Types of User account in Computer Network Explained

This tutorial explains user account types in computer network. Learn different types of user accounts such as system account, regular user account, guest user account, super user account, group account, local user account, remote user account, network user account and anonymous user account in detail.

Every user who uses the system should have an individual user account. Having a separate user account allows user to store his files securely and customize his user interface.

Types of user accounts

Regardless which operating system we use, it uses user accounts to authenticate, trace, log and monitor its services. When we install an operating system, it automatically creates some essential user accounts which allow us to access it just after the installation. During the installation, usually it creates four types of user account; system account, super user account, regular user account and guest user account.

System accounts

These accounts are used by different services running in operating system to access the system resources. Operating system uses these accounts to check whether a particular service which is requesting for system resources is allowed to access those resources or not. Usually services create necessary accounts on their own when they are installed. After installation, services use these accounts to access necessary resources. Unless you are a system or network administrator, you never need to know about these accounts.

Super user account

This user account has the highest privilege in operating system. In Windows, this user account is known as Administrator account. In Linux it is known as root account. Operating system allows this user account to perform all privileged tasks such as changing system files, installing new software, removing existing software, starting services, stopping services, creating new user accounts and deleting existing user accounts.

Regular user account

This user account has moderate privilege. This user account is not allowed to make any change in system files and properties. Operating system allows this user account to perform only the tasks that it is authorized to do such as creating files and folders, running applications, customizing environmental variables, etc.

Guest user account

This user account has the lowest privilege. It can’t make any change in any system files or properties. Usually this account is used to access the system for temporary tasks such as suffering internet, watching movies, playing games etc. In Windows, this account is automatically created during the installation. In Linux, if require, we have to create this account manually after the installation.

User account vs Group account

User account is an individual identity of a user while group account is the collective identity of all users those belong to a specific group. Grouping helps system administrators in managing system effectively. For example, in a company all the users of the development department may belong to a group called developers. Once group is created, administrator can create and configure several security rules and applications to ensure that only the users from developers group access the development department’s resources such as SQL server, Language API, source code compiler, etc.

user account vs group account

Group accounts are only used to manage the user accounts which are alike or require access to a particular resource. Unlike user account, group account does not have login capability. A user may belong to an individual group or multiple groups.

Local user account vs Network User account

User name and password of local user accounts are stored in local machine. Local user accounts are bound with physical machine. As discussed earlier, every operating system creates some user accounts during the installation. By default all these accounts are considered as local user accounts.

local user

User name and password of network user accounts are stored in a central machine usually known as server. Unlike local user accounts, network user accounts are not bound with any particular system. Based on configuration, a network user can login in a specific machine or any machine of network.

network user

Local user account and network user account both are used to access a fully featured operating system.

Remote service account

User name and password of these accounts are stored in remote machine. These accounts are used to remotely access a specific service or an application running in remote system. FTP accounts, email accounts, website accounts are some examples of the remote service accounts.

remote user

Anonymous user accounts

This account does not require a password to login. This account has the lowest privilege among all available accounts. Usually this account type is used to share data publicly through a service which normally requires login access.

anonymous user account

For example, a user account is required to download anything from FTP server. If an administrator wants to allow anyone to download the data stored in a particular folder at FTP server, he can configure an anonymous account and set its default location to this folder. Once anonymous account is enabled, users will be able to download all files and folders stored in this folder.

That’s all for this tutorial. If you have any suggestion or feedback about this tutorial, let me know. If you like this tutorial, please don’t forget to share it.

ComputerNetworkingNotes Networking Tutorials Types of User account in Computer Network Explained