sudo – Execute Commands as Another

The sudo command allows a user to execute commands as another user, typically the superuser or root. This command is used to perform tasks that require elevated privileges, such as installing software, modifying system files, or managing user accounts.


The basic syntax of the sudo command is as follows:

sudo [options] [command]

Here, [options] are any additional flags or arguments that modify the behavior of the command, and [command] is the actual command that you want to execute with elevated privileges.

For example, to install a package using apt-get with elevated privileges, you would use the following command:

sudo apt-get install <package-name>

When you run sudo, you will be prompted to enter your own password. This is to ensure that you are authorized to use the sudo command. Once you have entered your password, the command will be executed with the privileges of the specified user.

Use Cases

Here are some common use cases for the sudo command:

  • Installing software: Many software packages require elevated privileges to install. You can use sudo to run the installation command with the necessary privileges.
  • Modifying system files: Certain system files, such as configuration files or logs, can only be modified by the superuser. You can use sudo to edit these files with elevated privileges.
  • Managing user accounts: Creating, modifying, or deleting user accounts typically requires superuser privileges. You can use sudo to run the necessary commands with elevated privileges.


Here are some of the most commonly used options for the sudo command:

Option Description
-u <user> Execute the command as the specified user.
-s Run the shell specified by the SHELL environment variable or the shell specified in the /etc/passwd file as the target user.
-i Run the command with a clean environment.
-H Set the HOME environment variable to the target user’s home directory.
-k Invalidate the user’s cached credentials.
-v Extend the user’s cached credentials timeout.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some common issues that you may encounter when using the sudo command, along with their solutions:

  • “Sorry, user <username> is not allowed to execute ‘<command>’ as root”: This error message indicates that the user does not have permission to use the sudo command. To grant permission, add the user to the sudo group by running the following command as the superuser: usermod -aG sudo <username>.
  • “sudo: unable to resolve host <hostname>”: This error message indicates that the hostname of the machine cannot be resolved. To fix this issue, edit the /etc/hosts file and add an entry for the hostname.
  • “sudo: command not found”: This error message indicates that the sudo command is not installed on the system. To install it, run the following command as the superuser: apt-get install sudo.


  • Be careful when using the sudo command, as it can potentially cause damage to the system if used improperly.
  • Always double-check the command that you are executing with sudo, as it will be run with elevated privileges.
  • Only use sudo when absolutely necessary. Running commands with elevated privileges can be dangerous and should only be done when there is no other alternative.