Download from Git

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Since MediaWiki 1.19beta2, 1.18.2, 1.17.3, MediaWiki core and extensions use Git for version control. For older versions, see Subversion

Git is distributed version control software that allows users to download the very latest version of a branch, without having to wait for someone to get around to packaging it. MediaWiki will release faster, and it'll be easier for you to update your installation, roll back an upgrade, or submit patches. (Of course always remember official stable releases are less risky.)

See Git for more details, particularly for making contributions. Below are some quick directions for a couple common tasks.


You must have Git installed before you can use it. There are many different ways to acquire Git, depending on your operating system. For source and official binaries, check out For alternative ways to install Git, use your favorite search engine to find instructions for your operating system.

It is recommended that you have composer installed to download and install third party libraries, but not required.

Using Git to download MediaWiki


You can currently download MediaWiki core (phase3 on SVN) using Git, as well as any extension currently installed on the Wikimedia Foundation server cluster.

The first step is to clone the MediaWiki repository. This may take awhile.

Enter in the following on your command line:

git clone

In the case that you see "The requested URL returned error: 403" or "error: The requested URL returned error: 403 while accessing" you need to check your git client version

git --version

and upgrade to at least git 1.7, versions 1:, and are known to work.[1]

This clones the entire MediaWiki core repository into a subdirectory named core. To install into a specific directory, add that to the command line (for more info refer to these docs). The default 'branch' will be the cutting-edge, developer version of MediaWiki. Once the repository is cloned, you can easily switch to different branches or tags (see below), including those tracking stable versions of MediaWiki.

Download for development

If you have Developer access (which is easy to request):

git clone ssh://<USERNAME>

Fetch external libraries

Starting with MediaWiki 1.25, some external libraries that MediaWiki requires are no longer in this "core" git repository. We use composer to manage them. To install these needed libraries:

  • Download and install composer, switch to the core directory and then run composer install --no-dev. Note that if you have an existing composer.lock file you will need to run composer update --no-dev instead.
  • If you don't want to use composer, or if you want to use the same set of vendor libraries as used on the WMF production cluster, you can instead git clone to create a vendor/ directory inside the core folder of your MediaWiki installation.

Specific MediaWiki versions

WMF branches

Remote branches track the MediaWiki versions used on the Wikimedia Foundation server cluster. These may not be entirely stable, but they receive very quick bug fixes and are generally stable enough – after all, these are what major projects such as Wikipedia are using. Once a REL* branch is considered 'stable', we 'tag' it and turn it into a tarball release.

To see what branches are available, you switch into your MediaWiki clone and issue the following command:

git branch -r | sort -V

Major releases are denoted by "origin/REL<release number>", e.g. "origin/REL1_25". To switch to a particular release branch:

git checkout -b REL<release number> origin/REL<release number>

For example, to switch to the current stable version, 1.25.2, enter:

git checkout -b REL1_25 origin/REL1_25
MediaWiki tags (stable version)

Alternatively, specific stable versions of MediaWiki are tracked using 'tags'. These are analogous to the tarball releases. You can see the versions available with:

git tag -l | sort -V

Using non GNU sort command, such as on Mac OS X, you have to rely on the good old separators:

git tag -l | sort -n -t. -k1 -k2 -k3

To use a specific tag:

git checkout <tag name>

Latest development version of MediaWiki

The latest development version of MediaWiki is tracked in the 'master' branch. This is what is locally checked out by default when you first clone the MediaWiki repository. If you have switched to another branch but would like to switch back to using bleeding-edge MediaWiki, do:

git checkout master

Keeping up to date

If you're using a particular branch or the development version of MediaWiki, picking up the latest changes is really easy. Change into your MediaWiki clone directory and issue the pull command:

git pull

All of the latest changes for the branch you are using will be applied.

Also, after updating/upgrading you should run the MediaWiki Update script from the command line:

php maintenance/update.php

Switching to a different version

Switching to a different version of MediaWiki is far simpler with Git than with SVN. Each of our versions are tracked as branches or tags. In order to switch to one of these, all you have to do is checkout the particular branch or tag you want from within your MediaWiki clone directory:

git checkout <branchname>


git checkout <tag name>

The changes will be applied automatically and you will be all set to go.

Using Git to download MediaWiki extensions

List of extensions in git

Download an extension

<EXT> should be replaced with the name of the extension you want to download, without spaces. For Extension:TitleKey, it would be TitleKey. (case sensitive!)

Download and clone an extension from Git:

cd /path/to/extensions
git clone<EXT>.git

Developers clone with:

git clone ssh://<USERNAME><EXT>.git

Source code can be inspected with:<EXT>.git;a=tree;h=refs/heads/master;hb=master

Download all extensions

If you prefer to have all MediaWiki extensions that are at checked out to your machine, do the following:

git clone
cd extensions
git submodule update --init --recursive

To update the extensions to their latest versions, just do this:

cd /path/to/extensions
git pull
git submodule update --init --recursive

To track a specific branch:

git submodule foreach 'git checkout -b REL1_25 origin/REL1_25 || :'

Remove an extension

Just remove the extension folder and remove the "require_once …" from LocalSettings.php.

Using Git to download MediaWiki skins

List of skins in git

MediaWiki 1.24 and later don't include skins in the Git download.

Follow the exact same procedure as for extensions (described in the previous section), but using skins rather than extensions in all URLs and paths.

Detailed installation instructions are available on each skin's page here on, for example see Skin:Vector#Installation. Instructions for all other skins are analogous.

See also