How To Add a User to Sudoers On Debian 10 Buster

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In today’s tutorial, we are going to see how you can add a user to sudoers on Debian distributions.

The sudo command allows authorized users to perform commands as another user, which is by default the root user.

There are two ways to add a user to sudoers : you can add this user to the sudo group or you can add this user to the sudoers file located at etc.

Adding an existing user to the sudo group

As a prerequisites, make sure that the sudo command is available by default. If it’s not the case, you can install it by running (with an account with admin rights)

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install sudo

The first method is to add the user to the sudo group.

To do that, you are going to use the “usermod” command with the capital G flag (for groups)

$ sudo usermod -a -G sudo user

You can also use the gpasswd command to grant sudo rights.

$ sudo gpasswd -a bob sudo
Adding user to the group sudo

Make sure that the user belongs to the sudo group with the groups command.

$ su - user
(password for user)

$ groups
user sudo

You should now be able to perform a sudo request on Debian 10.


Adding an existing user to the sudoers file

The sudoers file is located at /etc/sudoers.

This file contains a set of rules that are applied to determine who has sudo rights on a system, which commands they can execute with sudo privileges, and if they should be prompted a password or not.

However, you should never modify the sudoers file with a text editor.

Saving a bad sudoers may leave you with the impossibility of getting sudo rights ever again.


Most Common Errors

  • user is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.

This is the standard error message you get when a user does not belong to the sudo group on Debian 10.
By adding this user to the sudoers file on Debian, this error message should not be raised anymore.


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