I've come into something strange.

I just added a user to the www-data group, the user appears in both /etc/group and /etc/group-, however when I use the groups or id commands the group isn't listed; and the user can't chgrp a file into www-data.

What could be the problem? I'm using a Debian testing machine, never had this kind of problem.

1 Answer 1


Group membership is only processed on login. You can either:

  • re-login to pick up the new group
  • use newgrp www-data to run a new shell with gid set to www-data
  • Thanks a lot; I was closing and opening a new terminal, I though that was enough.
    – kevinz
    Jan 28, 2010 at 21:30
  • 1
    Nope, the new terminal is just inheriting the uid/gids from what started it (probably your window manager)
    – MikeyB
    Jan 28, 2010 at 22:03
  • I did not see the new groups until I did a su - $USER. login did not work either.
    – Jess
    Apr 5, 2013 at 1:43

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