Difference Between Su and Sudo

Linux has several commands and ways to gain root privileges. Each command and function works and invokes differently.


IT Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to technology

1 / 10

The intension of Machine Learning is

2 / 10

AI systems are made up of

3 / 10

Who is considered as the father of computing

4 / 10

What was the name of the space shuttle that landed man on the moon?

5 / 10

'IoT' refers to

6 / 10

Geo-stationary satellite revolves at –

7 / 10

Which American Computer Company is also known by the nick name "Big Blue"

8 / 10

Which mobile company first introduced Emoji internationally on their mobile devices

9 / 10

The conductivity of semiconductor materials

10 / 10

Who founded Apple Computers?

Your score is


Su vs Sudo

The difference between Su and Sudo is that the Su command can interchange between superuser and root user if executed without prior additional options while the Sudo command provides single root privileges. Su demands the password of the root account while Sudo demands the password of the current user account.

Su vs Sudo

Su stands for substitute user. It is a traditional way to acquiring root permission in Linux. It has been released in 1971. The main syntax of the command is : su[user_name] or su-[user_name].

While Sudo stands for substitute user do. It is used for gaining permission in administrative and executable tasks. The main syntax of the command is sudo[command].

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonSuSudo
TypeCommand Privilege authorization
Operating SystemUnix and Unix-like Unix-like
FunctionTo seek root permission through switching to superuser or root user To seek root permission through a single command
AuthorDennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson Robert Coggeshall and Cliff Spencer
DeveloperAT&T Bell LaboratoriesTodd C. Miller

What is Su?

The full form of Su is ‘substitute user’. It was initially a part of the Version 1 Unix. It was developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson.

The job of the su command is to execute commands and provide the privilege of another account of the user. Upon execution, the su command invokes a shell and does not change the present working directory or the environment of the user.

If the command is used without initially specifying the new user id which would serve as the command line argument, the su command would use the superuser account of the system as the default setting.

Upon authentication, the operator would grant access to the account. It would even grant permission for the files and directories in the account.

What is Sudo?

Sudo is a type of program in the operating system of Unix-like. The full form of sudo is ‘substitute user do’. In the default setting, it allows superuser.

The job of the Sudo command is to allow users to run programs and provide security privileges for another user. The license is of ISC style. It is extensively used in the C language.

Sudo is also used for administrative tasks. Sudo authenticates by asking for the password of the user and not of the target user. After authentication, it permits access and invokes a requested command.

Sudo is a single command and runs with root privileges. Unlike su, it does not switch to a root user account or ask for the root user’s credentials like a password.

Main Differences Between Su and Sudo

  1. Su command users need to create separate root and user account passwords during installation while Sudo command users only need to provide a single password.
  2. Su invokes the root shell and keeps it open during normal functioning while Sudo runs fewer commands in roots and increases security.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4842-5049-5_11
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-78120-0_13
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️