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Setup Non-Root User

At this point in the documentation, you should have successfully accessed your new VPS (Virtual Private Server) in the cloud of your choice.


If you are utilizing GCP (Google Cloud Platform) this section can be skipped, and you can proceed directly to the next section installing dependencies

Best Practices

Best practice is not to be logged in as the root user, or a generic commonly used and known username such as the ubuntu user that AWS uses on their default AMI (Amazon Machine Image) instances.

This can give bad actors an easier avenue and the ability to guess at well known options to gain access to your instance, for nefarious activities.

The root user has privileges that are too expansive and it has unrestricted access to do things that; whether nefarious or not, can still cause trouble.

Our goal is to create a user that does not have root access. This will add an extra layer of security around our instance. Once this user is created, we will request to become a super user every time we want to issue a request against our instance to do something as if we were the root administrator.

Log into your node

From your local system, log into (create an SSH session) your cloud instance's terminal, as root.


You can review the Accessing your Node YouTube video to remind yourself how to gain access to your node; alternatively, you may return to the previous section mac or windows for details.

Use your Apple terminal, Window's PuTTY, or your terminal application of choice.


It is discouraged to use the Google Cloud Platform's console application on their website. Their console web application access should only be used in emergency situations.

Add a new user

From our root user account we will add a new user.

adduser nodeadmin

The output will look similar to this:

Adding user `nodeadmin' ...
Adding new group `nodeadmin' (1001) ...
Adding new user `nodeadmin' (1001) with group `nodeadmin' ...
Creating home directory `/home/nodeadmin' ...
Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...
New password:

Enter password

Enter in a complex password, verify it, and copy it into a safe location so you don't forget.

New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Enter user information

You will be prompted to enter in various information about this new user. You can either enter in the information that you deem necessary, or just hit โŽ through each question. You will have to confirm the information with a Y at the end of the input section.

Changing the user information for nodeadmin
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
Full Name[]: nodeadmin
Room Number[]:
Work Phone[]:
Home Phone[]:
Is the information correct?[Y/n]Y

Add nodeadmin to sudo group

Let's make nodeadmin a member of the super users sudo group.

usermod -aG sudo nodeadmin

We need to make sure our new user can properly ssh into our node. First we will copy our authorized_keys file to our new nodeadmin's home directory.

cp /root/.ssh/authorized_keys /home/nodeadmin

We need the change the ownership of the file from root to nodeadmin.

chown nodeadmin:nodeadmin /home/nodeadmin/authorized_keys

Let's change to our new nodeadmin user.

su - nodeadmin

To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use sudo <command>.

See "man sudo_root" for details.

Create a hidden directory called .ssh do not forget the . (period) in front of the ssh.

cd ~
mkdir .ssh

Move our authorized_keys into our new directory. We will do this with some checks along the way. Do not forget the . (period) at the end of the command.

cd .ssh/
mv ../authorized_keys .

The 2 l are the letter l (L) not the number 1 (ls -la)

ls -la

Output will look similar to this:


Dates and File Sizes may be different

total 12
drwxrwxr-x 2 nodeadmin nodeadmin 4096 Jul 10 02:05 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 nodeadmin nodeadmin 4096 Jul 10 02:04 ..
-rw------- 1 nodeadmin nodeadmin 742 Jul 10 02:05 authorized_keys

Log out

We are done and can logout of our nodeadmin session.


Prompt should change back to your root user.


Exit instance

We will exit out of our instance.


We should now be completely out of our Node.

Your Terminal should return to your local system's prompt (Apple/Linux) or, if you are using an application like PuTTy, you will see the window completely exit and disappear. This is expected behavior.



It is now time to go back into your PuTTy session and update the username from root to nodeadmin.

You will do this within the configuration sections of PuTTy.

If you do not remember how to do this access this link Access your cloud instance to refresh your memory.

While going through the steps again, substitute nodeadmin where ever you see root.



You will change the root@ to nodeadmin@ in your ssh access expression from your Apple/Linux local terminal session.

If you do not remember how to do this access this link select Access your cloud instance to refresh your memory.

While going through the steps again, substitute nodeadmin where ever you see root.

Our user is setup!

Moving forward connect as nodeadmin to work on our instance. The root user should no longer be used.


It is recommended to disable the root user's SSH access; however, we will take care of this during the installation of our Node on our instance.