Blanket Access Control

The simplest form of access control is to authorize certain users for either read-only access to a repository, or read/write access to a repository.

You can restrict access on all repository operations by adding the Require valid-user directive to your <Location> block. Using our previous example, this would mean that only clients that claimed to be either harry or sally, and provided the correct password for their respective username, would be allowed to do anything with the Subversion repository:

<Location /svn>
  DAV svn
  SVNParentPath /var/svn

  # how to authenticate a user
  AuthType Basic
  AuthName "Subversion repository"
  AuthUserFile /path/to/users/file

  # only authenticated users may access the repository
  Require valid-user
</Location>

Sometimes you don't need to run such a tight ship. For example, Subversion's own source code repository at http://svn.collab.net/repos/svn allows anyone in the world to perform read-only repository tasks (like checking out working copies and browsing the repository with a web browser), but restricts all write operations to authenticated users. To do this type of selective restriction, you can use the Limit and LimitExcept configuration directives. Like the Location directive, these blocks have starting and ending tags, and you would nest them inside your <Location> block.

The parameters present on the Limit and LimitExcept directives are HTTP request types that are affected by that block. For example, if you wanted to disallow all access to your repository except the currently supported read-only operations, you would use the LimitExcept directive, passing the GET, PROPFIND, OPTIONS, and REPORT request type parameters. Then the previously mentioned Require valid-user directive would be placed inside the <LimitExcept> block instead of just inside the <Location> block.

<Location /svn>
  DAV svn
  SVNParentPath /var/svn

  # how to authenticate a user
  AuthType Basic
  AuthName "Subversion repository"
  AuthUserFile /path/to/users/file

  # For any operations other than these, require an authenticated user.
  <LimitExcept GET PROPFIND OPTIONS REPORT>
    Require valid-user
  </LimitExcept>
</Location>

These are only a few simple examples. For more in-depth information about Apache access control and the Require directive, take a look at the Security section of the Apache documentation's tutorials collection at http://httpd.apache.org/docs-2.0/misc/tutorials.html.