MediaWiki installation guide

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Warning Warning: This page is a work in progress and is not completed. Important informations might be missing or wrong.
Warning Warning: These instructions were only tested on Debian. It will probably work for other Linux distributions, but you might need to adapt the provided instructions.


Before using this guide, you will need

  • MariaDB as a database
  • Nginx as a webserver
  • A domain name for your wiki pointing to your server. We will use in this guide.

Install MediaWiki

Warning Warning: Debian packages are currently unmaintained and outdated. This guide will install MediaWiki from source. For your security, don't forget to follow upstream releases and update your installation.

Get source

Get the link to the latest stable version from MediaWiki

# cd /var/www
# curl | tar xz
# mv mediawiki 1.28.0 mediawiki
# chown -R www-data: mediawiki

Configure PHP

Edit file /etc/php/7.0/mods-available/local-common.ini and add /var/www/mediawiki/ to the open_basedir setting.

Reload PHP:

$ sudo systemctl reload php7.0-fpm.service

Configure Nginx

  1. Create the config file /etc/nginx/sites-available/
    server {
        include snippets/listen-http.conf;
        access_log /var/log/nginx/wiki.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/wiki.error.log info;
        include snippets/acme-challenge.conf;
        include snippets/https-permanent-redirect.conf;
    server {
        include snippets/listen-https.conf;
        access_log /var/log/nginx/wiki.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/wiki.error.log info;
        include snippets/acme-challenge.conf;
        #include snippets/ssl.conf;
        #ssl_certificate      /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
        #ssl_certificate_key  /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
        #include snippets/hsts.conf;
        root /var/www/mediawiki;
        index index.php;
        client_max_body_size 5m;
        client_body_timeout 60;
        location / {
            try_files $uri /index.php?$args;
        location /images {
            location ~ \.php$ {return 403;}
        location ~ \.php$ {
            try_files $uri =404;
            include fastcgi.conf;
            fastcgi_pass php;
        location ~* \.(js|css|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|ico)$ {
            try_files $uri /index.php;
            expires max;
            log_not_found off;
        location = /_.gif {
            expires max;
        # Mark all of these directories as "internal", which means that they cannot
        # be explicitly accessed by clients. However, the web server can still use
        # and serve the files inside of them. This keeps people from poking around
        # in the wiki's internals.
        location ^~ /cache/ { internal; }
        location ^~ /docs/ { internal; }
        location ^~ /extensions/ { internal; }
        location ^~ /includes/ { internal; }
        location ^~ /languages/ { internal; }
        location ^~ /maintenance/ { internal; }
        #location ^~ /mw-config/ { internal; } #Uncomment after installation
        location ^~ /tests/ { internal; }
  2. Activate the configuration with
    $ sudo nginx_modsite -e
    Would you like to reload the Nginx configuration now? (Y/n) Y
  3. Edit file /usr/local/etc/certmanage/main.json and add the following to the list
        "domains": [""],
        "reload": [["/bin/systemctl", "reload", "nginx.service"]]
  4. Get your certificate
    $ sudo /usr/local/sbin/certmanage
    Renewing certificate for that will expire on 0001-01-01
    Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
    Starting new HTTPS connection (1):
    Obtaining a new certificate
    Performing the following challenges:
    http-01 challenge for
    Using the webroot path /var/www/acme-challenge for all unmatched domains.
    Waiting for verification...
    Cleaning up challenges
    Generating key (2048 bits): /etc/letsencrypt/keys/1764_key-certbot.pem
    Creating CSR: /etc/letsencrypt/csr/1764_csr-certbot.pem
     - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at
       /etc/letsencrypt/live/ Your cert
       will expire on 2023-06-26. To obtain a new or tweaked version of
       this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again. To
       non-interactively renew *all* of your certificates, run "certbot
     - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:
       Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:
       Donating to EFF:          
    Restarting services:
    systemctl reload nginx.service
  5. Uncomment the ssl related lines in /etc/nginx/sites-available/ and run
    $ sudo systemctl reload nginx.service



Install Extensions


This extension is bundled by default with MediaWiki. You just need to activate it.

Add the line wfLoadExtension( 'ParserFunctions' ); to the file /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php


This extension is bundled by default with MediaWiki. You just need to activate it.

Add the line wfLoadExtension( 'SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi' ); to the file /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php


Allows you to describe your templates using structured data for a better experience with the VisualEditor.



The VisualEditor extension require Parsoid to be installed.


The project is still you and instruction might change. See mediawiki instructions.

Connect to MediaWiki

Edit configuration in /etc/mediawiki/parsoid/config.yaml and change the following lines

        # Configure Parsoid to point to your MediaWiki instances.
        - # This is the only required parameter,
          # the URL of you MediaWiki API endpoint.
          uri: ''
          # The "domain" is used for communication with Visual Editor
          # and RESTBase.  It defaults to the hostname portion of
          # the `uri` property below, but you can manually set it
          # to an arbitrary string.
          domain: ''
          # To specify a proxy (or proxy headers) specific to this prefix
          # (which overrides defaultAPIProxyURI). Alternatively, set `proxy`
          # to `null` to override and force no proxying when a default proxy
          # has been set.
          #    uri: 'http://my.proxy:1234/'
          #    headers:  # optional
          #        'X-Forwarded-Proto': 'https'

Warning Warning: If you have changed the listening port of your webserver (you are using sslh), you might need to change the 443 in the line above.

You can check your ports using

# netstat -plnt |grep nginx
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      1462/nginx: worker 
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN      1462/nginx: worker 
tcp6       0      0 2001:db8:3:47d0::2e:7::443 :::*                    LISTEN      1462/nginx: worker 
tcp6       0      0 2001:db8:3:47d0::2e:7::80  :::*                    LISTEN      1462/nginx: worker

Parsoid seems to pick the IPV4 port. 4433 in this case


After changing the config, you need to restart Parsoid.

# service parsoid restart


VisualEditor require the curl PHP extension

$ sudo apt install php-curl


Because a lot of your traffic will come from mobile devices.

  • Download MobileFrontend
  • Extract it in /var/www/mediawiki/extensions/
  • Add the following to /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
    require_once "$IP/extensions/MobileFrontend/MobileFrontend.php";
    $wgMFAutodetectMobileView = true;
    # disable talk and watch features
    $wgMFPageActions = array( 'edit', 'upload' );

For more information, check the extension documentation


This extension is bundled by default with MediaWiki. You just need to activate it.

Add the line wfLoadExtension( 'Cite' ); to the file /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php


The TitleKey extension allows search suggestion to be case insensitive.

  • Download extension from
  • Unzip the extension in /var/www/mediawiki/extensions
  • Add the line require_once "$IP/extensions/TitleKey/TitleKey.php"; to the file /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
  • Create tables by running the following commands
    $ sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/mediawiki/maintenance/update.php
    $ sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/mediawiki/extensions/TitleKey/rebuildTitleKeys.php


By default the MediaWiki installation is pretty slow.

Localisation cache

Uncomment the line about $wgCacheDirectory in /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php.

## Set $wgCacheDirectory to a writable directory on the web server
## to make your wiki go slightly faster. The directory should not
## be publically accessible from the web.
$wgCacheDirectory = "$IP/cache";

Page cache

# Enable generated page cache
$wgUseFileCache = true;
$wgFileCacheDirectory = "$IP/cache";

Enable CronJob

First create the log file

# touch /var/log/mediawiki-runJobs.log
# chown www-data:adm /var/log/mediawiki-runJobs.log
# chmod 640 /var/log/mediawiki-runJobs.log

Then add the following line in /etc/crontab

0  0    * * *   www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/mediawiki/maintenance/runJobs.php > /var/log/mediawiki-runJobs.log

Finally you can disable jobs running on user visits in /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php

# Jobs are run by the cronjob. No need to run them on use visits
$wgJobRunRate = 0;

You can check the number of jobs in the queue at

Other Settings

Canonical links

Page in MediaWiki can be accessed by several URLs. For example the main page of this wiki can be accessed with

To avoid issues with duplicated content in search engines, it is possible to add a canonical link to all pages

$wgEnableCanonicalServerLink = true;

Capital Links

By default, MediaWiki forces the first letter of a page title to be upper case. The advantage of it is that you can omit the first capital in links,

Eg. You have a page named Test. You can link to it like This is a [[test]].

The drawback is that you can't create a page with lower case title.

Change that in /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php.

$wgCapitalLinks = false;


By default the footer contain several links that we want to configure.


The license is controlled by these parameters

$wgRightsPage = ""; # Set to the title of a wiki page that describes your license/copyright
$wgRightsUrl = "";
$wgRightsText = "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike";
$wgRightsIcon = "$wgResourceBasePath/resources/assets/licenses/cc-by-sa.png";

The text of the link itself is the content of the page

About / Disclaimers / Privacy

The three other default links in the footer are controlled by this pages:

To remove one of the link set the content of the page to -.


By default MediaWiki adds rel="nofollow" to all external links. While it's usage for real wikis is discussed, it is counterproductive for a personal wiki. It can be disabled in LocalSettings.php.

$wgNoFollowLinks = false;


Subpages are only enabled for some namespaces. Others can be enabled in LocalSettings.php.

$wgNamespacesWithSubpages[NS_MAIN] = true;

Page Title

{{DISPLAYTITLE}} allows you to change the title of a page (the default is to use the same as the URL). However by default only minor changes are allowed like the case of the title.

If you want to do more changes to the page title (eg. keep a short URL but have an explicit title like this page), you can enable this

$wgRestrictDisplayTitle = false;


SItemaps are good for SEO as they allow search engines to find pages faster on your site.

Mediawiki comes included with a script that can generate the sitemaps files; but it requires a bit of setup before using it.

  1. In /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php add the following lines
    # Only generate Sitemap for Main(0) and Category(14) namespaces
    $wgSitemapNamespaces = array(0, 14);
  2. Create a folder named sitemap at the root of your installation
  3. Add this line to /etc/crontab
    15 0    * * *   www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/mediawiki/maintenance/generateSitemap.php --fspath=/var/www/mediawiki/sitemap --urlpath= --server= --skip-redirects > /dev/null
    You can also force an initial generation of the sitemap files using this command
    $ sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php /var/www/mediawiki/maintenance/generateSitemap.php --fspath=/var/www/mediawiki/sitemap --urlpath= --server= --skip-redirects
  4. Your sitemap will then be accessible at
  5. Add this sitemap in the webmaster tools of the targeted search engines