Ubuntu, just like any other operating system, is a multi-user operating system where each user can have different sets of privileges. They can use these privileges to execute commands for various applications.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and delete users on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.


To add and remove users on Ubuntu, you must be logged in as root or a user with sudo privileges on a Ubuntu 18.04 machine (get one from DigitalOcean).

Add A New User

There are two ways to create a new user account on Ubuntu:

  1. Add a user from the command line
  2. Add user through GUI (Graphical User Interface)

1. Add a user from the command line

For adding new users on Ubuntu, there are two Linux commands available: useradd and adduser.

useradd is the low-level command that is used for creating user accounts on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. The adduser is very much similar to useradd because it is just a symbolic link to it.

Let us use adduser command to create a new user account with the name username:

$ sudo adduser username
Adding user `username' ...
Adding a new group `username' (1001) ...
Adding new user `username' (1001) with group `username' ...
Creating home directory `/home/username' ...
Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...

Afterward, you will be asked to enter the user details. Only the password is required. All other fields are optional:

New password: 
Retype new password: 
passwd: password updated successfully
Changing the user information for username
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] Y

Enter Y to confirm the information. This will create the new user's home directory, and copy files from /etc/skel directory to the user's home directory.

Within the home directory, the user can add, edit, and delete files and directories. If you want to grant administrative rights to newly created user, add it to the sudo group:

$ sudo usermod -aG sudo username

Don't forget to replace the username keyword in the above commands with the user name that you want to create.

2. Add a user from the GUI

If the command line is not your favorite thing, you can add a new user account from the GUI.

Open the Account Settings dialog either through Activities screen (search users and then click on Add or remove users and change your password) or by clicking the down-arrow located at the top right corner of your Ubuntu screen. Click your username and then click again on Account Settings.

In the next window, click on Unlock button and enter your password when prompted:

Ubuntu Account Settings Dialog

Once you enter the password, the Unlock button will change to a green Add User button. Click on this button to open the below Add User dialog:

Ubuntu Add User Dialog

Enter the user information (full name, username, password) and select whether the new user should be a standard or administrator user. Next, click on Add button and you are done.

Delete A User

If a user account is no longer needed, you can remove it either from the command line or through GUI.

1. Delete a user from the command line

There are two Linux commands available that you can use to delete a user account: deluser and userdel. The userdel is a low-level command similar to useradd, whereas deluser is a friendly symbolic link to it.

To delete user, without removing the files in the user's home directory, run the following command:

$ sudo deluser username

If you want to delete the user's home directory too along with user account, issue the following command with --remove-home flag:

$ sudo deluser username --remove-home

If you had previously included the deleted user to the sudo group, you can remove it by typing:

$ sudo gpasswd -d username sudo

Delete a user from the GUI

Follow the above steps to open the Account Settings dialog. Click on the Unlock button and enter your password when prompted. Once you enter the password, you will see a red Remove User... button on the bottom right corner:

Ubuntu Delete User Dialog

Click on the red button and you will be prompted to choose whether to delete or keep the user's home directory. Clicking on one of these buttons will remove the user account.


In this article, you have learned how to add and remove users on your Ubuntu 18.04 machine. You should now have a fairly good understanding of how to manage user accounts on Ubuntu.

The same commands can be applied to add and delete users on any Ubuntu-based distribution, including Debian, Kubuntu, and Linux Mint.

Better user management can prevent many destructive things and allows you to control users' access by giving them the rights they need to complete the task.

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