This page explains how to configure skins on a wiki for administrators.
This documentation applies to MediaWiki 1.31+.
For using skins, refer to Help:Skins for general skin information.
For developers who want to create new skins or edit existing skins, refer to Manual:How to make a MediaWiki skin for technical information.
To download one of the skins in this group via Git, you should make a call like the following:
git clone https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/mediawiki/skins/[name of skin]
e.g.: To get the default skin Vector, you should give the following from the
skins/ subdirectory of your MediaWiki installation folder:
git clone https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/mediawiki/skins/Vector
Checkout an appropriate release of the skin. Change into the new directory and run:
git checkout REL1_35
REL1_35 with another release branch or tag)
For any skin in your /skins directory that you wish to use, you must enable it in your
For example, to enable Vector, add the following.
If you have multiple skins, each must be enabled with a separate statement:
// mw.v 1.24.x or less require_once "$IP/skins/Vector/Vector.php"; // mw.v 1.25.x or above wfLoadSkin( 'Vector' );
(This is equivalent to enabling an extension, only in a different directory.)
Additional steps may be required depending on the choice of skin. Detailed installation instructions are available on each skin's page on mediawiki.org; for example, for Vector see Skin:Vector#Installation. Instructions for all other skins are analogous.
Setting the default skin for a wiki
A default skin should be set for new users of a wiki by setting the variable
LocalSettings.php to the lowercase skin name specified in the skin file. Users can still change their skin by going to their preferences page, unless you uninstall or suppress all other skins, or disable the preference altogether (see below). For example:
$wgDefaultSkin = 'vector';
Changing these values on an existing wiki will automatically change the setting of all users who have been using the previous default skin. There is a maintenance script to change users' preferences (userOptions.php), but you will most likely not need to use it.
If you do not change this value, Vector will be the default skin.
To uninstall a skin, remove the
require_once for MediaWiki 1.24 or older) line from your
You may remove the skin files from the
skins/ directory afterwards.
If any users have been using the skin you just uninstalled, MediaWiki will automatically switch them to the default skin of the wiki.
Suppressing skins without uninstalling
The administrator can limit the skin choices that are offered site-wide in user's preferences by listing skin(s) to suppress in the
$wgSkipSkins array. This might be useful if you want to test a new skin without letting users see it. To do this, put something like this in
// To remove various skins from the User Preferences choices $wgSkipSkins = array( "monobook", "timeless" );
You will be able to preview the skin using the useskin URL parameter.
Site-wide CSS modifications
MediaWiki allows administrators to specify site-wide CSS rules to be added to every page rendered.
These rules can be added by editing the page Gadget-site.css (old Common.css)) on your wiki, if
$wgUseSiteCss is set to true.
In addition to a global stylesheet, one can also specify CSS rules to be used only in certain skins (see Manual:Interface/Stylesheets).
User CSS modifications
Users can also specify their own CSS rules by creating the page "User:Username/common.css".
The CSS on this page is then applied to whatever skin the user is using.
If the website is changed to a different default skin, the user's custom CSS will continue to work just as before.
This feature can be enabled by setting
$wgAllowUserCss to true in
A user can also apply CSS to a specific skin by creating the page "User:Username/skinname.css".
If a user uses the MonoBook skin for example, they would edit the page Special:MyPage/monobook.css.
Disable site users' ability to choose skins in user preferences
The system administrator can completely remove the "Skin" option so that it does not show up at all in User Preferences. This makes sense if your site will use a customized skin and would not look right in any other skin.
To do it, add a new line containing the following code to LocalSettings.php. It will remove the "Skin" option from preferences and the possibility to use the
useskin parameter in the URL.
$wgHiddenPrefs = 'skin';