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Install mediawiki on ubuntu

Check requirement

php -v
mysql -V  # capital V

http://localhost/mediawiki setup

  • Language
  • Welcome to MediaWiki!
    • Environmental checks
    • Copyright and Terms
  • Connect to database - MySQL settings
    • Database host: localhost
    • Database name: (default is my_wiki)
    • Database table prefix: (Leave it empty)
    • Database username: root (saved in LocalSettings.php - $wgDBuser, no need to change)
    • Database password: (saved in LocalSettings.php - $wgDBpassword)
  • Database settings
    • Storage engine: InnoDB
    • Database character set: Binary
  • Name
    • Name of wiki: (saved in LocalSettings.php - $wgSitename)
    • Administrator account
      • Your username: (will be saved in the database)
      • Password: (will be saved in the database)
      • Email address: (leave it empty)
      • Uncheck 'Share data about this installation with MediaWiki developers.'
      • Check 'I'm bored already, just install the wiki.'

If we choose 'Ask me more questions', we will get more questions to answer

  • Options
    • User rights profile: Open wiki/Account creation required/Authorized editors only/Private wiki
    • Copyright and license: Creative Commons Attribution/.../No license footer/Select a custom Creative Commons license
    • Email settings
    • Skins
    • Extensions: Gadgets, ImageMap, InputBox, Interwiki, LocalisationUpdate, Nuke, ParserFunctions, PdfHandler, Renameuser, SpamBlacklist, SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi, TitleBlacklist, WikiEditor
    • Images and file uploads: Enable file uploads, Logo URL
    • Advanced configuration: PHP object caching (APC, APCu, XCache or WinCache)

At the end, we will be notified to download LocalSettings.php file. The new database will be created now.

$ mysql -u root -p -e 'SHOW DATABASES'

$ mysql -u root -p -e 'SHOW TABLES' DB_NAME

Enable tex for formula

1. The following line is coming from an earlier bookmarked tutorial (not sure if it is needed anymore)

apt-get install mediawiki-math

2. Download Math extension from this link

3. Then you should extract the archive in the "extensions" folder within your MediaWiki installation directory.

4. Next, you need to add the following line to your LocalSettings.php file:

wfLoadExtension( 'Math' );

5. Install texvc and ocaml

sudo apt-get install ocaml
cd extensions/Math/math

6. The next step is to execute the "maintenance/update.php" script via shell:

php maintenance/update.php  

Done. Go to test it. [Tested on mediawiki 1.22 on Ubuntu 12.04]. Navigate to "Special:Version" on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.


The default skin is vector.


cd Downloads
tar xzvf MobileFrontend-REL1_30-5ecc673.tar.gz -C ../mediawiki-1.30.0/extensions/
tar xzvf MinervaNeue-REL1_30-7ee8663.tar.gz -C ../mediawiki-1.30.0/skins
  • Use a table or phone to test the effect. It works. The changes I made to <LocalSettings.php>
wfLoadSkin( 'MinervaNeue' ); # put it in the same section of wfLoadSkin

wfLoadExtension( 'MobileFrontend' );
$wgMFAutodetectMobileView = true;
$wgMFDefaultSkinClass = 'SkinMinerva';

$wgShowExceptionDetails = true; # debugging use only

Install on Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04

I follow this guide to install LAMP.

However the SSH setting will be affected since ufw will assume the default port. So I follow this guide to fix the port problem on OpenSSH.

How to install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Install mediawiki on debian

Link here [1]

Install mediawiki through Vagrant + VirtualBox

Several extensions have an instruction for vagrant engine.

vagrant roles enable mobilefrontend --provision
vagrant enable-role multimediaviewer 
vagrant provision

Run mediawiki with Docker

Install mediawiki on XAMPP


  • $wgSitename = "BRB-ArrayTools";

The protocol and server name to use in fully-qualified URLs

  • $wgServer = "https://YOURDOMAIN.COM";
  • $wgSecureLogin = true;
  • $wgLogo = "$wgScriptPath/YOURLOGO.png";
  • $wgEnableEmail = false;

The base URL path

Database settings

  • $wgDBtype = "mysql";
  • $wgDBserver = "localhost";
  • $wgDBname = "MYWIKIDB";
  • $wgDBuser = "root"; # not the wiki user
  • $wgDBpassword = "MYPASSWORD"; # not the password used to log in the mediawiki

Shared memory settings

  • $wgMainCacheType = CACHE_ACCEL;

To enable image uploads, make sure the 'images' directory is writable, then set this to true:

  • $wgEnableUploads = true;

If you use ImageMagick (or any other shell command) on a Linux server, this will need to be set to the name of an available UTF-8 locale

  • $wgShellLocale = "en_US.utf8";


  • wfLoadExtension( 'SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi' );
  • $wgFileExtensions = array('txt','svg','png','gif','jpg','jpeg','doc','xls','mpp','pdf','ppt','tiff','bmp','docx', 'xlsx', 'pptx','ps','odt','ods','odp','odg');
  • $wgSVGConverter = 'ImageMagick';
  • $wgTrustedMediaFormats = array('text/plain');
  • $wgDisableCounters = true;
  • $wgLocaltimezone = "America/New_York";
  • $wgLocalTZoffset = date("Z") / 60;
  • date_default_timezone_set( $wgLocaltimezone );
  • require_once("$IP/extensions/Math/Math.php");
  • $wgFavicon = "$wgScriptPath/favicon32.ico";


Customize MediaWiki into Your Ultimate Collaborative Web Site

Uninstall mediawiki

  1. delete the directory containing the wiki's files
  2. remove the MySQL database holding your wiki
mysql> DROP DATABASE wikidb;

Mediawiki database


See the internal MySQL link.

  • It seems not necessary to create a new user for storing the mediawiki database; root is OK
  • The mediawiki database administrator information will not be saved to the database
  • The mediawiki user account will be written to the database.


A list of users including the system administrator can be found under Special pages > User list (No log in is required).

The administrator and users information is saved in the 'user' table of the wiki database. The can be seen by looking at the phpMyAdmin page. LocalSettings.php only saved the database name and username/password in order to get an access.

To reset user's password, follow official wikipedia page

# set the password for username 'example' to 'newpassword'
sudo php changePassword.php --user=example --password=newpassword


Preformatted text with text wrap

Search 'Customized preformatted' on the Formatting page.

<pre style="white-space: pre-wrap; /* CSS 3 */ white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla, since 1999 */ white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 */ white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 */ word-wrap: break-word; /* IE 5.5+ */ " > YOUR TEXT </pre>

Color format: CSS

Text is red.

<span style="color: red">
Text is red.

Another example: Template::Mvar.

Preformatted text: nowiki

If we want to escape from wikipedia's interpretation & avoiding using pre which will create a block, we can use nowiki. One example is {{mvar}} instead of {{{1}}}.

Display special characters like backslash using unicode

Formatting: Superscript and subscript



or sub keyword.

Syntax highlight

Use the "syntaxhighlight" (for newer versions of mediawiki) or source (for older versions) tag for inline/non-inline syntax highlight. For example,


Source <- c("A", "A", "A", "A", "B", "B", "C", "C", "D") 
Target <- c("B", "C", "D", "J", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I") 
NetworkData <- data.frame(Source, Target) 

d3SimpleNetwork(NetworkData, height = 800, width = 1024, file="tmp.html")

can be created by

<source lang="rsplus">

Source <- c("A", "A", "A", "A", "B", "B", "C", "C", "D") 
Target <- c("B", "C", "D", "J", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I") 
NetworkData <- data.frame(Source, Target) 

d3SimpleNetwork(NetworkData, height = 800, width = 1024, file="tmp.html")

Note for some reason, when I use the syntaxhighlight tag (use syntaxhighlight instead of source tag), 'r' is not recognized on my mediawiki 1.22 although 'bash' works.

This syntax highlight extension package seems more complete. It supports markdown, cpp, r, bash, cxx, ... (no Fortran?) languages. But highlight.js library supports even more.

If we need to use code syntaxhighlight with a list, we shall put the beginning "syntaxhighlight" tag immediately after the paragraph instead of a new line. Putting the tag immediately after the paragraph allows an indentation of the code.

It seems the inline parameter does not work.

Create tables

Introduction Introduction Installation Installation Packages and Repositories Packages and
File Managers File Managers
Desktop Add-ons Desktop Add-ons Virtual Machines Virtual Machines Games and Entertainment Games and
Internet Internet

Indent a table or math equation in a list

Use single, double, triple colons. See a discussion and my example here.

Note that if the table is inside a second bullets (**), the bullet level will be reset.

Link an image but not show it up

Add a colon before "File". For example [[:File:myImage.png]] . See

Indent in a numbered list

Search "colon" in

How can I link to a specific answer?

Mediawiki/Apache has no response

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Auto timeout



On ubuntu, change /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini.


session.gc_maxlifetime = 1440

session.cookie_lifetime = 1440

After modifying php.ini, you need to restart apache. sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

'keep me logged in' option

Make sure to check this option on the login screen.

Errors and symptoms

Sorry! We could not process your edit due to a loss of session data. You might have been logged out. Please verify that you're still logged in and try May be related to Cookies. See also Discussion.


Move favicon.ico to the mediawiki folder and include the following line in the <LocalSettings.php>

$wgFavicon = "$wgScriptPath/favicon.ico";

Note that the attribute of the ico file has to be at least 644. If not, just run the following line

chmod 644 favicon.ico

To download a favicon, use the approach here. For example, to download the favicon icon from website, we just open the url

The approach works is based on the assumption that the favicon.ico file name is not changed and usually located under the website root directory.

Change skin

Change user's password

tackle slowness when saving pages

In summary:

1. Install php-apc. sudo apt-get install php-apc

2. nano LocalSettings.php. Change $wgMainCacheType from CACHE_NONE to CACHE_ACCEL.

$wgMainCacheType = CACHE_ACCEL;

3. (optional) sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Alternatives to mediawiki

3 Alternatives To MediaWiki When Hosting Your Own Wiki

15 best alternative to MediaWiki?


Article size and its limit

To view what the size of the current (and other revisions) of the page is, open the page on the frontend and view its history.

How to change the maximum allowed page size in MediaWiki

By default the size is 2048 KB. You can modify it in LocalSettings.php.

$wgMaxArticleSize = 100;  # 100 KB

Shorten URL (remove index.php)

Change/move main page title

How to change MediaWiki “Main Page” title?

Registration time, password

Preferences > User Profile. From here we can see when the user has registered and there is an opportunity to change the password.


Top 15 downloaded extensions

Google Analytics



However, Ubuntu does not have a support on Mathoid which can convert math to SVG instead of PNG.

I can only get PNG rendering for Math formula on Ubuntu. However if I use Mediawiki Docker image which based on PHP and PHP is based on Debian, I can get SVG images for Math formula.

If I go to Preferences > Appearance, the Math mode is "MathML with SVG or PNG fallback" in Docker but "PNG images" in Ubuntu. If I try to change to "MathML with SVG or PNG fallback" in Ubuntu, it will break.

Installing the MediaWiki Math extension is easier now March 2018

Another way to get the SVG instead of PNG format for mathematical formulae is to use the SimpleMathJax extension (see a discussion). The instruction needs to be modified.

  • After unzip the zip file to the extensions folder it is necessary to change the folder name from 'SimpleMathJax-master' to 'SimpleMathJax' (if we did not do that, the maintenance/update.php will issue errors)
  • The renaming step is not necessary if we use the 'git' command to download the files; i.e. git clone

It works when I tested on Ubuntu 18 + Mediawiki 1.31 + SimpleMathJax 0.7.3.

[email protected]:/var/www/html/mediawiki/extensions# ls -lh SimpleMathJax/
total 20K
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  829 May 12 11:47 extension.json
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4.0K May 12 11:47 modules
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1.7K May 12 11:47
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1.3K May 12 11:47 SimpleMathJax_body.php
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  391 May 12 11:47 SimpleMathJax.php

how to display index under the sigma sign? limits



The 2nd line is required from my experience

wfLoadExtension( 'WikiEditor' );
$wgDefaultUserOptions['usebetatoolbar'] = 1;




<span class="texhtml mvar" style="font-style:italic;">{{{1}}}</span>

Trouble shooting

Import images

$ php maintenance/dumpUploads.php | grep Boxplot
$ find images -iname *Boxplot*
# Get a list of uploaded images, save them to a new folder
php maintenance/dumpUploads.php | grep images | xargs tar czvf ~/Downloads/backup_files.tar.gz
mkdir ~/Downloads/imagesdir
tar xzvf backup_files.tar.gz -C ~/Downloads/imagesdir
cd ~/Downloads/imagesdir
find images -type f -exec cp {} . \;
rm *.txt
rm *.pdf
rm -rf images

# scp imagesdir to my local computer. Then run
php maintenance/importImages.php --overwrite /mnt
# where imagesdir has been mounted to /mnt
# For some reason, some images are not imported?
chown -R www-data:www-data images

Fatal exception of type "Wikimedia\Rdbms\DBQueryError"

Run php update.php.

Backup for offline

wget -k -p -r -R '*Special*' -R '*Help*' -E

Mediawiki to Markdown

How to Create Your Own Offline Wiki

Comparison of wiki hosting services

Use Github Wiki

Clean up

I use a small R script to clean up the header levels. Normally the header should start with one "=".

x <- readLines("~/Downloads/linux.txt")
# Manual check possible header levels

# The original source (eg Ubuntu) may be messed up
# Most are starting with '===' but two are starting from '=='
# In that case, we need to fix the source first
# This solves the mystery that TOC does not show up in mobile device
cnt <- 0
ind <- grep("^== ", x)
if (length(ind) > 1) {
  cat("Number of ==", length(ind), "\n")
  cnt <- cnt + 1L
  x[ind] <- gsub("==", paste0(rep("=", cnt), collapse = ""), x[ind])

# The rule may fail if '===' occurs in a preformated text/code
# In this case we can safely ignore the cases.
ind <- grep("^=== ", x)
if (length(ind) > 1) {
  cat("Number of ===", length(ind), "\n")
  cnt <- cnt + 1L
  x[ind] <- gsub("===", paste0(rep("=", cnt), collapse = ""), x[ind])

ind <- grep("^==== ", x)
if (length(ind) > 1) {
  cat("Number of ====", length(ind), "\n")
  cnt <- cnt + 1L
  x[ind] <- gsub("====", paste0(rep("=", cnt), collapse = ""), x[ind])

ind <- grep("^===== ", x)
if (length(ind) > 1) {
  cat("Number of =====", length(ind), "\n")
  cnt <- cnt + 1L
  x[ind] <- gsub("=====", paste0(rep("=", cnt), collapse = ""), x[ind])
writeLines(x, "~/Downloads/linux2.txt")