Starting and Running a Wiki Website/Self-hosting

For more power and flexibility or for business applications, many people will want to serve their own wikis. This requires considerably more knowledge about how wikis work and especially about wiki software.

Business EnvironmentsEdit

Especially in business environments, administrators may be interested in wiki security. Many people believe that nobody who is granted read access should be denied write access or wikis lose their power, but there are times when administrators will want to restrict which users are allowed to access a wiki.

Another consideration in business environments and other large organizations is whether or not the wiki software can interface with other logins. E.g. Twiki can get the username from Windows NT, allowing users username level access without a login. Such schemes allow the benefits of usernames without discouraging users from participating by making them log in.

Businesses may choose to outsource the hosting of the wiki environment. For intranet installations, companies such as SocialText offer a hardware-based "appliance" solution. For customization, design or production of wiki projects, companies such as CiviHosting and Wiki Studios offer professional wiki services to business, non-profit organizations and branches of government.

Customizing softwareEdit

One of the benefits of hosting a wiki oneself is the ability to recode the wiki software. For an example of this, see Sensei's Library. The administrators of Sensei's added Go markup functionality to their software for easy illustration of Go boards and pieces.

Choosing the wiki softwareEdit

There are more than one hundred wiki engines available. Some good starting points are to read Comparison of wiki software, Top Ten Wiki engines, WikiMatrix comparison table. To decide what kinds of software you would want, list all the criteria that are important for you. Then sort the ones that are required and the ones that would be great to have. Start filtering all the wiki engines that don't feature your required criteria and sort the remaining wiki engines with the great criteria. The most important points could be:

  1. Which server can I use for it?
    -> On which server and hardware can it run?
  2. Am I ready to spend money on it and how much?
    -> Should it be free?
  3. Am I ready to use a tool entirely written in English only?
    -> Should it be i18n?
  4. Will the contributors be able to write in wikicode?
    -> Should it be WYSIWYG?
  5. Can I do all I want with only simple text?
    -> Should it feature extensions and advanced features?
  6. Will the contributors import content from other wikis?
    -> Should it have compatible format with other wiki or wiki engines?
  7. Is my project critical?
    -> Is it actively updated? Is there a large community of developers?
  8. Is my project very advanced?
    -> Can it be recoded? Open source?
  9. Should my project be attractive (commercial needs for example)?
    -> Is the display customizable?