Kevin Muldoon September 28th, 2011

MediaWiki: The Definitive Wiki Engine

By now most everyone online has heard of Wikipedia; the online encyclopedia that boasts millions of articles in dozens of languages. It revolutionised the way content was delivered online and popularised the word 'Wiki'. According to Google, it is the 6th most popular website in the world. What you may not know is that Wikipedia is powered by wiki software called MediaWiki. In fact, all projects of the Wikimedia Foundation use MediaWiki such as Wiktionary, Wikiquote and Wikibooks. MediaWilki

What is MediaWiki?

MediaWiki is a free open source script that was released on January 25 2002 under the GNU General Public License. When Wikipedia was released in January 2001 it was originally based on UseModWiki software. However in the Summer of 2001 a German Wikipedia editor called Magnus Manske began working on a replacement as UseModWiki was proving to be too limiting. Written in PHP with all the information being stored in a MySQL database, the improved Wiki software would eventually power Wikipedia from July 2002 onwards and would become known as MediaWiki. The download file is only 14mb in size yet the platform can support websites with terabytes of content and huge amounts of traffic. It's easy to use, easy to edit, allows reverting to previous revisions in case of spamming and is multimedia friendly. Caching is supported too. The software has over 700 configuration settings and over 1,800 extensions as well making it a very flexible platform for publishing content online.

12 Popular Websites That Use MediaWiki

You may have visited a website that was powered by MediaWiki already without knowing it. Below is a list of 11 popular websites that publish content using the MediaWiki software. As you will see, the majority of websites that use MediaWiki don't modify the design of the script beyond uploading their own logo. 1. Wikipedia The first website to use MediaWiki and by far the most popular website using the script. As previously mentioned, Wikipedia redefined how information was published online. Wikipedia 2. Wikiquote A project of the Wikimedia Foundation, WikiQuote is where you find famous quotations from famous people, films and literature. WikiQuote 3. Conservapedia An encyclopedia that does not allow bias or distortion of the truth in it's articles. Conservapedia 4. Metapedia Focuses on culture, art, science, philosophy and politics. Metapedia 5. WikiTravel One of the most popular travel websites on the web. WikiTravel 6. WikiCars One of the largest guides to cars on the internet. WikiCars 7. Wikihow The largest collection of 'How To' articles on the web. WikiHow 8. WikiSummaries Over 3,000 free summaries of books. WikiSummaries 10. Wikia A for-profit website that was built using MediaWiki. It's the home of some of the most popular wikis on the web such as the Star Trek information site Memory Alpha, the Lost encyclopedia Lostpedia, Unclopedia, Lyric Wiki and World of Warcraft Wiki. Wikia 11. Game Programming Wiki A resource for game developers that provides tutorials and code for programming video games. Game Programming Wiki 12. The TV IV The site is a virtual compendium of television knowledge that anyone can edit. The TV IV

30 Free MediaWiki Templates

As we have seen, most MediaWiki users don't customise their design beyond the aforementioned logo change. The default skin for versions after 1.6 of MediaWiki is called Vector. It's a plain design but very functional. If you are looking to set your wiki out from the crowd, you may want to customise your site by uploading one of the many skins available for the script. 1. Fratman Fratman Info & Download 2. BlueWiki BlueWiki Info & Download 3. KindofBlue KindofBlue Info & Download 4. Rounded Blue Rounded Blue Download 5. Rounded Sassy Rounded Sassy Download 6. Misty Look Misty Look Info & Download 7. Andy's MediaWiki Skin Andy's MediaWiki Skin Info & Download 8. SnaggleTooth SnaggleTooth Info & Download | 9. ItrMenuPlus ItrMenuPlus Info & Download 10. Cavendish Cavendish Download 11. Wolfbane Wolfbane Info & Download 12. WPtouch WPtouch Info & Download 13. Pixeled Pixeled Info & Download 14. WoW Wikia WOW Wiki Info 15. WordPress TwentyTen WordPress TwentyTen Info & Download 16. The Erudite MW The Erudite MW Info & Download 17. GuMax Gumax Info & Download 18. ycgu_max ycgu_max Info & Download 19. Clean Clean Info & Download 20. Clean and Blue Clean and Blue Info & Download 21. SnapHouston SnapHouston Info & Download 22. Cosmo Chips Cosmo Chips Info & Download 23. BookJive BookJive Info & Download 24. Drupal Drupal Info & Download 25. Enhanced Relief Enhanced Relief Info & Download 26. FlaternalRefief FlaternalRefief Info & Download 27. Cheops Cheops Info & Download 28. Dusk Dusk Info & Download 29. VbGore VbGore Info & Download 30. Tech Tech Info & Download

Useful MediaWiki Links & Resources

Some links you may find useful if you decide to use MediaWiki.


There is a lot of wiki software available for free online, however MediaWiki stands head and shoulders above the rest for it's ease of use, functionality and flexibility. Don't take our word for it. Give It A Try and if it doesn't do what you need it to do you can always try another wiki script. (rb)

Kevin Muldoon

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity, Smartphone and Gears and Social Media on his personal blog. He is also contributor at award winning VPN blog He can also be found on Twitter: @KevinMuldoon.


  1. Always nice to see MediaWiki in the spotlight! It’s also used on a lot of ‘corporate’ sites – Adobe uses it for their Adobe Labs wiki, Intel uses it internally, and Mozilla and WordPress use MediaWiki for documentation.

  2. “An encyclopedia that does not allow bias or distortion of the truth in it’s articles.”

    Really? Sounds a bit like this author allows bias and distortion.

  3. The author of this article has probably never used other Wiki engines – MediaWiki is still a mess to properly customize AND use, esp. thanks to that extremely complicated aka bewildering Wiki markup. These are the main reasons why I prefer DokuWiki (aside of being db-independent; ie. the Unix file system is the FASTEST way to store and retrieve data!) – easy to set-up, easy to customize (compared to MediaWiki), and a very well thought-out Wiki markup.

    cu, w0lf.

    1. As the editor who assigned the author this post, based on a request from our readers to put together some in-depth coverage on specifically MediaWiki and MediaWiki alone, not really caring if your statement is true and he has not tried out any other Wiki frameworks. That wasn’t the point of this post. But thanks for the follow up.

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