Tips

How to Know The Groups of a Linux User

This quick tip teaches you how to find the groups a Linux user belongs to in Linux command line.

Abhishek Prakash
Abhishek Prakash

Table of Contents

Groups are the essential part of basic Linux filesystem security by design. If you know about the file permissions in Linux, you already know that groups play a huge role in limiting and allowing access of files to the desired users only.

The idea is to collect users in a group based on their roles. This way, you can easily set permissions for the intended groups of user. For example, users in sudo groups can run commands with superuser privileges while other users cannot.

Now that might make you curious about knowing which groups you belong to and this is exactly what I am going to show you in this quick tutorial.

Check user group in Linux command line

To find out which groups your user account belongs to, simply use this command:

groups

This will show all the groups you belong to.

[email protected]:~$ groups 
abhishek adm cdrom sudo dip plugdev lpadmin sambashare kvm

As you can see, the user abhishek belongs to groups abhishek, sudo, adm and several other groups.

I am using Ubuntu in this tutorial and Ubuntu creates a group with the same name as the user. This is why you see user abhishek belonging to group abhishek.

How To Find Group Of A Linux User

Find out groups of other users in Linux

You just learned to see the groups you belong to. What about checking the groups of other users on your system?

You probably already know how to list users in Linux. When you know the username, you can find which group it belongs to by using the groups command in this way:

groups user_name

Obviously, you’ll have to replace the user_name in the above command with the name of the other user.

[email protected]:~$ groups prakash
prakash : prakash sudo

You can also check groups of more than one users at a time by

groups user_1 user_2 user_3

The output will display the groups information for each user in separate rows:

[email protected]:~$ groups abhishek prakash
abhishek adm cdrom sudo dip plugdev lpadmin sambashare kvm
prakash : prakash sudo

Bonus Tip: Get group information along with gid

You can also get group information of a user with id command. The additional benefit of the id command is that it also displays the uid of the user and gid of the groups. Read this article to know more about UID in Linux.

id user_name

The user name is optional and by default, it will show the information about your user account.

uid=1000(abhishek) gid=1000(abhishek) groups=1000(abhishek),4(adm),24(cdrom),27(sudo),30(dip),46(plugdev),116(lpadmin),126(sambashare),127(kvm)

You can see that getting the group information of a user is a simple task. It could come in handy in many situations and I would let you experience them on your own.

5 Commands for Group Management in Linux
Group is an essential part of Linux system management and security. Check out various commands that you can use for managing groups in Linux.

Bonus Tip 2: Get primary group of a user in Linux

Every user has a default or primary group. You can check the primary group of a user with id command in the following fashion:

id -gn user_name

You can change the primary and secondary group of a user with the usermod command.

I hope this quick little tip helped you to list user groups in Linux. You may also want to read about checking the members of a group in Linux.

If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to use the comment section.



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