Moving a Subversion Repository to Another Server

February 13, 2008

Moving a subversion repository from one server to another, while still preserving all your version history may seam like a daunting task, but fortunately it's not too difficult.

I recently had to move a subversion (svn) repository to another server. The repository was on a Windows server and had to be moved to a Linux server.

Step 1: Backup your old Repository

The first thing you need when moving from one server to another is a dump of your subversion repository. Hopefully you are already creating dump's with a backup script, but if not here's how you can create a subversion dump file:

svnadmin dump /path/to/repository > repo_name.svn_dump

The dump file contains all the revisions you have ever made to your svn repository, so it will probably be quite large (it even includes files you may have deleted in a previous revision).

Step 2: Create the new Repository

Now, simply transfer the dump file on to your new subversion server, and create an empty repository:

svnadmin create /path/to/repository

Step 3: Import your old repository into the new one

Next import your dump file:

svnadmin load /path/to/repository < repo_name.svn_dump

You may want to force subversion to use the same UUID for the new repository as the old repository. To do this add --force-uuid to your svnadmin load command. In my case I wanted to do this. If you have already loaded your repository, there is a way to set the UUID at a later date, check the docs.

That's it, you now have a replica of your old repository on your new server.


What if someone committed a new revision to the old server during installation?

You can easily import the new revision, by creating an incremental dump on the old server:

svnadmin dump --incremental -r 1234 /path/to/repository > rev1234.svn_dump

Now to import that revision on your new server:

svnadmin load /path/to/repository < rev1234.svn_dump

Can't I just use a hotcopy to restore the repository?

It depends, hotcopies created with svnadmin hotcopy must be moved to a server with identical setup. You should have the same version of subversion installed on both servers, same operating system, etc.

Subversion dumps are designed to work with different versions of subversion, and are just more flexible. Hotcopies are handy to have, but I recommend creating both hotcopies and dumps as part of your backup plan.

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33 people found this page useful, what do you think?


Howdy! Great tutorial, I planned on using it, but here's something I wasn't expecting.. I'm moving our site over to a new server and when I copied everything over, without doing anything else, SVN appears to be working. Perfectly. Any idea why this would happen?
This is great, thank you Peter! I'm moving from a small server to a larger server and one of the things that is being moved is SVN. I never done this before, but your instructions are clear and will make it easy for me. Thanks again!
Added to
Thanks for this tutorial. worked like a charm.
Hi, i am getting below the error. Berkeley DB error for filesystem E:/SubversionRepository/db while opening 'nodes' table:No such file or directory. How to fix this.please help me. Thanks, Velmurugan.
@Anonymous it looks like you have your backup file and restore location in the wrong order. It should be svnadmin load {restore.path} < {backup.file}
Don't forget to also update the clients with the location of the new repository so they won't commit to the old server.
"hotcopies created with svnadmin hotcopy must be moved to a server with identical setup. You should have the same version of subversion installed on both servers, same operating system, etc" - That is not true in fact.

We keep 14 days of automatic SVN backup using hotcopy and tar. Today i moved from ubuntu 10.04 to Fedora Core 11 and restored the hotcopy exactly in the same location but different OS (of course), different SVN version. It worked without any problem.

Hotcopy doesn't give you verbose output but it's fast. So i use it more often than dump.
I have a server running Subversion and SSH. My repos exist elsewhere on
the network on a data server.

I want to move the Subversion server to a different SSH server. Is it
safe to install subversion on the new server and give it the path to the
already existing repositories on the data server?

Any advice would be great.
Thanks for the info. It was as easy as you made it sound.
Thanks alot. Worked perfectly...
Thank you so much for this tutorial. Just migrated my repositories to another newer server without any problems.
Great tutorlial Peter! Just one thing, when im trying to create the dump it saying: " Bad user name and password " ? Please anyone I need help, thanks again for the tutorial
I just copied the repository from one machine to another and it worked. I can see/access the complete data from the new machine also. this is amaging , with out performing dump or hotcopy my work is done.

The apache and svn server versions were same in both the machine.

Can any one tell will it be create any issue in future
Thanks, Pete, this is really helpful.

Foundeo Inc.