svnserve allows access to Subversion repositories using Subversion's custom network protocol.

You can run svnserve as a standalone server process (for clients that are using the svn:// access method); you can have a daemon such as inetd or xinetd launch it for you on demand (also for svn://), or you can have sshd launch it on demand for the svn+ssh:// access method.

Regardless of the access method, once the client has selected a repository by transmitting its URL, svnserve reads a file named conf/svnserve.conf in the repository directory to determine repository-specific settings such as what authentication database to use and what authorization policies to apply. See the section called “svnserve, a custom server” for details of the svnserve.conf file.