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HowTo: Install MediaWiki on a GoDaddy Value Plan

By Eric Hartwell - Last updated May 4, 2007


Mediawiki is the open-source wiki program that is used by Wikipedia. Although GNU/Linux/Apache is "suggested", it's supposed to run on "any web server" with PHP ≥ 5 and MySQL ≥ 4. MediaWiki ships with an installation utility which will enable you to install configure it using your web browser.

Due to problems with my previous host, I had to find a new home for my wiki. I like to think of GoDaddy as the McBurgers of hosting and domains - they're huge, they're everywhere, they're relatively cheap, and they're utterly consistent. Just don't ask for anything that's not on the menu. Fortunately, MediaWiki fits with just a little trim.

Set up a Linux Economy Plan. You'll need to wait until the domain is active and you can access your site via


MediaWiki has a fairly good installation guide.

  1. Fresh install
    1. Download the MediaWiki installation files from
    2. Upload the installation files to a suitable directory or subdirectory on the server, such as
    3. MediaWiki 1.9.3 needs PHP 5.
      • By default on GoDaddy, files with a .php extension run under PHP 4 and files with the .php5 extension run under PHP 5.
      • Change the .htaccess file so .php files to run under PHP 5.
    4. Create a MySQL database for your wiki (see: Create a MySQL database)
    5. Run the MediaWiki configuration program in /install-directory/config
      • Example:
      • MediaWiki installation detects ImageMagick and configures itself to use the version in /usr/bin/. Unfortunately, this is ImageMagick 5.5.6, which is incompatible with MediaWiki 1.9.3.
      • GoDaddy lets you use ImageMagick version 6 instead. Edit LocalSettings.php and set $wgImageMagickConvertCommand to /usr/local/bin/convert instead of /usr//bin/convert.
    6. After setup, a file called LocalSettings.php is created in the "config" folder. Move this file to the main wiki folder.
  2. Verify that MediaWiki works as expected.
    • In my case, the only problem was with the ImageMagick version.
    • When you're done, delete the config directory to prevent security problems.

Copying an Existing Wiki

Transferring the wiki is fairly painless, if you start with a clean MediaWiki installation. Follow the steps above, then continue with the transfer below.

If you want to upgrade your MediaWiki version, it's a good idea to do the upgrade on the old site first so you can troubleshoot version upgrade problems separately from site change problems.

  1. Transfer the MediaWiki database
    1. Export the original wiki's database using phpMyAdmin.
    2. Upload the databse dump file to the new server.
      • phpMyAdmin will import files up to 2M in size (This applies to the zipped size if you compress your dump).
      • If you're transferring a wiki of any size, you'll probably run into phpMyAdmin's 2M file-size limitation. Use BigDump, which automates the staggered import of large and very large MySQL Dumps.
      • On my import, I ran into the Bigdump error, "current query includes more than 300 dump lines". Go back to the original installation, and in phpMyAdmin Clear the "Extended inserts" check box before doing the export.
      • Depending on the format of the source dump, you may need to delete all tables in the database before starting the load.
  2. Transfer the MediWiki customization and images
    1. MediaWiki still stores its image files outside the database. Copy the contents of the wiki/images directory and all its subdirectories. It's OK to overwrite whatever's already there on the new server.
    2. Copy your custom site code, if any
      • wiki/extensions if you're using any extensions
      • wiki/skins if you've customized any of the skins
      • Copy any other custom files, other than LocalSettings.php
  3. Customize LocalSettings.php
    • The configuration program already set the appropriate server and database settings in LocalSettings.php. You don't want to overwrite these with settings from your old wiki.
    • Edit LocalSettings.php and copy over any site customization from your old server's LocalSetttings.php. Keep a backup, and be careful not to overwrite any site-specific settings.
  4. Verify that everything works as expected.
    • If you use absolute URLs in the wiki, such as for images in style sheets, make sure the targets are correct.

Now your very own MediaWiki is running.

Next Step: Customize Wiki and Skin

See also: HowTo: Install MediaWiki on IIS Shared Hosting

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