I just did a fresh install of Ubuntu and now when I try to use sudo in the terminal emulator, it just hangs there without even asking me for a password. If I switch to the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + F1) and login, sudo works as expected. Can someone help me to figure this out?

  • Just a thought, have you changed the character encoding of your terminal (Open Terminal, menu Terminal -> Set Character Encoding) – hytromo Jul 29 '13 at 19:21
  • No, I haven't, but I am curious as to why that would change anything. – Lawrence Jul 29 '13 at 19:53
  • It can be the source of many problems if you change something like this, actually. But this was just a guess. – hytromo Jul 29 '13 at 20:18
  • I had the same problem. Changing from kernel 4.9 to 4.4 solved it for me. – Tom Hale Jan 3 '17 at 21:31

Have you changed the hostname recently? I've noticed after a hostname change sudo can hang for a bit. However, if you update your hosts file to reflect the hostname change the hang will go away.

You can do that with this simple one-liner:

hostname | (echo -n "        " && cat) | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts
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    It does not hang for 'a bit', it just hangs indefinitely. Also, it works on the terminal, just not in the terminal emulator. – Lawrence Jul 29 '13 at 19:54
  • This was the exact problem! Thank you! – Nemanja Boric Mar 24 '15 at 16:52
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    Give this man a cookie! Thanks when changing the Device Name in Ubuntu's system details utility you effectively break sudo. Great work @Canonical. – Flatron Feb 1 '17 at 7:32
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    to fix it make sure to change /etc/hosts also to your new hostname ;) – Flatron Feb 1 '17 at 7:32
  • Great! I didn't actually notice that it timed out after ~30 sec and then continue with asking for sudo password. Another point: when you is about to change your hostname (maybe you cloned a VM) you might be disconnected to any network to avoid conflicts until you have change the entries. That's is properly also what's causing the timeouts – Hulvej Apr 23 '18 at 8:18

If you want to check where it hangs, I suggest doing the executing the following command:

 strace sudo 

and then see what system call it is possibly hanging on. This might provide a good clue as to what is happening on your system.

My guess based on what you see is that hostname resolution is problematic on your system. Check out /etc/nsswitch.conf and /etc/resolv.conf files to make sure they are configured properly.

I have assummed that you have already checked your internet connectivity.

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    Why is internet connectivity required for sudo? – grofte Jun 17 '17 at 7:05
  • for FQDN information...as you can put host restrictions in your sudoers file. – mdpc Jun 20 '17 at 18:04
  • I did not understand that. I only know that it makes it tricky to reset the wifi adapter. Which is sometimes necessary after putting the laptop in sleep. – grofte Jun 25 '17 at 6:20

I am not sure which version of ubuntu you have installed, but there is a bug (race condition) in sudo, which hangs indefinitely blocking on a select.



I too had this problem with Ubuntu 16.04 . Using "top" command i found that two processes "vnstat" and "NetworkManager" are consuming 100% CPU. So i restarted the system, went to recovery mode and removed the package "vnstat" . After this restarted the system , now system works fine.

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