When you first create a new Ubuntu 22.04 server, you should perform some important configuration steps as part of the initial setup. These steps will increase the security and usability of your server and will give you a solid foundation for subsequent actions.
To log into your server, you will need to know your server’s public IP address. You will also need the password or the private key for the root user’s account if you installed an SSH key for authentication.
If you are not connected to your server currently, log in as the root user using the following command. Substitute the highlighted
your_server_ip portion of the command with your server’s public IP address:
Accept the warning about host authenticity if it appears. If your server uses password authentication, provide your root password to log in. If you use an SSH key that is passphrase protected, you may need to enter the passphrase the first time you use the key each session. If this is your first time logging into the server with a password, you may also need to change the root password. Follow the instructions to change the password if you receive a prompt.
The root user is the administrative user in a Linux environment with elevated privileges. Because of the heightened privileges of the root account, you are discouraged from using it regularly. The root account can make very destructive changes, even by accident.
The next step is setting up a new user account with reduced privileges for day-to-day use. Later, we’ll show you how to temporarily gain increased privileges for the times when you need them.
Once you log in as root, you’ll be able to add the new user account. In the future, we’ll log in with this new account instead of root.
This example creates a new user called sammy, but you should replace that with a username that you like:
You will be asked a few questions, starting with the account password.
Enter a strong password and, optionally, fill in any of the additional information if you would like. This information is not required, and you can press
ENTER in any field you wish to skip.
Now you have a new user account with regular account privileges. However, you will sometimes need to perform administrative tasks as the root user.
To avoid logging out of your regular user and logging back in as the root account, you can set up what is known as superuser or root privileges for your user’s regular account. These privileges will allow your normal user to run commands with administrative privileges by putting the word
sudo before the command.
To add these privileges to your new user, you will need to add the user to the sudo system group. By default on Ubuntu 22.04, users who are members of the sudo group are allowed to use the
As root, run this command to add your new user to the sudo group (substitute the highlighted
sammy username with your new user):
usermod -aG sudo sammy
You can now type
sudo before commands to run them with superuser privileges when logged in as your regular user.
Ubuntu 22.04 servers can use the UFW firewall to ensure only connections to certain services are allowed. You can set up a basic firewall using this application.
Note: If your servers are running on Bamboozle, you can optionally use the integrated Firewall per VPS instead of the UFW firewall. We recommend using only one firewall at a time to avoid conflicting rules that may be difficult to debug.
Applications can register their profiles with UFW upon installation. These profiles allow UFW to manage these applications by name. OpenSSH, the service that allows you to connect to your server, has a profile registered with UFW.
You can examine the list of installed UFW profiles by typing:
ufw app list
OutputAvailable applications: OpenSSH
You will need to make sure that the firewall allows SSH connections so that you can log into your server next time. Allow these connections by typing:
ufw allow OpenSSH
Now enable the firewall by typing:
y and press
ENTER to proceed. You can see that SSH connections are still allowed by typing:
OutputStatus: active To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)
Tthe firewall is currently blocking all connections except for SSH. If you install and configure additional services, you will need to adjust the firewall settings to allow the new traffic into your server. You can learn some common UFW operations in our UFW Essentials guide.
Now that you have a regular user for daily use, you will need to make sure that you can SSH into the account directly.
Note: Until verifying that you can log in and use
sudo with your new user, we recommend staying logged in as root. If you have problems connecting, you can troubleshoot and make any necessary changes as root. If you use a DigitalOcean Droplet and experience problems with your root SSH connection, you can regain access to Droplets using the Recovery Console.
Configuring SSH access for your new user depends on whether your server’s root account uses a password or SSH keys for authentication.
If you logged in to your root account using a password then password authentication is enabled for SSH. You can SSH to your new user account by opening up a new terminal session and using SSH with your new username:
After entering your regular user’s password, you will be logged in. Remember, if you need to run a command with administrative privileges, type
sudo before it like this:
You will receive a prompt for your regular user’s password when using
sudo for the first time each session (and periodically afterward).
To enhance your server’s security, we strongly recommend setting up SSH keys instead of using password authentication. Follow our guide on setting up SSH keys on Ubuntu 22.04 to learn how to configure key-based authentication.
If you logged in to your root account using SSH keys, then password authentication is disabled for SSH. To log in as your regular user with an SSH key, you must add a copy of your local public key to your new user’s
Since your public key is already in the root account’s
~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the server, you can copy that file and directory structure to your new user account using your current session.
The simplest way to copy the files with the correct ownership and permissions is with the
rsync command. This command will copy the root user’s
.ssh directory, preserve the permissions, and modify the file owners, all in a single command. Make sure to change the highlighted portions of the command below to match your regular user’s name:
rsync command treats sources and destinations that end with a trailing slash differently than those without a trailing slash. When using
rsync below, ensure that the source directory (
~/.ssh) does not include a trailing slash (check to make sure you are not using
If you accidentally add a trailing slash to the command,
rsync will copy the contents of the root account’s
~/.ssh directory to the
sudo user’s home directory instead of copying the entire
~/.ssh directory structure. The files will be in the wrong location and SSH will not be able to find and use them.
rsync --archive --chown=sammy:sammy ~/.ssh /home/sammy
Now, open up a new terminal session on your local machine, and use SSH with your new username:
You should be connected to your server with the new user account without using a password. Remember, if you need to run a command with administrative privileges, type
sudo before the command like this:
You will be prompted for your regular user’s password when using
sudo for the first time each session (and periodically afterward).
At this point, you have a solid foundation for your server. You can install any of the software you need on your server now.
If you’d like to get more familiar with Linux commands, you can check our Linux Command Line Primer.