How to Add and Remove Users From Groups in Linux

Tutorial Dec 18, 2020

Linux is a multi-user operating system, which means multiple users can connect and do work simultaneously. So, managing what each user can and can't do is important for the smooth operation of a system. And a group is a collection of users. Groups make it easy to manage users with the same security and access privileges. Users can be added to an existing group to utilize the privileges that it grants.

We can use the groups command to know what groups a specific user belongs to,

groups usera
usera sudo sambashare friends

And to see all the groups present on our system we can check the /etc/group file. Each line of this file represents information for one group.

cat /etc/group


For adding users to groups, we will be depending on the usermod command. As an example, to add userb to the friends group the command will look like,

sudo usermod -a -G friends userb

And to add userb to multiple groups (friends, leo, vegan) in one go,

sudo usermod -a -G friends,leo,vegan userb

Note: The -a (append) switch is important. If it is not used in this command, userb will be removed from any group not listed after the -G switch.


For removing a user from a group, the gpasswd command with the -d (delete) switch is used. As an example, to remove userb from the vegan group,

sudo gpasswd -d userb vegan

And if you are using Ubuntu or a flavour/variant of it, we can use the deluser command as shown below to achieve the same result.

sudo deluser userb vegan

Note: Be careful when using deluser, as the command name suggests, the command can be used for deleting users from the system.



Simple, like quantum physics.