svn switch — Update working copy to a different URL.


svn switch URL [PATH]
switch --relocate FROM TO [PATH...]


The first variant of this subcommand (without the --relocate option) updates your working copy to point to a new URL—usually a URL which shares a common ancestor with your working copy, although not necessarily. This is the Subversion way to move a working copy to a new branch. See the section called “Traversing Branches” for an in-depth look at switching.

The --relocate option causes svn switch to do something different: it updates your working copy to point to the same repository directory, only at a different URL (typically because an administrator has moved the repository to another server, or to another URL on the same server).

Alternate Names



Working copy

Accesses Repository



--revision (-r) REV
--non-recursive (-N)
--quiet (-q)
--diff3-cmd CMD
--relocate FROM TO
--username USER
--password PASS
--config-dir DIR


If you're currently inside the directory vendors, which was branched to vendors-with-fix, and you'd like to switch your working copy to that branch:

$ svn switch .
U  myproj/foo.txt
U  myproj/bar.txt
U  myproj/baz.c
U  myproj/qux.c
Updated to revision 31.

And to switch back, just provide the URL to the location in the repository from which you originally checked out your working copy:

$ svn switch .
U  myproj/foo.txt
U  myproj/bar.txt
U  myproj/baz.c
U  myproj/qux.c
Updated to revision 31.


You can just switch part of your working copy to a branch if you don't want to switch your entire working copy.

Sometimes an administrator might change the “base location” of your repository—in other words, the contents of the repository doesn't change, but the main URL used to reach the root of the repository does. For example, the hostname may change, the URL scheme may change, or any part of the URL which leads to the repository itself may change. Rather than check out a new working copy, you can have the svn switch command “rewrite” the beginnings of all the URLs in your working copy. Use the --relocate option to do the substitution. No file contents are changed, nor is the repository contacted. It's similar to running a Perl script over your working copy .svn/ directories which runs s/OldRoot/NewRoot/.

$ svn checkout file:///tmp/repos test
A  test/a
A  test/b

$ mv repos newlocation
$ cd test/

$ svn update
svn: Unable to open an ra_local session to URL
svn: Unable to open repository 'file:///tmp/repos'

$ svn switch --relocate file:///tmp/repos file:///tmp/newlocation .
$ svn update
At revision 3.


Be careful when using the --relocate option. If you mistype the argument, you might end up creating nonsensical URLs within your working copy that render the whole workspace unusable and tricky to fix. It's also important to understand exactly when one should or shouldn't use --relocate. Here's the rule of thumb:

  • If the working copy needs to reflect a new directory within the repository, then use just svn switch.

  • If the working copy still reflects the same repository directory, but the location of the repository itself has changed, then use svn switch --relocate.