Start your own Wiki (with images)

Table of contents:

Start your own Wiki (with images)
Start your own Wiki (with images)

A wiki is an excellent way to create and build an Internet community based on sharing and learning information. Wikis are an extraordinary form of collaboration. If you have a great idea, it's never been easier to create your own wiki. Whether you run a wiki farm or host your own wiki, this guide will show you how to get started to create the ultimate online community on the topic of your choice.


Part 1 of 4: Planning your wiki

Start a Wiki Step 1

Step 1. Decide what you want to use your wiki for

Knowing the purpose of your wiki will help you choose between different software packages and hosting options. A wiki can be a personal page, a large Internet community, or anything in between. You can use a wiki to track your life goals, create a product guide for your business, collaborate with your colleagues on a project, create a neighborhood newsletter, create a hobby discussion forum, and much more.

  • A wiki functions best when it focuses on a broad topic, so that as many knowledgeable writers and editors as possible can participate. If you're trying to build a popular wiki with a lot of users, make sure the topic is general enough so that you have plenty of opportunities to expand the wiki.
  • For example, it's better to start a wiki about a games company and all the games they make than to focus on just one of their games.
Start a Wiki Step 2

Step 2. Decide whether you want to host your own wiki or start using a wiki farm

If you want to have a lot of control over your wiki or if you want to manage your own wiki, it's best to host your wiki yourself. If you don't have any technical experience in this area, it will be a lot easier to start and manage a wiki at a wiki farm. However, you have less control over it.

  • If you think your wiki is going to be very popular, have many pages and have many visitors, then a wiki hosted elsewhere may have too many limitations. It can also be difficult to get the content of your wiki from the servers of a wiki farm so that you can later put it on your own server.
  • Using a wiki farm means that the name of the wiki farm appears in the URL of your wiki. For example, if you're using Wikia, your wiki's web address will to be. Hosting your own wiki means you can buy your own domain name and determine the web address of your wiki yourself, such as
  • How much it costs to host your own wiki depends on which web host you choose. Make sure you choose one that offers a good uptime guarantee and excellent support. Do your research and compare different web hosts to make a good choice.
Start a Wiki Step 3

Step 3. Choose a software package

Whether you choose to run a wiki farm or host your own wiki, you will encounter different types of wiki software. Most wiki farms offer the software they use themselves, but if you host your own wiki, you can use the wiki software that best suits your needs and wants. Use a service like WikiMatrix to compare the functionalities of the different software packages.

  • MediaWiki – This is the most popular wiki software on the internet, also used by wikiHow, Wikpedia and many other wiki websites. Many of the most popular wiki farms also use MediaWiki's software.
  • TikiWiki - This is the second most popular wiki software on the market and used by many wikis and wiki farms. TikiWiki supports many plugins, allowing you to add functionalities such as a forum, an image gallery, a calendar and much more.
  • UserPress – This is the wiki plugin for WordPress. UserPress has many of the same features that MediaWiki and other standalone wiki software packages have, but it is much easier to use.
  • DokuWiki - This is a smaller wiki software package that is gaining popularity, especially for business use. Primarily designed to support collaboration in teams and workgroups, it has multiple levels of user access.

Part 2 of 4: Starting a wiki at a wiki farm

Start a Wiki Step 4

Step 1. Choose a wiki farm

If you've decided to use a wiki farm for your new wiki, you'll need to compare the different options. There are a ton of options to choose from, as many free as paid. The biggest advantage of a wiki farm is the ease with which you create and organize your wiki. Remember that moving your wiki to another wiki farm or your own server can be very difficult. Some of the most popular wiki farms are:

  • Wikia – This is a popular wiki farm focused on entertainment and lifestyle topics. Wikia is one of the largest wiki farms dedicated to video games and in other respects it is also one of the fastest growing wiki farms on the internet.
  • Wikispaces – This is a wiki farm intended for use by schools and universities. It is very popular in universities.
  • Wikispot – This wiki farm is intended for local communities and non-commercial services, but is not limited to these groups. However, on April 30, 2015, Wikispot stopped offering its services and moved forward with a new project focused on geographic wikis: LocalWiki.
  • Wikidot – This wiki farm is for all purposes (business, personal, community, educational) suitable and allows you to use your own purchased domain name in combination with a free account hosted at Wikidot. Besides wikis you can also create other web pages at Wikidot.
Start a Wiki Step 5

Step 2. Create your wiki

The process will vary from website to website, but generally all you need to do is create a username and click the "Create Wiki" link on the wikifarm home page. Some wiki farms ask you to fill out a form that you must send to get permission, while others just ask you for a name and some other basic information.

  • Click here for a step-by-step guide to creating a wiki at Wikia.
  • Click here for a step-by-step guide to creating a wiki at Wikidot.
  • Most other wiki farms have a system that is very similar to what is described in the guides mentioned above.
  • Once you've created your wiki, you can move on to the next section in this article.
Start a Wiki Step 6

Step 3. Customize your new wiki to your liking

Most wiki farms offer several options for customizing and formatting a wiki, including ready-made templates and the ability to upload your own images. Find a template that fits the purpose of your wiki, or upload banners and other images to make your wiki unique.

Check out this guide to see how you can customize your wiki at Wikia

Part 3 of 4: Hosting your own wiki

Start a Wiki Step 7

Step 1. Upload the wiki software to your own server

If you decide to host your own wiki, you will probably need to put the wiki software on your own server. Some hosts will provide you with wiki software ready to install, but this may not be the software you want to use (for example, they offer a quick install of TikiWiki, but you want to use MediaWiki). The following steps are a simple guide to installing MediaWiki. Check out this guide for detailed information or this guide for more information about TikiWiki.

  • You get the wiki software as a compressed file. You can extract this file on your computer or extract it on the server.
  • Place the extracted wiki software in the "web" directory on your server.
  • Rename the uploaded folder and give it the URL name. For example, if your website is, if you rename the folder to "w", your wiki's homepage will be
Start a Wiki Step 8

Step 2. Create a database

MediaWiki supports MySQL and SQLite. If you're using SQLite, you just have to choose a name for the database, which will be installed automatically. If you're using MySQL, you'll need to download it for your server, if it's not already installed on it. Then create a new database with the following commands:

create database wikidb;

grant index, create, select, insert, update, delete, alter, lock tables on wikidb.* to 'username'@'localhost' identified by 'password';

  • Replace username and password with the username and password you want to use as the owner of the wiki.
  • you can leave localhost as "localhost", unless your database is on a different server than the web server you are installing your wiki on. In that case, replace localhost with the database server address.
  • Check out this guide for more detailed information on setting up a database in MySQL.
Start a Wiki Step 9

Step 3. Run the installation script in your browser

Once you have uploaded the MediaWiki files and created the database, you can visit the index.php page on your server using your browser, and then run the automatic installation script. After MediaWiki has run the configuration tests, you will be prompted to fill out a form with the information for your wiki:

  • Wiki name - This is the name of your wiki. The name will show up in your wiki's metadata and will be used throughout the site.
  • Email Address - This is the email address used for administrative purposes. It will be displayed in all email notifications and on some of the error pages.
  • Language - Use the drop-down menu to choose the language of your wiki.
  • Copyright and licenses - Choose which license you use. The GNU Free Documentation License is the license that Wikipedia also uses.
  • Administrator username/password - This is your wiki's first administrator account, which can block users from editing pages and performing other administrative tasks. You can create more of these accounts later.
  • Database Host - This is the server where the database resides. If this is the same server as your wiki software, set it to localhost.
  • Database Name - The name of your database.
  • Database username/password - The username and password you use to log into the database.
Start a Wiki Step 10

Step 4. Edit your wiki

Once you've created the base of your wiki and it's working, you can change its appearance using user-created templates or playing around with the SS code. Change the wiki's logo to fit its purpose.

Part 4 of 4: Launching your wiki

Start a Wiki Step 11

Step 1. Set the user rights

Your wiki will be installed with some default user rights settings. This may work for you, but many people will want to adjust user permissions to specify who can access what and who can edit which page. This is especially important when using the wiki within a company where multiple users need to be able to work on a product page, but the page should not be vandalized by anonymous users.

You can modify the user rights file to create different user groups, such as administrators who can make changes that are not shown on the recent changes page, or moderators who can merge pages without asking permission. This allows you to create a strong and diverse group of users, who will ensure that your wiki continues to exist without any problems

Start a Wiki Step 12

Step 2. Start creating content

Once you've created and launched your wiki, it's time to get started writing articles. After creating, your wiki will not have a single page and no user except you. To change this, you need to start adding some content. Good content will draw other people to your wiki. When you have more visitors, they will write their own articles and adapt other articles. This will take some time, but you'll have an active online community before you know it!

Remember that when you're just starting out, you're responsible for creating the content that draws people to your wiki. Make sure you have a lot of knowledge about the topic your wiki covers so that you have comprehensive articles in your wiki from day one

Start a Wiki Step 13

Step 3. Create categories

Category pages contain lists of pages that are related to each other. In addition to creating categories for the main content, you can also create a category page called "Organization" for other pages of your wiki, such as the front page. You can also create a category page called "Help" that lists all the help pages in your wiki. Remember that categories can also have subcategories, with the category page itself being categorized again.

Start a Wiki Step 14

Step 4. Create a style manual for your wiki

A style handbook contains the general guidelines for writing articles in your wiki. With a style handbook, other users can see how the information in your wiki should be presented to readers.

  • You could draw up guidelines in which ways within your wiki may be linked to other pages and what quality standard an article must meet.
  • Not all of your users will follow the style manual you've created, but it will help you check and edit articles.
Start a Wiki Step 15

Step 5. Learn the wiki code

Creating new articles will be a lot more efficient if you learn some basic page layout code. You can then edit pages directly without needing any guidance. This way you can adjust the layout and style entirely to your liking. Read this article for more information.

Start a Wiki Step 16

Step 6. Create and customize templates

Templates are pages that can be easily added to other pages. Templates can be used, for example, to nominate articles for deletion, to mark them as "stubs", or just to notice. There are several other ways to use templates creatively.

Start a Wiki Step 17

Step 7. Check your site

A wiki is especially attractive because anyone can contribute, but this is also its weakest point. The more visitors your wiki has, the greater the chance of vandalism. Fortunately, almost all wiki software allows you to quickly roll back changes to a previous version of an article.

Start a Wiki Step 18

Step 8. Promote active members of your wiki

If your wiki is interesting, you will notice that certain people come back often to write new articles and make changes. If you notice that people are raving about your wiki, give the most active users more control over your website. By creating administrators to manage your wiki, you ease the burden of controlling and managing your content.

  • Create a forum and discussion pages so that members can discuss the rules and style of the wiki.
  • Let your administrators vote on policies and style changes.
  • Organize activities such as a writing contest to get the most active users excited.
Start a Wiki Step 19

Step 9. Promote your wiki

Do everything you can to let people know about your wiki. Promote your website using social media, ask everyone you know to tell their friends and family about the wiki, post on forums related to your wiki's topic, and link to your wiki in comments you post on blog posts. Do everything you can to attract visitors to your website so that your wiki is more likely to be successful.

Start a Wiki Step 20

Step 10. Expand your wiki

As your wiki becomes more popular, you should keep adding features that benefit your website. Things like a forum, a chat room, and a calendar can greatly improve the functionality of your wiki. Also make sure that you always update the wiki software to the latest version so that you have the latest functionalities and security updates.

Start a Wiki Step 21

Step 11. Have fun

A wiki is created when different users in a community work together. Enjoy the community you have created with your wiki and always try to improve it. The internet was designed to make communication between people easier, and a wiki is one of the most effective ways to collect and share information today. Congratulations on starting your own wiki!


  • Try adding something fun to your wiki. For example, organize some writing contests, get people to vote for articles, create pages that you only post spam on -- as long as you keep it under control. Be creative with your content!
  • Be helpful and nice to your users. It is important that they have someone to help, guide and motivate them to work on the wiki.
  • If you learn PHP and JavaScript, you can add dynamic content to your wiki. If you have a good command of these programming languages, don't be afraid to update your wiki software.
  • Once you've learned HTML, CSS, and even JavaScript, you can add new themes or templates to your wiki or enhance existing ones.
  • You don't have to be strict when setting up the rules for your wiki. Try to come up with flexible rules. If your wiki has very strict rules, people won't be able to easily work with or contribute to it.


  • Some people will just remove the content you've worked hard on. Be sure to reverse any vandalism attempts and keep an eye on the wiki page for recent changes, if your wiki software has such a feature. Also, always backup your website in case of emergencies.
  • As mentioned above, make sure you help your writers. If they make mistakes or are accidentally too strict, don't yell at them or say things to them that you wouldn't say to people in real life.
  • If you include certain information in your wiki that violates copyright, you could get into legal trouble if your wiki is publicly accessible.
  • If you have a wiki at a wiki farm, make sure you read their rules and that your own rules or pages don't contradict or violate these rules.
  • Follow all rules and regulations to avoid violations and legal damages.
  • Try not to use your wiki for immoral purposes.

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