Setting Up a New Wiki

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Here are the recommended steps for setting up a new wiki instance.

Prior to Installation

Prior to beginning the actual wiki installation, you should complete these activities:

  1. If using a remote server, make sure you:
    • Have proper access rights[1]
    • Have a proper FTP client for secure transfer of files between local and remote computers, such as WinSCP or FileZilla[1]
    • Make sure that all non-Mediawiki portions of your LAMP installation stack are installed and working properly; see further the installation requirements [1]
  2. Create or set up a domain or subdomain where your wiki instance can be found (for this guide, we will call it zWiki); make sure you can access this URL from the Web [1]


For experienced users, here is the quick version of the installation instructions. If you are not experienced, you will want to refer to the more detailed version.

Initial Installation

  1. Check that your system meets the minimum requirements (see above) (Web server, PHP5 (do not use 5.3.1), and either MySQL4 (and later) or PostgreSQL 8.1 (and later))
  2. Download MediaWiki (direct link to latest version) and extract the archive to a Web-accessible folder on your local machine or remote server
  3. (If you extract to your local machine, you then need to copy over the entire directory structure and files to your remote server)
  4. Copy over the zWiki Extensions into your extensions directory (e.g., http://remotehost/zWiki/extensions/)
  5. Point your browser to the config directory (e.g., http://remotehost/zWiki/config/index.php).
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the initial database and installation process.

Update Installation as a zWiki

If you have completed steps properly to date, you now have a running instance of Mediawiki. To complete the installation:

  1. Update your LocalSettings.php file (e.g., http://remotehost/zWiki/LocalSettings.php), by replacing it with the specific download associated with this zWiki. You may find that file [xxx here]
  2. You update the LocalSettings.php file by CHANGING these values:
   ini_set( 'memory_limit', '32M' );
   $wgEnableUploads		= true;
  1. You update the LocalSettings.php file by ADDING these values:
 # Disable reading by anonymous users
 $wgGroupPermissions['*']['read'] = false;
 # Disable granting access to any user
 $wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false;
 # But allow them to read the Main Page, login page, and JS/CSS pages
 $wgWhitelistRead = array( ":Main Page", "Special:Userlogin", "-", "MediaWiki:Monobook.css" );
 $wgUseImageResize		= true;
 $wgVerifyMimeType       = false;
 $wgFileExtensions = array('png', 'gif', 'jpg', 'jpeg', 'doc', 'xls', 'pdf', 'ppt', 'zip');
 $wgAllowExternalImages  = true; 
 ## Enables namespace statistics; one of the Magic works; per
 $wgAllowSlowParserFunctions = true;
 ## Incorporation of the FCKeditor
 require_once( "$IP/extensions/FCKeditor/FCKeditor.php" );
 ## Incorporation of the AnyWeb extension (per
 ## Incorporation of the SelectCategory extension (per
 require_once( 'extensions/SelectCategory/SelectCategory.php' );
 ## Incorporation of the CategoryTree extension (per
 $wgUseAjax = true;
 $wgCategoryTreeSidebarRoot = "SemGov_Structure";
 ## Incorporation of the MultiCategorySearch extension (per
 ## Incorporation of the NiceCategoryList extension (per
 ## Incorporation of the Cite extension (per
 ## Incorporation of the SyntaxHighlight GeSHi extension (per
 $wgSyntaxHighlightDefaultLang = "php";
  1. If Semantic Mediawiki is desired, it must be installed separately and should be installed at this step in the process
    There are errors in simply converting from SMW-enabled sites, the reasons for which have not been debugged.
  2. Make any logo, favicon, skin or other site modifications.
  3. Re-start the system, and make sure it is operating properly.

These instructions are deliberately brief. There is a lot that could go wrong, so if in any doubt, you are advised to read the full instructions.


Keep backups and test the operation of the new wiki instance periodically as you complete these steps. Errors are sometimes hard to diagnose, so being able to revert to prior versions is somethings essential.

Importing the KB

See the Wiki Information Migration Workflow document.

Other Observations

  • It is a good idea to maintain a local mirror of your remote site. This enables changes to be made locally before uploading. It also enables you to keep another backup version.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 'How-to' instructions for this are beyond the scope of this document.