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Web Hosting Features

Started by KidIcarus, November 10, 2011, 11:48:54 PM

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I'm looking into some web hosting services for a wiki. I see a ton of different features - FTP, MySQL, PHP5, cPanel to name a few. Now I'm not an expert at computers; which ones are necessary to run mediawiki?


All of those you mentioned:

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is needed to be able to upload files to the server. If you've no access to FTP, you can't upload the MediaWiki files to the server, add/remove extensions, change settings in the LocalSettings.php file, etc. To access this, you need an FTP client, such as FileZillla. Your hosting provider should give you the FTP login details when you buy.
  • PHP is the programming language the MediaWiki software is written in. Your server must support PHP 5.2.3 or better (but not 5.3.1), or you can't run MediaWiki. On your own computer, you'll need a text editor, capable of editing PHP scripts without breaking them. Notepad does this, but most people use source code editors like Notepad++ or Programmer's Notepad, which have features designed to make coding clearer and easier. Using rich text editors like Microsoft Word and Wordpad may work, but it's safest to avoid them.
  • MySQL is database software. The database stores all the editable content of a wiki, outside of the software and extensions, i.e. article content, users' details, etc. Your server must support either MySQL 4.0+, PostgreSQL 8.1+, or SQLite 3+ (MySQL is recommended for optimum compatibility).
  • cPanel is a graphical user interface for controlling the more technical aspects of a web server, such as what software is enabled, which subdomains are registered, your account details, viewing the database tables, and so on. It may also offer you a MediaWiki auto installer, but it's always more reliable to do the job yourself. You may or may not use it often, but it's usually provided as standard with any hosting.

Other features you may want:

  • ImageMagick or GD is needed for image thumbnailing.
  • PHP shell access is needed if you ever need to run maintenance scripts for upgrading MediaWiki, installing certain extensions, etc.
  • Sendmail is required for the e-mail system to work.
NIWA Coordinator


Ohhh, thanks! That's really helpful!