This tutorial will walk you through setting up a wiki with ikiwiki, doing everything by hand. Setup has an easier method, but with less control.

Decide where your wiki's files will go.

As a wiki compiler, ikiwiki builds a wiki from files in a source directory, and outputs the files to a destination directory. If you keep your wiki in a version control system, the source directory will contain a working copy checked out from the version control system.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll set shell variables for these locations, and use those variables in the commands that follow.


Note that ikiwiki owns the working copy directory; do not perform your own edits in ikiwiki's working copy.

Create the beginnings of your wiki.

This will create a simple main page for the wiki.

mkdir $SRCDIR
$EDITOR index.mdwn

In the editor, you could start by entering a simple page like this one.

Welcome to your new wiki.

All wikis are supposed to have a [[SandBox]],
so this one does too.


This wiki is powered by [ikiwiki](

See formatting for details about the markup language.

Note that several standard wiki pages will be added to your wiki, from files in /usr/share/ikiwiki/basewiki/, so your wiki will automatically get a SandBox, and some other useful pages.

Build your wiki for the first time.

ikiwiki --verbose $SRCDIR $DESTDIR --url=

Replace the url with the real url to your wiki. You should now be able to visit the url and see your wiki.

Add content to your wiki.

Continue editing or adding pages and rebuilding the wiki.

To quickly get started on a common task like blogging with ikiwiki, you can copy in files from the examples. The examples are located in doc/examples/ in the ikiwiki source package.

You can experiment with other ikiwiki parameters such as --wikiname and --rebuild too. Get comfortable with its command line (see usage).

Add a setup file.

By now you should be getting tired of typing in all the command line options each time you change something in your wiki's setup. Time to introduce setup files.

To generate a setup file, use ikiwiki --dumpsetup. You can pass all the options have you been including at the command line, and they will be stored in the setup file.

ikiwiki $SRCDIR $DESTDIR --url= --dumpsetup ikiwiki.setup

Note that this file should not be put in your wiki's directory with the rest of the files. A good place to put it is in a ~/.ikiwiki/ subdirectory.

Most of the options, like wikiname in the setup file are the same as ikiwiki's command line options (documented in usage). srcdir and destdir are the two directories you specify when running ikiwiki by hand. Make sure that these are pointing to the right directories, and read through and configure the rest of the file to your liking.

When you're satisfied, run ikiwiki --setup ikiwiki.setup, and it will set everything up.

Turn on additional features.

CGI configuration is heavily dependent on webserver. Figure out (or configure) the location and/or filename extension your webserver needs to execute a CGI, then set cgi_wrapper to a suitable path.

Now you have a basic wiki with a setup file. Time to experiment with ikiwiki's many features.

Let's first enable a key wiki feature and set up CGI to allow editing the wiki from the web. Just edit ikiwiki.setup, uncomment the settings for the cgi_wrapper, make sure the filename for the cgi wrapper is ok, run ikiwiki --setup ikiwiki.setup, and you're done!

There are lots of other configuration options in ikiwiki.setup that you can uncomment, configure, and enable by re-running ikiwiki --setup ikiwiki.setup. Be sure to browse through all the plugins.

Put your wiki in revision control.

At this point you might want to check your wiki in to a revision control system so you can keep track of changes and revert edits. Depending on the revision control system you choose, the way this is done varies.

Note that the .ikiwiki subdirectory is where ikiwiki keeps its state, and should be preserved, but not checked into revision control.

The ikiwiki-makerepo command automates setting up a wiki in revision control.


ikiwiki-makerepo svn $SRCDIR $REPOSITORY


ikiwiki-makerepo cvs $SRCDIR $REPOSITORY


ikiwiki-makerepo git $SRCDIR $REPOSITORY

Please see git for detailed documentation about how ikiwiki uses git repositories, and some important caveats about using the git repositories.


ikiwiki-makerepo mercurial $SRCDIR


ikiwiki-makerepo bzr $SRCDIR


tla make-archive me@localhost--wiki $REPOSITORY
tla my-id "<me@localhost>"
tla archive-setup me@localhost--wiki/wiki--0
tla init-tree me@localhost--wiki/wiki--0
# Edit {arch}/=tagging-method and change the precious
# line to add the .ikiwiki directory to the regexp.
tla add *
tla import


# This assumes that you have already used "mtn genkey you@hostname".
ikiwiki-makerepo monotone $SRCDIR $REPOSITORY

Configure ikiwiki to use revision control.

Once your wiki is checked in to the revision control system, you should configure ikiwiki to use revision control. Edit your ikiwiki.setup, set rcs to the revision control system you chose to use. Be careful, you may need to use the 'fullname'. For example, 'hg' doesn't work, you should use mercurial. Be sure to set svnrepo to the directory for your repository, if using subversion. Uncomment the configuration for the wrapper for your revision control system, and configure the wrapper path appropriately (for Git, it should be the path to hooks/post-update inside the bare git repository).

Once it's all set up, run ikiwiki --setup ikiwiki.setup once more. Now you should be able to edit files in $SRCDIR, and use your revision control system to commit them, and the wiki will automatically update. And in the web interface, RecentChanges should work, and files changed by web users will also be committed using revision control.

Enjoy your new wiki!

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