Manual:Wiki family

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Below are instructions for how to set up MediaWiki to host more than one wiki. Multiple wikis located on the same server are called a wiki-family.

Giant switch statement[edit | edit source]

This will allow you to install more than one wiki on a single server, using the same source code checkout.

  1. Upload MediaWiki files to web folder on the webserver.
  2. Set up initial wiki as usual. For details, see Manual:Installation guide.
  3. After successful installation, move LocalSettings.php into the root directory of your wiki and rename it in such a way to make it easy to track (e.g., LocalSettings_myFirstWiki.php)
  4. Repeat step three and four above for each wiki you wish to create, creating a new LocalSettings.php file for each wiki (e.g., LocalSettings_anotherWiki.php, etc.)
  5. If two or more separately installed wikis are to be merged to operate out of files of the main wiki, then after renaming and moving each of your LocalSettings.php files to the main wiki folder, change the variable $wgScriptPath in each of the LocalSettings.php files to point to the main wiki's folder.
  6. Create a LocalSettings.php file for your global settings, then select one from the two possibilities below:
  • If you have different (sub)domains that link to one directory on your server, use this:
<?php
// Include common settings to all wikis before this line (eg. database configuration)

        switch ( $_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'] ) {
                case 'shoopz.com':
                        require_once 'LocalSettings_shoopz_com.php';
                        break;

                case 'help.shoopz.com':
                        require_once 'LocalSettings_help_shoopz_com.php';
                        break;

                case 'wiki.shoopz.net':
                        require_once 'LocalSettings_wiki_shoopz_net.php';
                        break;

                default:
                        header( 'HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found' );
                        echo 'This wiki is not available. Check configuration.';
                        exit( 0 );
        }
Note Note:To set up multiple domains that point to the same MediaWiki code, you may need to modify your web server and possibly DNS configuration. See the documentation of your web server and or web host for information on how to do that.
  • If your wikis are on the same domain but different paths (e.g. yourdomain.com/wiki1, yourdomain.com/wiki2 etc), you can use something like this:
<?php
// Include common settings to all wikis before this line (eg. database configuration)

$callingurl = strtolower( $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] ); // get the calling url
if ( strpos( $callingurl, '/wiki1' )  === 0 ) {
        require_once 'LocalSettings_wiki1.php';
} elseif ( strpos( $callingurl, '/wiki2' ) === 0 ) {
        require_once 'LocalSettings_wiki2.php';
} elseif ( strpos( $callingurl, '/wikiN' ) ===  ) {
        require_once 'LocalSettings_wikiN.php';
} else {
        header( 'HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found' );
        echo "This wiki (\"" . htmlspecialchars( $callingurl ) . "\") is not available. Check configuration.";
        exit( 0 );
}
Note Note: If you use Short URL with the second case (directory based wikis), you need to check the two directories: strpos( $callingurl, 'wiki1', 0 ) || strpos( $callingurl, 'w1/', 0 ), to symlink the sources (w1 -> w), and adapt $wgScriptPath.

It is reccomended to use a different DB for each wiki (By setting a different $wgDBname for each wiki). However if you are limitted to a single database, you can use a different prefix ($wgDBprefix) to separate the different installs.

It may also be useful to simply redirect any unrecognized wiki URL to the "main" url, instead of "This wiki is not available. Check configuration."

Updating wikifarm from the commandline[edit | edit source]

This method requires the $_SERVER["SERVER_NAME"] to be present to run maintenance/update.php - which of course it isn't, from the commandline. This can be overcome by setting an environment variable:

SERVER_NAME=foo.subdomain.org php update.php

If you were using the subdirectory method, you can use:

REQUEST_URI="/wiki1" php update.php

Drupal-style sites[edit | edit source]

As above, this setup allows you to install more than one wiki using different databases on a single server, using the same source code. This setup has the advantage of being completely transparent to users and reasonably secure in terms of the images directory.

  • Create a base directory to contain all your MediaWiki files e.g., mkdir /home/web/mediawiki.
  • Install MediaWiki and additional tools as usual to a version-declaring subdirectory(e.g., /home/web/mediawiki/mediawiki-1.10.0).
  • Link the version-declaring directory to a code directory. e.g., ln -s /home/web/mediawiki/mediawiki-1.10.0 /home/web/mediawiki/code
  • Create a sites directory to contain our images and settings: mkdir /home/web/mediawiki/sites
  • Setup the wiki as normal from the /code directory.
  • After successful installation, move LocalSettings.php into a sites directory that will be a match when the site is checked. For example, to capture http://mysite.com/mywiki, one would create the directory mysite.com.mywiki. e.g., mkdir /home/web/mediawiki/sites/mysite.com.mywiki. See the Drupal's settings.php file for more information on this.
  • If you intend to use media files, create an images directory in your site directory. e.g., mkdir /home/web/mediawiki/sites/mysite.com.wiki/images. Make it writable as necessary.
  • Place the Drupal-style LocalSettings.php file in your main directory: cp DrupalLocalSettings.php /home/web/mediawiki/code/LocalSettings.php
  • Modify the LocalSettings.php of each subsite to point to the right places:
    • First comment out the code relating to $IP, (lines 16-20 in 1.15.3) as this is set to the code directory by index.php.
    • Next insert the following two lines to ensure that image files are accessible, e.g.: $wgUploadDirectory = "/home/web/mediawiki/sites/wiki.mysite.com/images"; and $wgUploadPath = "/images";. These need to be put somewhere after the call to DefaultSettings.php (line 25 in 1.15.3), as the variables will otherwise be reset.
    • Make further modifications as required.
  • Prepare your Apache 2 installation. Example site: wiki.mysite.com
    • Create a link to the code directory, if required e.g. ln -s /home/web/mediawiki/code /home/web/wiki.mysite.com
    • Create an appropriate VHost configuration:
<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAdmin me@myserver.com
    DocumentRoot /home/web/wiki.mysite.com
    ServerName wiki.mysite.com
    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/wiki.mysite.log common
    # Alias for the site to be accessible
      Alias /mediawiki/code /home/web/mediawiki/code
    # Alias for Wiki so images work
      Alias /images /home/web/mediawiki/sites/wiki.mysite.com/images
    # If you want to password protect your site
    #  <Directory /home/web/wiki.mysite.com>
    #    AuthType Basic
    #    AuthName "My protected Wiki"
    #    AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/htpasswd/users-mywiki
    #   require valid-user
    #  </Directory>
</VirtualHost>
  • If you are setting the sites up locally, update your hosts file with the site names.

The site should now work. In my case, I made another copy of the code from which to install and update my LocalSettings.php and databases.

Note that $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] in the companion Drupal code is undefined when running maintenance scripts from the command line, so this solution does not permit the use of maintenance scripts without some modification.

Modified Drupal-style method for Ubuntu[edit | edit source]

A simplified method for multiple wikis and multiple (or nested) subwikis on Ubuntu/Kubuntu that is loosely based on the above method can be found at:

Multiple wikis sharing common resources[edit | edit source]

You want to have some wikis in different languages, sharing the same media-files in another, single wiki.

For example:

  • en.yourwiki.org - English language
  • fr.yourwiki.org - French language
  • de.yourwiki.org - German language
  • pool.yourwiki.org - media-files for all of these wikis (like Commons).
    • As there is already an Interwikilink named commons for Wikimedia Commons, we name our media-files-wiki "pool".
    • Think before being creative; if you call your media-files-wiki something like "media" (e.g. media.example.com), it might collide with internal namespaces and nomenclature for embedded media files ([[media:file.ext]]).

Install[edit | edit source]

On your file system, create a folder for each wiki. Run the install script for each wiki.

This solution duplicates source code. To reduce this duplication and improve cache performance, you may wish to replace the bin (≤ MW 1.20.x), docs, extensions, includes, languages, maintenance, math (≤ MW 1.17.x), resources, serialized[1], skins, tests and vendor (≥ MW 1.22.x[2]) directories for non-pool installations with symbolic links to the pool's directories:

For example, enter

rm -R extensions/

and then enter

ln -s pathtopool/extensions/ extensions

Don't forget to allow your Apache to Follow Symbolic Link editing your httpd.conf adding FollowSymLinks options
However, you should not replace the cache, mw-config(config ≤ MW 1.16.x) and images directories.

To do the same in Windows, use

mklink /D pathtolink pathtotarget

Configure[edit | edit source]

Wiki Configurations[edit | edit source]

Note Note: It is imperative, that you modify LocalSettings.php of your different wiki installations right from the start (even before creating the symbolic links) , or you will have /wiki/../maintenance/runJobs.php --maxjobs 1 piling up in your server's memory. Include the line below into each LocalSettings.php.

$wgJobRunRate = 0;

Interwiki[edit | edit source]

Now you have to set Interwikilinks between all wikis, by editing their MySQL-Databases (if you prefer, install and use Extension:Interwiki)

  • Table Interwiki
    • iw_prefix - enter the language-code of the wikis, "de" for German, "en" for English, "fr" for French and "pool" for the mediapoolwiki
    • iw_url - this is the place for the complete URL to the wikis, e.g. "http://de.yourwiki.org/index.php/$1" for the German wiki (don't forget the "$1" !).

Now you can link an article to the same in another languages. Adding [[de:Hauptseite]] on your English Main_Page will create a link "Deutsch" (under the Navigation bar) which leads to the Main_Page of the German wiki (Hauptseite). For further information visit Help:Interwiki linking

Note to page Special:Interwiki: (you will see a long table)
Add in the German wiki the prefix 'en' and the url http://en.yourwiki.org/index.php/$1 and set the checkbox 'Als lokales Wiki definiert'.
Do it in the English wiki vice versa with checkbox 'Forward'. And in both wikis enter a second prefix 'pool' and http://pool.yourwiki.org/index.php/$1 and check the checkbox 'Forward'.

Upload[edit | edit source]

Make sure that folder "images" of the pool-wiki is writable.

It is useful to change the "Upload file"-Link of the language-wikis to point to poolwiki's upload-site. Open the "LocalSettings.php" of each language-wiki and add:

$wgUploadNavigationUrl = "http://pool.yourwiki.org/index.php/Special:Upload";

In 1.17, you'll also have to set $wgUploadMissingFileUrl to be redirected to the pool-wiki on red links.

$wgUploadMissingFileUrl= "http://pool.yourwiki.org/index.php/Special:Upload";

Use shared files[edit | edit source]

To use poolwiki's files in the languagewikis, open "LocalSettings.php" for each languagewiki and add:

$wgUseSharedUploads = true;
$wgSharedUploadPath = 'http://pool.yourwiki.org/images';
$wgSharedUploadDirectory = '/(LOCALPATH)/POOL-FOLDER/images/';
$wgHashedSharedUploadDirectory = true;

Now you can integrate pool's files with (e.g.) [[Image:MyLogo.png]] in the languagewikis.

Image description[edit | edit source]

In each languagewiki, open (as an admin) the message MediaWiki:Sharedupload-desc-here.

Change the text to something like:

This file is stored in our data-pool. For information and description, please visit the  

[[:pool:Image:{{PAGENAME}}|description there]]. 

(And note the ':' at the beginning of the line, which stops 'pool' from being included in the interwiki list at the left of the page.)

If you want to output the media-description, stored in the PoolWiki, too, add to the "LocalSettings.php" of the languagewikis:

$wgFetchCommonsDescriptions = true;
$wgSharedUploadDBname = 'pool';  # DB-Name of PoolWiki
$wgSharedUploadDBprefix = 'wiki_'; # Table name prefix for PoolWiki
$wgRepositoryBaseUrl = "http://pool.yourwiki.org/index.php/Image:";

Shared Settings[edit | edit source]

If you have multiple wikis, you'll probably want to share similar settings across them all. Here is how to do that. We recommend that you separate your Extension settings into a different file than your other settings, as detailed below. They can be all put into one large file, but it's not as flexible depending upon your specific needs.

Here is an example directory structure if you do all of the following:

en/
es/
pl/
ja/
pool/
ExtensionSettings.php
WikiFamilySettings.php
SharedMediaSettings.php
Extension Settings[edit | edit source]
  • Step 1
    Create a file called ExtensionSettings.php with the following contents, and place it in a location similar to the example above.
<?php
#####
##### Extension Directory Variables
#####
##
## These variables allow you to specify a single, shared directory for each grouping of extensions.
## If the directory ever needs to be changed, it can be changed here rather than on every
## item below. DO NOT include a trailing "/".
##
## Extensions from gerrit.wikimedia.org
# $wgWikimediaExtensions = "/var/www/wikimediaextensions";
##
## Any third-party extensions
# $wgOtherExtensions = "/var/www/extensions";
#####
#####

### Add globalized extension settings below
#require_once "$wgWikimediaExtensions/ReallyCoolExtension/ReallyCoolExtension.php"; #An example Wikimedia Subversion extension entry

#require_once "$wgOtherExtensions/ReallyCoolExtension/ReallyCoolExtension.php"; #An example third-party extension entry
  • Step 2
    Edit the LocalSettings.php file of each wiki that you want to use the shared settings, and add the following.
require_once "/absolute/path/to/ExtensionSettings.php";
  • Step 3
    Now just add all the references to your various extensions
Wiki Family Settings[edit | edit source]

These are settings that you want to apply to the entire wiki family. For example, maybe you want to be able to easily put all the wikis into read-only mode at the same time. You can also store the username/password for the database(s), if they are all the same. Additionally, you could control user permissions across your entire wiki from this one file.

Note: If you use a Images/Media commons or pool, we recommend that you do not put these settings in the WikiFamilySettings.php file. That information only applies to every wiki in your wiki family other than your repository. We recommend putting it in a separate file.

Shared database tables[edit | edit source]

See Manual:Shared database for instructions on setting up shared database tables.

Ultimate minimalist solution[edit | edit source]

The "ultimate minimalist solution" consists of symlinks,

$ ls -og
lrwxrwxrwx 1 16 2008-11-03 06:29 aaa.example.org -> mediawiki
lrwxrwxrwx 1 16 2008-11-03 06:29 bbb.example.org -> mediawiki
lrwxrwxrwx 1 16 2008-11-03 06:29 ccc.example.org -> mediawiki

Let's see a real example of mediawiki/LocalSettings.php. In real life we must deal with the slight differences in the names and databases of the sites we manage.

if ( !defined( 'MEDIAWIKI' ) ) { 
exit; 
}    #Protect against web entry
$mysites = array(
    array( '台掃', 'radioscanningtw.jidanni.org', 'radioscanningtw' ),
    array( '蝶園', 'transgender-taiwan.org',      'transgender' ),
    array( 'ABJ',    'abj.jidanni.org',             'mwabj' )
);
$mystrings = array( $_SERVER['SCRIPT_FILENAME'] );
if ($wgCommandLineMode) { $mystrings[] = $_SERVER['PWD']; }
$mystrings[] = $IP;
foreach ( $mysites as $site ) {
    foreach ( $mystrings as $string ) {
        if ( strpos( $string, $site[1] ) !== false ) {
            $wgSitename = $site[0];
            putenv( "MW_INSTALL_PATH=/home/jidanni/" . $site[1] );
            $wgDBname = $site[2];
            break 2;
        }
    }
}
if ( $wgSitename == 'MediaWiki' ){
  trigger_error('Oh no, I still have not set $wgSitename. Somebody tell me. TEL +886-963-114343',E_USER_ERROR);}

## For maintenance scripts, https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=19593 :
if ( $wgServer == 'http://localhost' ) {
    $wgServer = $wgInternalServer = 'http://' . $site[1];
}
$wgUsePathInfo = false; 
$wgScriptPath = ''; 
$wgDBserver = 'mysql.transgender-taiwan.org';
$wgLogo = "/images/$wgDBname/$wgDBname.png";
switch ( $wgSitename ) {
  #any per-wiki customizations
}

Note we still individually do database related tasks, e.g., php update.php. (The above code should detect which wiki's update.php you are referring to.) Upgrading is simple if you download from Git. (Hopefully there is no more code that assumes there is only one wiki on the disk...)

Images[edit | edit source]

Unless you do not allow uploads or allow them only for your pool wiki, you will need to create separate image directories and alias them in your vhost configuration: for i in aaa bbb ccc; do mkdir -p /home/user/images/$i; done, and in aaa.example.org's vhost: Alias /w/images /home/user/images/aaa. Same for bbb and ccc.

However you may instead just prefer Manual:Image Administration#Alternative simple setup, where *.example.org/images/ just point to the same single directory. Or one could use e.g., *.example.org/$wgDBname/images/.

Adding new wikis[edit | edit source]

To add a wiki to a production Wiki family

  1. add its configuration to your web server
  2. temporarily comment out the file_exists("../LocalSettings.php") check of config/index.php and then run it
  3. merge the config/LocalSettings.php produced into LocalSettings.php
  4. add some pages

Removing old wikis[edit | edit source]

To remove a wiki from a production Wiki family

  1. remove its configuration from
    1. web server
    2. LocalSettings.php
  2. DROP DATABASE

Wikimedia Method[edit | edit source]

Another option is using the method that the Wikimedia Foundation uses. The rough steps are listed below. This method isn't for the faint of heart, but it has fairly good results, as can be seen by the success the Wikimedia Foundation has had by using this :-)

  1. Configure a template copy of MediaWiki through the online configuration wizard. Edit the Main Page if you want a default main page for every wiki you create on your farm.
  2. After that, export your database with mysqldump, phpMyAdmin, etc. Save this on your server in the maintenance/ directory as something like template.sql.
  3. Now, write up a few quick scripts to create a new wiki. In a gist, you'll need to add it to a list of wikis, which can be flat-file based or MySQL/SQLite based, and then import the template database dump back into the database under the name of a new wiki. Use a standard suffix after the new database name (i.e. if the wiki is meta.yourdomain.net, then you might choose metawiki as the database name).
  4. In your configuration file, add something like this, fixing the database prefix and your domain as necessary:
    if ( preg_match( '/^(.*)\.yourdomain.net$/', $server, $matches ) ) {
         $wikiname = $matches[1];
    } else {
         die( "Invalid host name, can't determine wiki name" );
         // You could also redirect to a nicer "No such wiki" page.
    }
    
    if( $wikiname === "www" ) {
         // Change this to your "main" wiki.
         $wikiname = "meta";
    }
    
    $wgDBname = $wikiname . "wiki";
    
  5. Configure your DNS with a wildcard A record, and apache with a server alias (like ServerAlias *.yourdomain.net) and you should be in business.

The script maintenance/update.php can be included from a another php script, update_farm.php for example, and this outer script will set the various SERVER values that are needed by your LocalSettings.php to set the correct $wgDBname:

<?php
# update_farm.php script
$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'] = $argv[1];
$_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']=  $argv[2]; #optional
include("maintenance/update.php")

and the command line for updating meta.yourdomain.net is, from your unique mediawiki directory:

php update_farm.php meta.yourdomain.net

Your unique LocalSettings.php (which usually consists in a few lines including a CommonSettings.php not directly accessible from the server) decodes the variable meta and will set the $wgDBname accordingly.

The DOCUMENT ROOT directory (similar to the value set in your httpd.conf) can also be used in your CommonSettings.php in order to have more flexibility, like using a test server.

You'll also need to fix the upload directories unless you want every wiki to use the same files. As said above, this is probably one of the hardest methods to do, and it requires more technical experience, but it can give really good, clean results.

Wiki Farm Extensions[edit | edit source]

There are several MediaWiki extensions that attempt to simplify hosting of several wikis by using just one code base:

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See this thread concerning the "serialised" folder
  2. In case you are using Composer to install some or all extensions, if supported