MediaWiki: URL beautification HowTo
November 27th 2008

The default MediaWiki installation will leave you with URLs of the type:

http://mywiki.site.tld/wiki/wiki/index.php?title=Article_name

This is ugly! Following instructions at the MediaWiki.org site, you can make it simpler and nicer:

http://mywiki.site.tld/wiki/Article_name

To achieve that, add the following to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf:

AcceptPathInfo On
Alias /wiki /usr/share/mediawiki/index.php

Then add/modify the following at /var/lib/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php (again, Debian default path):

$wgScriptPath = '/w'; # Path to the actual files. This should already be there
$wgArticlePath = '/wiki/$1'; # This directory MUST be different from $wgScriptPath
$wgUsePathInfo = true;

Recall that you must have two "directories", which in the example above are /w and /wiki. The former is "real" and the latter is "virtual".

The real dir (the one used as value for $wgScriptPath) must contain the MediaWiki files, thus it must point to the /usr/share/mediawiki dir. To this end, it must either exist in the Apache root (usually /var/www/), or be an alias. If you follow the first route, you can make a link, like in the following example:

% ln -s /usr/share/mediawiki /var/www/w

The second route would imply adding this line to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf:

Alias /w /usr/share/mediawiki

The latter requires restarting the Apache daemon, but I personally prefer it.

The virtual dir (the one used as value for $wgArticlePath) will be our path to get rid of the URL ugliness, and point directly to an article's title. As such, it must be aliased in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf adding the following line to it, as mentioned above:

Alias /wiki /usr/share/mediawiki/index.php

Finally, you shold enable the rewrite PHP module, if it's not enable already, and reload Apache:

% cd /etc/apache2/mods-enable/
% ln -s ../mods-available/rewrite.load .
% /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

After that, pointing to website/wiki/somearticle should lead you to the wiki page for somearticle. For more information, refer to the MediaWiki.org site.

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