nologin - Man Page

politely refuse a login

Examples (TL;DR)


nologin [-V] [-h]


nologin displays a message that an account is not available and exits non-zero. It is intended as a replacement shell field to deny login access to an account.

If the file /etc/nologin.txt exists, nologin displays its contents to the user instead of the default message.

The exit status returned by nologin is always 1.


-c, --command command


-i --interactive

--init-file file

-i, --interactive

-l, --login




--rcfile file

-r,  --restricted
These shell command-line options are ignored to avoid nologin error.
-h,  --help

Display help text and exit.

-V,  --version

Display version information and exit.


nologin is a per-account way to disable login (usually used for system accounts like http or ftp). nologin uses /etc/nologin.txt as an optional source for a non-default message, the login access is always refused independently of the file.

pam_nologin(8) PAM module usually prevents all non-root users from logging into the system. pam_nologin(8) functionality is controlled by /var/run/nologin or the /etc/nologin file.


The nologin command appeared in 4.4BSD.


Karel Zak

See Also

login(1), passwd(5), pam_nologin(8)

Reporting Bugs

For bug reports, use the issue tracker at


The nologin command is part of the util-linux package which can be downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive.


2021-06-02 util-linux 2.37.2 System Administration