Creating a user without a password

I’m trying to create a user without password like this:

sudo adduser 
   --shell /bin/bash 
   --gecos ‘User for managing of git version control’ 
   --home /home/git 

It’s created fine. But when I try to login under the git user I’m getting the password entering:

su git

When I leave it empty I get an error:

su: Authentication failed

What’s wrong?

Asked By: Erik


If you want to access the system under the git user you should use sudo:

sudo -s -u git


sudo su - git
Answered By: Didi Kohen

You’ve created a user with a “disabled password”, meaning that there is no password that will let you log in as this user. This is different from creating a user that anyone can log in as without supplying a password, which is achieved by specifying an empty password and is very rarely useful.

In order to execute commands as such “system” users who don’t log in normally, you need to hop via the root account:

su -c 'su git -c "git init"'


sudo -u git git init

If you want certain users to be able to run commands as the git user without letting them run commands as root, set up sudo (run visudo as root and add a line like %gitters ALL = (git) ALL).

The --disabled-password option will not set a password, meaning no password is legal, but login is still possible (for example with SSH RSA keys).

To create an user without a password, use passwd -d $username after the user is created to make the password empty. Note not all systems allow users with empty password to log in.

Answered By: pallxk

Create an user with empty password

sudo useradd test-user-0
echo test-user-0:U6aMy0wojraho | sudo chpasswd -e
su test-user-0

The password prompt still shows unfortunately.

But if you just hit enter without typing anything, and it logins as the user test-user-0.

The -e flags tells chpasswd that the password is already encrypted, and U6aMy0wojraho is the hash of the empty string.

Tested on Ubuntu 18.04.

Terminal autologin with getty -a

On the terminal at least, you don’t need to create an user without a password to allow someone to not type their passwords every time.

I was able to do this on BusyBox by modifying inittab: How to login automatically without typing the root username or password in Buildroot BusyBox init?

So I believe that it should not be very hard to adapt that technique by modifying Ubuntu 18.04’s systemd init system scripts to setup a getty -a <user> terminal as mentioned in that answer, although I haven’t tried to do it myself.

I think this is what you want:

adduser --disabled-password --shell /bin/bash --gecos "User" $username

You’ll be able to

su $username

to run commands as that user, in /bin/bash or whatever shell you specify. --gecos "User" just put "User" into the comment field so you aren’t prompted for that information. You can put whatever you want into that field.

Answered By: Douglas Krugman

Once you created a user with this command-line option --disabled-password follow below instructions as root user

sudo visudo

Add below line at EOF.


Save visudo file. Now try to execute sudo commands with newly created user. It should work.

Answered By: SangamAngre

For some versions of adduser there is a -p option for supplying the encrypted password, however if an empty string is supplied it is the same has setting no password:
adduser -p '' mypasswordlessuser

Answered By: Kaktis
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