WordPress And Subversion A Perfect Match

August 5th, 2008

The longer you participate in the WordPress community, the more you’ll hear the term ‘Subversion’. Subversion is what allows WordPress installations to be upgraded automatically as new releases are committed to the WordPress versioning system. In other words, using subversion is a great way to use the bleeding edge of WordPress.

David Peralty has published an extensive guide on the GeeksareSexy website which contains all of the information you’ll need to know on how to run WordPress with Subversion. Grab your favorite beverage because the article is quite lengthy.

I’ve been wanting to setup a WordPress/subversion install on my local machine but never quite figured out how to do it. This article has inspired me though and I plan on going through with the process within the next few days. If you end up installing WordPress with Subversion, let me know about your experience.




  1. Jordan (3 comments.) says:

    I use my own svn of WordPress along with plugins that I use on most sites to update them. This way I just have to update files in 1 location and about 150 sites get updated on a cron from the SVN. It saves me a ton of time.

  2. MikeT (1 comments.) says:

    No one in their right mind would let a nightly build get anywhere near their “production blog.” I don’t care what blog suite you use. There’s a big difference between using a beta or RC that’s vetted by the developers and just grabbing a snapshot of the repository.

    • adam (1 comments.) says:

      You can track stable versions of WordPress using Subversion… I converted my WordPress install to Subversion a bit back and the time savings is totally worth it, no more FTP. Just one command and it’s done:

      svn sw .

      The Codex guide to setting up WordPress to use Subveriosn is what I read to get started:

      • Benedict Eastaugh (17 comments.) says:

        Tracking a branch is preferable, in my experience; you get all the bug fixes as they go in, whereas tags aren’t updated—you have to switch to a new one when it’s created, so it’s no better than downloading zip files, convenience aside.

    • Viper007Bond (91 comments.) says:

      I disagree. I run a “nightly build” (although there’s no such thing with SVN) of the 2.6 branch on my blog and I run trunk on all of my development blogs.

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      I have to disagree as well. I run the latest trunk on my own personal blog, because if that one breaks, then it’s not a particularly big deal to me.

      For my production level blogs, I run the latest “branch” from the repository and have it update once or twice a week.

  3. Benedict Eastaugh (17 comments.) says:

    You know Matt runs off trunk, right, along with a large number of people who work on the core? That’s not to say we’re in our right minds, of course.

  4. Trey Cruz (14 comments.) says:

    I’m with #2 :D

  5. Andrea (40 comments.) says:

    re: those above me. Nowhere in the original post did it say anything about doing this on a production site. in fact, Jeff specifically stated he wanted to do this on his local machine.

    Having said that, I’d done both. :D On Windows and Linux. It’s extremely easy on a Linux distro, especially if subversion was already installed.

    That reminds me, I have to go sync my local install…

  6. Chris (29 comments.) says:

    You are all nuts. Read the WordPress Codex article on installing with Subversion:

    *Hint* You use Subversion to update to the latest STABLE releases so you don’t really have to backup or use FTP (I still backup, you can never be too safe). It is way easier that FTPing up and updating, especially when you manage lots of WordPress sites for clients.

  7. Subversion is a complicated beast, but incredibly powerful.

    If you’re maintaining sites for clients, why not just use WordPress Automatic Update?

  8. Omar (1 comments.) says:

    i’ve been using subversion for the various wordpress-installs on my server for quite some time and i think there is nothing better than that. I get to chose which version i want to follow (mostly 2.6-branch and trunk) and bugs are being squashed by the day. Also updating to a new version is hilariously easy.

  9. Jens Wedin (3 comments.) says:

    Has anyone tried this out with Git instead?
    I found this article, any pro / con?

  10. Dominic Mitchell (1 comments.) says:

    I maintain a wordpress blog using git. I just track the tarballs and it’s pretty simple. The tracking is not 100% obvious, so I wrote a post on how to do it: vendor branches in git. Although frankly, it would probably be simpler to use git-svn to track the subversion repository.

  11. amolpatil2k says:

    The problem with automating anything is learning to trust it. Few people can manage to do that. With PCs and the Net, so much can go wrong that we fall into the weakest link well of distrust. On the other hand, if someone can invent some sort of interactive automation a la “Master, I am about to make such and such changes, things might not work out, have you backed up, okay then let’s do it” then we would have more time to do the more interesting things.

  12. Tom (1 comments.) says:

    Just did this myself a few days ago – go for stable 2.6 gentlemen! Then it works like a charm in a few steps. If you stay on the path SVN is not complicated (As somebody consuming WP 2.6 you most probably are not dealing with all its “check in” options).
    I came back from a hosted solution and WP over SVN made this a comparable easy solution that is easy and painless to upgrade. Check out my experiences here:

  13. Danny Thorpe (1 comments.) says:

    The main catch for using Subversion to update your WordPress installation is that Subversion requires root access at installation, so you can’t install it on a hosted web site yourself. I’d love to use Subversion to keep my WordPress sites up to date, but my host doesn’t support Subversion!

    • Ben (1 comments.) says:

      Time to find a new host then? Subversion is hardly bleeding edge, it really ought to be installed as standard these days on any Linux server. Or are you on Windows?

  14. RaiulBaztepo says:

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


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