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Developer(s) Wikimedia Foundation
Initial release December 8, 2003 (2003-12-08)[1]
Stable release

1.41.1  (April 3, 2024; 3 months ago (2024-04-03))

Preview release none [±]
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in Multilingual
Type Content management system
Wiki software
License(s) GNU General Public License v2+

MediaWiki is a free open-source wiki software application developed by the Wikimedia Foundation and others. It is used to run all of the Wikimedia Foundation's projects, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Wikinews.

Numerous other wikis around the world also use it to power their websites. The software is optimized to correctly and efficiently handle projects of all sizes, including the largest wikis, which can have terabytes of content and hundreds of thousands of hits per second.[2] Because Wikipedia is one of the world's largest websites, achieving scalability through multiple layers of caching and database replication has also been a major concern for developers. Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects continue to define a large part of the requirement set for MediaWiki.

The software is highly customizable, with more than 700 configuration settings[3] and more than 1,800 extensions available for enabling various features to be added or changed.[4] More than 600 automated and semi-automated bots and other tools have been developed to assist in editing MediaWiki sites.[5]

Product history

When Wikipedia was first launched in January 2001, it ran on the existing wiki software UseModWiki, which was written in Perl and stored all wiki pages in text files. This software soon proved limiting, both in its functionality and its performance. In mid-2001, Magnus Manske, a developer and student at the University of Cologne, who was also a Wikipedia editor, began working on new software that would replace UseModWiki, specifically for use by Wikipedia. This software was written in PHP and stored all its information in a MySQL database. It launched on the English Wikipedia in January 2002, and was gradually deployed on all the Wikipedia language sites of that time. This software was referred to as "the PHP script" and as "phase II," with the name "phase I" retroactively given to the use of UseModWiki.

Increasing usage soon caused load problems again, and soon afterward, another rewrite of the software began, done by Lee Daniel Crocker, which was first known as "phase III." This new software was also written in PHP with a MySQL backend, and kept the basic interface of the phase II software, but was meant to be more scalable. It went live on Wikipedia in July 2002.

The Wikimedia Foundation was announced on June 20, 2003, and in July, Wikipedia contributor Daniel Mayer suggested the name "MediaWiki" for the software, as a play on "Wikimedia."[6] The name was gradually phased in beginning in August 2003.

Later, Brion Vibber, the Chief Technical Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation,[7] took up the role of release manager and most active developer.[8][9]

Major milestones in MediaWiki's development have included the categorization system, added in 2004; parser functions, added in 2006; and flagged revisions, added in 2008.[10]


A full list of features of MediaWiki, with explanation for some of the features, can be found on the MediaWiki page.

Hardware/software requirements

MediaWiki requires the following:

  • a web server to send the generated pages to your web browser
  • PHP to run the software
  • a database server to store the pages and site data

For a full explanation of the installation requirements of MediaWiki (which can vary from version to version) please consult the MediaWiki manual.

Videos, screenshots, and other media

Screenshots for MediaWiki can be found on the MediaWiki site.

Video tutorials for MediaWiki can found on mkmartion's YouTube channel.

Entities using MediaWiki

Examples of entities using MediaWiki include:

Computational Intelligence Research Lab at the University of Missouri – Columbia, Computer Science Department at California State University – Los Angeles, Ifigenia, Intel Corporation, LabLynx, Inc., Novell, OpenWetWare, Quality Systems International Corporation, RxWiki, Wikademia

A full directory of MediaWiki users can be found in several places on the MediaWiki website.

Further reading

External links


  1. "File Release Notes and Changelog - Release Name: MediaWiki 1.1.0". SourceForge. 8 December 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  2. "Wikipedia:Statistics". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  3. "Category:MediaWiki configuration settings". MediaWiki. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  4. "Extension Matrix". MediaWiki. Retrieved 03 April 2012. 
  5. "Wikipedia:Bots". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  6. Mayer, Daniel (19 July 2003). "Phase IV, and (was Wikis and uniformity)". Wikipedia-L mailing list archives. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  7. Weinberger, David (2007). Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Times Books. p. 99. ISBN 0805080430. 
  8. "MediaWiki history". MediaWiki. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  9. "Wikipedia and MediaWiki". YouTube. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  10. Schindler, Mathias; Denny Vrandecic (2009). "Introducing new features to Wikipedia". Proceedings of the WebSci.