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Adduser vs. Useradd: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 21, 2024
Adduser is a high-level, user-friendly command to create new users in Linux, automating settings, while useradd is a low-level, basic command, requiring manual configuration of user details.

Key Differences

Adduser is a more intuitive, high-level command used in Linux systems, often found in Debian-based distributions. It automates many aspects of account creation, like creating a home directory. Useradd, in contrast, is a low-level, basic utility found in most Linux distributions and provides more granular control but less automation.
When using adduser, the system guides the user through the process, asking for additional information such as password and user details. Useradd requires the administrator to manually specify all parameters in the command line, making it less intuitive but more flexible for scripting and automation.
Adduser automatically sets up a default environment for the new user, which includes creating a home directory, copying configuration files, and setting permissions. Useradd, on the other hand, creates a new user account without any additional features unless explicitly specified.
The configuration files for adduser are more user-friendly, often with more straightforward options and settings. In contrast, useradd's configuration requires in-depth knowledge of system administration and command-line syntax.
Adduser is generally recommended for beginners or those who prefer a more guided approach to user management, while useradd is suited for experienced administrators who require detailed control over user account properties.

Comparison Chart

User Interface

High-level, more interactive.
Low-level, manual entry of all parameters.


Automates settings like home directory creation.
Requires manual configuration for each setting.


Better for beginners and those seeking ease of use.
Preferred by experienced system administrators.

Configuration Files

More user-friendly and intuitive.
Requires more in-depth knowledge of system administration.


Less flexible, but more convenient for standard use.
More flexible, allowing detailed control over account creation.

Adduser and Useradd Definitions


A command to create new users in Linux with automated settings.
I used adduser to quickly set up a new account for the intern.


Requires manual specification of all user parameters.
With useradd, I manually set the home directory and shell.


Automates home directory creation and user configuration.
Adduser made it easy to create a home directory for the new user.


Preferred for scripting and automated user creation.
I use useradd in my scripts to automate user creation.


Interactive, asking for user information during the process.
When I ran adduser, it prompted me for the new user's password.


Found in most Linux distributions for system administration.
As a sysadmin, I frequently use useradd on various systems.


Suitable for beginners or easy user management in Linux.
I recommend adduser for those new to managing Linux users.


A basic, low-level command for creating users in Linux.
I used useradd with specific options for the new developer account.


Often found in Debian-based Linux distributions.
On my Ubuntu system, I use adduser for adding new users.


Offers granular control over new user accounts.
Useradd allows detailed customization for each user.


Can useradd automate account creation?

No, it requires manual entry of all parameters.

What does useradd do?

Creates new user accounts with manual settings in Linux.

Does adduser create home directories automatically?

Yes, it sets up home directories by default.

Does adduser require specific Linux distributions?

It's commonly found in Debian-based distributions.

Is adduser interactive?

Yes, it prompts for user details during the process.

Are adduser and useradd commands interchangeable?

Not exactly, as they serve different levels of user creation complexity.

Must I specify a home directory with useradd?

Yes, you need to manually specify it with useradd.

Can adduser customize shell settings?

It can, but with less granularity than useradd.

What is adduser used for?

Creating new user accounts with automated settings in Linux.

Is adduser suitable for beginners?

Yes, it's more user-friendly for beginners.

Can adduser be used for batch user creation?

It's less suitable for batch creation compared to useradd.

Is adduser the default in Ubuntu?

Yes, it's commonly used in Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems.

Can useradd be used in scripts?

Yes, it's often used in scripting for its flexibility.

Does adduser require sudo privileges?

Yes, like useradd, it requires administrative privileges.

Does useradd set user passwords?

No, you need to set passwords separately.

Which command offers more control over user accounts?

Useradd offers more control over account creation details.

Can useradd create user groups?

Yes, but you need to specify this option.

Is useradd recommended for system administrators?

Yes, especially those who need detailed control over user setup.

Is useradd available on all Linux systems?

Yes, it's a standard utility in most Linux distributions.

Does useradd handle configuration files automatically?

No, useradd requires manual configuration.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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