Setting up MediaWiki

This page will go through a basic setup of MediaWiki. It is based on the official MediaWiki installation wikipage, and it gives a few specifics for setting it up on a hosted account over at ULYSSIS.

This tutorial we'll use a ULYSSIS-account with username "me".

Putting setup-files in place

First we'll have to download the setup file which you can find over at the official MediaWiki website.

It's an archived file, so you need to extract it first and put the files in a subdirectory of your "document root". The default is just a www directory in your home folder.

Putting your files in document_root/wiki/ will make your wiki be located at

If you prefer, you can do this all graphically using the manual Accessing_your_files.

If you prefer the command line;

homeuser@home:~$ ssh
enter super secret password:
me@zap:~$ wget
me@zap:~$ unzip
me@zap:~$ mv mediawiki-1.35.1 www/wiki
me@zap:~$ rm -r

Setting up database

Like the the official MediaWiki installation wiki tells us, we have three different options to choose from; PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite.

It's easy to set a PostgreSQL or MySQL database; just go to the UCC. For this tutorial we will continue with a MySQL database (PostgreSQL installation steps are quite similar).

Let us visit; if this is your first time using MySQL you'll need to create a new account by putting in a super secret password. The wizard will create your MySQL account with the same name as your user-account. We'll also create a new database with an appropriate name by clicking on 'Add database'. In this tutorial we will choose; "wiki", notice that it will be prepended with our username, so we'll end up with a new database named "me_wiki".

Setup your wiki

If all went well, you can access your website at and start the setup wizard. In our example, will surf to

The wizard will guide you through some configuration options. Most of them our pretty straight-forward. When in doubt, you can always click the question mark wich will show you some sensible and recommended default... We'll just discuss the page were the wizard asks you for the database. In our example;

Database host:
Database name: me_wiki
// The name of our database; i.e. the name we chose, prepended by our username.
Database table prefix:
// We can leave this blank.
Database user: me
// This is the name of our MySQL-user, which was named after our ULYSSIS-username.
Database password: supersecretpassword
// Please note that this is not your ULYSSIS-password, but the password you used in UCC when creating the MySQL user!

Creating the wiki

After the setup wizard is complete, you can begin the installation procedure. If all went well, you'll be greeted by a page which congratulates you with your new installation.

Finishing up installation

The setup will offer you a configuration file (containing some settings you specified) that you need to download to your server (more specifically in directory where your MediaWiki-files reside in).

You again can do this graphically, or if you prefer a terminal;

homeuser@home:~$ scp path_to_file/LocalSettings.php
enter super secret password:

After this is done, you can finally start using your wiki.

Please refer to the original MediaWiki documentation for a more detailed or advanced information.

Extending MediaWiki

By default, every MediaWiki installation looks and works identical. While that is convenient for users, it can be less than ideal if you need specific functionality or wish to adapt your wiki to your style.


Extensions add functionality to a wiki, such as more fine-grained authentication, extra layout elements for articles or text filters. An overview of what kinds of extensions are possible can be found on the official manual.

Some noteworthy extensions can be used to prevent spam or unauthorised access. You can find more information on Preventing spam on MediaWiki and Securing MediaWiki using Centrale KU Leuven Login.

We've also found that users sometimes have problems with high amounts of disk space usage. To help those users out, we've developed a MediaWiki extension that can automatically reduce file size of new uploads. Specifically it's possible to compress PDFs, convert inefficient image formats such as BMP and TIFF to PNG, loslessly compress PNG, lossy compress JPG, resize images and strip EXIF data. You can find more details on


Skins are similar to themes, templates or styles within other software. By default MediaWiki uses the well known Vector skin. But other skins are available. Sadly, MediaWiki doesn't maintain a complete list of all available skins and whether they work with recent releases, so it may take a bit of perseverance. General information on Skins is available on the Official Manual. Besides that there's the the user style gallery and the list of skins.