The ubuntu has user "root" of unlimited privileges, apparently, it exists to not be used. The "admin" is already taken by something.

So, assuming the computer is not connected into any sort of omnipresent domain with individual tracking of every person. What would be the default snappy name to slap onto account used for occasional administrative tasks on such computer?

To clarify: suppose there is non-sudoer account named "user" which is used most of the time. The first idea for admin account to pair up with that user is, well, "admin". That's out of possibility on ubuntu. Is there some other generic name for such accounts? I mean vocabulary is not exhausted by the 'root' and 'admin', but those are short, concise and most relevant. What substitutes to those if any, were coined by creators\ agreed by community?

  • 5
    Usually, you use sudo to let you do administrative tasks. You don't need to login as any special user. If you ever need to login as administrator, root works just fine.
    – zondo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:11

3 Answers 3


On a default Ubuntu install (checked on my 16.04), the username admin should not be taken yet. However, there can be a system group named admin, which has similar effects as the sudo group. As every new user automatically gets assigned a primary group with the same name as the username, creating a user called admin might fail. It is not recommended to try that name therefore.

Anyway, I am not aware of any other common usernames that are recommended to be used for admin accounts except the obvious administrator and maybe toor (root spelled backwards).

Generally you are free in your name choice, as long as it does not contain any forbidden characters (use only lowercase letters, digits, dots, dashes and underscores). Just make sure your name is not taken yet.

Here's a command to list all existing user names and group names (duplicates eliminated) on your machine for comparison, so that you know what not to take:

grep -hPo '^.+?(?=:)' /etc/passwd /etc/group | sort -u

Just to point it out again, and "admin" user on Ubuntu does not mean a second root-like account. It means a normal unprivileged user account with the addition of some group memberships, like the sudo group which allows you to run commands as root using the sudo command, and a few other less relevant ones.

Related older questions of mine:

  • Is there any reason to create an admin account when root and sudo already exist?
    – zondo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:45
  • @zondo See my addition to the answer. "Admin" does not mean root. It rather means a user account that is allowed to use sudo.
    – Byte Commander
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:48
  • I've always just given my normal user access to sudo. Is there an advantage to creating another user for that?
    – zondo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:50
  • 1
    During the installation, it doesn't let you make "admin" user because word is reserved. And is it really safe to use it if scripts may try to tamper such account as if it was their own? There are messages, that discourage its usage: 1, 2
    – Dimitry
    Apr 6, 2017 at 23:18
  • 1
    Pedantic correction, for 22.04 at least: you can create a user named admin without error, and that user, by default, goes in a group which is also named admin. However, this user is not in the sudo group. Having said that, the default /etc/sudoers gives sudo permissions to anyone in group admin, as well as anyone in group sudo.
    – EML
    Sep 24 at 15:46

Honestly, just create your own user as the "admin" user. During normal day to day use you will simply be a normal user who can only access your own files the way any other user can. When you need to perform administrative tasks you have to use sudo "command" and need to put your password in. It's the best thing to do because 1)you'll not have to log out to perform administrative tasks yet you'll still only be a normal user until you specifically ask for higher privileges by using sudo and 2) you'll never forget your admin login details because you'll be using them every day.

I'd recommend against using sudo su because you're then left with a terminal with elevated privileges where you can easily forget you've got root rights and inadvertently do damage with the wrong command. Just use sudo to prefix any commands you need root privileges for and you'll only run that single command with the higher authority of being root.


As zondo aptly pointed out, the only administrator on a Linux system is root. If you want to do administrative tasks, you can log in as root like this:

$ sudo su - root

When you're done, log out using the exit command:

$ exit 0

But, that's considered somewhat dangerous by many because out of sheer laziness people tend to log in as root once and never log out. You don't really want to do user-related things as root because you might mistype something and harm your system by deleting important files, for example. That's why the sudo utility was created. So, you don't need to have an account aimed specifically at doing administrative tasks. Just use sudo whenever you need elevated privileges for whatever you're doing.

  • 1
    But you do have to log in to some account first. The question is what is customary default name for that one.
    – Dimitry
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:44
  • Any user who's allowed to do administrative tasks.
    – misha
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:54
  • @Dimitry: I think his point is that you don't need a special account to be able to use sudo. Just use the account you normally use, and add it to your sudoers file.
    – zondo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 23:01

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