Direct File Hosting - A Simple Guide

Posted by rs picture rs on Mon 12 Oct, 2009 13:57:46 +0000

Direct File Hosting (DFH) is’s web hosting solution to publish web sites directly from your Subversion repository. It publishes static web sites with the help of Jekyll

I’ve mentioned it previously in older blog posts.

It’s not a new feature on per se. So far, close to 1000 repositories on have the feature turned on, however, due to the release of the new platform, I doubt many of the repositories are actually using all the new features.


So, lets take a quick recap on what DFH actually is: You have a repository with some content (presumably its your website in there). DFH will take your repository and export the contents so that it can be hosted on a public web server under a sub-domain in the form of The idea is to have the whole website under revision control (including images, non-HTML files, etc).

Couple of new features worth mentioning:

  • Support for Jekyll - Jekyll is a blog aware, static site generator written in Ruby. DFH processes repository contents via Jekyll so that it can perform its magic and generate a static web site. Head over to the project’s home page to find out more about Jekyll. As long as your repository contents work fine with Jekyll running locally on your development machine, it should just work out-of-the-box here at
  • Mapping Domains - DFH by default assigns a sub-domain of, but that’s not fun, let alone nice. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just host the site using your own domain ? Well, you can! All you have to do is ensure that add your domain (or subdomain) into the repository configureation and ensure that it is mapped to the correct IP address in your DNS settings. Leave the rest to DFH to handle.

In case you’re wondering whether DFH is vulnerable to the ‘.svn’ hack, rest assured, it is not vulnerable. DFH uses the export command to checkout content from your repositories.


Some initial documentation has been added to the documentation site. It should help you get started with configuring DFH for your repository:

Example Website

Do have a look at’s documentation website at as an example. It is hosted using DFH with Jekyll and the domain mapped for

The documentation project wiki home page is:

Additionally, you can browse the web site source files that Jekyll processes to generate the website as well:

Development Environment

I thought it might be worth mentioning my local development environment for updating the documentation website above. I have the whole website as a project in Eclipse with Mylyn’s WikiText plugin installed to render the Textile pages (*.textile files).

What I end up with is a Textile editor with syntax highlighting and if I do need to add any HTML files, there’s always Eclipse’s Web Tools to help out.

For those that are not so inclined to go down the IDE route, most text editors have support for Textile formatting in some form.

Feedback is always welcome and if you do have a different development environment, feel free to share it in the comments below!

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