Setting up a Self Hosted Git Server

Sat 29th May 2021 By David T. Sadler.

I've always liked the idea of self hosting some of my git repositories. After a bit of research I found that it involves.

Installing Git

Since its an Ubuntu server installing git is as simple as.

$ sudo apt install git-core

Creating a User

The git user will serve two purposes.

$ sudo adduser --system --shell /usr/bin/git-shell --group --disabled-password --home /home/git git

Setting up SSH

On my local machine git will use ssh to connect to the remote server as the git user. In order to do this I will need to copy my public ssh key to the git user account.

The below commands create the required .ssh directory and authorized_keys file with the correct permissions.

$ sudo mkdir /home/git/.ssh
$ sudo chown git:git /home/git/.ssh
$ sudo chmod 700 /home/git/.ssh
$ sudo touch /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys
$ sudo chown git:git /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys
$ sudo chmod 600 /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys

Now I can copy the public ssh key of anyone who needs access to the repositories. There are a few ways of doing this and I tend to just edit the authorized_keys file and manually copy and paste the keys into it.

$ sudo vim /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys

Note that to prevent ssh port forwarding via the git user account I prepend the no-port-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-pty options to the key.

$ sudo cat /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys

no-port-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-pty ssh-rsa
ICUvax2T9va5 gsg-keypair

On my local machine I can test ssh access.

$ ssh

fatal: Interactive git shell is not enabled.
hint: ~/git-shell-commands should exist and have read and execute access.

The message that comes back indicates that ssh is working and that the git-shell is been used.

Creating a Test Repository

An empty repository is setup by running git init with the --bare option. I also ensure that the git user owns the repository and that main will be the default branch when its checked out.

$ sudo git init --bare /home/git/test.git/
$ sudo chown -R git:git /home/git/test.git/
$ sudo git --git-dir=/home/git/test.git/ symbolic-ref HEAD refs/heads/main

Creating a Test Project

Back on my local machine I can create a test project and push it to the remote server.

$ mkdir test
$ cd test
$ git init
$ touch readme
$ git add .
$ git commit -m 'Initial commit'
$ git remote add origin
$ git push origin main

I can also test that I can clone the repository.

rm -rf test
git clone


Git - Read More Posts.

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