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Articles | Run Your Own Wiki From Home!

Setting up a webserver can be a daunting challenge for most people. With full php and mySQL support and the associated programs to make it all functional it can seem beyond your skill. Most wiki’s rely on SQL databases to store data and would thus require the installation of all the bells and whistles. There is at least one wiki out there which makes installation and setup as easy as copying a few files and running a program. pmWiki is the name of that wiki and it is the same wiki which this site uses. This article is intended to walk you through the few brief steps to setting up your own wiki on your home computer which will be accessible on the internet without having to set up a full blown web server and php installation.

The first thing you need to do is to download the latest pmWiki.

Unzip this file to a folder of your choice. For convenience, we will be using C:/pmwiki for this article. Now you must download the server file for this wiki to get it online.

Unzip this file and place the contents in the pmwiki folder you created in the previous step. For example C:/pmwiki/server.

Now, double-click the pmwikiserv.bat file in the server folder to start the webserver. You will likely see a command window open and stay open. This is fine. Just minimize it. Now open your favorite web browser and in the address bar type “http://localhost/wiki” (or just click this link). This should take you to your new wiki. However, you still have to configure your system so that others can reach your new wiki.

Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) block port 80 which is the standard port that web browsers use to look for websites. In addition, you need to modify a variable in one of the server files to allow access for others. To solve the first issue you just need to open up a different port in your firewall (8080 or 8000 is usually a good choice. We will use port 8080 for this example). Now you need to modify the server configuration file to reflect the use of this port and also make it open so others may see it. When you open this file you will see in the third section from the top:

 # $Listen identifies the ip address and port number on which to
 # receive connections.  The default is 127.0.0.1, which limits
 # incoming connections to the local host.  The value 0.0.0.0 is
 # used to allow connections from any client.
 # $Listen = “0.0.0.0:80″;      # like a standard webserver
 # $Listen = “0.0.0.0:8000″;    # for servers w/o root access
 $Listen = “127.0.0.1:80″;

On the last line add a # to the beginning of the line. Add a new line right under that just like the one below:

 $Listen = “0.0.0.0:8080″;

Where it says ‘8080′ in the line above, you should make this match the port number you selected to open in your firewall.

Save your changes and close the file. Others should now be able to view your wiki by typing in your IP followed by the port number as in the following example:

 http://123.45.67.890:8080/wiki

As many of you know, most of us have what is called a dynamic IP. this means that it changes every time we connect to our ISP. This means that users would always have to know what your current IP is if they wanted to connect to your wiki. To solve this, you need what is called a ‘Dynamic Domain Name’.

Acquire dynamic domain name

A dynamic domain name will enable your users to connect to your server even though your IP may have changed since the last time they visited you. They won’t need to bother with what your actual IP is. They will just need to know what your dynamic domain name is. Visit http://www.dyndns.org.

Register your free account with them then log in. At the bottom of the page are four blue boxes. In the one that says ‘Services’ click on ‘Dynamic DNS’. In roughly the middle of the page, you’ll see a link that says ‘Add Dynamic DNS’. Click on that link.

Just fill out the ‘Hostname’ box with whatever name you want. The drop-down box next to this provides a selection of domain names, one of which you must choose to attach to the name you just typed in. Your current IP Address should already be in the box marked so. If it not, then fill it in. You may leave the rest of this form blank and click on the ‘Add Host’ button. You can now use the dynamic domain name you just selected to connect to your TS server.

Download IP updater

Now to ensure that when your IP changes, the one on file with dyndns.org gets updated, you need to download their program called ‘DynDNS Updater’. In the top menu bar click on ‘Support’. Under ‘Client Support’ click on ‘Download Update Clients’. Download and install this and your new dynamic domain name will stay updated even when your IP address changes.

After having completed all this, others should be able to visit your wiki any time you are running the wiki server by typing in your dynamic domain name, a colon, the port number, forward slash, and the word wiki (example: mywiki.dyndns.org:8080/wiki ). They’ll even be able to save it in their favorites.

This should cover it. Have fun with it and post back here if you hae any problems.


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Page last modified on August 14, 2006, at 01:19 PM