From dankwiki

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about MediaWiki usage. If your question is neither answered here nor in the old meta FAQ, then please ask for help in our IRC channel or in the Support desk.

If you are a developer, see the developer's FAQ

This FAQ is slowly replacing the version at meta. If the answer you are looking for is not found below, try looking there as well.
Language: [[::Manual:FAQ|English]]


Installation and configuration

Where do I download MediaWiki?

Click here to download the latest stable release of MediaWiki. Files are supplied in a .tar.gz archive. MediaWiki can also be obtained directly from our Subversion repository.

How do I install MediaWiki?

Installing MediaWiki takes between 10 and 30 minutes, and involves uploading/copying files, and running the installer script to configure the software - see Installation or the complete Installation Guide.

Quick installation guide can be found in the INSTALL file supplied in the distribution archive.

How do I install MediaWiki using a package?

See also Software bundles

Many Linux distributions provide MediaWiki in a packaged format for that distribution. The MediaWiki development team refers you to your Linux distribution for assistance with installing, configuring or using them. The individual communities and companies who maintain such packages should provide installation instructions.

Be warned that third-party distributions may be older versions, so pay close attention to compatibility information for directions and extensions.

Can I install more than one wiki on a server using MediaWiki?

It is possible to install more than one wiki on a server provided that:

  • You use a different database for each wiki


  • You use a different database prefix for each wiki (for Postgres, you can achieve a similar effect by using different schemas and users)

For information on these options, see $wgDBname and $wgDBprefix respectively.

For information on setting up a wiki family, see Manual:Wiki family.

For information on an alternative way of setting up more than one wiki using the same server, database and source, see Steve Rumberg's (archived version) excellent expose and additional comments from users.

Does MediaWiki work with safe_mode enabled?

Yes, but only to a limited degree. See Safe mode.

Does MediaWiki require shell access?

Shell access (SSH) is not required for installing MediaWiki, but it is highly recommended. Without shell access, it may even be difficult for you to get a backup of your wiki, or to upgrade to a new version. Some maintenance tasks will not be possible at all without shell access.

How do I install extensions?

See Manual:Extensions for information about installing extensions, as well as writing them. See the Extension Matrix and the Category:Extensions to find existing extensions.

How do I add extra namespaces?

To add a namespace, modify your LocalSettings.php file, and add namespaces via $wgExtraNamespaces. You can add the following code to add a "Portal" namespace, and its corresponding discussion namespace:

<source lang="php"> define( "NS_PORTAL", 100 ); define( "NS_PORTAL_TALK", 101 ); $wgExtraNamespaces[NS_PORTAL] = "Portal"; $wgExtraNamespaces[NS_PORTAL_TALK] = "Portal_talk"; </source>

Note Note: Be sure to add underscores instead of spaces, such as in Portal_talk. Otherwise, the namespace will not be declared properly!

How do I enable uploading?

File uploads are an often-used feature of MediaWiki, but are disabled by default in all current release versions. To enable them, first make the upload directory (default images) writable by the web server (chmod 777 or allow the Apache user to write to it, etc.) then set $wgEnableUploads to true in LocalSettings.php (i.e. "$wgEnableUploads = true;"). See Manual:Configuring file uploads for more information.

How do I enable embedded math formulas?

MediaWiki allows embedded math formulas via a helper program called texvc that uses LaTeX to render the formulas. See Manual:Math for setup instructions.

How do I purge a cached page?

To purge a cached page, such as when making changes to the navigation bar, add &action=purge to the end of the page's dynamic URL.


or ?action=purge to the end of the page's short form URL:


See also: Manual:Purge, Manual:Parameters to index.php

How do I allow uploading of additional formats?

MediaWiki requires that allowed file upload formats are specified using the $wgFileExtensions configuration directive. Usually this directive is situated in LocalSettings.php in the root of your MediaWiki installation.

For example, to extend uploading to PDF files, add the following to LocalSettings.php: <source lang="php"> $wgFileExtensions[] = 'pdf'; </source>

To extend uploading to more than one type of file, use the following syntax <source lang="php"> $wgFileExtensions = array_merge($wgFileExtensions, array( 'pdf', 'txt', 'mp3' )); </source>

See Manual:Configuring file uploads for more information.

"File is corrupt or has an invalid extension"

Some users have reported that after adding a file format to the allowed extensions list, an error is encountered. The text of the error is similar to the following:

The file is corrupt or has an incorrect extension. Please check the file and upload again.

Possible solutions:

  • Set the value of $wgMimeDetectorCommand, e.g. under Unix or Linux, this would be
    $wgMimeDetectorCommand = "file --brief --mime";
  • Compile/install the fileinfo PHP extension
    • Fedora - yum install php-pecl-Fileinfo

See Manual:Mime type detection for more information.

Initial user was not created by installer or it is not an administrator

Sometimes, the installer fails to create the default user, or the user table is lost for some reason. There are a couple of options for solving this:


  • If your MediaWiki is older than 1.16, make sure AdminSettings.php is set up (see AdminSettings.sample)
  • Execute maintenance/createAndPromote.php --username <new user name> --password <password for that user> from the shell. Append --bureaucrat to command line if you want that user to become a bureaucrat, in addition to becoming an administrator.

This will create a new user and promote them to an administrator. For help, run the script with the parameter --help.

Alter the database

  • Register a new account using the regular method (Special:UserLogin).
  • Check the user ID in Special:Preferences.
  • Execute the following SQL statement against the database:
    • INSERT INTO user_groups ( ug_user, ug_group ) VALUES ( <id>, 'bureaucrat' ), ( <id>, 'sysop' );

<id> above should be replaced with the appropriate user ID which you can see on the user's preference page

Temporarily let everyone assign rights to promote your initial user

Warning Warning: You should not let outsiders access your wiki while you do this, if you use this method. This method may leave your wiki temporarily vulnerable to attack while you do the procedure

This method essentially involves letting all users temporarily modify user permissions in order to promote one user

  • Register a new account using the regular method (Special:UserLogin). Be logged in using that account.
  • Add the following lines to the bottom of LocalSettings.php
    • $wgAddGroups['user'] = true;
  • Go to special:userrights and add the user you just created to the Administrator and Bureaucrat groups.
  • Remove the $wgAddGroups['user'] = true; line from your LocalSettings.php . This step is very important, as until you remove it anyone can alter permissions, which is bad.

How do I reset a user's MediaWiki password?

See Manual:Resetting passwords

How can I create interwiki links in my wiki?

See Manual:Interwiki

How do I make my base URLs shorter?

(i.e. /wiki/Article_Name as opposed to /w/index.php?title=Article_Name)

See Manual:Short URL.

Is downloading and using all of free?

Yes, it is free in the sense of Free software. See Project:Copyrights for licensing issues regarding the written content of this site.

How do I administrate/manage user rights?

See Manual:User rights and Manual:User rights management for general information. See Manual:Preventing access for methods and strategies for restricting access.

How do I stop anonymous users from editing any page?

  • Set $wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false; at bottom of LocalSettings.php.

See Manual:Preventing access#Restrict anonymous editing for more information.

How do I stop anonymous users from reading any page?

  • Set $wgGroupPermissions['*']['read'] = false; at bottom of LocalSettings.php.

See also Manual:$wgWhitelistRead. See Manual:Preventing access#Restrict viewing of all pages for more information.

How do I restrict account creation?

  • Set $wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false; at bottom of LocalSettings.php.

See Manual:Preventing access#Restrict account creation for more information.

How to add an image to the printable version?

The skin can do this. Just add the image with a special class to the <mySkin>.php file and define the class in the css with display: none for screen

How can I make Mediawiki run faster?

See: Manual:Performance tuning


Generic instructions on the upgrade process can be found in the UPGRADE file supplied with the software. See also Manual:Upgrading.

How hard is it to upgrade?

If the only file you have modified is LocalSettings.php, and you are upgrading from 1.5 or later, the process is very simple. The amount of human work involved is only a few minutes. The database schema changes will take an amount of time proportional to the size of your database -- potentially hours for wikis with millions of pages, but for a more typical size of a few thousand pages, it is usually done in seconds.

Minor upgrades, within the same major version, say from 1.13.0 to 1.13.1, do not require any schema changes at all. You can just update the files.

Upgrading from 1.4 or earlier is potentially complicated because support for character sets other than UTF-8 was dropped, and the schema for storing bulk text changed. Please read the relevant section in the UPGRADE file.

Upgrading becomes difficult if you have modified our source code, and you don't want your changes to be overwritten. Tools such as diff and patch may be useful. There is also potential for trouble if you are using unmaintained extensions. Upgrade your extensions at the same time as you upgrade MediaWiki.

How do I upgrade from a really old version? In one step, or in several steps?

In one step, from your old version to the latest stable version. The vast majority of reports, as well as automated testing, indicate that doing it in one step works just fine.

If you have trouble believing this, read this mailing list post.

Should I back up first?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: it depends on a) how much you value your data, b) how hard it is to create a backup and c) how confident you are with MySQL maintenance and administration.

An upgrade failure may leave your database in an inconsistent state, in between two versions. It may move an important table to a temporary name and then fail before it recreates the table correctly. It may change a field definition to an incorrect data type. It is very rare for an upgrade to cause irreversible data loss. More often, data corruption occurs which can be reversed by a skilled administrator.

Recovery is often complex. Volunteers on the support forums are unlikely to be impressed if you neglect to make a backup and then need help to recover from upgrade-related corruption. A better outcome is if you can revert to your backup, and then report the bug in the upgrade process which caused the corruption.

Can I keep my LocalSettings.php?

Yes, but you may have to make some minor changes. The format of LocalSettings.php is largely backwards compatible. Changes which break LocalSettings.php compatibility will be documented in the "configuration changes" section of the release notes.

Can my wiki stay online while it is upgrading?


If you are upgrading between minor releases of MediaWiki, all you need to do is update the source files.

If you are upgrading between major releases of MediaWiki, the preferred procedure is as follows:

  1. Unpack the new version of MediaWiki into a new directory
  2. Prepare that new directory: copy your current LocalSettings.php from the old directory, copy any installed extensions and custom skins (if any).
  3. Enable read-only mode in LocalSettings.php of the old directory:
    $wgReadOnly = 'Upgrading to MediaWiki 1.17.0';
  4. Run the upgrade script in the new directory.
  5. Swap the old directory and the new directory.

Changing the interface

How do I change the logo?

The logo that appears in the top left of each page is determined by the $wgLogo configuration line in the LocalSettings.php file.

There are two ways to change the logo:

Upload a picture to your wiki using the normal file uploading interface. This allows the logo to be replaced easily, so you may want to protect the page if you use this method.

Then add the $wgLogo line to LocalSettings.php, for example:

<source lang="php">$wgLogo = '';</source>

Or upload an image to your server by other means (such as FTP). Add the $wgLogo line to LocalSettings.php, for example:

<source lang="php">$wgLogo = "{$wgScriptPath}/photoname.jpg";</source>

In this example, the photo is in the same folder as the LocalSettings.php file.

Caution! Caution: Do not simply overwrite the default logo installed with MediaWiki (/skins/common/images/wiki.png); this file will be overwritten when you upgrade.

Tip: The logo image should be 135 x 135 pixels.

How do I edit the wiki's CSS?

You shouldn't edit the CSS files (such as main.css) directly, because it will make upgrading harder if you need to apply your customizations each time you upgrade the software. Instead you need to edit a wiki page called MediaWiki:Common.css if you want to apply your CSS changes for all skins, or a wiki page called MediaWiki:Monobook.css if you want to apply the customizations only for Monobook skin.

The content of MediaWiki:Common.css and MediaWiki:Monobook.css pages always override the default CSS styles specified in main.css.

How do I hide the left vertical navigation toolbar

In other words, how do you make the main content div take up 100% of the display, hiding the logo, toolbox, navigation and search engine?

To hide it permanently, put the following in MediaWiki:Common.css: <source lang="css">

  1. column-content { margin: 0 0 .6em 0; }
  2. content { margin: 2.8em 0 0 0; }
  3. p-logo, .generated-sidebar, #p-lang, #p-tb, #p-search { display:none; }
  4. p-cactions { left: .1em; }


To instead hide the toolbar when the user presses F11, enter this in your wiki's MediaWiki:Common.js:

<source lang="javascript"> document.onkeydown = function( e ) { if( e == null ) e = event if( testKey( e, 122 ) ) { //F11 appendCSS('#column-content {margin: 0 0 .6em 0;} #content {margin: 2.8em 0 0 0;} #p-logo, .generated-sidebar, #p-lang, #p-tb, #p-search {display:none;} #p-cactions {left: .1em;} #footer {display:none;}'); return false; } }

function testKey( e, intKeyCode ) { if( window.createPopup ) return e.keyCode == intKeyCode else return e.which == intKeyCode } </source>

How do I hide the categories at the bottom of each page?

You can hide display of the categories on each page by modifying your MediaWiki:Common.css and adding: <source lang="css">.catlinks { display: none; }</source>

Can I customize the logo in the top left corner? If so, how?

The logo is a portlet block without a pBody section. It is identified by the p-logo id. The background image is specified by the $wgLogo variable, which is defined in DefaultSettings.php. This location is relative to the web server root and not the system root. Redefine this in LocalSettings.php to change the image. If set wrong there will be no image on the page; check your web server error log and adjust accordingly. However the size of the p-logo will need to be big enough for the logo if it is not to be clipped. This is set in the stylesheet (main.css in Monobook), under the p-logo style, the default setting is:

<source lang="css">

  1. p-logo {

z-index: 3; position: absolute; /*needed to use z-index */ top: 0; left: 0; height: 155px; width: 12em; overflow: visible; } </source>

How do I customize the link-URL of the site-logo in the top left corner of all pages that activates when the site-logo is clicked upon?

By default, clicking the site-logo takes you to the main site-page. If you want to change which internal site-page is the "main" site-page, edit MediaWiki:Mainpage.

To make the link of the site-logo link externally to any other arbitrary URL, for Monobook skin, you'll need to edit the MonoBook.php file, which is normally located in the skins subdirectory. In other words, you need to do a core hack. This core-hack requires that you find and replace <?php echo htmlspecialchars($this->data['nav_urls']['mainpage']['href'])?> with the URL of your choice. You can also replace <?php $this->msg('mainpage') ?> with the desired link title.


To link the site-logo to your desired URL: Replace <source lang="PHP"> ?>href="<?php echo htmlspecialchars($this->data['nav_urls']['mainpage']['href'])?>" <?php </source> with <source lang="PHP"> ?>href="" <?php </source>

To also change the alternative text displayed during mouse-rollover, over the site-logo you can replace: <source lang="PHP"> ?>title="<?php $this->msg('mainpage') ?>" <?php </source> with <source lang="PHP"> ?>title="Your Desired Rollover Text" <?php </source>

Note1: The original "alternative text code line" example above may not be found in the source code. The programming syntax at the end of this code line may have to be altered slightly from above, taking care to replace only identically syntaxed elements. Such care should enable a proper code rewrite.

Note 2: After making these changes to your MonoBook.php file, should you wish to test your version of MediaWiki to verify the effectiveness of your most recent file edit, you may have to fully re-initialize your version of MediaWiki before you can see the effects of your changes to the MonoBook.php file. To re-initialize MediaWiki, log out of MediaWiki, then log back into it. You should then be able to see the effect(s) of your recent edit(s) properly displayed by MediaWiki.

Note that a tag is on top of the logo so if you are trying to reduce the size of the logo's portlet you will also need to change the #p-logo a and #p-logo a:hover rules. The default setting for these is: <source lang="css">

  1. p-logo a,
  2. p-logo a:hover {

display: block; height: 200px; width: 12.2em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 35% 50% !important; text-decoration: none; } </source>

How do I change the icon in the browser's address line (favicon)?

  • Simply upload your favicon.ico to the root of your domain/subdomain, make sure file name is in lower case and its name is favicon.ico
  • Alternatively edit the $wgFavicon setting in LocalSettings.php and add $wgFavicon = "$wgScriptPath/path/to/your/favicon.ico";

See Manual:$wgFavicon for more details.

Tip: The favicon image should be either 16 x 16 pixels or 32 x 32 pixels.

Rewrite Rule

If you are using a rewrite rule in .htaccess to remove "index.php" from the URL, you will also need to add an exception for .ico files. Simply add the following rule to your .htaccess:

RewriteRule .*\.ico$ - [L]

This rule must appear before the index.php rule.

Case sensitivity

When uploading the favicon file, be sure the filename is in lowercase. (That is, "favicon.ico", not "Favicon.ico".) A lot of servers (e.g., those on UNIX-like operating systems) will not be able to find the file unless its name is in lowercase.

How do I customize the navigation bar?

The contents of the navigation bar which appears to the left of each page using the Monobook skin are determined by the MediaWiki:Sidebar page there on your wiki. For information on customising these, please see Manual:Interface/Sidebar.

How do I put a text message (sitenotice) on every page?

Put a text in the MediaWiki:Sitenotice page. It will be displayed on top of every article page.

How do I change which page is the main page?

By default, MediaWiki looks for a page with the title Main Page and serves this as the default page. This can be changed by altering the contents of MediaWiki:Mainpage to point to a different title. If this does not change the 'Main Page' link included on the sidebar at install time, edit MediaWiki:Sidebar.

How do I change the Main Page title?

Simply click on the "Move" tab, and move the page to the desired page title.

Usually you also want to change which page is the configured as "main page".

How do I hide the main page title?

MediaWiki does not have a built-in option to hide the main page title (see bug 6129), but you can use CSS to hide the title. Alternately, you can use the NoTitle extension.

Method 1 (css)

Add the following to the MediaWiki:Monobook.css (if you're using Monobook; otherwise add this to MediaWiki:Common.css to have it applied to all skins) on your wiki:

<source lang="css"> h1.firstHeading { display:none; } </source>

If this doesn't work, look at the HTML source code to find the correct class to replace "page-Main_Page" with:

<source lang="html4strict"> <body class="mediawiki ns-0 ltr page-Some_title"> </source>

If no unique class exists, then you cannot use this. You may be using a custom or outdated skin.

Method 2 (display title)

Add the following line to any page you want to disable showing the title for (requires setting $wgRestrictDisplayTitle to false)

{{DISPLAYTITLE:<span style="display:none">{{FULLPAGENAME}}</span>}}

How can I hide the table of contents?

The table of contents (TOC) is automatically shown once there are four or more headings in the article. There are multiple ways to hide it.

For one page
Place the magic word __NOTOC__ into the page markup.
For all pages
Install Extension:NoTOC
Add the following rule to MediaWiki:Common.css: <source lang="css">.toc, #toc { display: none; }</source>
Per user
Users can also opt to have the table of contents hidden. This is a user preference, set in Special:Preferences.

How do I change the interface text?

Interface text is altered using the MediaWiki namespace. For each deviation from the default in the site language there is a page MediaWiki:Englishmessagename, and for each deviation from the default in each other language a page MediaWiki:Englishmessagename/languagecode. (Since release 1.9 there are no pages for messages equal to the default.). On creation of a page the edit box autofills with the default. When creating a page to override the default it is useful to first save the default version, to allow diffs with it. See also Manual:System message.

How do I change the interface language?

To change the default interface language, alter the value of $wgLanguageCode in LocalSettings.php, for example <source lang="php">$wgLanguageCode = "fr";</source>

You may also need to bypass your browser's cache to see the changes.

Changing the default interface language will not affect existing users, so if you're logged in, you will need to change your language settings in your preferences. If you want to change the language settings for all existing users, use the userOptions.php maintenance script. For instance, to have all users with English set use French instead, run

<source lang="php">php userOptions.php language --old en --new fr</source>

How can I prevent editing by anonymous users?

The recommended method is by changing the value of the $wgGroupPermissions configuration option. Edit LocalSettings.php and add the line:

<source lang="php">$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;</source>

For more information on using this option, see the Preventing access page and Manual:User rights.

How do I remove the article/edit etc tabs?

Edit MediaWiki:Common.css on your wiki, and add this:

<source lang="css">li#ca-edit { display: none; }</source>

See the page source for the various #ca-* ids used in the content tabs.

Note: this will only work for Monobook and derived skins such as Modern and Vector (the default skin), and doesn't actually stop people editing. To stop people from editing, see Manual:User rights.

How do I add/remove tabs throughout my wiki?

Use Extension:DynamicTabs on older MediaWiki installations or write your own extension (See: Manual:Hooks/SkinTemplateNavigation):

For example, to remove the talk tab and then add a tab that always goes to the main page you would save this code in extensions/AR-Tabs.php: <source lang="php"> <?php if( !defined( 'MEDIAWIKI' ) ){ die( "This is not a valid entry point.\n" ); }

$wgHooks['SkinTemplateContentActions'][] = 'replaceTabs'; function replaceTabs( $content_actions ) { unset( $content_actions['talk'] ); // only this to remove an action $maintitle = Title::newFromText( wfMsgForContent( 'mainpage' ) ); $main_action['main'] = array( 'class' => false or 'selected', // if the tab should be highlighted 'text' => wfMsg( 'sitetitle' ), // what the tab says 'href' => $maintitle->getFullURL(), // where it links to ); $content_actions = array_merge( $main_action, $content_actions ); // add a new action return true; } </source> and then add <source lang="php">require_once("extensions/AR-Tabs.php");</source> to the bottom of LocalSettings.php

How do I remove a tab on only one page?

This solution works in MediaWiki version 1.9 and above. In MediaWiki version 1.8 or below, first apply the above patch.

For example, to remove the Discussion (talk) page tab from the Main Page, on the MediaWiki:Monobook.css page add: <source lang="css"> .page-Main_Page li#ca-talk { display: none !important; } </source>

To modify MediaWiki:Monobook.css you must have administrative privileges.

See also: Manual:Hide page tabs

How do I remove a tab on all pages

This solution works in MediaWiki version 1.9 and above. In MediaWiki version 1.8 or below, first apply the above patch.

For example, to remove the Discussion (talk) page tab on all wikipages, on the MediaWiki:Monobook.css page add:

<source lang="css">

  1. ca-talk { display:none!important; }


Other tabs to remove are #ca-history and #ca-viewsource. To modify MediaWiki:Monobook.css you must have administrative privileges.

How do I hide the section edit links for users who are not logged in?

  1. The recommended method is by changing the value of the $wgDefaultUserOptions configuration option.
    Edit LocalSettings.php and add the line:
    <source lang="php">$wgDefaultUserOptions ['editsection'] = false;</source>
  2. Alternatively you could manually edit each skin (e.g. MonoBook.php) and add this before </head>:

<source lang="php"> <?php if(!$this->data['loggedin']) { ?> <style> li#ca-edit { display: none; } </style> <?php } ?> </source>

Replace #ca-edit with #ca-viewsource if you disabled editing for anonymous users. Use .editsection for older MW versions.
If you want to hide the links for all users including logged in users, instead edit the page MediaWiki:Common.css and add:
<source lang="css">li#ca-edit { display: none; }</source>
Also see How can I prevent editing by anonymous users?

How do I remove the "Talk for this IP" link at the top right when $wgDisableAnonTalk is true?

Set $wgShowIPinHeader to false.

How do I remove the "Create an Account or Login" link at the top right of the screen?

In Monobook.php change this statement: <source lang="php">

 foreach($this->data['personal_urls'] as $key => $item) {

</source> to: <source lang="php">

foreach($this->data['personal_urls'] as $key => $item)  if($this->data['loggedin']==1) {


How can I suppress actions and special pages?

NOTE: MediaWiki is not designed for this kind of usage! It should be noted that the following 'answer' is a hack that only 'works' with the Apache webserver. Note also that this system is not foolproof, its just one step further than hiding the links (see above).

Suppressing actions and special pages can be useful when you want to create the illusion of a static website via a particular URL or VirtualHost, but also have an 'internal' view that is a true wiki. i.e. if you have an inward facing 'view' of your wiki that users can edit, and an outward facing 'view' that should appear like a static website (no history, no discussion, etc., etc.).

After hiding all the appropriate links (see above), if you are using the Apache web server, you can disable actions and special pages using the following rewrite rules:

# Lock down the site (disable MediaWiki commands)

RewriteEngine On

#RewriteLog /tmp/rewrite.log

#RewriteLogLevel 9

## See

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} (.*action=.*)
RewriteRule .*

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/index.php/Special:Search
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}  ^(.*Special:.*)
RewriteRule .*

## Catch a trick...
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.*Special:.*)
RewriteRule .*

Above, a request for '', for example, will be simply rewritten to ''. Similarly any page in the Special namespace (with the exception of Special:Search) will be rewritten to ''. Remember, this is only a hack, and isn't intended as a solution for a secure CMS.

Note that you will need to adjust the above rules to match your specific URL naming schema.

Other issues to consider when trying to lock down a site like this is the API and POST requests for the wiki content (rather than GET).

How do I change the footer?

See: Manual:Footer, Manual:Skinning#Footer, Manual:Configuration settings#Copyright

How can I edit / remove the Powered by MediaWiki image in the footer?

You can hide the Powered by MediaWiki image by adding the following to your wiki's MediaWiki:Common.css: <source lang="css">

  1. f-poweredbyico { display: none; }


The Vector skin equivalent is: <source lang="css">

  1. footer-icon-poweredby { display: none; }


In MW 1.17 with Vector Skin: <source lang="css">

  1. footer-icon-poweredbyico { display: none; }


If you want to remove it completely, you could alter /skins/MonoBook.php, which contains the following code that makes the Powered by MediaWiki image appear in the footer: <source lang="php"> <?php if($this->data['poweredbyico']) { ?>

<?php $this->html('poweredbyico') ?>

</source> If you would like to remove this image completely, or edit the image, you must locate and edit poweredbyico. It is located in skins/common/images/ and the image is called poweredby_mediawiki_88x31.png.

If you're happy with the logo (or not) and simply want to change the destination link, the code is in the getPoweredBy function in the Skin.php file. Just change the line <source lang="php"> $img = '<a href=""><img src="'.$url.'" alt="Powered by MediaWiki" /></a>';</nowiki> </source> to whatever.

How can I change what the <title> of each page is? Where do I make changes?

Most of the text that you want to change can be found in the namespace of MediaWiki.

In order to change titles, texts, announcements, etc., go to Special:AllMessages, where you will see the text associated with the pages you wish to change. You need to log in as an administrator to edit the protected entries in the MediaWiki namespace.

If you want to change the title in your browser, you need to edit MediaWiki:Pagetitle. Go there and edit it just like you would any other page in your wiki.

In recent versions of MediaWiki, MediaWiki:Pagetitle is $1 - {{SITENAME}} by default. If {{SITENAME}} is producing the wrong text for you, you need to set $wgSitename in your LocalSettings.php.

If $wgSitename is correct in LocalSettings.php but {{SITENAME}} is still wrong, it may be that you're using a user-contributed language file which incorrectly sets $wgSitename to a transliteration of "Wikipedia". Edit the language file to correct this. For example, the Hebrew language file is at languages/LanguageHe.php in your wiki directory.

Don't forget to clear your browser cache after you change your settings.

How do I make external links open in a new window?

See Opening external links in a new window.

How can I suppress MediaWiki from formatting URLs, tags, etc?

Put "<nowiki>" tags around the URL or tag. Example:

svn co <nowiki></nowiki>

produces: svn co

How can I force users to preview before they save?

See Manual:Force preview and Extension:ForcePreview.

How do I add more buttons on the edit page?

For adding more toolbar buttons above the edit field, you can use JavaScript code to register them in mwCustomEditButtons in your MediaWiki:Common.js. For example, a button for large text:

<source lang="javascript"> var button = { "imageFile": "images/5/56/Button_big.png", // image to be shown on the button (may be a full URL too), 22x22 pixels "speedTip": "big text", // text shown in a tooltip when hovering the mouse over the button "tagOpen": "", // the text to use to mark the beginning of the block "tagClose": "", // the text to use to mark the end of the block (if any) "sampleText": "big text" // the sample text to place inside the block }; mwCustomEditButtons.push(button); </source> The following page is a more complex example which can work from an empty wiki: w:MediaWiki:Common.js/edit.js.

How can I get more special characters or tags clickable on the edit page?

For adding more selectable special characters, etc, below the edit field, see Extension:CharInsert.

How can I use Wikipedia's new skin (Vector) on my wiki?

Vector is not available in MediaWiki versions prior to 1.16, and will be made default skin in 1.17. See here for information on configuring your default skin.

Basic usage

How do I edit a page?

To edit a page, simply click the edit link that appears on each page. Using the default MonoBook skin, this is in the form of a tab at the top of the page. A form will appear, containing the existing markup. When you have finished making modifications, click the Save button to commit your changes.

See also: Help:Editing pages

How do I create a new page?

There are several ways to create a new page:

  • Create a link to the page on another page, then click on the red link which appears
  • Browse to the intended location of the page, e.g. and click on the edit link.

On some wikis, a failed search for a page will contain a link which allows you to edit that page.

See Help:Starting a new page

How do I delete an old version of a page?

Old versions of page data are retained in the database and can be accessed via the page history features. This is useful for reviewing changes and correcting or reverting undesirable ones, but in some cases, administrators might want to make this information unavailable, for legal reasons, or to reduce the size of the database.

  • Administrators can delete an old revision of a page by deleting the page, and then selectively undeleting revisions to be kept
  • The Oversight extension (also known as HideRevision) can be used to move harmful revisions out of page histories
  • For newer MediaWikis (1.14+), you can enable the core RevisionDelete feature that allows privileged users to remove single revisions from page histories
  • The maintenance/deleteOldRevisions.php maintenance script can mass-delete all old revisions of pages and their associated text records.
  • See also: Manual:Removing embarrassment.

Are there any editing tutorials available?

There are several editing tutorials available, mostly on Wikimedia sister projects, such as Wikipedia. There are also markup references, etc. available on Meta.

How do I view the printable form of a page?

MediaWiki includes stylesheets which automatically style a page appropriately when it is printed; using the print or print preview function within your browser ought to render the page in a printable form.

You can also view this printable form using the printable version link in the toolbox.

Wiki Importing

Importing from MediaWiki XML dumps

See Manual:Importing XML dumps

Importing from other types of wiki software

Note: The following is directly copied from old meta FAQ. It might need to be corrected.

There is some documentation about importing in the UPGRADE file distributed with MediaWiki.

To follow on from those, this is how at least one individual imported pages from usemod to MediaWiki:

Because MediaWiki does not automatically link to CamelCase style links, you will need to add brackets [[ ]] to all your links. You can do this with the following:

First, obtain ImportStage1.txt (or whatever you want to call it) from the importUseModWiki.php script ( use > to pipe the output to a file )

Second, do

sed '/Importing/!s/\ [A-Z]\w*[a-z]\w*[A-Z]\w*[a-zA-Z]/\ \[\[&\]\] /g'
    ImportStage1.txt > ImportStage2.txt

This should create proper links in place of your CamelCase links.

This doesn't work so well for SubPage links - someone care to fix?


sed 's/upload\:\w*\.\w*/http\:\/\/aberwiki\.org\/uploads\/& /g'
    ImportStage2.txt > ImportStage3.txt

This fixes your upload links. Change the replace text so it fills in your url such as

You are now ready to import ImportStage3.txt into your database with a command such as

mysql -u<mysqluser> -p<yourpass> <db name> < ImportStage3.txt

Note: If your importUseModWiki.php outputs an XML file instead of SQL statements, this probably means you have a rather new version of MediaWiki. In such a case, you can import the XML file -- see Importing a Wikipedia database dump into MediaWiki, towards the bottom of the page ('Import XML'). Don't forget to rebuild all the tables -- that page also explains how to do that.

Importing from other types of files

There are a variety of tools available to help convert content from HTML (and other formats) to MediaWiki markup.

Developer and SysAdmin tools
End-user tools

MediaWiki auto importing script

Taken from wiki_import - MediaWiki auto import script:


The script is designed to import a whole folder of files into MediaWiki, with the folder directory tree mapped as wiki category hierarchy.


  • economic, build wiki site from existing knowledge base collection without "double-entry"
  • persistent, map folder directory tree as wiki category hierarchy
  • sophisticated, import/handle all well-known file types automatically
  • complete, cover every applicable scenario, even the case when you need to control access to individual wiki pages
  • versatile, highly customizable

Quick Help $ $Revision: 1.1 $

mediawiki automatic file import script

Usage: [OPTIONS]...

The script is designed to import a whole folder of files into mediawiki, with the folder directory tree mapped as wiki category hierarchy.

The specification of the file-to-import is passed from standard input.


 -s, --sect=n     the root category section of the wiki
                    of the imported article (mandatory)
 -1, --header     include standard header (category hierarchy path & notice)
 -l, --link       link to actual file on the web site
 -f, --footer     include standard footer (article category)
 -R, --res[=p]    add restricted tag in the footer
                    as '{{<Res Param|Root Category> Restricted}}'  

Configuration Options:

 -p, --php=fn     mediawiki import php script specification
 -r, --root=n     the root category name for the whole wiki site
 -m, --max=n      max_allowed_packet for mysqld to import
 -u, --user=n     wiki user used for the import
 -a, --arch=p     the root url that linked-to archive files based on


 echo ./path/to/file.ext | -1 -l -f -s 'Customer Support' -R 

For the rest of details, check out wiki_import.

Templates imported from other wikis (such as Wikipedia) don't work for me

You probably need to install some extensions used on the source wiki, such as ParserFunctions or sometimes Cite. Also, make sure that you copied all site CSS and JavaScript required by the template.

Customising further

I want to have multiple wikis, but only require registration once

  • If you're starting from scratch or you're switching from one wiki to multiple, you can use $wgSharedDB and $wgSharedTables to have all wikis share the user table of the "main" wiki. You can share other tables as well, as long as they don't contain any data dependent on non-shared tables or data specific to one wiki. See Manual:Shared database for examples and more information.
  • If your wikis are already established and you want to switch to a single sign-on, you can use the CentralAuth extension. It has a few more features than a shared user table, but its more difficult to configure and its tailored toward a Wikimedia-style setup. However, it is easier than attempting to completely merge multiple user tables into one.

How can I allow use of HTML tags?

See Manual:$wgRawHtml as well as Manual:$wgGroupPermissions and Manual:Preventing access.

Caution! Caution: This can be easily abused to attack users

See Extension:SecureHTML and Extension:HTMLets for ways to make this safer.

How can I allow uploading of HTML files?

See Manual:Allowing HTML Uploads.

Caution! Caution: Allowing users to upload HTML files is a major security risk. Do not allow this unless you know exactly what you are doing.


…is the Help namespace empty?

We don't currently have a clean, internationalised set of help pages under a free license. A few developers are hoping to make this possible; however, the Help namespace currently ships in a blank state. You are free to add your own help pages, copy the Public Domain help pages or copy certain of the items from Meta, e.g. the user guide or MediaWiki Handbook, these two collections being free to use under the GNU Free Documentation License.

…are some of my images not showing up after an upgrade?

Several users have reported that, following an upgrade or a moving of their wiki, several images fail to be shown inline. The files exist, and the image description pages show a MIME type of unknown / unknown and, in some cases, a warning about potentially dangerous files.

To fix this, run the maintenance/rebuildImages.php script from the command line. This will set MIME information for each file in the database.

…are all PNG files not being turned into thumbnails?

After upgrading to a more recent version of PHP, it is possible a different MimeMagic.php function is being used to detect file MIME types, particularly the built-in PHP function mime_content_type, which fails to detect PNG files. Search the web for mime_content_type png for information on fixing this bug at the PHP level, possibly by editing your magic.mime file.

See here for more info.

…is a search for a short keyword giving no hits?

By default, MediaWiki uses MyISAM's fulltext matching functionality to allow searching page content. The default settings for this mean that words of less than four characters won't be indexed, so will be ignored in searches with older versions of MediaWiki.

MediaWiki 1.13 and earlier are unable to work around this; you must either change MySQL's configuration to index shorter words, or upgrade to a more recent version of MediaWiki.

Note that some particular words may still not be indexed if they are in MySQL's default stopword list.

…can't I download MediaWiki 1.18?

MediaWiki 1.18 is in a development state at present, and has not been packaged into a general release. The code can be downloaded from Subversion if desired. Or, if you want the latest revision packaged as an archive, get it from MediaWiki Nightly Dumps on Toolserver.

…doesn't this work? It works on Wikipedia!

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia web sites use the current version of the code in development; at present, this is MediaWiki 1.34.4, pulled from the wmf/1.16wmf4 branch. Coupled with the use of several extensions, this means that functionality between these wikis and your particular setup may differ.

  • To obtain the current development code, read Download from SVN
  • To check what version a Wikimedia wiki is running, as well as what extensions are installed, visit the Special:Version page for that wiki

…do I get a 403 Forbidden error after setting permissions on my Fedora system?

Fedora Core enables SELinux by default. Instructions for setting SELinux permissions for MediaWiki are available.

…do I get logged out constantly?

This is probably related to cookies or session data, for example a problem with PHP's session.save_path [1] setting. See Log in problems.

…is it a good idea to keep user accounts?

At many times you just want to remove a user account out of the wiki either because it belonged to a spammer account or you just feel like it. The appropriate choice is to block the account or rename it if needed. Here is why:

Do I just remove his row from the User table?

Rob Church posted the following regarding this issue on the mediawiki-l mailing list:

"If the user has made edits, then removing rows from the user table cause theoretical loss of referential integrity. Now, to be honest with you, I can't think of any conditions where this would cause an actual problem; "undefined behaviour" is the phrase we use.

What I'd suggest doing, to be on the safe side, is running a couple of quick updates against the database:

<source lang="sql">UPDATE revision SET rev_user = 0 WHERE rev_user = <current_user_id></source>
<source lang="sql">UPDATE archive SET ar_user = 0 WHERE ar_user = <current_user_id></source>

What this will do is cause MediaWiki to treat the revisions as having been made anonymously when generating things like page histories, which should eliminate any problems caused by these routines attempting to check user details from other tables.

If the user has caused log entries, i.e. rows in the logging table, or uploaded images, then the situation becomes trickier, as you'll have to start mopping up all the rows everywhere and it could become a bit of a mess, so if the user's done anything other than edit, I would strongly recommend just blocking them indefinitely.

If the username is offensive or undesirable, then you could consider renaming it using the RenameUser extension."


Where do I get the spam blacklist from and how do I install it?

The spam blacklist extension can be found in Subversion, just like all other officially supported extensions. For installation and configuration instructions, consult the README file and extension page over here.

How do I use $wgSpamRegex to block more than one string?

$wgSpamRegex (see Manual) is a powerful filter for page content. Adding multiple items to the regex, however, can be awkward. Consider this snippet: <source lang="php"> $wgSpamRegexLines[] = 'display\s*:\s*none'; $wgSpamRegexLines[] = 'overflow\s*:\s*auto'; [...] $wgSpamRegex = '/(' . implode( '|', $wgSpamRegexLines ) . ')/i'; </source>

This example code allows convenient addition of additional items to the regex without fiddling about each time. It also demonstrates two popular filters, which block some of the most common spam attacks.

See also: Extension:SpamRegex

Are there additional ways to fight spam?

See Manual:Combating spam for an overview of anti-spam measures such as Captcha, content filtering and restricting edition.


See Manual:Combating vandalism for hints and suggestions on how to deal with wiki vandalism.

Where now?

I've found a bug or have a feature request. Where do I post it?

Bugs and feature requests should be posted on MediaZilla, our implementation of Bugzilla. Please search the database prior to posting, to avoid creating duplicate entries.

I'm getting a strange error. What now?

I have a question not answered here. Where do I go next?

If you've exhausted the FAQ above, please try the following:

Still no luck. Where can I ask for help?

Recommended reading

Language: [[::Manual:FAQ|English]]