Forge Home


Module for managing user accounts and groups and SSH keys.


14,930 latest version

5.0 quality score

We run a couple of automated
scans to help you access a
module's quality. Each module is
given a score based on how well
the author has formatted their
code and documentation and
modules are also checked for
malware using VirusTotal.

Please note, the information below
is for guidance only and neither of
these methods should be considered
an endorsement by Puppet.

Version information

  • 2.0.0 (latest)
  • 1.5.3
  • 1.5.2
  • 1.5.1
  • 1.5.0
  • 1.4.3
  • 1.4.2
  • 1.4.1
  • 1.4.0
  • 1.3.3
  • 1.3.2
  • 1.3.1
  • 1.3.0
  • 1.2.1
  • 1.2.0
  • 1.1.3
  • 1.1.2
  • 1.1.1
  • 1.1.0
  • 1.0.2
  • 1.0.1
  • 0.1.1
  • 0.1.0
released May 16th 2019
This version is compatible with:
  • Puppet Enterprise 2019.8.x, 2019.7.x, 2019.5.x, 2019.4.x, 2019.3.x, 2019.2.x, 2019.1.x, 2019.0.x, 2018.1.x, 2017.3.x, 2017.2.x, 2017.1.x, 2016.5.x, 2016.4.x
  • Puppet >= 4.0.0 < 7.0.0
  • , , ,

Start using this module

  • r10k or Code Manager
  • Bolt
  • Manual installation
  • Direct download

Add this module to your Puppetfile:

mod 'deric-accounts', '2.0.0'
Learn more about managing modules with a Puppetfile

Add this module to your Bolt project:

bolt module add deric-accounts
Learn more about using this module with an existing project

Manually install this module globally with Puppet module tool:

puppet module install deric-accounts --version 2.0.0

Direct download is not typically how you would use a Puppet module to manage your infrastructure, but you may want to download the module in order to inspect the code.



deric/accounts — version 2.0.0 May 16th 2019

Puppet Accounts Management

Forge Build Status Puppet Forge

This is puppet module for managing user accounts, groups and setting ssh keys.

Version compatibility:

deric-accounts Puppet 3.x Puppet 4.x Puppet 5.x Puppet 6.x
1.5.x :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :question: :x:
2.0.x :question: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :x:
  • deric-acounts >= 2.0 - Puppet 4.x, Puppet 5.x
  • deric-acounts < 2.0 - Puppet 3.x, Puppet 4.x


Basic usage:

class {'::accounts':}

or with pure YAML declaration make sure to use the hiera_include function e.g. in site.pp (see Hiera docs for details):

lookup('classes', {merge => unique}).include

and all other definition can be in YAML hierarchy:

  - '::accounts'
    groups: ['users']

Hiera allows flexible account management, if you want to have a group defined on all nodes, just put in global hiera config, e.g. common.yml:

  shell: '/bin/bash'
  # will delete all authorized keys that are not in Puppet
  purge_ssh_keys: true
    gid: 33
    # not necessarily complete list of memebers, you can assign users to the same group on
    # user's level using `groups: ['www-data']`
    members: ['john']

and user accounts:

    comment: "John Doe"
    groups: ["sudo", "users"]
    shell: "/bin/bash"
    pwhash: "$6$GDH43O5m$FaJsdjUta1wXcITgKekNGUIfrqxYogW"
      'john@doe': # an unique indentifier of a key
        type: "ssh-rsa"
        key: "a valid public ssh key string"
    comment: "Alice"

For more examples see configuration used for tests.

Custom home

When no home is specified directory will be created in /home/{username}.

    comment: 'Alice'
    home: '/var/alice'

Group management

By default each user has a group with the same name. You can change this with manage_group parameter:

   manage_group: false
     - 'users'
     - 'www-data'

Optionally you can assign user to other groups by supplying a groups array.

Primary group

Account's primary group can be configured using primary_group parameter:

   # will create primary group `doe` instead of default `john` group
   primary_group: 'doe'
   manage_group: true
     - 'sudo'

it can be defined numerically or as a group name. Setting directly gid parametr would have the same effect. Parameter manage_group is not considered when you set gid.

Account removal

Removing account could be done by setting ensure parameter to absent:

   ensure: 'absent'
   managehome: true

If managehome is set to true (default), also home directory will be removed!

Root account

root home is set to /root unless defined otherwise (using home parameter). You can supply multiple keys for one account.

        type: 'ssh-rsa'
        key: 'AAAA....'
        type: 'ssh-dsa'
        key: 'AAAAB...'

Additional SSH key options

SSH allows providing many options regarding authorized keys, see SSH documentation for complete specification.

Options should be passed as an array:

        type: 'ssh-rsa'
        key: 'AAAA....'
          - 'permitopen=""'
          - 'permitopen=""'
          - 'no-port-forwarding'
          - 'no-X11-forwarding'
          - 'no-agent-forwarding'
          - 'from="serverA,serverB"'
          - 'command="/path/to/ arg1 $SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND"'

Password Management

You can either provide an already hashed password or you can let the module take care of hashing.

Providing hashed passwords from Hiera is secure by default. Please use something like hiera-eyaml or hiera-gpg for cleartext passwords within Puppet.

Example with pre-hashed password:

    pwhash: "$6$GDH43O5m$FaJsdjUta1wXcITgKekNGUIfrqxYogW"

Example with cleartext password, using hiera-eyaml:

    password: >
   ensure: present

The password hashing salt is generated with fqdn_rand_string from stdlib the first time the user is created. After that, the salt is read by a custom fact and reused, even on password changes (which is ok, it's just a salt...). You may specify an explicit salt if needed (see variable doc below).


  • authorized_keys_file - allows providing location of custom authorized_keys
  • purge_ssh_keys - delete all keys except those explicitly provided (default: false)
  • ssh_key_source - provide file with authorized keys
  • pwhash - set password hash
  • password - (optional) set cleartext password (mutually exclusive with pwhash!)
  • salt - (optional, default random/fact based) salt for hashing the password, this may only be up to 16 characters
  • hash - (optional, default 'SHA-512') password hash function to use (valid strings: see puppetlabs/stdlib#pw_hash)
  • force_removal - will kill user's process before removing account with ensure => absent (default: true)
  • hushlogin - creates a .hushlogin file in users home directory that disables the motd
  • ssh_dir_owner (default: user) owner of .ssh directory (and authorized_keys file in the directory). Should not be changed unless you're moving out of user's home (see #64 for more details).
  • ssh_dir_group(default:user) owner of .sshdirectory (andauthorized_keys` file in the directory).
  • manage_ssh_dir Whether .ssh directory should be managed by this module (default: true)


   authorized_keys_file: '/home/.ssh/auth_file'
   managehome: true
   purge_ssh_keys: false
   pwhash: ''
   hushlogin: true


Default permissions for creating new files are managed via ~/.bash_profile and ~/.bashrc.

   manageumask: true
   umask: '022'

By default umask is not managed. Note that you can configure global umask for all users via accounts::config (see below).

Global settings

You can provide global defaults for all users:

  shell: '/bin/dash'
  groups: ['users']
  hushlogin: true
  • groups common group(s) for all users

Note that configuration from Hiera gets merged to with Puppet code.

System-wide configuration

Global settings affects also user accounts created outside of this module.

  first_uid: 1000
  last_uid: 99999
  first_gid: 1000
  last_gid: 99999
  umask: '077'
  • first_uid - Sets the lowest UID for non system users
  • last_uid - Sets the highest UID for non system users
  • first_gid - Sets the lowest GID for non system groups
  • last_gid - Sets the highest GID for non system groups
  • umask - Default global umask (can be overriden in user's ~/.profile)

Populate home folder

Allows fetching user's directory content from some storage:

   populate_home: true
   home_directory_contents: 'puppet:///modules/accounts'

which default to puppet:///modules/accounts/{username}.


Which accounts will be installed on specific machine can be checked from command line:

$ hiera -y my_node.yml accounts::users --hash

where my_node.yml is a file which you get from facter running at some node:

$ facter -y > my_node.yml

Without Hiera

Using Hiera is optional (though prefered option), you can configure accounts directly from Puppet code:

class {'accounts':
  users => { 'john' => { 'comment' => 'John Doe' }}

When defining adding a user to multiple groups, we have to ensure, that all the groups exists first:

  class {'accounts':
    groups => {
      'users' => {
        'gid' => 100,
      'puppet' => {
        'gid' => 111,
    users => { 'john' => {
      'shell'   => '/bin/bash',
      'groups'  => ['users', 'puppet'],
      'ssh_keys' => { 'johns_key' => {'type' => 'ssh-rsa', 'key' => 'public_ssh_key_xxx' }}

Puppet compatibility

This modules heavily relies on Hiera functionality, thus it's recommended to use at least Puppet 3. Puppet 2.7 might work with hiera-puppet gem, but we don't test this automatically, see docs for more details.

  • 3.x work out-of-the-box
  • 4.x other backends than Hiera might work

Hiera configuration

Puppet 4.9 comes with Hiera 5 support. For earlier versions see Hiera 3 section.

Hiera 5

When migrating from Hiera 3 see the official guide:

hiera.yaml has slightly different syntax:

version: 5
defaults:  # Used for any hierarchy level that omits these keys.
  datadir: hieradata         # This path is relative to hiera.yaml's directory.
  data_hash: yaml_data  # Use the built-in YAML backend.

  - name: "Common"
    path: "common.yaml"

Supported merge strategies are:

  • first A first-found lookup doesn’t merge anything; it returns the first value found, and ignores the rest (default).
  • unique A unique merge (sometimes called “array merge”) combines any number of array and scalar (string/number/boolean) values to return a merged, flattened array with all duplicate values removed.
  • hash A hash merge combines the keys and values of any number of hashes to return a merged hash.
  • deep Like a hash merge, a deep merge combines the keys and values of any number of hashes to return a merged hash. But if the same key exists in multiple source hashes, Hiera recursively merges them.

Using lookup_options you can define rules to use strategy that suits your needs.

      strategy: deep
      # sort_merged_arrays: false
      # merge_hash_arrays: false

Hiera 3

For more complex hierarchies (defined in multiple files) deep_merge gem is needed, see Hiera docs.

gem install deep_merge

and update merge_behavior in your hiera.yaml, e.g.:

  - yaml
  - "%{hostname}"
  - common
# options are native, deep, deeper
:merge_behavior: deeper

With Puppet librarian add one line to Puppetfile:

stable release:

mod 'deric-accounts'

development version (master branch from github):

mod 'deric-accounts', :git => ''

and run

$ librarian-puppet install

Supported versions


Run tests with:

$ bundle install
$ bundle exec rake spec

Acceptance testing

Fastest way is to run tests on prepared Docker images:

BEAKER_set=debian8-3.8 bundle exec rake acceptance
BEAKER_set=centos7-3.8 bundle exec rake acceptance

For examining system state set Beaker's ENV variable BEAKER_destroy=no:

BEAKER_destroy=no BEAKER_set=debian9-6.3 bundle exec rake acceptance

and after finishing tests connect to container:

docker exec -it adoring_shirley bash

When host machine is NOT provisioned (puppet installed, etc.):

PUPPET_install=yes BEAKER_set=debian-8 bundle exec rake acceptance

Run on specific OS (see spec/acceptance/nodesets), to see available sets:

rake beaker:sets


Apache 2.0