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Adduser vs Useradd: Understanding the Difference on Ubuntu

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In the world of Ubuntu, two commands often used to create new users are adduser and useradd. While they may seem similar, there are key differences that make each one suitable for different situations. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of each command, explore their differences, and provide examples of how to use them.

Quick Answer

The main difference between adduser and useradd on Ubuntu is that adduser is a more user-friendly and interactive command that sets up default configurations, while useradd is a low-level utility that provides more control and flexibility over user creation. The choice between the two depends on your needs and preferences.

Understanding the Useradd Command

useradd is a low-level utility for adding users to a system. It’s a basic command that creates new users with the specific parameters you set, but without any additional features or settings.

Consider the following command:

sudo useradd -m -d /home/newuser -s /bin/bash -G sudo newuser

In this example, -m creates the home directory for the user, -d sets the home directory, -s sets the login shell, and -G adds the user to an additional group, in this case, sudo.

However, useradd doesn’t set up any additional configurations or run any custom scripts. It’s a bare-bones utility that does exactly what you tell it to do and nothing more.

Understanding the Adduser Command

adduser, on the other hand, is a more user-friendly command. It’s actually a front-end to useradd, groupadd, and usermod. It provides a more interactive and intuitive way to create users.

Here’s an example of how to use adduser:

sudo adduser newuser

When you run this command, adduser will automatically create the new user, set up their home directory with skeletal configuration, and even run custom scripts. It also assigns Debian policy conformant UID and GID values by default.

Key Differences between Useradd and Adduser

The main difference between adduser and useradd lies in their level of interaction and default settings. adduser is more interactive and user-friendly, making it ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more guided experience. It sets up more defaults, which can save time and effort.

useradd, however, gives you more control and flexibility. It’s a low-level utility that allows you to specify exactly what you want. It’s often used in scripts or for more advanced user management.

Which Should You Use?

The choice between adduser and useradd depends on your needs. If you want a user-friendly and interactive experience with default configurations, use adduser. If you need more control and flexibility over user creation, use useradd.

Remember, while both commands are available on Ubuntu, their availability may vary across different Linux distributions. useradd is a more universal utility, while adduser is commonly available on Debian-based systems.

Conclusion

Understanding the difference between adduser and useradd can help you manage users on Ubuntu more effectively. While adduser offers a more user-friendly and interactive experience, useradd gives you more control and flexibility. Choose the one that best suits your needs.

For more information on these commands, you can always refer to their man pages by typing man adduser or man useradd in your terminal.

What is the main difference between `adduser` and `useradd`?

The main difference is that adduser is a front-end to useradd, groupadd, and usermod, providing a more interactive and user-friendly experience, while useradd is a low-level utility that offers more control and flexibility over user creation.

Which command should I use if I want a more guided and user-friendly experience?

If you prefer a more guided and user-friendly experience, you should use the adduser command.

Can I use both `adduser` and `useradd` on Ubuntu?

Yes, both adduser and useradd commands are available on Ubuntu.

Are `adduser` and `useradd` available on all Linux distributions?

While useradd is a more universal utility and available on most Linux distributions, adduser is commonly available on Debian-based systems.

Can I use `useradd` to set up additional configurations or run custom scripts?

No, useradd only creates new users with the specific parameters you set. It does not set up additional configurations or run custom scripts.

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