shellinfo tips

Using Sudo in Linux

In the Linux world, the sudo command is one of the most powerful and commonly used commands. It stands for “superuser do” and provides a mechanism for regular users to execute commands with the security privileges of the superuser or root. This blog post will explain why sudo is important and how to use it effectively.
Why Use Sudo?

The primary reason to use sudo is for system security. In Linux, the root user has unlimited privileges and can perform any operation on the system. While this might seem convenient, it’s also risky. A small mistake or a malicious command can cause significant damage to the system.

To mitigate this risk, it’s recommended to perform daily tasks as a regular user and switch to root privileges only when necessary. This is where sudo comes in. It allows a permitted user to execute a command as the superuser or another user, as specified in the sudoers file.
How to Use Sudo

To use sudo, simply prefix the command you want to execute with sudo. For example, if you want to update the package lists for upgrades and new package installations from repositories, you would normally use the apt update command. But, as a regular user, you’ll likely get a permission error. To execute it with root privileges, use sudo:

sudo apt update

After entering this command, you’ll be prompted to enter your password. Once you’ve done that, the command will execute with root privileges.
Configuring Sudo: The Sudoers File

The sudo command works in conjunction with a configuration file called the sudoers file. This file is located at /etc/sudoers and defines which users can use sudo and what they can do with it.

To edit the sudoers file, you should use the visudo command, which opens the file in a safe mode for editing:

sudo visudo

In the sudoers file, you can specify which commands a user or a group of users are allowed to execute. For example, the following line allows the user john to execute all commands as any user:


Here, the first ALL indicates that the rule applies to all hosts. The (ALL:ALL) part means john can execute commands as any user or group. The last ALL means john can execute all commands.

The sudo command is a powerful tool in the Linux ecosystem. It provides a mechanism for regular users to execute commands with root privileges, enhancing system security by allowing users to work as a regular user for most tasks and switch to root privileges only when necessary. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so use sudo wisely!