This tutorial will walk you through setting up a wiki with ikiwiki.

Install ikiwiki

If you're using Debian or Ubuntu, ikiwiki is an apt-get install ikiwiki away. If you're not, see the download and install pages.

You may also want to try out IkiWiki in a container.

Create your wiki

All it takes to create a fully functional wiki using ikiwiki is running one command.

For more control, advanced users may prefer to set up a wiki by hand.

% ikiwiki --setup /etc/ikiwiki/auto.setup

Or, set up a blog with ikiwiki, run this command instead.

% ikiwiki --setup /etc/ikiwiki/auto-blog.setup

librpc-xml-perl and python-docutils dependencies are needed.

Either way, it will ask you a couple of questions.

What will the wiki be named? foo
What revision control system to use? git
What wiki user (or openid) will be admin? joey
Choose a password:

Then, wait for it to tell you an url for your new site..

Successfully set up foo:
    srcdir:      ~/foo
    destdir:     ~/public_html/foo
    repository:  ~/foo.git
To modify settings, edit ~/foo.setup and then run:
    ikiwiki --setup ~/foo.setup


Using the web interface

Now you can go to the url it told you, and edit pages in your new wiki using the web interface.

(If the web interface doesn't seem to allow editing or login, you may need to configure the web server.)

Checkout and edit wiki source

Part of the fun of using ikiwiki is not being limited to using the web for editing pages, and instead using your favorite text editor and Revision Control System.

To do this, you need to check out a copy of the source to your wiki. (You should avoid making changes directly to the srcdir, as that checkout is reserved for use by ikiwiki itself.)

Depending on which Revision Control System you chose to use, you can run one of these commands to check out your own copy of your wiki's source. (Remember to replace "foo" with the real directory name.)

git clone foo.git foo.src
svn checkout file://`pwd`/foo.svn/trunk foo.src
cvs -d `pwd`/foo get -P ikiwiki
bzr clone foo foo.src
hg clone foo foo.src
darcs get foo.darcs foo.src
# TODO monotone, tla

Now to edit pages by hand, go into the directory you checked out (ie, "foo.src"), and fire up your text editor to edit index.mdwn or whatever other page you want to edit. If you chose to set up a blog, there is even a sample first post in posts/first_post.mdwn that you can edit.

Once you've edited a page, use your revision control system to commit the changes. For distributed revision control systems, don't forget to push your commit.

Once the commit reaches the repository, ikiwiki will notice it, and automatically update the wiki with your changes.

Customizing the wiki

There are lots of things you can configure to customize your wiki. These range from changing the wiki's name, to enabling plugins, to banning users and locking pages.

If you log in as the admin user you configured earlier, and go to your Preferences page, you can click on "Setup" to customize many wiki settings and plugins.

Some settings cannot be configured on the web, for security reasons or because misconfiguring them could break the wiki. To change these settings, you can manually edit the setup file, which is named something like "foo.setup". The file lists all available configuration settings and gives a brief description of each.

After making changes to this file, you need to tell ikiwiki to use it:

% ikiwiki --setup foo.setup

Alternatively, you can ask ikiwiki to change settings in the file for you:

% ikiwiki --changesetup foo.setup --plugin goodstuff

See usage for more options.

Customizing file locations

As a wiki compiler, ikiwiki builds a wiki from files in a source directory, and outputs the files to a destination directory. The source directory is a working copy checked out from the version control system repository.

When you used auto.setup, ikiwiki put the source directory, destination directory, and repository in your home directory, and told you the location of each. Those locations were chosen to work without customization, but you might want to move them to different directories.

First, move the destination directory and repository around.

% mv public_html/foo /srv/web/
% mv foo.git /srv/git/foo.git

If you moved the repository to a new location, checkouts pointing at the old location won't work, and the easiest way to deal with this is to delete them and re-checkout from the new repository location.

% rm -rf foo
% git clone /srv/git/foo.git

Finally, edit the setup file. Modify the settings for srcdir, destdir, url, cgiurl, cgi_wrapper, git_wrapper, etc to reflect where you moved things. Remember to run ikiwiki --setup after editing the setup file.

Enjoy your new wiki!

Add yourself to IkiWikiUsers. And check out the tips to find out how to get more out of ikiwiki.


  • If you are searching for the file where the users are stored, it's in your_repository/.ikiwiki/userdb. The one which is in YOUR REPOSITORY, it cannot be found into your ~/.ikiwiki.
  • If you want to enable a plugin you WILL HAVE to add it to the add_plugins array in the *.setup file (or to use the --plugin switch while calling ikiwiki). Uncommenting the plugin options/configuration fields in the setup is not ALWAYS sufficient. You have been warned.