Home git server

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

Home git server

You can have one at home


I need a place where I can keep my private projects prajwet, and I don't need any GUI, WebUI for that, I'll not open tickets for myself. I can spend this time better.

Instead of creating a private repository at Github I'll set up my own git server at home.


I'll use NanoPi NEO3 SBC connected to my LAN with DietPi running just git and OpenSSH.

It's nice, small and uses the right (tiny) amount of energy.


From now on all commands are executed on a remote machine that will be git server.

Configure Git as a new shell

sudo echo `which git-shell` >> /etc/shells

Command explanation.

git-shell is a limited shell that will be used for the new users as he doesn't need many privileges on this machine. And provides some benefits, check newrepo command.

The list of shells should look something like this:

$ cat /etc/shells 
# /etc/shells: valid login shells

Create new user

sudo useradd -r -m -U -d /home/git -s /usr/bin/git-shell git

Command explanation.

Setup new user

Need to configure new user, password logins and interactive sessions are off the table so need to use the root account to do the initial configuration.

sudo cd /home/git
sudo rm -rvf .*
sudo mkdir .ssh && chmod 700 .ssh
sudo touch .ssh/authorized_keys && chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys
sudo chown -R git:git /home/git

Now take your public ssh key from your client machine and put it in .ssh/authoized_keys to make this setup usable. This can be done using vim /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys and pasting public keys, more keys can be added in separate lines to provide collaboration or use different keys from different client machines.

/home/git/ directory at this stage.

root@nanopi3h1:/home/git# ls -lRa
total 12
drwxr-xr-x 3 git  git  4096 Mar 14 18:07 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Mar 14 17:57 ..
drwx------ 2 git  git  4096 Mar 14 18:14 .ssh

total 12
drwx------ 2 git git 4096 Mar 14 18:14 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 git git 4096 Mar 14 18:07 ..
-rw------- 1 git git  107 Mar 14 18:14 authorized_keys

Create directory to store repositories

sudo mkdir /home/git/git-shell-commands 
sudo mkdir /home/git/repo

sudo ln -s /home/git/repo /repo
chown -R git:git /home/git/repo

This will create two directories. /home/git/git-shell-commands will be used to store additional git commands. /home/git/repo will be used to store repositories. I also created a symbolic link with the name /repo just for convenience.

Repository creation command

Use vim /home/git/git-shell-commands/newrepo to create new file

mkdir -p /repo/$1
cd /repo/$1
git init --bare

At the end execute to make this script executable.

chmod +x /home/git/git-shell-commands/newrepo
chown -R git:git /home/git/repo

//TODO: Improve this script, or take code from this repo:

Repository creation

From now on no need to login to the server host to create a new repository with much typing, like this:

ssh git@gitserver 
$ cd /repo
$ mkdir project.git
$ cd project.git
$ git init --bare
Initialized empty Git repository in /repo/project.git/

The only command that needs to be executed to create a new repository, and made from the client workstation is this one:

ssh git@gitserver newrepo testrepo.git
Initialized empty Git repository in /repo/testrepo.git/

Actually, it will be a greater idea to put this command in a separate bash script in ~/bin so repositories can be created from any place and checked out.

 #!/usr/bin/env bash

 ssh git@gitserver newrepo $1
 git clone git@gitserver:/repo/$1

Put this in ~/bin/newrepo file and chmod +x ~/bin/newrepo.

Simple one line, as ssh keys are used there is no need to use the password for login in. This way remote repositories can be created in a simple and elegant way.


❯ git clone git@gitserver:/repo/testrepo.git
Klonowanie do „testrepo”...
warning: Wygląda na to, że sklonowano puste repozytorium.

❯ cd testrepo/
❯ touch README.md
❯ git add --all
❯ git commit -m "initial commit"
[master (zapis-korzeń) 35ac541] initial commit
 1 file changed, 0 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 README.md

❯ git push
Wymienianie obiektów: 3, gotowe.
Zliczanie obiektów: 100% (3/3), gotowe.
Zapisywanie obiektów: 100% (3/3), 223 bajty | 223.00 KiB/s, gotowe.
Razem 3 (delty 0), użyte ponownie 0 (delty 0), paczki użyte ponownie 0
To gitserver:/repo/testrepo.git
 * [new branch]      master -> master


Will clone this repository to the client machine

Final word and planed improvements

This is a simple and convenient setup for the home git repository.

Some additional steps like adding no-port-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-pty to .ssh/authorized_keys or limit clients/useres that can actually connect to this server will be grate idea.

Classic way of settings thing up

You can search for git server setup and get a lot of tutorials on how to setup one. I started some time ago with this one https://git-scm.com/book/en/v2/Git-on-the-Server-Setting-Up-the-Server. Nice and clean setup with some additional steps. It evolved a little bit by changing the way the user is created and started right away with git-shell.

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