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TWiki Installation Guide

These installation steps use the Apache web server on Linux as an example. TWiki should run on other web servers and Unix systems as well. (TWiki on Windows is possible, but has not been documented well. More on that at )

Note: Below installation steps assume user nobody for all files manupulated by the cgi scripts (executed by the web server), and user twiki for all other files. You need to replace user nobody with an other user in case the web server executes the script with a different user ( default for Debian is www-data ). Also, you can substitute user twiki with your own user name.

Note: Below installation steps assume that you have control over the web server configuraton files. In case you don't (i.e. if you are installing it on a hosted server) follow the steps but use these directories instead:

TWiki dir: What it is: Where to copy: Example:
twiki/bin CGI bin cgi-bin enabled dir /home/smith/public_html/cgi-bin/twiki
twiki/pub public files htdoc enabled dir /home/smith/public_html/pub
twiki/data topic data outside of htdoc tree (for security) /home/smith/twiki/data
twiki/templates web templates outside of htdoc tree (for security) /home/smith/twiki/templates
Read in case you want to install TWiki on SourceForge.

Standard Installation Steps

  • Request the TWiki distribution (in Unix ZIP format) from .
  • Create directory /home/httpd/twiki and unzip the TWiki distribution into this directory.
  • The twiki/bin directory of TWiki must be set as a cgi-bin directory. Add /home/httpd/twiki/bin to file /etc/httpd/httpd.conf with only ExecCGI option.
  • The twiki/pub directory of TWiki must be set so that it is visible as a URL. Add /home/httpd/twiki to file httpd.conf with normal access options (copy from /home/httpd/html ).
  • Now add ScriptAlias for /twiki/bin and Alias for /twiki to file httpd.conf .
    Note: The ScriptAlias must come before the Alias in Apache, otherwise it will fail to correctly set up /twiki/bin/ , due to the fact that it sees that as being just another subdirectory of the /twiki/ alias.
  • Here are example httpd.conf entries:
     ScriptAlias /twiki/bin/ "/home/httpd/twiki/bin/"
     Alias /twiki/ "/home/httpd/twiki/"
     <Directory "/home/httpd/twiki/bin">
        Options +ExecCGI
        SetHandler cgi-script
        Allow from all
     <Directory "/home/httpd/twiki/pub">
        Options FollowSymLinks +Includes
        AllowOverride None
        Allow from all
  • Restart Apache by /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/S85httpd restart .
  • Test if the twiki/bin directory is cgi-enabled:
    • Enter the URL of that directory into your browser ( ). It is not set correctly as cgi-bin in case you get something like "Index of /twiki/bin" . It is OK if you get a message like "Forbidden. You don't have permission to access /twiki/bin/ on this server."
    • Execute the testenv script from your browser ( ). It shows a table with all CGI environment variables and tests the settings in your twiki/bin/ configuration file.
  • Make sure PERL 5 and the PERL CGI library is installed on your system. Default location of PERL executable is /usr/bin/perl . In case PERL is installed in a different location, the first line of all perl scripts in the twiki/bin directory need to be changed (alternatively you can create a symbolic link from /usr/bin/perl ).
  • To be able to edit the perl scripts and .tmpl files it is necessary to chown and chgrp -R twiki so all the files have the owner you want.
  • The scripts execute as nobody . Set the file permission of all Perl scripts in the twiki/bin directory as executable to -rwxr-xr-x .
  • Set the permission of all files below twiki/data so that they are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to 666 ( -rw-rw-rw- ).
  • Set the permission of the twiki/data directory and all its subdirectories so that files in there are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to 777 ( drwxrwxrwx ).
  • Set the permission of the twiki/pub directory and all its subdirectories so that files in there are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to 777 ( drwxrwxrwx ).
  • Edit the file twiki/bin/ and set the variables at the beginning of the file to your needs.
  • Make sure RCS is installed. Set $rcsDir in twiki/bin/ to mach the location of your RCS binaries.
  • Point your browser at and start TWiki-ing away!
  • Using your browser, edit the TWikiPreferences topic in the TWiki.TWiki web to set the WIKIWEBMASTER email address, the WEBCOPYRIGHT message and other preferences.
  • Note in case the cgi scripts must have a file extension like .pl or .cgi:
    • Add the extension to all the scripts (except for the .pm ones) in twiki/bin
    • Edit and set the file extension in the $scriptSuffix variable.
    • If you use .htaccess, edit the file and add the file extension to edit, view, preview, etc.
  • Note in case the cgi scripts are not running as user nobody: The *,v RCS repository files delivered with the installation package are locked by user nobody . In case the user is different (e.g. www-data ), it is not possible to check in files, this has the effect that the topic version number does not increase when saving a topic. In this case you need to unlock all repository files and lock them as user www-data (check the rcs man pages), or simply delete all the repository files. A simple way to switch the locker of the RCS files is to use sed:
    for f in *,v; do sed 's/nobody\:/www-data\:/' $f > x; mv x $f; done
  • Security issue: Directories twiki/data , twiki/templates and all its subdirectories should be set so that they are not visible as a URL. (Alternatively, move the directries to a place where they are not visible, and change the variables in twiki/bin/ accordingly)
  • Enable email notification of topic changes, Notification of Changes has more. Using your browser, edit also the WebNotify topic in all webs and set the users you want to notify.
  • Add the TWiki:Main.PoweredByTWikiLogo to your Main topic.

Adding Variables & Rendering Rules

  • Optional: You can add new rendering rules or new %VARIABLES%. To insure an easy upgrade of TWiki it is recommended to do this customization in twiki/bin/ , not twiki/bin/ .

Enabling Basic Authentication (.htaccess)

  • Optional: If you are on a non authenticated server (i.e. not using SSL) and you would like to authenticate users:
    • Rename file .htaccess.txt in the twiki/bin directory to .htaccess and change it to your needs. For details consult the HTTP server documentation (for Apache server: [1], [2]). In particular, the following red part needs to be configured correctly:
      Redirect /urlpath/to/TWiki/index.html
      AuthUserFile /filepath/to/TWiki/data/.htpasswd
      ErrorDocument 401 /urlpath/to/TWiki/bin/oops/TWiki/TWikiRegistration?template=oopsauth
      • Note: The browser should ask for login name and password when you click on the Edit link. In case .htaccess does not have the desired effect you need to enable it: Add "AllowOverride All" to the Directory section of access.conf for your twiki/bin directory.
    • Copy the TWikiRegistrationPub topic to TWikiRegistration. Do that by either editing the topics in theTWiki web, or by renaming the .txt and .txt,v files in the twiki/data/TWiki directory.
      • Note: You can customize the registration form if needed, like deleting or adding input tags. The name="" parameter of the input tags must start with: "Twk0..." (if this is an optional entry), or "Twk1..." (if this is a required entry). This will ensure that the fields are processed correctly.
    • A new line containing user name and encrypted password gets added to the data/.htpasswd file when a users registers. The file that comes with the TWiki installation contains a few user accounts of TWiki core team members (needed for testing). You can edit the file and delete those lines.

Generating Site Usage Statistics

  • Optional: You can automatically generate usage statistics for all webs. To enable this:
    • Make sure variable $doLogTopicView, $doLogTopicSave and $doLogTopicUpload in are set. This will generate log entries in file twiki/data/log<date>.txt .
    • Topic WebStatistics must be present in all webs where you want to have statistics. You can use the topic in the Main web as a template.
    • Call the twiki/bin/statistics script from a cron job, once a day is recommended. This will update the WebStatistics topics in all webs.
    • Attention: The script must run as the same user as the CGI scripts are running, which is user nobody on most systems. Example crontab entry:
      0 0 * * * (cd /path/to/TWiki/bin; ./statistics >/dev/null 2>&1)
    • There is a workaround in case you can't run the script as user nobody : Run the utility twiki/bin/geturl in your cron job and specify the URL of the twiki/bin/statistics script as a parameter. Example:
      0 0 * * * (cd /path/to/TWiki/bin; ./geturl /urlpath/to/TWiki/bin/statistics >/dev/null 2>&1)
    • The twiki/bin/statistics script can also be executed as a CGI script, just enter the URL in your browser. Examples:
      • Update current month for all webs:
      • Update current month for Main web only:
      • Update January 2000 for Main web:

Creating a New Web

  • To create a new web:
    • Use a name for the web consisting of characters A..Z , a..z but not in WikiNotation.
    • Create a new template directory under twiki/templates .
    • Create a new data directory under twiki/data and check the file permission of the directory.
    • Copy the Web*.txt files from the twiki/data/Main directory to the new data directory, preserving the original files' owner, group and permissions ( on Unix use cp -p ). The data files must be writable by the owner the CGI scripts are running on ( usually nobody ). Hint: You can set permissions of .txt and .txt,v files to -rw-rw-rw- and then edit the topic using your browser, RCS will restore the file permission correctly when saving the topic.
    • Add the new web to the web list (visible in the upper right corner of each topic) by editing the site-level preferences TWikiPreferences:
      • Add the new web to the WIKIWEBLIST variable.
    • Add the new web to the web table (at the bottom of each WebHome topic) by editing the TWikiWebsTable topic.
    • Change the web preferences by editing the WebPreferences topic of the new web:
      • Set the WEBBGCOLOR variable to a color of your taste. The number represents the unique color for the web (consult an HTML book for colors.)
      • Customize the WEBTOPICLIST variable to contain the web specific links you prefer.
      • Optional: Set the WEBCOPYRIGHT variable to have a web-specific copyright text (at the bottom of each topic).
    • If needed, create customized templates in the new templates directory. (Non existing templates are inherited from twiki/templates )
    • If you want to use form templates - see FormTemplateSystem
    • In case you want usage statistics for this web: Copy file WebStatistics.txt from the twiki/data/Main directory to the new data directory. Edit topic WebStatistics in the new web and delete old usage entries.
    • Note that user home topics are only located in the TWiki.Main web, so don't try to move them or create them in other webs. From any web you can refer to users located in the TWiki.Main web like Main.UserName or %MAINWEB%.UserName.

TWiki File System Snapshot

Here are partial directory listings showing typical file permissions and ownership. This is provided for general debugging use only and isn't an exact representation of the current distribution. There is also a complete file listing by directory , with individual file descriptions, for the current TWiki release.

Directory twiki/bin :

drwxrwxr-x   2 twiki twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:34 .
drwxrwxr-x   3 twiki twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:34 ..
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    650 Feb 10  2000 .htaccess
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   4322 Mar 12 00:31 attach
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   1426 Jun 20 19:52 delete
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   9001 Jul 28 11:03 edit
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   1811 Mar 11 02:27 geturl
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   5006 Mar 11 02:41 mailnotify
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   1769 Mar 11 03:07 oops
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   6890 Jun 21 19:58 preview
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   7606 Mar 31 18:30 rdiff
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   8349 Jun 21 18:12 register
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   2693 Jul  5 14:32 save
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   3831 Jul 20 12:13 search
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   9835 Jun 20 19:03 statistics
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki    509 Feb  7  2000 testenv
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki  14543 Jul 20 18:46 upload
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   4755 May 22 18:11 view
-rwxrwxr-x   1 twiki twiki   1689 Jun 20 20:10 viewfile

Directory twiki/templates/ :

drwxrwxr-x   4 twiki twiki   4096 Aug  3 01:17 .
drwxrwxr-x   4 twiki twiki   4096 Aug 19 18:38 ..
drwxrwxr-x   2 twiki twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:35 Know
drwxrwxr-x   2 twiki twiki   4096 May  1 01:24 Main
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   2688 Aug 15 18:15 attach.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1283 Jul 20 15:56 attachtable.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1907 Jul 28 16:41 changes.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   2265 Aug 15 17:57 edit.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    965 Feb  8  2000 mailnotify.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki     30 Jan 13  1999 notedited.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    940 Jul 20 15:59 notext.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    907 Jul 20 16:01 notwiki.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    341 Mar  8 11:39 noweb.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1000 Mar  8 11:40 oops.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1043 Oct 23 19:17 oopsaccesschange.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1036 Oct 23 19:17 oopsaccessview.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    914 Mar  8 11:40 oopsdel.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1423 May 29 01:23 oopslocked.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki   1067 Mar  8 11:41 oopsregexist.tmpl
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki twiki    955 Mar  8 11:41 oopsregpasswd.tmpl

Directory twiki/data/ :

drwxrwxrwx   6 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:09 .
drwxrwxr-x   4 twiki   twiki   4096 Aug 19 18:38 ..
-rw-rw-r--   1 nobody  nobody    51 Apr 21 16:48 .htpasswd
drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug 20 17:18 Know
drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug 19 04:15 Main
drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug 20 17:56 TWiki
-rw-rw-rw-   1 twiki   twiki      1 Mar 11 04:19 debug.txt
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody  1516 Aug 20 17:56 log200008.txt

Partial file list for twiki/data/Main :

drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug 19 04:15 .
drwxrwxrwx   6 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:09 ..
-rw-rw-rw-   1 twiki twiki     3716 Aug 19 02:19 .changes
-rw-rw-rw-   1 twiki twiki        9 Aug 19 02:45 .mailnotify
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody   358 Aug 18 17:22 OfficeLocations.txt
-r--r--r--   1 nobody  nobody   878 Aug 18 17:22 OfficeLocations.txt,v
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody   680 Aug 18 17:36 TWikiGuest.txt
-r--r--r--   1 nobody  nobody  1989 Aug 18 17:36 TWikiGuest.txt,v
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody   459 Aug 18 17:19 TWikiUsers.txt
-r--r--r--   1 nobody  nobody  3840 Aug 18 17:19 TWikiUsers.txt,v
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody    95 Aug 19 03:06 WebChanges.txt
-r--r--r--   1 nobody  nobody   284 Aug 19 03:06 WebChanges.txt,v
-rw-r--r--   1 nobody  nobody  1853 Aug 18 18:08 WebHome.txt
-r--r--r--   1 nobody  nobody  6523 Aug 18 18:08 WebHome.txt,v

Directory twiki/pub/ :

drwxrwxrwx   6 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:21 .
drwxrwxr-x   3 twiki   twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:35 ..
drwxrwxrwx   3 nobody  nobody  4096 Jun 17 16:35 Know
drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:21 Main
drwxrwxrwx   3 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:21 TWiki
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   1078 Jan 14  2000 favicon.ico
drwxrwxr-x   2 twiki   twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:35 icn
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   3016 Oct  5  1999 twikilogo.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   5320 Oct  5  1999 twikilogo1.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   6125 Oct  5  1999 twikilogo2.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   7218 Oct  5  1999 twikilogo3.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   6710 Oct  5  1999 twikilogo4.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki   2877 Jun  7  1999 wikiHome.gif

Partial file list for twiki/pub/icn/ :

drwxrwxr-x   2 twiki   twiki   4096 Jun 17 16:35 .
drwxrwxrwx   6 nobody  nobody  4096 Aug  3 01:21 ..
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    801 Mar 26  1999 _filetypes.txt
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    143 Mar  9  1999 bat.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    926 Mar  9  1999 bmp.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    141 Mar 25  1999 c.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    144 Mar  9  1999 dll.gif
-rw-rw-r--   1 twiki   twiki    152 Mar  9  1999 doc.gif

-- PeterThoeny - 16 Mar 2001

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Topic revision: r25 - 2001-09-01 - MikeMannix
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