How Do I Host a Private Git Server?


Heather Bennett

In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of hosting a private Git server. Having your own Git server gives you full control over your code repositories and allows for seamless collaboration with your team. Let’s get started!


Before we begin, make sure you have the following:

  • A server or a virtual machine (VM) with a Linux operating system installed.
  • SSH access to the server or VM.
  • Basic knowledge of the command line.

Step 1: Install Git

The first step is to install Git on your server. Connect to your server via SSH and run the following command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install git

This will install Git on your server, allowing you to create and manage repositories.

Step 2: Set Up SSH Keys

To securely communicate with your private Git server, we need to set up SSH keys. If you already have an SSH key pair, you can skip this step.

Generating SSH Key Pair

To generate an SSH key pair, run the following command on your local machine:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

This will generate a new RSA key pair. Press enter to accept the default file location and enter a passphrase if desired (recommended).

Copying Public Key to Server

To copy the public key to your server, use the following command:

ssh-copy-id user@server_ip

Replace user with your server username and server_ip with the IP address or domain name of your server. Enter your server password when prompted.

Step 3: Create a Git Repository

Now that Git is installed and SSH keys are set up, let’s create a new Git repository on your server.

Navigate to Your Desired Directory

Connect to your server via SSH and navigate to the directory where you want to create the repository.

cd /path/to/directory

Create the Repository

To create a new Git repository, run the following command:

git init --bare myrepo.git

This command creates an empty bare repository named myrepo.git. The bare option means it does not have a working directory and is intended for centralized hosting.

Step 4: Set Up Git User

To ensure proper access control, we need to set up a dedicated user for Git. This user will be used for pushing and pulling code from the repository.

Create the Git User

Create a new system user named git. Run the following command:

sudo adduser git

You will be prompted to set a password for the new user. You can leave it blank as we won’t be using password authentication.

Add SSH Key to Git User

Switch to the git user:

su - git

Create a new directory called .ssh:

mkdir ~/.ssh
chmod 700 ~/.ssh

Copy the contents of your local machine’s ~/.ssh/ file into the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on your server:

nano ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Paste the contents and save the file. Set the correct permissions for the authorized_keys file:

chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Step 5: Clone the Repository

To start using your private Git server, you need to clone the repository onto your local machine.

Navigate to Your Desired Directory on Local Machine

In your terminal or command prompt, navigate to the directory where you want to clone the repository.

Clone the Repository

To clone the repository, run the following command:

git clone git@server_ip:/path/to/myrepo.git

Replace server_ip with the IP address or domain name of your server and /path/to/myrepo.git with the actual path to your Git repository.

Now you have successfully cloned the repository from your private Git server!


In this tutorial, we covered the steps to host a private Git server. We installed Git, set up SSH keys, created a Git repository, and set up a dedicated Git user. Now you can securely collaborate with your team using your own private Git server.

Remember to always keep your server and SSH keys secure to protect your code repositories. Happy coding!

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