How to set up a Subversion (SVN) server on CentOS or Fedora

Last updated on August 25, 2020 by Dan Nanni

The open-source community has been using Subversion (or SVN) widely for many collaborative open-source development projects. SVN is supported by all major open-source project hosting sites such as Google Code, GitHub, SourceForge and Launchpad. You can of course set up your own Subversion server in house.

SVN supports several protocols for network access: SVN, SVN+SSH, HTTP, HTTPS. If you are behind a firewall, HTTP-based Subversion is advantageous since SVN traffic will go through the firewall without any additional firewall rule setting. In this tutorial, I will describe how to set up an HTTP-based Subversion server on CentOS or Fedora platform.

First, install Subversion, as well as Subversion module for Apache HTTP server as follows. This will also install Apache HTTP server as a dependency if it is installed.

$ sudo yum install subversion mod_dav_svn

Next, create a local SVN repository which will store code

$ sudo mkdir /svnrepos
$ sudo svnadmin create /svnrepos

Make the SVN repository readable and writable by the same user as the one which Apache HTTP server runs as. On CentOS or Fedora platforms, this user is apache.

$ sudo chown -R apache.apache /svnrepos

Edit Apache HTTP server configuration as follows.

$ sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/subversion.conf
LoadModule dav_svn_module     modules/
LoadModule authz_svn_module   modules/

<Location /svnrepos>
   DAV svn
   SVNPath /svnrepos
   AuthType Basic
   AuthName "Subversion repositories"
   AuthUserFile /etc/svn-auth-users
   Require valid-user

Next, add Subversion users (e.g., user1, user2, user3, etc) who are authorized to access the SVN server. Here I use basic authentication provided by Apache HTTP server. For that, use htpasswd command which creates usernames and password for authenticated HTTP users.

The first time you run htpasswd command, use -c option, which will create an initial SVN password file (/etc/svn-auth-users). For subsequent runs of htpasswd command, do not use -c option.

$ sudo htpasswd -cm /etc/svn-auth-users user1
New password:
Re-type new password:
Adding password for user user1
$ sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn-auth-users user2
$ sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn-auth-users user3
. . .

Now restart Apache HTTP server.

$ sudo service httpd restart


$ sudo systemctl restart httpd

At this point, the SVN server should be accessible via HTTP. Go to: http://<ip-address-svn-server>/svnrepos to browse the SVN repository via web interface. As shown below, you will be prompted to enter username and password to proceed.

Also, when you try to access the SVN server from SVN client software, you will also be required to authenticate yourself.

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