Iv recently setup a SVN server on my papache webserver. I installed USVN http://www.usvn.fr/ to help manage the repositories from a web interface.

When I create a repository and try to import code into it from netbeans i get the following error: org.tigris.subversion.javahl.ClientException: RA layer request failed Server sent unexpected return value (403 Forbidden) in response to PROPFIND request for '/svn/python1'

I know i have the username and password correct (and I have tried different users) I have done some research and it seems that it is most likely an Apache svn error. Below is the config file for this virtualhost.

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName svn.domain.com
ServerAlias www.svn.domain.com
ServerAlias admin.svn.domain.com
DocumentRoot /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/public
ErrorLog /var/log/virtualmin/svn.domain.com_error_log
CustomLog /var/log/virtualmin/svn.domain.com_access_log combined

DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.php index.php4 index.php5

<Directory "/home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn">
    Options +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

<Location /svn/>
 ErrorDocument 404 default
 DAV svn
 Require valid-user
 SVNParentPath /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/svn
 SVNListParentPath on
 AuthType Basic
 AuthName "USVN"
 AuthUserFile /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/htpasswd
 AuthzSVNAccessFile /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/authz


Can anyone point out what I may have done wrong and how to fix it? I have tested with changing file permissions and changing the configuration with no luck.

Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: Here is the contents of /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/authz

# This is an auto generated file! Edit at your own risk!
# You can edit this "/" section. Settings will be kept.
* = 

# Don't edit anything below! All manual changes will be overwritten. 

python1 = mrlanrat, user

# Project python1
@python1 = r

@python1 = rw

@python1 = rw

And here is /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/htpasswd


Here is the access log: http://pastebin.com/RRYL1kCx and here is the error log: http://pastebin.com/vR2MJj0v

The part of interest is here:

[Wed Apr 21 12:13:25 2010] [error] [client] user  not found: /svn/test/trunk
[Wed Apr 21 12:13:25 2010] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/public/svn

Loging in via a web browser seems to work, however netbeans and a other svn clients all get 403 errors.

  • what do you have in /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/authz , what shows up in apache access and error logs when you try to communicate with svn? can you access the repository via web browser? what is in /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/htpasswd [you can skip the hash part]?
    – pQd
    Apr 20, 2010 at 6:01
  • Anything in the error log?
    – LapTop006
    Apr 20, 2010 at 12:34
  • I updated the post with the requested information.
    – lanrat
    Apr 20, 2010 at 19:35

3 Answers 3


I had the same problem and I've red that there is no possibility to disable mod_evasive for a defined virtual host.

The following "workaround" configuration works for me with svn.:

change: /etc/apache2/mods-available/mod-evasive.load

The whole file:

LoadModule evasive20_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/mod_evasive20.so
< If Module mod_evasive20.c>
DOSHashTableSize 3097
DOSPageCount 5
DOSSiteCount 15
DOSPageInterval 1
DOSSiteInterval 1
DOSBlockingPeriod 600
< /IfModule>

After the change you have to restart Apache:
/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Have Fun


What does your /home/mrlanrat/domains/svn.domain.com/usvn/files/authz file look like?

Mine looks like this:

everyone = user1, user2, user3
repo1users = user1

@everyone = r

@repo1users = rw

we have had problems before like this and it is mostly mis-configuring the authz file.

  • My authz file looks like it is setup the same way. I added it and some other information to my post.
    – lanrat
    Apr 20, 2010 at 19:36
  • I see user mrlanrat: authentication failure for "/svn/python1": Password Mismatch in the logs. Is there some special character in your password that isn't being sent correctly?
    – Andrew Cox
    Apr 21, 2010 at 14:29
  • I was testing using an incorrect password to see if it would give a different response.
    – lanrat
    Apr 21, 2010 at 19:17

After a full day of googling and finding all sorts of problems which could cause this 403 error, none of which where mine. I finally found my problem!

I had mod_evasive enabled in Apache. Apparently SVN/WED-DAV sends commands so fast that it gets blocked.

So back to the solution! Disable mod_evasive! :)

If anyone knows a way to just disable it for only one virtual-host please let me know. I would still like it enabled for my other virtual-hosts.


  • I had the same problem and I just replaced mod_evasive with mod_security. It is more complicated to configure but much more adaptable (you can rate-limit only one vhost, only one directory).
    – bortzmeyer
    May 5, 2012 at 20:24

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