I have two users on my system: itsadok, my main user, and elasticsearch, a user with a different ulimit for running ElasticSearch.

I would like to be able to run stuff as the secondary user without being prompted for password every time.

I added the following line to /etc/sudoers:

itsadok ALL=(elasticsearch:elasticsearch) NOPASSWD: ALL

The way I understand it, this should allow the user itsadok, on any host, to run any command as (user or group) elasticsearch without a password. However, trying something like

itsadok@dev001$ sudo -u elasticsearch ls

prompts me for a password. Restarting the machine did not help.

What am I doing wrong?


It turns our that the order of lines in sudoers is significant. I placed the line under "User privilege specification" which sounded like the right place, but the line for the %admin group that comes later was overriding the setting.

Putting the same line at the end of the sudoers file fixed the issue.

3 Answers 3


Follow these steps:

  1. Edit sudoers file (this can be present in /etc/sudoers.d/file_name)
sudo visudo -f /etc/sudoers
  1. Add line at the end of the file
usernameusedforlogin ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL
  1. Save file
esc :wq!
  • This allows the user to run all commands on all hosts without passwords as any user, but it does not grant any group privileges, which was part of the original question. Generally, this is bad advice as you're giving the user very broad privileges.
    – d4nyll
    Jun 18, 2019 at 1:11
  • as of 2022, this is the standard way. Dec 15, 2022 at 18:15

Revised answer from comments: If you place directives below #includedir, they are ignored. Move the line next to the sudo or admingroup definitions, or place it in separate file in /etc/sudoers.d/.

  • Didn't work. Also, the file already had a root ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL with no spaces around the colon, so it doesn't seem right. Just to be safe, I tried just (elasticsearch). Doesn't work.
    – itsadok
    Jan 10, 2013 at 15:03
  • You are correct, it works without whitespace in 12.10 at least. Which Ubuntu you are using and exactly where in sudoers you place this line? I have faint recollection that if on older systems you placed the line after first #includedir, it got ignored. If it is at the end of file, try inserting it above the includedir.
    – Tuminoid
    Jan 11, 2013 at 6:23
  • 1
    Your comment set me on the right track: the order of the entries matters. Later settings override earlier settings.
    – itsadok
    Jan 13, 2013 at 12:05

Alternately you can use python pudo package: https://pypi.org/project/pudo/1.0.0/


user$ sudo -H pip3 install pudo # you can install using pip2 also 

Below is the code snippit for using in python automation for running cmds under root privilege::

user$ python3 # or python2
>>> import pudo
>>> (ret, out) = pudo.run(('ls', '/root')) # or pudo.run('ls /root')
>>> print(ret)
>>> 0
>>> print(out)
>>> b'Desktop\nDownloads\nPictures\nMusic\n'

Below is the cmd example for running cmds under root privilege

user$ pudo ls /root
Desktop  Downloads  Pictures  Music
  • Please do not repost the same answer to many questions - if the questions are similar to each other enough so that they're duplicates, flag them as duplicates instead. Thank you!
    – Thomas Ward
    Feb 14, 2020 at 15:27

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