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ubuntu user ssh login error 'Could not chdir to home directory permission denied'

Posted on 2010-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
On Ubuntu I could ssh to log in as root but after creating a user I can't log in as that user and get the following error:

Could not chdir to home directory permission denied

Another strange thing is sudo is not possible too:

sudo: can't open /etc/sudoers: Permission denied
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Question by:joggx
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Expert Comment

by:larsrohr
ID: 33750781
Does the home directory for this user exist, and is it owned by that user?

What are the permissions on /etc/sudoers?  (ls -l /etc/sudoers)
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Author Comment

by:joggx
ID: 33750850
@larsrohr

Yes the home directory for this user exists, chmod 755, group and owner are all the user itself.

ls -l /etc/sudoers

-r--r----- 1 root root 481 2009-09-20 18:37 /etc/sudoers
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Expert Comment

by:larsrohr
ID: 33750873
Have you changed any directory permissions?

The following should especially be checked:
ls -ld /
ls -ld /etc /usr /usr/bin /usr/sbin
and any directories in the path to the user in question, e.g.:
ls -ld /home /home/user

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Expert Comment

by:mccracky
ID: 33754959
Also, is the user's home directory really what you think it is?

The second to the last item of this shows what the system thinks is the home directory:

grep <username> /etc/passwd
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Author Comment

by:joggx
ID: 33755045
@mccracky:

> Also, is the user's home directory really what you think it is?
yes it is.
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Expert Comment

by:mccracky
ID: 33755076
Oh, I think it has to do with the way ubuntu is set up.  IIRC, ubuntu only has the first user enabled to use sudo as an admin  user.  By default all other users are created without admin rights.  Check what groups the new user is in in the /etc/group file.
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Author Comment

by:joggx
ID: 33759214
@mccracky:

the problem is event under root I can't run sudo, and get the permission error.

the /etc/group has the top line:

root:x:0:

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Accepted Solution

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rgeers earned 125 total points
ID: 33762263
This system has a serious configuration problem and can be fixed by running from a rescue cd. You then log in as root, fix the password files and restart the system. You know how to run chroot to your target os? I think perhaps ubuntu does this now automatically, but it's some time ago since i ran this.
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Author Comment

by:joggx
ID: 33762842
It is a VPS and I have switched to fedora and everything works fine.
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