The sudo command (short for Super-user do) is a program designed to allow users to  execute commands with the security privileges of another user, by  default the root user.

In this guide, we will show you how to create a new user on a Debian system and give it sudo access.

You can use this user account to execute administrative commands without a need to log in to your Debian server as a root user.

Create a sudo user

Follow  the steps below to create a new user account and give it sudo access.  If you want to configure sudo for an existing user, skip to step 3.

1. Log in to your server.

First, log in to your system as the root user:

ssh root@server_ip_address

2. Create a new user account.

Create a new user account using the adduser command. Don’t forget to replace username with your desired user name:

adduser username

The  command will prompt you to set and confirm the new user password. Make  sure that the password for the new account is as strong as possible  (combination of letters, numbers and special characters).

Adding user `username' ...
Adding new group `username' (1001) ...
Adding new user `username' (1001) with group `username' ...
Creating home directory `/home/username' ...
Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...
New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Once you set the user password the command will create a  home directory for the user, copy several configuration files in the  home directory and prompts you to set the new user’s information. If you  want to leave all of this information blank just press ENTER to accept the defaults.

Changing the user information for username
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
    Full Name []:
    Room Number []:
    Work Phone []:
    Home Phone []:
    Other []:
Is the information correct? [Y/n]

3. Add the user to the sudo group

By default on Debian systems, members of the group sudo are granted with sudo access. To add a user to the sudo group use the usermod command:

usermod -aG sudo username

Test the sudo access

Switch to the newly created user:

su - username

Use the sudo command to run the whoami command:

sudo whoami

If the user has sudo access then the output of the whoami command will be root:


How to use sudo

To use sudo, simply prefix the command with sudo and space:

sudo ls -l /root

The first time you use sudo in a session, you will be prompted to enter the user password:

[sudo] password for username:


You have learned how  to create a user with sudo privileges. You can now log in to your  Debian server with this user account and use sudo to run administrative  commands.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.