Linux-Unix - User Account Setup

By Jack Szwergold • September 16, 2015

Here are instructions on how to setup an account on a Linux server.

Create a user account.

Login to the server you want to create an account on and add the user—in this case [username]—like this:

sudo adduser [username]

Use the password as follows for initial setup or change it to something else:

new2015pass16

This is a temporary account so the user will have to change it on their first login. More on that later when we expire the user’s password to force creation of a new password.

Add a user to a group and set the user’s default group.

Add the user to the www-readwrite group:

sudo adduser [username] www-readwrite

Set user’s default group to the www-readwrite group:

sudo usermod -g www-readwrite [username]

Expire the password immediately to force the user to choose their own password.

First, let’s check the password status like this:

sudo passwd -S [username]

Next, expire the password immediately:

sudo chage -d 0 [username]

After that’s done, check the password status again to make sure it has been expired:

sudo passwd -S [username]

Miscellaneous user account management items.

Here are some related commands that might need to be used depending on the situation.


Run this command to unexpire a user’s password:

sudo chage -d 99999 [username]

Check the account aging information for a user with this command:

sudo chage -l [username]

Lock a user’s password:

sudo passwd -l [username]

Delete user from system and remove their home directory:

sudo deluser --remove-home [username]

Set an account to expire on a specific date.

sudo chage -E 2015-11-30 [username]

Changing a username and their home directory:

sudo usermod -l [new_username] -m -d /home/[new_username] [old_username]

To add a new group, do this:

sudo addgroup [groupname]

To delete an existing group, do this:

sudo delgroup [groupname]

To add a user to a group, use the following syntax:

sudo adduser [username] [groupname]

Add a user to a set of groups

sudo useradd -G [groupname1],[groupname2],[groupname3] [username]

Get username id and connected group id info:

id [username]

Get username id and connected group id info, more readable format:

id [username] | tr -s ', ' '\n'