How to Add and Delete Users on Debian 9

Updated on

3 min read

Add and Delete Users on Debian

Debian, as well as all other Linux distributions, is a multi-user operating system. Each user can have different permission levels and specific settings for various command-line and GUI applications.

Knowing how to add and remove users is one of the basic skills a Linux user should know.

This tutorial explains how to add and remove users on Debian 9.


You’ll need to be logged in as root or user with sudo access to be able to add and delete users on your Debian system.

How To Add User in Debian

In Debian, there are two command-line tools that you can use to create a new user account: useradd and adduser.

useradd is a low-level utility for adding users while the adduser is a friendly interactive frontend to useradd written in Perl.

To create a new user account named username using the adduser command you would run:

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

You will be asked a series of questions. The password is required, and all other fields are optional.

Enter new UNIX password: 
Retype new UNIX 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] 

On the last prompt you’ll need to confirm that the information is correct by entering Y.

The command 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 write, edit, and delete files and directories.

By default on Debian, members of the group sudo are granted with sudo access.

If you want the newly created user to have administrative rights, add the user to the sudo group :

sudo usermod -aG sudo username

How To Delete a User in Debian

If the user account is no longer needed, you can delete it either with userdel or deluser. On Debian, you should usually use the deluser command as it is more friendly than the low-level userdel.

To delete the user, without removing the user files, run:

sudo deluser username

If you want to delete the user and its home directory and mail spool, use the --remove-home flag:

sudo deluser --remove-home username


In this tutorial, you learned how to add and remove users in Debian. The same commands apply for any Debian-based distribution.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.