Getting started


A few tips on wiki customization after the initial setup. Feel free to add your wiki to the wiki list as well.

Table of contents

Logo upload

Missing image

To get your custom logo in the top-left corner just upload a file called Wiki.png. After the upload, visit your home page and do a full reload that bypasses your browser's cache (Mozilla: click reload(or ctrl-r), IE / Opera: ctrl-f5, Safari: cmd-r, Konqueror ctrl-r).

  • Image format: PNG, should be indexed if transparency is used for backwards compatibility with IE
  • Size: 135px width, 135-150px height

Help pages

You can copy some basic help pages from Help or Hilfe.

Skin modifications

Site-wide tweaks are easy using [[Medawiki:Monobook.css]].

-> MediaWiki skin tweaks

System messages

You can tweak all UI messages using the MediaWiki namespace. Visit [[Special:Allmessages]] for a full list. Your browser's search function is a good way to find the string you want to change.

Sidebar modifications

Individual items

You can change the first three items in the sidebar like this:

  • [[MediaWiki:mainpage]] - changes both link and text. This will also be the page Visitors are redirected to when visiting /.
  • [[MediaWiki:currentevents-url]] and [[MediaWiki:currentevents]] - link and link text separate. To omit this link from the sidebar, change [[MediaWiki:currentevents]] to '-'.
  • [[MediaWiki:portal-url]](Link) and [[MediaWiki:portal]](Text) - link and link text separate. To omit this link from the sidebar, change [[MediaWiki:portal]] to '-'.

Free editing of the entire box

Added a capability to customize the navigation box through the wiki, you can edit [[MediaWiki:Navihtml]] to suit your needs. If non-empty and not '-', it will replace the standard content of the box, allowing you to use any xhtml you like instead. Standard xhtml:

  <li id="n-mainpage"><a href="/Main_Page">Main Page</a></li>
  <li id="n-portal"><a href="/Yourwiki:Community_Portal">Community portal</a></li>
  <li id="n-currentevents"><a href="/Current_events">Current events</a></li>
  <li id="n-recentchanges"><a href="/Special:Recentchanges">Recent changes</a></li>
  <li id="n-randompage"><a href="/Special:Randompage">Random page</a></li>
  <li id="n-help"><a href="/Help:Contents">Help</a></li>

This is enabled in practically all wikis, if your modification to [[MediaWiki:Navihtml]] doesn't show up just drop me a note ( to get it switched on ($wgAllowUserNavi needs to be set to true).

Protecting private sites

There are two ways to do this:

Pretty secure, also protects images. Users won't see anything until having entered user/pass. Disadvantage: user/pass common to all visitors, two logins (common http auth and individual wiki login)
MediaWiki access restrictions
It's possible to restrict the pages anonymous visitors can see. This has the advantage of just a single login that's individual per user. There's a way to protect images as well which involves moving images out of the web-accessible directory and serving them through a php script. Haven't tested that yet. Disadvantage: Potentially less secure, maybe less performant for images

Up to now i've always used both techniques combined for internal sites which gives very good protection at the price of an extra login. It shouldn't be too hard to get the php-based image protection going though.


One domain of your choice is always included in the package. Additional domain prices by tld: .de 12€/year, .com/.net/.org/.uk 15€/year, .info/.biz/.name/.cc 16€/year, .at/.tv 32€/year. Domain registration is usually quick (one day for .de), domain transfers sometimes take a while, depending on the degree of cooperation of the previous provider.

Configuration of domains with independent registrars such as Editzone, Schlundtec ( or GoDaddy (
Send me a note containing the domain name so that i can add the alias to the apache config of your vhost. IP is, to use the domain for mails you can set mx1 to ( and mx2 to (

DB/Image download, wiki migration

PHPMyadmin export screen
PHPMyadmin export screen

You can download the entire data of your wiki at any time:

  • Database dump via PHPMyadmin ( supports different compression options etc
  • Images via recursive download of the upload dir (wget or similar tools) or via rsync using ssh encryption and your public key. A weekly cron job that tars up all images for easier download is possible on request.

With these files you can migrate your wiki to another server if you wanted to.

WinSCP public key authentication

The following steps detail how to use public key authentication with WinSCP on an OpenSSH server.

  1. Download and install WinSCP ( Choose the installation package to include public key tools PuTTYgen and Pageant.
  2. Run PuTTYgen (Start/Programs/WinSCP3/Key tools/PuTTYgen).
  3. Click on the SSH2 RSA (or SSH2 DSA; do not use SSH protocol 1 if possible) radio button under Type of key to generate:.
  4. Click Generate.
  5. Copy-and-paste or attach the public key to a mail, send it to wikidev ( (it will be added to ~user/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the server).
  6. Enter and confirm a Key passphrase: and click Save private key.
  7. Start WinSCP3. Under Session, enter the Host name, User name, and Private key file and click Login. You will be prompted for your private key passphrase, unless you have already added your private key to the Pageant ssh agent.


The https certificate will throw warnings, but encrypted is better than plain text..