When you log into a new freshly spun up droplet, you are accessing it from the root user. Although this gives you the power to make any changes you need on the server, you are much better off creating another new user with root privileges on the virtual private server. Additionally, if other people will be accessing the virtual server, you will need to make new users for them as well. This tutorial will go over creating a new user, granting them root privileges, and deleting users.
When you perform any root tasks with the new user, you will need to use the phrase “sudo” before the command. This is a helpful command for 2 reasons: 1) it prevents the user making any system-destroying mistakes 2) it stores all the commands run with sudo to a file where can be reviewed later if needed. Keep in mind however, that this user is as powerful as the root user. If you only need a user for a limited number of tasks on the VPS, you do not need to give them root privileges.
This tutorial requires access to the root user or a user with sudo privileges.
You should have received your root password from the welcome email after you launched your droplet.
Users on Ubuntu 12.04
How to Add a User on Ubuntu 12.04
To add a new user in Ubuntu, use the adduser command, replacing the “newuser” with your preferred username.
sudo adduser newuser
As soon as you type this command, Ubuntu will automatically start the process:
- Type in and confirm your password
- Enter in the user’s information. This is not required, pressing enter will automatically fill in the field with the default information
- Press Y (or enter) when Ubuntu asks you if the information is correct
Congratulations—you have just added a new user. You can log out of the root user by typing
exit and then logging back in with the new username and password.
How to Grant a User Root Privileges
As mentioned earlier, you are much better off using a user with root privileges.
You can create the sudo user by opening the sudoers file with this command:
Adding the user’s name and the same permissions as root under the the user privilege specification will grant them the sudo privileges.
# User privilege specification root ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
Press ‘cntrl x’ to exit the file and then ‘Y’ to save it.
How to Delete a User
Should you find that you find that you no longer want to have a specific user on the virtual private server you can delete them with a single command.
sudo userdel newuser
Finish up by the deleting the user’s home directory:
sudo rm -rf /home/newuser