group ‘wheel’ and ‘docker’.

sudo useradd -g users -G wheel,developers username

If you want to check the user groups, type the following command:

id username


uid=1002(username) gid=100(users) groups=100(users),10(wheel),993(docker)


For your information, a new user’s login shell is always set according to the one depicted in /etc/default/useradd file.

You will notice that in some cases the default shell is /bin/sh whereas in some others it is specified in /bin/bash.

If you want to mention the login shell of a new user, kindly use -s (- -shell) option. 

Now here is a syntax to create a user we change the login shell:

-s /bin/sh test_user


There are certain times when you would want to know the expiry date of the user accounts. To do that use the following option: -e (- - expiredate). You can also create temporary accounts with this option.

Here is the syntax to create a user with an expiry date:

useradd -e 2021-03-05 test_user

By using this command you will be able to create a user with the expiry date of March 30,2021.

If you want to verify the user account expiry date then use the following command:

sudo chage -l username


In case you need to add a description for a new user use -c (- - comment) option.

For instance,

sudo useradd -c “This is a test user” test_user


To full fill this need type the following command:

sudo useradd -M test_user

This command helps you to create a user without a specific home directory.


In order to set an unencrypted password use the following command:

sudo useradd -p test_password test_user


Particularly there is no solid technical difference between a regular user and the system user. When we talk about system users, they are created while the installation of the operating system. 

To create a system user account use the -r (- - system) option. 


sudo useradd -r username

For your information, the system users do not have an expiry date. 


You can do that by using -D, (- - defaults option). 

Manually, just edit the values in /etc/default/useradd file.

Use the following command to view the default option type:

useradd -D










Using the following command, you can retrieve the help section of useradd command.

sudo useradd --help


We have presented information about using useradd command in order to create several user accounts. The above-stated article showcases numerous ways that will make your working easier in the Linux system.

We hope that the information adds value to your knowledge and widens your horizons. 

Antoniy Yushkevych

Master of word when it comes to technology, internet and privacy. I'm also your usual guy that always aims for the best result and takes a skateboard to work. If you need me, you will find me at the office's Counter-Strike championships on Fridays or at a.yushkevych@monovm.com