How To Create a New Sudo-enabled User on Ubuntu 20.04 [Quickstart]


When managing a server, you’ll sometimes want to allow users to execute commands as “root,” the administrator-level user. The sudo command provides system administrators with a way to grant administrator privileges — ordinarily only available to the root user — to normal users.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a new user with sudo access on Ubuntu 20.04 without having to modify your server’s /etc/sudoers file.

Note: If you want to configure sudo for an existing user, skip to step 3.

Step 1 — Logging Into Your Server

SSH in to your server as the root user:

Step 2 — Adding a New User to the System

Use the adduser command to add a new user to your system:

  • adduser sammy

Be sure to replace sammy with the username that you want to create. You will be prompted to create and verify a password for the user:

OutputEnter new UNIX password: Retype new UNIX password: passwd: password updated successfully 

Next, you’ll be asked to fill in some information about the new user. It is fine to accept the defaults and leave this information blank:

OutputChanging the user information for sammy 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] 

Step 3 — Adding the User to the sudo Group

Use the usermod command to add the user to the sudo group:

  • usermod -aG sudo sammy

Again, be sure to replace sammy with the username you just added. By default on Ubuntu, all members of the sudo group have full sudo privileges.

Step 4 — Testing sudo Access

To test that the new sudo permissions are working, first use the su command to switch to the new user account:

  • su - sammy

As the new user, verify that you can use sudo by prepending sudo to the command that you want to run with superuser privileges:

  • sudo command_to_run

For example, you can list the contents of the /root directory, which is normally only accessible to the root user:

  • sudo ls -la /root

The first time you use sudo in a session, you will be prompted for the password of that user’s account. Enter the password to proceed:

Output:[sudo] password for sammy: 

Note: This is not asking for the root password! Enter the password of the sudo-enabled user you just created.

If your user is in the proper group and you entered the password correctly, the command that you issued with sudo will run with root privileges.


In this quickstart tutorial, we created a new user account and added it to the sudo group to enable sudo access.

For your new user to be granted external access, please follow our section on Enabling External Access for Your Regular User.

If you need more detailed information on setting up an Ubuntu 20.04 server, please read our Initial Server Setup with Ubuntu 20.04 tutorial.