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Version Control with Subversion
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Version Control with Subversion - httpd, the Apache HTTP server - Basic HTTP Authentication

Basic HTTP Authentication

The easiest way to authenticate a client is via the HTTP Basic authentication mechanism, which simply uses a username and password to verify that a user is who she says she is. Apache provides an htpasswd utility for managing the list of acceptable usernames and passwords, those to whom you wish to grant special access to your Subversion repository. Let's grant commit access to Sally and Harry. First, we need to add them to the password file.

$ ### First time: use -c to create the file
$ ### Use -m to use MD5 encryption of the password, which is more secure
$ htpasswd -cm /etc/svn-auth-file harry
New password: ***** 
Re-type new password: *****
Adding password for user harry
$ htpasswd -m /etc/svn-auth-file sally
New password: *******
Re-type new password: *******
Adding password for user sally
$

Next, you need to add some more httpd.conf directives inside your Location block to tell Apache what to do with your new password file. The AuthType directive specifies the type of authentication system to use. In this case, we want to specify the Basic authentication system. AuthName is an arbitrary name that you give for the authentication domain. Most browsers will display this name in the pop-up dialog box when the browser is querying the user for his name and password. Finally, use the AuthUserFile directive to specify the location of the password file you created using htpasswd .

After adding these three directives, your <Location> block should look something like this:

<Location /svn>
  DAV svn
  SVNParentPath /usr/local/svn
  AuthType Basic
  AuthName "Subversion repository"
  AuthUserFile /etc/svn-auth-file
</Location>

This <Location> block is not yet complete, and will not do anything useful. It's merely telling Apache that whenever authorization is required, Apache should harvest a username and password from the Subversion client. What's missing here, however, are directives that tell Apache which sorts of client requests require authorization. Wherever authorization is required, Apache will demand authentication as well. The simplest thing to do is protect all requests. Adding Require valid-user tells Apache that all requests require an authenticated user:

<Location /svn>
  DAV svn
  SVNParentPath /usr/local/svn
  AuthType Basic
  AuthName "Subversion repository"
  AuthUserFile /etc/svn-auth-file
  Require valid-user
</Location>

Be sure to read the next section ( the section called “Authorization Options”) for more detail on the Require directive and other ways to set authorization policies.

One word of warning: HTTP Basic Auth passwords pass in very nearly plain-text over the network, and thus are extremely insecure. If you're worried about password snooping, it may be best to use some sort of SSL encryption, so that clients authenticate via https:// instead of https://; at a bare minimum, you can configure Apache to use a self-signed server certificate. [26] Consult Apache's documentation (and OpenSSL documentation) about how to do that.


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Version Control with Subversion
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