Category Archives: Raspbian

Simple SVN Server

I’ve recently started to teach a friend of mine, with an aspiration to embark on a career in software development, how to program. One of the aspects of software development that people often don’t get exposure to when learning how to program is version control systems. This omission means that a lot of the time when a person begins their career as a software developer their first exposure to version control systems is during their first job (if they’re not unlucky enough to work somewhere that doesn’t use version control!).

I thought it would be useful for my friend to get to grips with SVN from the get go as it’s relatively simple to learn compared to Git. I had a look for some free options that would provide multiple users for a single repository but it seemed that most of the basic SVN hosting packages only offered a single user repository. Seeing as I had a spare Raspberry Pi kicking about I thought why not set it up as an SVN server and host the server next to the Raspberry Pi that hosts this site putting it under the same domain.

For the initial set up of Raspbian you might want to follow the steps from my tutorial setting up raspbian with a web server in mind as this allows Raspbian to run from a USB stick which is more reliable than running from an SD card.

Following the set-up of Raspbian I carried out the steps below.

Subversion Installation

Install the Subverion package via the APT package handling utility.

sudo apt-get install subversion

Create a repository directory

Run the command below, the ‘-p’ flag creates nested directories if they don’t already exist. This directory will be the place all of your repositories will go, we are only going to be creating a single repository during this tutorial.

mkdir -p /home/pi/repos

Create a new empty repository

Create a new empty repository in the new ‘repos’ directory. The previous step was required as svnadmin doesn’t create intermediate repositories.

sudo svnadmin create /home/pi/repos/test

Create a project directory

mkdir -p /home/pi/projects/test

Import the project

sudo svn import /home/pi/projects/test/ file://localhost/home/pi/repos/test

This completes the set up of SVN – it’s so simple that there is no reason to not use a version control system!  Now we need to provide remote web access so that the SVN repository can be accessed remotely.

Install Apache components

To enable web access requires the installation of the Apache web server and Apache Subversion server module.

sudo apt-get install apache2 libapache2-svn

Restrict access control

As the repository can be publicly accessed we want to restrict access so that a username and password are required to check out the repository and to commit changes to the repository.

Open the apache svn module configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/mods-available/dav_svn.conf

Append the following to the bottom of the file then save and close.

<Location /svn>
DAV svn
SVNParentPath /home/pi/repos
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Subversion Repo"
AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/dav_svn.passwd
<LimitExcept GET="" PROPFIND="" OPTIONS="" REPORT="">
Require valid-user

Restart Apache

Restarting Apache is required so that the new configuration settings take effect.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Update permissions

Give the SVN server permission to modify the repository directory.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /home/pi/repos

Create users

I needed to create two users, one for me and one for my friend.

Create the first user, you will be asked to provide a password.

sudo htpasswd -c /etc/apache2/dav_svn.passwd calum

Notice that after creating the first user you should omit the ‘-c’ flag this is used to create the passwdfile and will overwrite the file if you use it again.

Create the second user, again you will be asked to provide a password.

sudo htpasswd /etc/apache2/dav_svn.passwd tom

The SVN server should now be accessible via a suitable SVN client. My favourite client for Windows is TortoiseSVN.

If you want to be able to access the server externally follow step 4 onwards in my tutorial Setting up WordPress on a Raspberry Pi.

I’ve been successfully running SVN on my raspberry PI for over a month with no down time. This has allowed my friend to get to grips with C# (and version control!) by building his very own version of the classic game pong!

Setting up WordPress on a Raspberry Pi

This tutorial continues on from my previous tutorial Setting up Raspbian – with a web server in mind and shows you how to get WordPress up and running on a Raspberry Pi. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging/content management systems and is what is powering this site.

Step 1 – Install The Lamp Stack

The LAMP solution stack is a popular software bundle for powering web servers and it’s the setup WordPress requires to operate.

Update the system’s package list and update the installed packages to their latest versions.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Install the LAMP stack.

sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-mysql mysql-server

After installation you should be able to test that the installation was successful by visiting the IP address of your Raspberry Pi in your web browser, mine was located at A page should display that states that ‘It Works!’.

Step 2 – Install WordPress
Install the WordPress package.

sudo apt-get install wordpress

Create a symbolic link to the directory where WordPress was installed in the ‘www’ directory so Apache can find the files. A symbolic link is similar to a Shortcut except it operates at the level of the file system.

sudo ln -s /usr/share/wordpress /var/www/wordpress

Unzip the MySql installation using the gunzip command.

sudo gunzip /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql.gz

Set up the MySQL database.

sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql -n wordpress localhost

Step 3 – Configure WordPress
Create a symbolic link to WordPress’ config file and make sure it contains the IP address of your Raspberry Pi.

sudo ln -s /etc/wordpress/config-localhost.php /etc/wordpress/config-

Change the ownership of the WordPress directory and set the owner as www-data which is the user that Apache runs as.

sudo chown -R www-data /usr/share/wordpress

Remove the default index file that was created when Apache was installed.

sudo rm /var/www/index.html

Move the WordPress index file from the WordPress folder to the www root.

sudo mv /var/www/wordpress/index.php /var/www/

Edit the WordPress index.php.

sudo nano /var/www/index.php

Change the following line:

<? php require('./wp-blog-header.php'); ?>

This is what it should be – this is where WordPress is installed:

<? php require('./wordpress/wp-blog-header.php'); ?>

Edit the WordPress config file.

sudo nano /var/www/wordpress/wp-config.php

After the line:


Add the following then close and save:


Visit ‘’ and set up WordPress!

The steps provide the www-data user with the permissions to modify directories required by WordPress.

Update the ownership of the WordPress directory.

sudo chown -R -f www-data:www-data /usr/share/wordpress

Update the ownership of the wp-content directories.

sudo chown -R -f www-data:www-data /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/ && sudo chown -R -f www-data:www-data /srv/www/wp-content/

Create a configuration file for configuring the Apache web server.

sudo nano /var/www/.htaccess

Update the ownership of the .htaccess file.

sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/.htaccess

Set up permissions for the necessary WordPress directories:

sudo chmod 644 /var/www/.htaccess
sudo chmod 755 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/
sudo chmod 755 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/uploads
sudo chmod 755 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins
sudo chmod 755 /var/www/wordpress/wp-admin

Edit the default sites-available configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

Set ‘AllowOverride’ to ‘All’ under /var/www/, save and exit.

Restart the Apache server.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Go to settings, permalinks and choose a setting. I chose ‘Post name’, this will update the .htaccess file accordingly. Permalinks make links to your posts more understandable for both humans and search engines boosting your SEO as your links now make more sense semantically.

Restart Apache.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Install a necessary plugin that allows a symbolically linked folder to be used as the plugins folder.

sudo git clone git:// /srv/www/wp-content/localhost/plugins/aaa-plugin-symlink

Set up the themes and uploads folders so that WordPress can install and access themes and uploads.

sudo rm -rf /srv/www/wp-content/localhost/themes
sudo ln -s /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/themes /srv/www/wp-content/localhost/themes
sudo rm -rf /srv/www/wp-content/localhost/uploads
sudo ln -s /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/uploads /srv/www/wp-content/localhost/uploads

Setup complete!

Step 4 – Forward router ports

At this point you can only access your WordPress site from your internal network. You will need to forward port 80 on your router to your Raspberry Pi so that your router forwards any traffic sent to port 80 straight to your Raspberry Pi allowing it to be accessible from the outside world.

Step 5 – Set up a Dynamic DNS service

Your WordPress site is now accessible to the outside world by typing in your IP address. This number is hard to remember compared to a domain name and is probably not static so is subject to change. There are a couple of free solutions I would recommend:

I use FreeDNS and it’s very easy to set up. I had previously bought a domain name from a domain provider but just switched to the FreeDNS name servers so that I could manage it from there allowing me to utilise the dynamic DNS features.

There are a number of steps you need to take to allow your domain name to resolve to your WordPress site successfully.

Create a symbolic link to your WordPress configuration file with the domain in the file name replacing ‘DOMAIN’ below.

sudo ln -s /etc/wordpress/config-localhost.php /etc/wordpress/config-DOMAIN.php

Edit the .htaccess file.

sudo nano /var/www/.htaccess

Make sure that requests that don’t contain the ‘www.’ sub-domain are redirected to your domain with ‘www.’ included permanently with a HTTP 301 redirect. This will ensure that links to your site with and without ‘www.’ will be seen as the same website removing the possibility that search engines could class your site as multiple sites potentially hurting its ranking. Put the following at the top of the file, save and exit.

 # Redirect non-www to www: 
 RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC] 
 RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

If you’re using FreeDNS Make sure that they know your IP address by regularly making a request to the update URL provided. Open the crontab configuration file for configuring the cron scheduler.

crontab -e

Set up the job up to make a request every five minutes using -q –spider so that wget doesn’t produce output and only makes a HEAD request as opposed to an entire GET request which isn’t necessary. Replace ‘UPDATE URL’ with your update url, save and exit:

*/5 * * * * wget -q --spider UPDATE URL

WordPress should now be successfully set up and accessible from the outside world!

Setting up Raspbian – with a web server in mind

In this tutorial I’m going to explain how to get up and running with Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi, running either from an SD card or a USB Flash Drive. I will provide pointers about optimising your Raspberry Pi as a web server.

I’m going to assume that you have a Windows background and are unfamiliar with the Linux environment and you at least have access to another machine running Windows with an SD card slot.

Step 1 – Download Raspbian

Navigate to the official Raspberry Pi Website and download Raspbian “wheezy” either by direct download or torrent. This is a version of the Debian operating system, one of the most popular Linux distributions, which is optimized for the Raspberry Pi.

Step 2 – Copy the image to your SD card

Now you have the image that represents the contents and structure of the Raspbian operating system we need to write it to an SD card. Navigate to the SourceForge website and download  Win32 Disk Imager – this tool is used for writing images to external media. Extract the contents of the zip file to a folder and run Win32DiskImager.exe.

Select the ‘Device’ ie your SD Card. It selected my SD card by default however you should check to make sure that you have selected the correct letter as this process will erase any existing data you have on your SD card. Click on the folder icon and select the Raspbian image you downloaded then click on ‘Write’ and wait…

As well as writing images to external media Win32 Disk Imager is useful for reading data from external media to an image file. This will be useful later when you have your SD card in a desired state and want to make a backup before making any further changes.

Step 3 – Boot up into Terminal

You are now in a position to boot up your Raspberry Pi! The remainder of this tutorial requires that you boot to the Linux Terminal. There are a couple of ways you can do this, first connect your Raspberry Pi to your digital TV or monitor and plug it in. It should boot in to Terminal. If you are happy interfacing locally through your TV or monitor continue to Step 3. I however prefer a headless setup.

If you’re planning to use your Raspberry Pi as a web server then the headless setup is a more suited approach. A headless setup means that the Raspberry Pi isn’t directly connected to a monitor, mouse or keyboard although it does require a connection to your router via Ethernet. When you’ve connected your Raspberry Pi to your router you should notice the green LED labelled LNK flashing which indicates that a connection has been successfully negotiated. You then need to obtain your Raspberry Pi’s IP address.

sudo ip addr show


Your IP address should be shown in a similar fashion as above. You need to make a note of this.

You now need to download PuTTY to another machine on the network. PuTTY is a Secure Shell (SSH) client that allows you to connect securely to your Raspberry Pi. Once you’ve completed the download; launch putty.exe, enter your IP Address using the default port of 22 and click ‘connect’. The default username is ‘Pi’ with the password ‘raspberry’ – this will bring you to the command line.

Step 3 – Configuring Raspbian

Now you’re ready to configure your Raspberry Pi. You need to launch the Configuration Tool.

sudo raspi-config

You should expand the file system to make full use of the SD card, change the default password, configure the locale (mine is set to ‘en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8’)  and timezone under ‘Internationalisation Options’. If you want to set your Raspberry Pi up as a web server you should make a couple of other tweaks as explained below.

It is now possible to set an overclock of 1000MHz without voiding your warranty as the clock speed is dynamic and reduces if the internal temperature reaches 85°C. You may need to reduce this if your Raspberry Pi becomes unstable, each chip is unique and has different limitations so you should experiment. You should also navigate to the ‘Advanced Options’ and set the memory split. You should choose the minimum amount of memory (16 MB) to be dedicated to the graphics if your unit is running headless as graphics memory isn’t required and can be better used servicing requests.

When you’re happy everything is as you want it select ‘Finish’ then restart.

sudo reboot

Your Raspberry Pi is now set up and ready to use. If you’ve been following this tutorial with a web server in mind then it’s recommended to move the root partition onto a USB drive.

Although a convenient medium for running Raspbian, SD cards aren’t designed for handling the demands of running a web server i.e. high rates of reading and writing data. I hosted a WordPress site on an SD card and the database became corrupt after a couple of days. If you would like to know how to transfer the root file system to a USB flash drive you should continue with the next step.

Step 4 – Copying the root partition to a USB flash drive.

Plug in a USB stick and load Raspbian to the terminal. You need to copy the root partition from the SD card to the USB drive. List the USB devices connected to the system to make sure your device is recognised.


My drive came up as /dev/sda1 – you need to copy your root partition to the USB drive using the dd utility to create a disk dump using /dev/mmcblk0p2 as the input file and /dev/sda1/ as the output file. A block size of 512 bytes was used for the transfer which will take around half an hour…

sudo dd if=/dev/mmcblk0p2 of=/dev/sda1 bs=512

You now need to update cmdline.txt, a file that controls the loading of the Linux Kernel, with the new location of the root partition. You can use Nano, a simple command-line text editor to edit text files.

sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

Replace root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 with the location of your USB drive, in my case /dev/sda1. Press ‘ctrl + x’ then press ‘y’ to save when you are prompted.

You also need to update the file system table with the new location of the root partition.

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Again, replace root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 with the location of your USB drive – save and exit. You should now be in a position to reboot and load the root partition from the USB drive.

sudo shutdown -r now

If all has gone well the terminal should boot up in the same way as it did in Step 3. You can show the free space on your disks in human readable format, you will probably find that the root partition isn’t expanded to fill the USB drive.

df -h

You should expand the root file system to fill the disk using the resize2fs program.

sudo resize2fs /dev/sda1

You should reboot before making any other changes. Your Raspberry Pi is now in a good position to start playing with and potentially setting up as a web server – you might want to back up the USB drive to your PC using the ‘Read’ function of the Win32 Disk Imager application you used it Step 2. This means you can restore to a good known state if you happen to break anything (you will)!