Install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to easily install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP support. For those who don’t know MediaWiki is an opensource wiki package content management system written in PHP that was originally used on Wikipedia.

MediaWiki is now used by many individuals and companies to develop and manage their wiki pages. It has also been translated into many different languages.

This post covers installing the latest version of MediaWiki, which at the time of writing was at version 1.29.1.

To get started with installing MediaWiki, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx

MediaWiki requires a webserver to function and the most popular webserver in use today is Apache2. So, go and install Nginx on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt-get install nginx

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable Nginx service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

Step 2: Install MariaDB

MediaWiki also requires a database server to function. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 3: Install PHP and Related Modules

MediaWiki also requires PHP to function. To install PHP and related modules run the commands below

sudo apt-get install php-fpm php-common php-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-soap php-gd php-xml php-intl php-mysql php-cli php-mcrypt php-ldap php-zip php-curl

Some of the PHP modules above depend on Apache2 so installing them may also install Apache2 web server. Run the commands below to disable Apache2 from starting up.

sudo systemctl disable apache2.service

Step 4: Create MediaWiki Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create MediaWiki database.

Run the commands below to logon to the database server. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called mediawiki


Create a database user called mediawikiuser with new password

CREATE USER 'mediawikiuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON mediawiki.* TO 'mediawikiuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download MediaWiki Latest Release

Next, run the commands below to download MediaWiki latest release. The commands below to download MediaWiki archive package.

cd /tmp && wget

Then run the commands below to extract the download file to Apache2 default root.

sudo tar -zxvf mediawiki*.tar.gz
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/mediawiki
sudo mv mediawiki-1.29.0/* /var/www/html/mediawiki

Change and modify the directory permission.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/

Step 6: Configure Nginx

Finally, configure Nginx site configuration file for MediaWiki. This file will control how users access MediaWiki content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called mediawiki

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/mediawiki

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/mediawiki;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    location ~ \.ht {
		deny all;

	location / {
		try_files $uri $uri/ @rewrite;

	location @rewrite {
		rewrite ^/(.*)$ /index.php;

	location ^~ /maintenance/ {
		return 403;

    location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    fastcgi_split_path_info  ^(.+?\.php)(|/.*)$;
    fastcgi_index            index.php;
  # fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock; # for Ubuntu 17.04
    fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock; # for Ubuntu 17.10
    include                  fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param   PATH_INFO       $fastcgi_path_info;
    fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    try_files $uri @rewrite;

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the MediaWiki site

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/mediawiki /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Step 8 : Restart Nginx

To load all the settings above, restart Apache2 by running the commands below.

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Then browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see MediaWiki site setup wizard.

mediawiki ubuntu install

Type the database name, user and password and continue.

mediawiki ubuntu installation

Continue with the wizard by accepting the default settings. At the end of the setup, the wizard will prompt you to save the LocalSettings.php file. save it.

mediawiki ubuntu install 2

Then move the file to root directory of MediaWiki website. After that, you’re done!

mediawiki install ubuntu


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  1. Thorsten Staerk

    “Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.” -> there is no highlighted line, just a red part saying “mediawiki”. Apart from this, great tutorial!

  2. Thorsten Stärk

    On Debian 10, I had to replace
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;

    then it worked 🙂

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