How to Setup an Apache Subversion (SVN) Server on CentOS 7

Updated on August 15, 2016
How to Setup an Apache Subversion (SVN) Server on CentOS 7 header image

Apache Subversion (SVN) is a widely used version control solution which helps in storing files of various versions, like source code and documents.

In this article, I will show you how to use Apache Subversion and Apache to build an SVN server on a Vultr CentOS 7 server instance.


  • VM running CentOS 7 (minimal install preferred, but not required).
  • A sudo user for login. Another Vultr article describes the details about how to setup a sudo user.

Step 1: Update the system

sudo yum update
sudo shutdown -r now

After the reboot, log into the system again using the same sudo user.

Step 2: Install Apache

Install Apache using YUM:

sudo yum install httpd

Remove Apache's default welcome page:

sudo sed -i 's/^/#&/g' /etc/httpd/conf.d/welcome.conf

Prevent Apache from displaying files in the "/var/www/html" directory:

sudo sed -i "s/Options Indexes FollowSymLinks/Options FollowSymLinks/" /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Step 3: Install SVN and the mod_dav_svn module

To make SVN work with Apache, you need to install an Apache module "mod_dav_svn" in addition to SVN:

sudo yum install subversion mod_dav_svn

Step 4: Configure SVN

1) Modify the SVN configuration file

sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.modules.d/10-subversion.conf

The file should read:

LoadModule dav_svn_module     modules/
LoadModule authz_svn_module   modules/
LoadModule dontdothat_module  modules/

Append the following segment:

<Location /svn>
DAV svn
SVNParentPath /svn
AuthName "SVN Repos"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /etc/svn/svn-auth
AuthzSVNAccessFile /svn/authz
Require valid-user

Save and quit:


Note: In this configuration, we specified an HTTP access authentication file "/etc/svn/svn-auth" and a user permission control file "/svn/authz". Both of them will be created later.

2) Create an SVN repo

sudo mkdir /svn
cd /svn
sudo svnadmin create repo1
sudo chown -R apache:apache repo1

3) Setup SVN user accounts

Use the following commands to create an HTTP access authentication file "/svn/svn-auth" and an SVN user account "user001":

sudo mkdir /etc/svn
sudo htpasswd -cm /etc/svn/svn-auth user001
sudo chown root:apache /etc/svn/svn-auth
sudo chmod 640 /etc/svn/svn-auth

If you want to create more SVN user accounts, refer to the following commands:

sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn/svn-auth user002
sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn/svn-auth user003

Warning: Do not use the "-c" flag from now on, or you will rebuild the authentication file and erase all the user accounts you setup earlier.

4) Setup permissions for users

sudo cp /svn/repo1/conf/authz /svn/authz
sudo vi /svn/authz

Assume that:

  • User "user001" is the administrator.
  • User "user002" is a qualified user who owns read and write permissions to the SVN repo "repo1".
  • User "user003" is a trainee who can only read the contents of SVN repo "repo1".

Then you can modify the settings within as below:




Save and quit:


Step 5: Start Apache and modify firewall rules

Start Apache:

sudo systemctl start httpd.service
sudo systemctl enable httpd.service

Open the HTTP service port:

sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=http
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

Finally, use the following path to access the SVN repo "repo1" on your server from an SVN client:


That concludes our tutorial. Thank you for reading.