useradd - create a new user account


useradd [-D binddn] [-P path] [-c comment] [-d homedir]
 [-e expire] [-f inactive] [-G group,...] [-g gid] [-m [-k skeldir]] [-o] [-p password] [-u uid] [-r] [-s shell] [--service service] [--help] [--usage] [-v] [--preferred-uid uid] account
useradd --show-defaults
useradd --save-defaults [-d homedir] [-e expire] [-f inactive]
 [-g gid] [-G group,...] [-k skeldir] [-s shell]


useradd creates a new user account using the default values from /etc/default/useradd and the specified on the command line. Depending on the command line options the new account will be added to the system files or LDAP database, the home directory will be created and the initial default files and directories will be copied.

The account name must begin with an alphabetic character and the rest of the string should be from the POSIX portable character class ([A-Za-z_][A-Za-z0-9_-.]*[A-Za-z0-9_-.$]).


-c, --comment comment
 This option specifies the users finger information.
-d, --home homedir
 This option specifies the users home directory. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd is used.
-e, --expire expire
 With this option the date when the account will be expired can be changed. expiredate has to be specified as number of days since January 1st, 1970. The date may also be expressed in the format YYYY-MM-DD. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd is used.
-f, --inactive inactive
 This option is used to set the number of days of inactivity after a password has expired before the account is locked. A user whose account is locked must contact the system administrator before being able to use the account again. A value of -1 disables this feature. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd is used.
-G, --groups group,...
 With this option a list of supplementary groups can be specified, which the user should become a member of. Each group is separated from the next one only by a comma, without whitespace. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd is used.
-g, --gid gid
 The group name or number of the user’s main group. The group name or number must refer to an already existing group. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd is used.
-k, --skel skeldir
 Specify an alternative skel directory. This option is only valid, if the home directory for the new user should be created, too. If not specified, the default from /etc/default/useradd or /etc/skel is used.
-m, --create-home
 Create home directory for new user account.
-o, --non-unique
 Allow duplicate (non-unique) User IDs.
-p, --password password
 Encrypted password as returned by crypt(3) for the new account. The default is to disable the account.
-u, --uid uid
 Force the new userid to be the given number. This value must be positive and unique. The default is to use the first free ID after the greatest used one. The range from which the user ID is chosen can be specified in /etc/login.defs.
--preferred-uid uid
 Set the new userid to the specified value if possible. If that value is already in use the first free ID will be chosen as described above.
-r, --system
 Create a system account. A system account is an user with an UID between SYSTEM_UID_MIN and SYSTEM_UID_MAX as defined in /etc/login.defs, if no UID is specified. The GROUPS entry in /etc/default/useradd is ignored, too.
-s, --shell shell
 Specify user’s login shell. The default for normal user accounts is taken from /etc/default/useradd/, the default for system accounts is /bin/false.
--service service
 Add the account to a special directory. The default is files, but ldap is also valid.
-D, --binddn binddn
 Use the Distinguished Name binddn to bind to the LDAP directory. The user will be prompted for a password for simple authentication.
-P, --path path
 The passwd and shadow files are located below the specified directory path. useradd will use this files, not /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow.
--help Print a list of valid options with a short description.
--usage Print a short list of valid options.
-v, --version
 Print the version number and exit.


/etc/passwd - user account information
/etc/shadow - shadow user account information
/etc/group - group information
/etc/default/useradd - default values for account creation
/etc/skel - directory containing default files


passwd(1), login.defs(5), passwd(5), shadow(5), userdel(8), usermod(8)


Thorsten Kukuk <>

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