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We are currently having some issues with VPN connections. The whole thing slows down development and reaction time. What I was used to in my previous workplace was using SSH for accessing FTP and HTTPS for self-hosted Subversion.

In real world production environments: how often do you use VPN instead of HTTPS for accessing Subversion repositories by external employees? If you do, was security the main concern?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

We run SSL on our subversion repositories for external access, simply because it's just so much easier than VPNs to:

  • Maintain (there is no maintanance)
  • Set up (takes about 10 minutes)
  • Configure clients (None needed)
  • 100% compatibility guaranteed (No funky VPN clients)
  • Cross-platform
  • Much more secure (No chance of forgetting to set a firewall rule and opening up your entire network)
  • No need for SSH (great for Windows clients)
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Subversion is really elegant and user friendly in that you just use an url and everything just works out ... only trouble i ever got into as a user was accidentaly installing TortoiseCVS instead of TortoiseSVN on windows :-) –  tovare Jul 24 '10 at 23:31

I use svn+ssh basically everyhwere. For people who don't ever need to run anything but svn on the server, you can prepend something like this to the front of their ~/.ssh/authorized_keys:

command="svnserve -t --tunnel-user=theuser",no-port-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-pty

This does mean that your users need to use public key auth, but hey that's not a bad thing, right?

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Both https and a VPN create an SSL tunnel, using both is redundant. Use a VPN if you need to give the collaborators access to other network resources, like a file share.

At work we use HTTPS with a certificate that costs us $30 per year. I highly recommend using a CA as it thwarts MITM attacks.

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