How to Create and Change Linux System Passwords

Server and website security seems to be in the headlines often lately with news of government surveillance and the heartbleed exploit in SSL. More than ever, it is important that you have a strong password. If you need to change your password on your Linux dedicated server or virtual private server, this guide should help you.

Command Line

If you want to change your password from the command line, use the “passwd” command. To change your own password, type it without any qualifications:

$ passwd

To change someone else’s password, type passwd followed by the username you want to change. You must have the necessary permissions to change that user.

# passwd bobdobalina

After you press Enter, Linux will prompt you for the current password:

Changing password for bobdobalina.
(current) UNIX password:

Type the current password and press Enter. It will then prompt you for the new password and then ask you to confirm it:

Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:

You will not see the characters you type or any indication that you are even typing something. This is just a security precaution.

For more information on the passwd command, type “man passwd” from the command line, or see the online documentation. In the next part of this series, we will look at changing passwords from within cPanel and Webmin.