In Linux, we can set different users to different roles and responsibilities. Also we can set restriction for specific users and groups. In this tutorial we will show you how to add a user to a group in Linux systems. We will also explain you how to remove a
user from a group and how to create, delete, and list groups.
User Groups in Linux
Linux groups are categories of users with pre-defined permissions. The basic purpose of group is to define a set of privileges such as reading, writing, or executing permission for a given resource that can be shared among the users within the group.
There are two types of groups in Linux operating systems:
- Primary Group – Primary group name is same as
userlogged-in. Any file created by that
user, the file’s group is set to the user’s primary group. The
/etc/passwdfile contains the information about the user’s primary group.
- Secondary Groups – Secondary groups are useful when you want to manage particular files and software applications permissions. Members of the group inherit the read, write, and execute privileges for that group.
Each user can belong to exactly one
primary group and zero or more secondary groups.
Only root or users with sudo access can add a
user to a group.
How to Add an Existing User to a Group
To add an existing user to a secondary group, you should use the
usermod -a -G command followed the name of the group and the user:
sudo usermod -a -G groupname username
For example, to add the user
tecnstuff to the
sudo group you would run the following command:
sudo usermod -a -G sudo tecnstuff
Ensure that you should use
-a (append) option when adding a user to a new group. If the
-a option not added, the user will be removed from any groups not listed after the
The command will not show any output on success. You will get message if
group does not exists.
Add a User to Multiple Groups in One Command
When you have requirement to add an existing user to multiple secondary groups using one command, you should use
usermod command followed by the
-G option name of the group separated by
sudo usermod -a -G group1,group2 username
How to Remove a
User From a Group
If you want to remove any user from group, use the
gpasswd command with the
For example, to remove the
tecnstuff user from the
sudo group, you would run:
sudo gpasswd -d tecnstuff sudo
Here, you have to replace
tecnstuff with your
sudo with your group.
How to Create a
To create a new group, run the following command:
sudo groupadd GROUP_NAME
You should replace the
GROUP_NAME with the name you want for your new group.
How to Delete a Group
You can delete an existing group, using the
groupdel command followed by the group name:
sudo groupdel GROUP_NAME
How to Change a User’s Primary Group
To change a user primary group, use the
usermod command followed by the
sudo usermod -g GROUP_NAME USER_NAME
For example, to change the primary group of the user
devops, you would type:
sudo usermod -g devops tecnstuff
Create a New User and Assign Groups in One Command
The following example the
useradd command will create a new user with name
pintu with primary group users and secondary groups
sudo useradd -g users -G wheel,devops pintu
List User Groups
To view the user information including all the groups of which user is a member of. You should use id command followed by the username:
If you will not pass specific username the system will show the information about the current logged-in user. To check the user
uid=1000(tecnstuff) gid=100(users) groups=100(users),10(wheel),95(storage)
To list only secondary groups of a user, type:
wheel storage users
In this tutorial, we have shown you how to add a
user to a
group in Linux systems.
If you have any question or suggestion, please leave a comment below.