SVN over ssh HOWTO

NOTE: This document assumes the user knows the basics of svn with remote repositories. The examples that follow assume that a svn repository already exists in a Columbia Computer Science NFS share somewhere. This document assumes the workstation you are using is a *nix box with svn and ssh installed.

NOTE: Please create your SVN repository on

Using ssh as the communication medium for svn provides security advantages. Here’s a quick example on how to use this mechanism.


  • your username is joe
  • the existing joe repository is at /home/joe/repository/
  • the project name is my_project

Then on the remote machine,

  1. Use svn+ssh:// as the repository location.


To checkout the project my_project, type svn co svn+ssh:// You will be prompted for joe’s password. To avoid being prompted for the password with each svn command, you may wish to use ssh-agent.


Subversion book is a free online book on SVN. 2nd Edition Chapter 2 has the relevant information.

ssh-agent shows how to use ssh-agent cache your passphrase.