This HTML page contains the basic install docs that can be found on It contains all necessary information to get your wiki up and running, even without being online. If you have a permanent internet connection, you might want to browse the docs on the HelpOnInstalling page, which might contain more up-to-date information.

After following the procedures on this page, you should have a working wiki and can browse the rest of the online docs there.

How to install your own MoinMoin Wiki

This page describes the installation procedure of MoinMoin. In the next section, there is a list of real-world Installation Scenarios that help you to understand how to apply the instructions in different environments. If you already have a wiki running and want to upgrade, see HelpOnUpdating.

A MoinMoin installation is done by some elementary steps:

Installation steps specific for some web servers and operating systems

The following links will show you concrete examples of installation sessions, showing the commands used and explaining what they do. You must first read the general information on installing above before doing the installation steps described on the pages linked from below:


Long-Running-Process Setup:

Mac OS X:


How to do a basic installation of MoinMoin on your system.


Before you can integrate MoinMoin into your web environment, you have to install the MoinMoin source code and data files using the standard Python distutils mechanism ( This page explains the steps you usually need to take to do this. For more details on the distutils installation process, consult the Installing Python Modules document in your Python documentation set.

The installation is similar on Windows and Linux (and other POSIX-type systems; for simplicity, we just say "Linux" in the docs).

  • (!) We use text such as > command arguments to show what you have to type at the command prompt (also known as shell, terminal, etc.). In our examples "" is the prompt, you don't have to type it in, you have to type what comes after it. Lines that do not begin with "" are the answers to the commands you have typed. Read them carefully.

Check if Python is working

MoinMoin needs Python to run, so the first step is to check if an usable version of Python is installed and correctly set-up. If this is not the case, you will have to fix that before you can proceed.

The CHANGES file in the MoinMoin archive mentions what versions are supported. Python 2.3 is the minimum requirement for MoinMoin 1.5, but we suggest you use the latest Python release version.

You can download Python at

If you are pretty sure an acceptable version of Python is installed but the commands below do not work, this may be because your Python files are not in the search path. Correctly setting the search path is outside the scope of this document; please ask for help on your favorite Python, Linux, or Windows discussion board.

If you have shell access, checking if Python is working is very simple. Just type the following command, and look at the result:

> python -V
Python 2.3.4

If you don't have shell access, you can try using this pythontest.cgi script (it assumes that you are using a Linux kind of webserver). Upload the script to your cgi-bin directory, use chmod a+rx pythontest.cgi (or a similar command in your FTP program) to make it executable, and invoke it using your web browser.

echo Content-Type: text/plain
echo "Your web server is running as:"
echo "CGI scripts work"
echo "Now we try to invoke Python interpreters and get their versions:"
echo "Your default version of python is:"
python -V 2>&1
echo "Available versions of python are:"
python2.2 -V 2>&1 && which python2.2
python2.3 -V 2>&1 && which python2.3
python2.4 -V 2>&1 && which python2.4
python2.5 -V 2>&1 && which python2.5
echo "Finished."


If it doesn't display "CGI scripts work", well, then CGI scripts don't work. If it doesn't show one or more Python version numbers, then Python is not correctly installed. In both cases, before you can proceed, you will have to get in touch with the administrator of the server so that the problems get corrected.

Also be sure to read ../ApacheOnLinuxFtp after you've completed the ../BasicInstallation illustrated here.

Download MoinMoin

To download the distribution archive, go to the download area and fetch the latest archive.

The next step is to unpack the distribution archive (which you have done already if you are reading this text from your hard drive). If you read this on the web, the distribution comes in a versioned .tar.gz archive, which you can unpack as shown below.

  • On Windows
    • You can use recent versions of programs like WinZip, WinRar, and WinAce, which handle .tar.gz kind of archives.

    • At the command prompt, you can use GNU gzip and GNU tar for Windows.

  • On Linux
    • You can use your favorite file manager -- it should be able to unpack them.
    • At any shell prompt, you can use the tar command.

The distribution archive will always unpack into a directory named moin-<version>, for example moin-1.5.

Here is how you would unpack the archive (using GNU tar) and enter the directory with the MoinMoin files:

> tar xzf moin-1.5.0.tar.gz
> cd moin-1.5.0

Install MoinMoin

You can install MoinMoin to either:

  • a system location (if you have the necessary rights to do that -- on Linux you need to be root)
  • some specific location, like your home directory (Linux) or C:\moin (Windows).

The installation to a system location is easier, so choose that if possible.

/!\ If you have several versions of Python installed, please use the same version for setup and for running the wiki. Usually, the latest Python version will get the best results.

If you have problems with the install step, try using the command:

> python -v --quiet install --record=install.log

The additional -v flag should provide you detailed verbose messages every step of the way.

/!\ On Linux, if u get an error like Invalid Python installation: cannot find /usr/lib/Python2.x/config/Makefile, you may not have the python module distutils installed, it's usually a part of the Python development libarary (python-dev). Some Linux distributions may not have installed it by default. For example, on Mandrake you need to install the python-devel package, on Debian it's called python-dev.

Installing in the default system location

> python --quiet install --record=install.log

This installs MoinMoin to the default system location (typically the Python directory, for example on Linux, inside /usr/lib and /usr/share). Look at the install.log file to see what was installed, and where.

  • Mac OS X note: use the command:
    python install --install-data='/usr/local'
    This will install the shared files to '/usr/local/share/moin', instead of an inconvenient location in the System folder.

Installing in the home directory or another specific location

Linux example, installing in the home directory:

> python --quiet install --prefix=$HOME --record=install.log

Windows example, installing in the C:\moin directory:

> python --quiet install --prefix="C:\moin" --record=install.log

All MoinMoin files will then be installed inside those directories, see install.log to know which files were installed, and where.

Note: You will likely see the following warning:

  • warning: install: modules installed to 'C:\moin\', which
    is not in Python's module search path (sys.path) -- you'll
    have to change the search path yourself

This means exactly what it says, you need to add your install directory to the search path of Python, or it won't find the MoinMoin code.

For example, if you are running using a webserver and standard CGI, edit moin.cgi and add your installation directory to the Python path, like this:

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, 'C:/moin')

Test installation

As a final step, if you have access to the shell or the command prompt, you can check that everything is correctly installed and ready to run. Start Python and type import MoinMoin. Nothing should be displayed in response to this command. Example:

> python
Python 2.3.4 (#1, May 29 2004, 17:05:23)
[GCC 3.3.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import MoinMoin

If you get this instead:

>>> import MoinMoin
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
ImportError: No module named MoinMoin

then you have to tune your installation. Try modifying sys.path, as described above.

What has been installed

So, you have a ready-to-work MoinMoin installation now. Congratulations! Before you go on to configuring it, take a look at the various files and directories that have been installed.

/!\ It is important that you understand the different locations used in a MoinMoin setup, so read this carefully.

In the following descriptions, PREFIX is what you used with the command, or a default location if you didn't use the --prefix option. (Typical default values on Linux are /usr and /usr/local.) X.Y is the version of Python. Typically, this is 2.3 or 2.4.

Look into install.log to find out about following important locations:

  • MoinMoin directory, usually PREFIX/lib/pythonX.Y/site-packages/MoinMoin -- this is where the MoinMoin source code is located

  • share directory, usually PREFIX/share/moin - this is where the templates are located

    • data directory (wiki pages, users, etc.) - only MoinMoin should access this

    • underlay directory (wiki pages) - only MoinMoin should access this

    • htdocs directory with html support files (images for the various themes, etc.) - the web server will need to access this

    • server - MoinMoin example startup files (like moin.cgi for CGI, and other files for other startup methods)

    • config - MoinMoin example configuration files (like

  • bin directory with some scripts that help you use the MoinMoin shell commands

We talk of templates in the share directory because you usually will not use those files at that location, but copy them elsewhere when you need them. This way, you can set-up several wikis without problems, and easily upgrade to new MoinMoin versions.

After you have downloaded and installed MoinMoin, you will want to "have a wiki". As explained at the bottom of ../BasicInstallation, you have to copy several directories and files. This way, you can have as many wikis as you want, and you can easily upgrade MoinMoin: only the original files will be overwritten, not your copies.

Every time you copy those files (and modify the configuration of your server accordingly), you create what is called a wiki instance. Each wiki instance is independant from the others, with a different configuration, different pages, different users, etc.

Some of the steps you need to take depend on which web server and which operating system you use. They are described on dedicated pages, which you should read (at least the beginning) before reading this one. Some other steps are common to every webserver and operating system (copying files around, setting permissions), and this is what is described here.

You can use (a bash script that install the instance).

Read this first

Security warnings

/!\ Warning: make sure that your data directory and your configuration files are not accessible through your web server. Do not put your wiki directory in public_html, Sites or any other directory your web server can access. The web server only needs to access the file in the htdocs directory and the moin.cgi script! (Or whatever script your server uses to start MoinMoin.)

/!\ Warning: make sure that the data directory and its subdirectories are not readable and not writeable by users other than the web server user. If you need to give worldwide read-write permissions to get it working, be aware that you are doing a very unsecure setup, that can be compromised by any other user or program on your computer.

Note to Windows users

All the commands below are Linux commands. The text descriptions that introduce them should be enough to help you understand what you need to do. Use the Windows Explorer, or the appropriate text-mode commands.

Choose a wiki name

Choose a unique name for the new wiki instance you want to create. It should be a short word, something that reflects what you intend to use the wiki for, like the name of your organization, of your team, of the project you are working on, etc.

  • <!> Do not use the name "wiki" - it is reserved for internal use. You would need a special setup to use this with CGI, and you can't use it at all with standalone or twisted server.

The name "mywiki" is used as an example in the various commands below.

Choose a location

Choose a directory on your disk, it will contain all the files needed for your wiki instance. At the beginning, your wiki instance will use approximately 10 MB of disk space. Then of course, it will grow depending on the way your wiki is used. A personal wiki, even with many pages, might only use 30 MB or 40 MB of disk space. A popular wiki, or a wiki with many files attached to the pages, might use much more, of course.

If you are the administrator (or root) of the server, you can use anything you like or that makes sense to you, for example /usr/local/var/moin, /mnt/wikis, etc.

If you are a simple user, you will probably only be allowed to write in your personal, "home" directory. Choose a subdirectory that makes sense to you, for example the share/moin subdirectory.

Collect some important information

This is where the instructions differ according to the web server and operating system you use, and whether you are the administrator or a simple user. See the appropriate pages for your web server and operating system combination.

On Linux, the export command will be used to remember the collected information. Windows users should write it down carefully (maybe cutting-and-pasting in a Notepad window), or store it in environment variables if they use the command prompt.

  • PREFIX is the prefix you used during the ../BasicInstallation

  • SHARE is the name of the share directory, as discussed at the bottom of ../BasicInstallation

  • WIKILOCATION is the name of the directory that will contain your wiki instance

  • INSTANCE is the directory containing the wiki instance. It cannot be an existing directory readable through Apache, otherwise it will fail.

If you are an administrator, you also need to collect the following:

  • USER is the user name of the web server

  • GROUP is the name of the group to which the web server belongs

Now, Linux folks, let's store these settings in memory:

> export PREFIX=/usr                # this might be something else
> export SHARE=$PREFIX/share/moin   # this should be correct for most people
> export WIKILOCATION=$SHARE        # this is just an example
> export INSTANCE=mywiki            # this is just an example

Administrators also need the following two lines:

> export USER=www-data              # this is just an example
> export GROUP=www-data             # this is just an example

Copy the files

To create your new instance, you first need to create a directory named like your instance, inside the WIKILOCATION. Then you need to copy the data and underlay directories from your SHARE directory into your instance directory. Finally, you need to copy the file from the config directory into the instance directory.

Linux folks need just type these commands:

> mkdir $INSTANCE                   # make a directory for this instance
> cp -R $SHARE/data $INSTANCE       # copy template data directory
> cp -R $SHARE/underlay $INSTANCE   # copy underlay data directory
> cp $SHARE/config/ $INSTANCE   # copy wiki configuration sample file
  • /!\ Note that you just need to keep one underlay directory on your system if you are running multiple wikis (e.g. in a farm.)

Set permissions


Administrators need to restrict the permissions of the files, so that only the web server (and the administrator of course) can read and write them. For maximum security, no other user on the machine should be able to read or write anything in the wiki instance directory. Don't forget that this directory contains sensitive information, notably the (encrypted) passwords of the wiki users.

On Linux, the following commands should be enough:

> chown -R $USER.$GROUP $INSTANCE   # check that USER and GROUP are correct
> chmod -R ug+rwX $INSTANCE         # USER.GROUP may read and write
> chmod -R o-rwx $INSTANCE          # everybody else is rejected

Normal users

Normal users, on the contrary, need to broaden the permissions of the files, so that the web server can read and write them. On recent Windows versions, and on some versions of Unix, Linux and other systems, access control lists can be used to that effect. They are, however, powerful and complicated, much beyond the scope of this document. Ask a knowledgeable person about them.

Without them, normal users have to allow everybody to access the instance directory. This is the only way the web server can enter it and do its work. This is, of course, VERY INSECURE, since any other user and program on the server can read the directory. You should not use such a setup for a wiki open to the public.

On Linux, the following commands will open the instance directory to the whole world:

> chmod -R a+rwX $INSTANCE


  • it is also possible to put the web server and the normal user in the same group, and then only open the instance directory to the members of that group. This is a bit more secure (depending on who else is in the group), but you need the cooperation of the server administrator; he is the one setting up groups.

  • the best other possibility is that the server administrator sets up suexec to execute CGI scripts in user directories under the user id of that user. You don't need to give world permissions that way, so it is a quite secure setup, but you also need cooperation of the administrator.

Tune configuration

Now, you need to tune the configuration of your web server and of your wiki instance. Look at the appropriate help page for your web server, then come back here to tune the settings of your wiki instance.

Edit The default settings should work fine in most cases, but there are some things that you will probably want to change, like the name and logo of your wiki! :) Read the comments inside, they will guide you through this process. (Start with "Wiki identity", around line 25.)

/!\ Warning: don't forget to restart your web server in order to apply changes in

HelpOnConfiguration contains all the details about all the options, in case the comments in are not enough.

Linux Installation using Apache

This page describes the particular steps that need to be taken to create a wiki instance using MoinMoin on Linux with the Apache web server. You should have already performed the ../BasicInstallation. Installations on other Unices like FreeBSD are very similar.

Two scenarios are possible. You might be the administrator (root) of the server, able to install and modify files almost anywhere on the machine, and notably able to modifiy the Apache configuration. You might also be a simple user, only able to write files into your home directory, and unable to alter the master Apache config file. The two scenarios are discussed below.

Table of contents

Administrator (root)

Most GNU/Linux distributions come with Apache pre-installed. There is, however, some variation as to where exactly the various Apache files are located. You should consult your distribution manual, or ask on the appropriate discussion board. In the following paragraphs, we assume a (quite standard) file system layout with:

  • /etc/httpd/httpd.conf - the main Apache configuration file

  • /var/log/httpd/error_log - the log file containing Apache error messages

Some distributions use apache instead of httpd for the directory names, others may use weirder settings.

Create a wiki instance

Creating a wiki instance involves copying files around and setting appropriate permissions. Before you can proceed, you need to know what user and group your Apache server runs as. The easiest way to know this is to issue this command:

> egrep "^User|^Group" /etc/httpd/httpd.conf
User wwwrun
Group nogroup

This shows a typical result: "wwwrun.nogroup". Other common results are "nobody.nogroup", "apache.apache" and "www-data.www-data". You can of course use your own. What matters is that you know which ones are in use, because you will need them to set file permissions.

Once you have gathered this information, read ../WikiInstanceCreation and follow the steps described there.

Install moin.cgi

There is one last file you need to copy, the bridge between Apache and MoinMoin: the CGI script that Apache will call every time a wiki page is requested, and that will in turn invoke all the MoinMoin components to handle the request. You can actually put this script anywhere you like (all the paths to the files MoinMoin needs can be configured to match your filesystem layout), but for the sake of simplicity and security, we suggest you follow the instructions below, unless you think you know better.

We will create a cgi-bin subdirectory in the instance directory. Using the environment variables defined in ../WikiInstanceCreation, run the following commands:

> mkdir cgi-bin
> cp $SHARE/server/moin.cgi cgi-bin
> chown -R $USER.$GROUP cgi-bin
> chmod -R ug+rx cgi-bin
> chmod -R o-rwx cgi-bin

Configure moin.cgi

When moin.cgi is launched, it imports a MoinMoin module that in turn imports other modules and the configuration file. While the MoinMoin modules should always be found in a properly configured system (as described in ../BasicInstallation), it is likely that the configuration file will not be found. Edit the moin.cgi script to correct that. Add these lines near the top of the file:

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '..')

You can also use the absolute name of the directory that contains the file instead of '..'.

Configure Apache

Now that every file is in place and properly locked down (as far as the filesystem is concerned), we need to configure Apache so that it offers access to the right files, and no others. However, since the default Apache configuration varies a lot according to the distribution you use, and since administrators often make important additions and changes to it, we cannot give exact instructions that cover all cases. Instead, we will first describe roughly what needs to be done, and then give a few specific lines that you should add at the appropriate place in your Apache config.

Your Apache should be set up so that:

  • Access to your instance directory is denied (sane Apache installations should actually deny access to the whole server, and then only allow a few specific directories).
  • An alias is set up to redirect requests from /wiki/ (in the URL) to the htdocs directory (in the share directory, as discussed at the bottom of ../BasicInstallation)

  • A script alias is set up to redirect requests from whatever you want (we suggest you use your instance name, for example /mywiki) to the CGI script you just copied.

The following commands will add two lines at the bottom of your Apache config file. These lines only cover the last two items listed above. You have to check the first one by yourself (there is too much variation in Linux distributions). Note that you may have to move the two lines to the appropriate place in your config file -- maybe near other similar lines.

> echo "" >>/etc/httpd/httpd.conf
> echo "Alias /wiki/ \"$SHARE/htdocs/\"" >>/etc/httpd/httpd.conf
> echo "ScriptAlias /mywiki \"$WIKILOCATION/$INSTANCE/cgi-bin/moin.cgi\"" >>/etc/httpd/httpd.conf

You only need to define the alias for htdocs once. You need to define a different script alias for each wiki instance you intend to run.

Configure MoinMoin

Finally, check that the file in the instance directory contains correct paths for the htdocs prefix, the instance data directory, and the instance underlay directory. You can use relative paths for the directories, but note that they are relative to the CGI script, not the configuration file! You can also use absolute paths, and save yourself some headaches.

Here are the settings you should have in the config file if you followed all our suggestions:

    data_dir = '../data/'
    data_underlay_dir = '../underlay/'
    url_prefix = '/wiki'

There are other settings you will likely want to alter, look at the bottom of ../WikiInstanceCreation for more details about them.

Test the wiki

Everything should work fine now. It is time to restart the Apache server (usually with "/etc/init.d/apache restart", sometimes with "apachectl restart") and perform the following steps:

  • Run the MoinMoin CGI Diagnosis: connect to "" (or the name and port you have defined in the Apache configuration file). Verify that the displayed information is correct. Check that the directories listed under Checking directories... are OK.

  • Access your new wiki with the URL "" (or the name and port you have defined in the Apache configuration file). You should see the FrontPage.

  • If this is the case, try to edit it and save your changes.
  • If that works, see if your edit is reflected on the RecentChanges page.

  • If you see them, congratulations, your new wiki works! :)

If something goes wrong, have a look at Troubleshooting, at the bottom of this page.

Apache tricks

For more advanced configuration and some tricks see HelpMiscellaneous.

Simple user (home directory installation)

On machines shared by many people, simple users typically have no access to the root account, cannot modify the httpd.conf file, and cannot copy files into the system-wide cgi-bin and htdocs directories. In that case, Apache can be set up so that each user can host a web site in the home directory of his or her shell account, using the UserDir directive. If the machine administrator decides to use it, all URLs that start with "/~username" will be redirected to a directory in the users' home directories, where they have write permission and can install MoinMoin.

As an example, we will consider the case of a user named "mm". Of course, wherever you see "mm" below, you will replace it with your own username.

Make sure /~username works

The home directory installation can only work if the administrator (root) has allowed it. So, the first step is of course to check that it works. Typically, Apache is set up so that the public_html subdirectory in the home directory is used as the web site root. So, the first first step is to check if that directory exists.

> ls -ld ~/public_html
drwxr-xr-x   2 mm       users        4096 Nov 30 00:29 public_html

If the directory does not exist, create it, and be sure it can be read and entered by the web server.

> mkdir public_html
> chmod a+rx public_html
> ls -ld ~/public_html
drwxr-xr-x   2 mm       users        4096 Nov 30 00:35 public_html

Now, check if the "/~mm" URL works:

> lynx -error_file=/dev/stderr -dump http://localhost/~mm/ >/dev/null
URL=http://localhost/~mm/ (GET)

If you get a "200 OK" response code, then it works, and you can go on to the next check. If you get a "403 Forbidden" or a "404 Not Found" response, then maybe something is wrong with your directory, or maybe the whole thing has not been enabled by your administrator.

  • Check the permissions for your home directory (~) and your public_html directory. The first one should at least end with "--x", and the second one, as we saw above, with "r-x".

  • It also possible that the administrator has set up another name for the personal web site directory. "public_html" is just the usual default, but anything can actually be used. There is no way to know, you have to ask the administrator (root).

  • Finally, if the personal web site feature is disabled, maybe you can ask the administrator to enable it?

Once you have checked you can read the files in the directory, you need to check that you are also able to execute CGI scripts in that directory. Use the following commands to create a simple CGI script in the appropriate location:

> mkdir -p ~/public_html/cgi-bin
> cat > ~/public_html/cgi-bin/test.cgi
echo Content-Type: text/plain
echo "CGI scripts work"
> chmod a+rx ~/public_html/cgi-bin/test.cgi
> lynx -dump http://localhost/~jh/cgi-bin/test.cgi
CGI scripts work

If you get anything else than "CGI scripts work", then something went wrong. Check the directory permissions as above, try other names (or ask about them). The sad truth might be that you are not allowed to execute CGI scripts. You would then have to ask the administrator (root) for that permission.

Once you get it, you can set up your wiki instance in the public_html directory. :)

Create a wiki instance

Creating a wiki instance involves copying files around and setting appropriate permissions. Read ../WikiInstanceCreation and follow the steps described there.

Install the htdocs files

The web server needs to access these files, so we need to copy them in the "public_html" directory. Just use this:

> cd ~/public_html
> cp -R ~/share/moin/htdocs wiki
> chmod -R a+rX wiki

Install moin.cgi

There is one last file you need to copy, the bridge between Apache and MoinMoin: the CGI script that Apache will call every time a wiki page is requested, and that will in turn invoke all the MoinMoin components to handle the request. You need to put this file in a directory for which CGI scripts execution is enabled. By default, this should work:

> cd ~/public_html
> mkdir cgi-bin
> cp $SHARE/server/moin.cgi cgi-bin
> chmod -R a+rx cgi-bin

Configure moin.cgi

When moin.cgi is launched, it imports a MoinMoin module (that in turn imports other modules and the configuration file). Since everything has been installed in your home directory, it is likely none of these will be found. Edit the moin.cgi script to correct that. Add these lines near the top of the file:

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/mm/lib/python2.3')
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/mm/lib/python2.3/site-packages')
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/mm/share/moin/mywiki')

Of course, you need to adapt the paths to your situation. The first two lines should help locate the MoinMoin modules, the last one should help locate the file.

Note: You might also need to edit the first line of the file, to point to the correct version of Python. The default should be fine, but a line like "#! /usr/bin/python2.3" might help you if the default does not work.

Note 2: In this file there is a line reading request = RequestCGI(). If you have a complex mod_rewrite case, you might want to add properties = {'script_name': '/mywiki'}  in the parenthesis. This will let MoinMoin generate URLs that start with /mywiki and not the path that the webserver passed to MoinMoin:

def handle_request(req, env, form):
    request = RequestCGI(req, env, form, properties = {'script_name': '/mywiki'})

Configure MoinMoin

Finally, check that the file in the instance directory contains correct paths for the htdocs directory, the instance data directory, and the instance underlay directory. You can use relative paths for the directories, but note that they are relative to the CGI script, not the configuration file! You can also use absolute paths, and save yourself some headaches.

    data_dir = '/home/mm/share/moin/mywiki/data/'
    data_underlay_dir = '/home/mm/share/moin/mywiki/underlay/'
    url_prefix = '/~mm/wiki'

Test the wiki

Everything should work fine, now. It is time to perform the following steps:

  • Run the MoinMoin CGI Diagnosis: > lynx -dump http://localhost/~mm/cgi-bin/moin.cgi?action=test

  • If it worked, try to access your new-born wiki with the URL "". You should see the FrontPage.

  • If this is the case, try to edit it and save your changes.
  • If that works, see if your edit is reflected on the RecentChanges page.

  • If you see them, congratulations, you have a new wiki! :)

If something goes wrong, have a look at Troubleshooting, below.


See also ../TroubleShooting for generic stuff.

The first thing to do when your wiki does not work as expected is to issue the command "tail /var/log/httpd/error_log" to display the most recent errors. Usually, you will get a hint on what went wrong, like missing file system permissions.

Adding permission to serve the htdocs directory

In some (sane) Linux distributions (like SuSE 9.0) serving directories other than the document-root "/srv/www/htdocs" with Apache is switched off by default for security reasons in "/etc/httpd/httpd.conf" (or for Apache2 "/etc/apache2/httpd.conf"):

# forbid access to the entire filesystem by default
<Directory />
  Options None
  AllowOverride None
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all

To allow Apache to serve directories outside of the document root you have to add these lines to "/etc/httpd/httpd.conf" (in SuSE it is recommended to create a new "http.conf.local" and include this file in "/etc/sysconfig/apache2"):

Alias /wiki/ "/usr/share/moin/htdocs/"
<Directory "/usr/share/moin/htdocs/">
   Order deny,allow
   Allow from all

ScriptAlias /mywiki "/usr/share/moin/mywiki/cgi-bin/moin.cgi"
<Directory "/usr/share/moin/mywiki/cgi-bin">
   Order deny,allow
   Allow from all

Of course, you need to adapt the paths to your particular situation.

FastCGI Setup using Apache or Lighttpd

Using MoinMoin with FastCgi

FastCGI is a method which enables apache to communicate with long-running scripts. This has the advantage that the script is only started and initialized one time, and that data could be cached in memory from request to request, enhancing the performance of the CGI application.

Deploying on Apache

To deploy MoinMoin using FastCGI you need an apache with mod_fastcgi. Please refer to the documentation of mod_fastcgi how to build it.

Follow the basic apache installation for your operating system as described in other parts of the MoinMoin installation documentation. This is HelpOnInstalling/ApacheOnLinux in most cases. Don't forget to install the fastcgi Apache module (e.g. libapache2-mod-fastcgi). Then in places where the documentation refers to moin.cgi you use moin.fcg instead. Be sure that .fcg is handled by the FastCGI module (AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcg in your apache config).

Normally apache will start CGI scripts with its own user and group, or with the user and group of the VirtualHost if you are using the suexec wrapper. To enable this with FastCGI you need to use FastCgiWrapper On in your apache config (see FastCGI Documentation).

Be sure to restart your apache after you changed py files (i.e. the config) for a running FastCGI server, or you won't see any changes!

Example for Apache2 on Debian

Edit the /etc/apache2/conf.d/your_wiki:

<IfModule mod_fastcgi.c>
   AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcgi .fcg
   FastCgiServer /your/path/to/moin.fcg -idle-timeout 60 -processes 1
   ScriptAlias /your_wiki "/your/path/to/moin.fcg"
  • number of processes depends on your hardware..

Expand the Apache installation:

apt-get install libapache2-mod-fastcgi
a2enmod fastcgi
apache2ctl graceful

Now, your wiki should respond a little faster.

Running as an external application and/or on Windows

MoinMoin can be run as an external application that answers FastCGI request via a local TCP/IP socket. This works on Windows as well. All you need to do (after having installed mod_fastcgi and a working MoinMoin instance) is this:

  1. Select a port number for the internal communication. It should be larger than 1023. For this example, we chose 8888 (just for fun).
  2. Add the following lines to your httpd.conf:

    Alias /moin.fcg "/your/path/to/moin.fcg"
    FastCgiExternalServer "/your/path/to/moin.fcg" -host localhost:8888
  3. Edit moin.fcg. Replace

    fcg = thfcgi.THFCGI(handle_request)


    fcg = thfcgi.THFCGI(handle_request, 0, 8888)
  4. Start the file moin.fcg manually like a Python script:

    python moin.fcg
  5. Start Apache.

Fallback to CGI if FastCGI is not available

Install and test MoinMoin according to HelpOnInstalling/ApacheOnLinux. Then make and test the changes to run mod_fastcgi. If you are satisfied, you can add the following block to your apache config:

<IfModule !mod_fastcgi.c>
    ScriptAlias /mywiki "/your/path/to/moin.cgi"
<IfModule mod_fastcgi.c>
    AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcg
    ScriptAlias /mywiki "/your/path/to/moin.fcg"

Now Apache will use mod_fastcgi if available and otherwise use the slow cgi script.

Deploying on lighttpd

The best option is to run moin as external application. In this case, you don't need to restart the web server when you want to restart moin.


fastcgi.server = ( "/mywiki" =>
                       ( "localhost" =>
                           "host" => "",
                           "port" => 8888,
                           "check-local" => "disable",
                           "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable",
  • (!) You will see a lot of "2005-12-02 16:30:11: (mod_fastcgi.c.2373) FastCGI-stderr:" errors in

lighttpd's error log, the reason is not clear.

Starting MoinMoin instance

To start a MoinMoin instance, either follow the changes in "Running as an external application and/or on Windows" above, or run moin.fcg using spawn-fcgi (installed with lighttpd).

cd /www/org.mywiki/bin
sudo -u www /usr/local/bin/spawn-fcgi -f ./moin.fcg -P

To stop the instance later:

sudo kill `cat`
  • (!) Running spawn-fcgi as root and using -u www -g www fail because of Python ImportError, the reason is not clear. sudo -u www seems to have to same effect.

Multiple moin processes

If you start multiple moin instances on different ports, lighttpd balance the load automatically between them, using all the cpus.

Use this configuration:

fastcgi.server             = ( "/mywiki" =>
                               ( "localhost" =>
                                 ( "host" => "", 
                                   "port" => 1080,
                                   "check-local" => "disable",
                                   "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable",
                                 ( "host" => "", 
                                   "port" => 1081, 
                                   "check-local" => "disable",
                                   "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable",

Multiple moin processes automatically started by lighttpd

As an alternative to manually starting multiple processes of moin.fcg and assigning a distinct TCP port to each, this task can be delegated to lighttpd itself. The key is to specify "bin-path" option to fastcgi.server, and to allow multiple moin.fcg processes to be started as configured by "min-procs" and "max-procs" options. The hidden trick is that lighttpd will allocate successive TCP port numbers to each process, starting with "port". Tested with lighttpd 1.4.10.


fastcgi.server = (  "/mywiki" =>
  (( "docroot"   => "/",
     "min-procs" => 4,
     "max-procs" => 4,
     # allocate successive port numbers for each process, starting with "port"
     "bin-path"  => "/usr/local/bin/moin.fcg",
     "host"      => "",
     "port"      => 2200,
     "check-local" => "disable",
     "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable",

MoinMoin Startup script

Here is a startup script for Mac OS X, using DarwinPortsStartup system. It is probably useful for other unix like platforms.


# Start and stop multiple moin fast cgi instances runnings on PORTS


# List of ports to start moin instances on, separated with whitesapce
# Keep in sync with fastcgi.server in lighttpd.conf
PORTS="1080 1081"

start_on_port () {
    # Start moin instance on port, leaving pid file
    cd "${DIR}" && sudo -u www "${PREFIX}/bin/spawn-fcgi" \
        -f "${FCGIAPP}" \
        -p $port \
        -P "${NAME}-${port}.pid" \
        > /dev/null

kill_on_port () {
    # Try to kill process using pid in pid file, then remove the pid file
    kill `cat "$pidFile"` && rm -f "$pidFile" > /dev/null 

start () {
    for port in $PORTS; do start_on_port $port; done 

stop () {
    for port in $PORTS; do kill_on_port $port; done

case "$1" in
    # XXX starting twice will break pid files (bug in spawn-fcgi)
    start && echo -n " $NAME"
        stop && echo -n " $NAME"
    start && echo -n " $NAME"
        echo "Usage: `basename $0` {start|stop|restart}" >&2

exit 0

Adding MoinMoin startup script on Mac OS X

With this script, moin instances will be started automatically on startup.

  1. Install darwinports

  2. Install DarwinPortsStartup package:

    sudo port install DarwinPortsStartup
  3. Copy into /opt/local/etc/rc.d:

    sudo cp /opt/local/etc/rc.d

mod_python Setup using Apache

Why Use mod_python

mod_python embeds the python interpreter into the apache server. This saves initialization time and the need of forking cgi scripts. It doesn't have the ability to run as different users. It will always run as the main apache user and group. Be sure that your wiki data files are accessible and writable by your apache server.

<!> The basic configuration is suitable for mod_python 3.1.3 and later. If you use older version, see the section "Older mod_python versions"

<!> mod_python will cause your apache processes to increase their memory requirements considerably - especially as apache runs many separate processes which will each need to have their own copy of the python code and data in the process memory space. You may find that FastCGI, as detailed in HelpOnInstalling/ApacheWithFastCgi is rather more efficient in this respect.

Basic configuring

  1. Install mod_python
  2. Set up a wiki instance
  3. Edit

  4. Changes to Apache httpd.conf

  5. Restart Apache

The sample configurations below are for a wiki instance called mywiki installed in a directory /var/www/moin/mywiki with the main MoinMoin installation installed in python's default site library path. The wiki appears as URL /mywiki under the server - ie http://my.ser.ver/mywiki. You will need to change these to reflect your installation.

Install mod_python

Most people will just add a mod_python package to their current operating system installation. If you are building from source then you should consult the mod_python documentation.

The mod_python installation should have added some lines to the Apache configuration file - either in the file itself or in an included configuration file (for example on Red Hat or Fedora linux the mod_python configuration is in /etc/httpd/conf.d/python.conf).

Make sure you have this line in httpd.conf or mod_python will not work:

LoadModule python_module modules/

After this restart Apache and make sure that it starts successfully, and that the error log has a line similar to this:-

[Sat Jan 01 15:40:49 2005] [notice] mod_python: Creating 4 session mutexes based on 150 max processes and 0 max threads.

You may need to change some environment variables on (eg) FreeBSD - this is detailed in the port installation message.

Set up a wiki instance

This is done as shown in WikiInstanceCreation. Its recommended to first configure the wiki with cgi and check that it works, then change the configuratin to use mod_python. This allows you be sure that any problems are in the mod_python transition rather than the basic MoinMoin installation.

  1. Copy moin.cgi into your wiki directory
  2. Configure httpd.conf as cgi first:

    • Alias /wiki/ "/usr/share/moin/htdocs/"
      ScriptAlias /mywiki "/var/www/moin/mywiki/moin.cgi"

Restart Apache and make test that your wiki works.

Edit ``

Make sure you use only absolute paths - relative paths will not work!

data_dir = '/var/www/moin/mywiki/data/'
data_underlay_dir = '/var/www/moin/mywiki/underlay/'

If you do not want to use absolute paths, you can use Python's os module to construct the relative paths:

import os 
data_dir = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'data/')
data_underlay_dir = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'underlay/')

Test that the wiki works after this change.

  • (!) In 1.2 and earlyer, the configuration file is called

Changes to Apache `httpd.conf`

After your wiki is running as cgi script, convert it to run with mod_python.

If you run your wiki as cgi as we recommended before, remove or comment the ScriptAlias directive:

#ScriptAlias /mywiki "/var/www/moin/mywiki/moin.cgi"

Add a Location directive:

<Location /mywiki>
    SetHandler python-program
    # Add the path of your wiki directory
    PythonPath "['/var/www/moin/mywiki'] + sys.path"

If you have multiple MoinMoin instances then add one location directive for each one (changing the paths as appropriate) and add a line with the directive PythonInterpreter mywiki to each Location section. With this directive different subinterpreters with completely separate namespaces will be used for each wiki (see here for details).

If you did not install MoinMoin in the default location, you will have to add the path to MoinMoin to the system path:

    PythonPath "['/var/www/moin/mywiki', '/prefix/lib/python2.x/site-packages'] + sys.path"

Restart Apache - everything should now work correctly.

Solving problems for non-root-mounted wikis

  • /!\ If your wiki does not have a root URL (like, then you might need to follow the next steps:

On some installations, mod_python hands MoinMoin incorrect script_name and path_info. It usually happens when using the Apache Location directive, with a wiki in an arbitary path:

<Location /farm/mywiki>

This will not work, because its not clear what is the script name, since with location setup, there is no real script.

To solve this problem, use a PythonOption directive:

<Location /farm/mywiki>
    # Location value must match the Apache Location value!
    PythonOption Location /farm/mywiki
  • (!) New in release 1.3.5

Configuring root wiki

You may wish to have your wiki appearing at the root of your webserver - for example so that will map to your wiki rather than having to use This requires a slightly different form of configuration using mod_rewrite - this is a standard module of recent Apache distributions, and is often enabled by default.

You need to set up your wiki instance as described above, and also copy from the Moin installation directory to the wiki instance directory (/var/www/moin/mywiki in these examples).

The Apache configuration needs mod_rewrite enabled - so the line

LoadModule rewrite_module modules/

should appear in the first part of the httpd.conf configuration file.

The wiki and virtual host configuration sould look like this:-

<VirtualHost *:80>
  DocumentRoot /var/www/html
  Alias /wiki/ "/usr/share/moin/htdocs/"

  # Rewrite urls
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteLogLevel 0
  # map /wiki static files to Moin htdocs
  RewriteRule ^/wiki/(.*)$ /usr/share/moin/htdocs/$1 [last]
  RewriteRule ^/robots.txt$ /usr/share/moin/htdocs/robots.txt [last]
  RewriteRule ^/favicon.ico$ /usr/share/moin/htdocs/favicon.ico [last]
  # map everything else to server script
  RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /var/www/moin/mywiki/$1

  <Directory "/var/www/moin/testwiki">
    # Modpy stuff
    AddHandler python-program .py
    # Add the path to the wiki directory, where
    # and are located.
    PythonPath "['/var/www/moin/mywiki'] + sys.path"
    PythonHandler moinmodpy

Apache should be restarted, and the FrontPage of mywiki should now appear at

Other ways of handling root level wikis with Apache are detailed in the appropriately named HelpOnConfiguration/ApacheVoodoo.

Older mod_python versions

mod_python versions 2.7.10, 3.0.4 and 3.1.2b have a bug in apache.resolve_object. This bug was reported to the mod_python maintainers and has been fixed in the 3.1.3 release. The best fix for this is to update to the current release. However if you are unable to do this there are 2 possible solutions:

Use a wrapper script

MoinMoin come with a wrapper script, and this could be used by changing the PythonPath and PythonHandler directives as shown in the moinmodpy.htaccess file. The wrapper was named in MoinMoin 1.2.

Fix mod_python

mod_python has a small resolver bug in versions 2.7.10, 3.0.4 and 3.1.2b. The method resolve_object in mod_python/ checks the wrong object, and so the lookup for fails.

To fix it you need to change the method resolve_object (around line 551 for mod_python 3.1.2b) from

        if silent and not hasattr(module, obj_str):
            return None


        if silent and not hasattr(obj, obj_str):
            return None


Page access gives apache error::

  • PythonHandler OSError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'data/user' This appears to be caused by you not having an absolute path for data_dir in There are several other lines of error traceback preceding this one in the apache error log. Fix the path in

Setup using Twisted

Using MoinMoin with Twisted

Twisted is a standalone python framework for many kinds of applications. For MoinMoin, we use Twisted as a python web server that just imports MoinMoin persistently.

This has the advantage that the Python interpreter and all Python scripts (including Twisted itself and also MoinMoin) is only loaded and initialized one time, and that data can be cached in memory from request to request, enhancing the performance of MoinMoin.

Another advantage is that this is all based on Python. ;)

First do ../BasicInstallation and ../WikiInstanceCreation.

Install Twisted

First, install Twisted (see URL above). Many Linux distributions have Twisted packages. Please refer to the documentation of Twisted for installation information.

Configuring the Twisted server

Copy the file wiki/server/ to your wiki directory. Edit and adapt the settings to your needs.

System path configuration

If you did a standard install, and you are not a developer, you probably want to skip this section. Otherwise, you might want to add the path to moin and config file, like that:

sys.path.insert(0, '/path/to/moin')
sys.path.insert(0, '/path/to/wikiconfig')

Config class options

If you did a standard install, the default options might be just what you need. Check and change what you like:






Path to moin shared files



If you run as root, the server will run as this user



If you run as root, the server will run as this group



Port to serve. To serve a privileged port below 1024 you will have to run as root



A list of interfaces the server will listen to. If the list contains the entry '' (like for the default configuration), all other entries are ignored and the server will listen to all interfaces.



Log file.


commented python code

Useful only if you are a moin developer.


The sample config file should be just fine.






You should not change this, or images and css file will not be available to the wiki!

Starting the server on Unix

On GNU/Linux, Mac OS X or another POSIX-like OS, copy wiki/server/mointwisted to your wiki directory. You might want to adapt PYTHONPATH and the path to twistd.

Start the server with ./mointwisted start and test your wiki at http://localhost:8080/. Stop the server with ./mointwisted stop.

For more options run ./mointwisted without arguments.

Starting the server on Windows

Copy wiki/server/mointwisted.cmd to your wiki directory. You might have to change the path pointing to the python-scripts directory.

Double click mointwisted.cmd to start the server. It will create a new terminal window. To stop the server, close the terminal window.

Linux Installation using standalone server

Installing and configuring standalone server

See also: HelpOnConfiguration/IntegratingWithApache

The standalone server is especially made for local wikis because it does not need a web server installed. Only Python and Moin are necessary!

To install and run the standalone server:

  1. If MoinMoin is not installed yet, perform ../BasicInstallation

  2. Create a wiki instance as described in ../WikiInstanceCreation

  3. Copy to your wiki directory, where your is

  4. If you installed with --prefix option, you must edit and set docs to the correct path.

  5. Run

  6. Access your wiki at http://localhost:8000/

On most cases, the default settings will be just fine. You many want to edit and change some of the options, as described in the next section.


System path configuration

If you did a standard install, and you are not a developer, you probably want to skip this section. If not, you might want to add the path to moin and config file, like that:

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/path/to/moin')
sys.path.insert(0, '/path/to/wikiconfig')

Config class options






Server name, used by default for log and pid files. (!) New in 1.5



Path to moin shared files. If you used --prefix install, the default path will not work, and you must set the path to 'PREFIX/share/moin/wiki/htdocs'.



If you run as root, the server will run with as this user



If you run as root, the server will run with as this group



Port to serve. To serve privileged port under 1024 you will have to run as root



The interface the server will listen to. The default will listen only to localhost. Set to '' to listen to all.


name + '.log'

Log file. Default is commented.


'ThreadPoolServer', 'ThreadingServer', 'ForkingServer', 'SimpleServer', 'SecureThreadPoolServer'

The server type to use, see the comments in the The default is 'ThreadPoolServer', which create a pool of threads and reuse them for new connections. (!) New in 1.3.5



How many threads to create. (!) New in 1.3.5



The count of socket connection requests that are buffered by the operating system. (!) New in 1.3.5



allow overriding any request property by setting the value in this dict e.g properties = {'script_name': '/mywiki'}. (!) New in 1.5



If using the SecureThreadPoolServer, this must point to the server's private key (!) New in 1.6



If using the SecureThreadPoolServer, this must point to the server's certificate (!) New in 1.6

  • (!) There may be more options useful to moin developers, see the comments in

Using the secure standalone server

(!) New in 1.6

The standalone server supports SSL when using the SecureThreadPoolServer server class. The SSL support is provided by the TLSLite library. All wiki traffic is forced to SSL when using the SecureThreadPoolServer.

Two additional configuration options are required when using the SecureThreadPoolServer. First, ssl_privkey must point to the server's private key. Second, ssl_certificate must point to the server's certificate.

/!\ TLSLite does not support a password protected private key unless additional libraries are used. Consult the TLSLite webpage for more information.

Typically a certificate would be purchased from an certificate authority, such as Thawte ( However, since the suggested usage of the standalone server is for personal use, a self signed certificate may be appropriate. For more information on how to generate a server private key, and a self signed certificate, see the openssl HOWTO pages.

For example, to create the server's private key, run the following:

openssl genrsa -out privkey.pem 2048

To create a self signed certificate for the newly created private key, run the following:

openssl req -new -x509 -key privkey.pem -out cacert.pem -days 1095 then needs to be told about the generated files privkey.pem and cacert.pem. For the example above, the following lines would need to be added to

    ssl_privkey = "/secure/path/to/privkey.pem"
    ssl_certificate = "/secure/path/to/cacert.pem"

/!\ Using a self signed certificate will cause your browser to generate a warning that it cannot verify the identify of the wiki server. This is because the certificate was not signed by a recognized certificate authority (CA). In order to get rid of this warning, you must purchase a certificate from a CA.


The sample config file should be just fine.






You should not change this, or images and css file will not be available to the wiki!

Starting the server

Run from the command line:

$ ./
Serving on localhost:8000

Test your wiki at http://localhost:8000/

On Windows, you can double click to start the server. A new terminal window will be opened. Close the window or press Control + Pause to stop the server.

On Unix, interrupt the server with Control + C in order to shut it down.

Serving port 80 on Unix

On GNU/Linux, Mac OS X or other Posix like OS, you can serve the standard port 80 used for web serving, but you must run as root for this.

Set port to 80, and verify that user and group exists on your system. If not, set them to an existing user, meant for web serving. If needed, chown your wiki dir to this user and group.

Run as root:

$ sudo
Serving on localhost:8000
Running as uid/gid 70/70

Test your wiki at http://localhost/

Running as daemon

If run on Unix, you can run as a background process:

  1. Have a working as explained above

  2. Copy the file prefix/share/moin/server/moin to your wiki directory.

  3. Start moin server:

./moin start

To stop the server:

./moin stop

For more info run moin with no arguments.

If you want to start moin from a system startup script, you may need to add the path to in the top of the script:

# Add the path to directory 
import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/path/to/moin')
  • (!) New in release 1.5

Mac OS X Installation using Apache

You must not be afraid to use the terminal. It is possible but much harder to install without using the terminal.

There are 2 step in the installation:

  1. Install the MoinMoin engine - once

  2. Create wiki instance. You can create and serve as many wikis as you like.

Installing MoinMoin


Download the source on the Desktop. You should see a moin-1.3.tar.gz file. Extract this file on the desktop with Stuffit Expander, or from the terminal (faster and safer):

cd ~/Desktop
tar -xzf moin-1.3.0.tar.gz

Install procedure

Use these commands in the terminal to install the MoinMoin wiki engine into the system.

First, open a shell as root. You will need this to install MoinMoin and configure the wiki. When asked, enter your password.

sudo -s
... password:

Now you have root privileges in this shell.


cd moin-1.3.0
python install --install-data='/usr/local'
  • (!) The --install-data='/usr/local' will put the shared data in the convenient '/usr/local/share/moin' folder. If you don't use it, your shared data will be at '/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/share/moin'. On Mac OS X, '/usr' belong to Apple, and it is safer to install in '/usr/local'.

    (!) The default Python used by Apache is the framework one supplied by Apple. If you have added another Python version such as through DarwinPorts or Fink, then you should substitute "/usr/bin/python" for "python" above or you should substitute the specific path for the Python that will be used by Apache.

Now the installation is finished. You will not have to repeat this step unless you upgrade moin.

Optional Installs


If you want your wiki to support RSS and Mozilla Firefox Live Bookmarks features, you have to install PyXML. Get PyXML from and install according to the instructions.

Creating a wiki

After you have installed the software, you need to create a wiki. You may create several wikis if you need.

Copying a template wiki

Copy a template wiki from the /usr/local/share/moin. Do not try to run the wiki from /usr/local/share/moin/data because your wiki will be overwritten when you install a new version of moin.

  • <!> Security warning: do not put your wiki folder where the web server can access it! Your wiki should not be at the "Sites" folder in your home folder.

The following instructions will create a wiki called "mywiki". You can choose any name you like, except the reserved name "wiki".

Do these commands:

cd /usr/local/share/moin
mkdir mywiki
cp -r data mywiki
cp -r underlay mywiki
cp server/moin.cgi mywiki
cp config/ mywiki

Setting Permissions

You have to make the web server the owner of the files in your wiki. Unless you changed the default configuration, both are 'www'.

chown -R www:www mywiki
chmod -R ug+rwX mywiki
chmod -R o-rwx mywiki

Configure Apache

We'll use the pico editor:

pico /etc/httpd/httpd.conf

Go to the end of the Aliases section and edit like the example below:

    Alias /wiki/ "/usr/local/share/moin/htdocs/"      
    ScriptAlias /mywiki "/usr/local/share/moin/mywiki/moin.cgi"       

Use Control+O to save the file and Control+X to exit pico.

Restart Apache - open System Preferences, go to the Sharing page, select "Personal Web Sharing" and click "Stop" then "Start". Or just type this instead:

apachectl graceful
... /usr/sbin/apachectl graceful: httpd gracefully restarted

Instance creation finished - exit from the shell with the root privileges - working as root is dangerous.


Now you are running again safely.

Testing Your New Wiki

In a web-browser surf to the site: http://localhost/mywiki

You should see the FrontPage of your new wiki.

Now run the unit tests, to make sure everything is fine. Go to this address: http://localhost/mywiki?action=test

You should see a report on the wiki and tests results for the MoinMoin engine. If some of the tests fail, please report the problem on MoinMoinBugs.

Configuring Your wiki

The wiki you created is a new "Untitled Wiki", using the default configuration. You want to give a better name and setup some configuration values. Open and read the comments. You can edit the file with any text editor, like pico, emacs, or BBEdit.

  • (!) Note that the file belongs to user and group www:www. You can edit the file as root, or change the group of the file to yourself with chown www:username

For more help on configuration, see HelpOnConfiguration.

Windows Installation using Apache



Before you install MoinMoin, you must have the necessary infrastructure in place. This procedure explains the steps necessary to install the infrastructure and provides detailed instructions for the installation of MoinMoin.

Downloading and installing all of the required components will require almost 100 MB of disk space - shouldn't be a problem nowadays, right?

Many users prefer to install software products in a folder other than the installation default. Python typically changes the default installation folder name with each point release, and Apache has changed the default installation folder name with the release of version 2. Instead of enumerating all the possibilities at each step, this procedure will use the Reference name in the table below as the installed location for each product. Substitute your real installation location when editing configuration files and entering commands.



Installation Default or Typical Name



C:\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache2





wiki instances

C:\My Documents\Moin

This installation procedure was tested with Apache 1.3.26 and Apache 2.0.44 for Windows running on Windows ME, and using Python 2.3.


MSI Installer

Installation of Apache and one alternative distribution of Python require the Microsoft MSI Installer. The latest version, 2.0, was released in September of 2001. You will know you don't have the correct version if you receive errors after double-clicking on a file name ending in .msi. To get the latest version, go to, search for msi installer, and follow the instructions. There are two versions, one for Windows ME, 98, and 95; and another for Windows 2000 and NT. Windows XP has the 2.0 version and requires no update.

Installing Apache

To obtain the latest version of Apache, go to, and click on the link to HTTP Server. Find the link to download the Win32 Binary (MSI Installer) version. Read the Apache documentation to determine the correct installation procedure for your situation. Questions and problems with the Apache installation process should be resolved through use of the resources provided by the Apache organization. Be sure your webserver runs correctly before proceeding.

Warning: the procedure described above tends to trivialize the installation of the Apache web server. Apache can be installed and running on your PC in a very few minutes with only a cursory examination of the Apache documentation. Before you undertake the installation of any web server that can be accessed through the internet, you should exercise a controlled level of paranoia and assess the potential damage that may be caused by hackers accessing or destroying sensitive data. This should include not only the all data which resides on the PC which will host the Apache web server, but all other PCs on the local LAN which participate in any form of file sharing.

Windows ME, 98SE, 98, 95, and probably NT should be considered inappropriate hosts for any Apache web server that can be accessed via the internet. Use either Windows 2000 or XP and install all security patches available for your operating system.

Do not let the above discourage you from installing MoinMoin. Most of the internet activity probing your system for weaknesses will be from virus infected Windows NT systems running IIS whose owners have neglected to apply available security patches. The starting Apache configuration is secure and you will not have a problem provided you:

  • Regularly review and apply security patches for your installed software.
  • Understand the ramifications of any changes you make to the Apache config files.
  • Regularly review the Apache logs for suspicious activity.
  • Regularly take backups of your data.

Installing Python

There are currently two different distributions of Python available for Windows. The normal Python distribution is available from This is distributed as a windows executable (.exe) file.

An alternative distribution called ActivePython is available from This distribution uses the MSI Installer and contains some tools specific to the Windows operating system and a popular Windows IDE called Pythonwin. ActivePython is available for free; an email address is requested (but not required) before downloading.

MoinMoin will work with either distribution, but requires Python release 2.3 or later. Download and install the distribution of your choice. Questions and problems dealing with the Python installation process should be resolved through the use of resources provided by or ActiveState. Be sure your Python installation is correct before proceeding.

Installing MoinMoin

Download the current version of MoinMoin from into C:\TEMP or an alternative location. To extract the .tar.gz-format archive, you may use WinZip.

You should then have a folder such as C:\TEMP\moin-x.x where "x.x" is the current release number. This folder will contain a file in addition to several other files and subfolders.

Open an MS-DOS or console window and enter the commands:

cd \TEMP\moin-x.x
C:\Python\python install --record=install.log

The above commands will add MoinMoin to your C:\Python installation and create an install.log file in C:\temp\moin-x.x listing all the copied files. You may use Windows Explorer to examine the newly created folders within C:\Python. You should find a C:\Python\share\moin folder. With Python 2.3 and later you will also find a C:\Python\Lib\site-packages\MoinMoin folder. The MoinMoin folder contains many Python scripts and several subfolders.

You are now ready to create a wiki instance.

Creating a Wiki Instance

It is a good practice to try to keep all of your personal or site specific data under a few root folders. This way you can easily backup your important data on a regular basis without having to waste time either backing up static files or picking out dozens of important folders scattered throughout your folder structure. You should avoid placing your wiki data under the C:\Python folder so that you can later upgrade Python or MoinMoin without accidentally overwriting or deleting your wiki data. For the same reason, you probably don't want to place your wiki data within the C:\Apache folder. The default personal folder under many Windows versions is called C:\My Documents.

Choose a location appropriate for you; the following instructions assume you will be creating one or more wiki instances in C:\Moin\ and the first wiki instance will be named mywiki.

You may replace the name mywiki with almost any name you wish, but do not use wiki because that is used by MoinMoin for loading standard images and style sheets. Although this can be changed later, the plan is that the name you choose for mywiki will become part of the url used to access your site, e.g.

Start an MS-DOS or console window and enter the commands below. This will create a clone of the MoinMoin wiki in the mywiki folder.

cd C:\ 
md Moin
md Moin\mywiki
md Moin\mywiki\data
md Moin\mywiki\underlay
cd \Python\share\moin
xcopy data        C:\Moin\mywiki\data /E
xcopy underlay    C:\Moin\mywiki\underlay /E
copy  config\*.* C:\Moin\mywiki\*.*
copy  server\*.* C:\Moin\mywiki\*.*

If your server is going to run multiple wikis, you need to create additional clones. Do the same commands again, but use mywiki2 instead of mywiki.

Edit C:\Moin\mywiki\ and at least change sitename to the name of your wiki:

    sitename = 'My Wiki'

Additionally, set data_dir and data_underlay_dir to the absolute paths of the particular directories. Like here:

    data_dir = r'C:\Moin\mywiki\data'
    data_underlay_dir = r'C:\Moin\mywiki\underlay'

For a personal or intranet installation, you'll normally also add this line to

    allowed_actions = ['DeletePage', 'AttachFile', 'RenamePage', ]

If you will not be running a Wiki farm (if you're not sure what this means, then you probably won't be), make sure to delete the file from the C:\Moin\mywiki directory, or else moin.cgi will most likely give off various errors (including one about not being able to find a configuration file) and will ultimately fail to start up properly.

Additional configuration details can be found in HelpOnConfiguration.

Integrating MoinMoin into Apache

Use your editor to edit the file C:\Moin\mywiki\moin.cgi. Change the first line (the shebang statement) to point to your local Python executable program. Note the forward slashes -- Apache uses the Unix convention for folder separators. This tells Apache the moin.cgi file is an executable script that will be interpreted by a program to be loaded from C:/Python/python.

#! C:/Python/python

After that, you may need to activate the lines which add a folder to the sys.path and enter your path to MoinMoin there if you have not installed MoinMoin to the site-packages dir:

   1 import sys
   2 sys.path.insert(0, r'C:\Moin\...')

The next step is to tell Apache that is has more work to do. Use your editor to append the following lines to C:\Apache\conf\httpd.conf. Note the presence and absence of trailing slashes, it is important to enter the lines exactly as shown below.

Alias       /wiki/     "C:/Python/share/moin/htdocs/"
ScriptAlias /mywiki    "C:/Moin/mywiki/moin.cgi"

The Alias lines for wiki above instructs Apache to serve images, style sheets, etc. from the specified folders and subfolders. The ScriptAlias line is needed once for each wiki instance, so if you have multiple wikis, repeat the statement using mywiki2, mywiki3, etc. The ScriptAlias statement instructs Apache to execute scripts from the specified folder. See the Apache docs for a complete explanation.

Test your changes by restarting your Apache server and try to access your newborn wiki with the URL You should see the FrontPage, try to edit and save it, and if that works, verify your edit is reflected on the RecentChanges page.

And now, it is up to you and your user community to transform your wiki into an informative and useful tool. You will probably want to retain most of the HelpOn~ pages dealing with editing, delete those pages with irrelevant information (like this page, don't let your users or boss know how easy it was to install MoinMoin ;) ), and rewrite the FrontPage to introduce your wiki topic.


The first place to look for clues when the unexpected happens is to try changing your url to: If Apache can find and execute the module C:/Moin/mywiki/moin.cgi, a page of diagnostics titled MoinMoin CGI Diagnosis will be displayed. Check the output for error messages.

The second place to look for is C:\Apache\logs\error.log. The following are common errors grouped by the message displayed by your browser.

Internal Server Error

If the Apache log shows a message "The system cannot find the file specified." then a possibility is the shebang statement in moin.cgi is incorrect.

If the Apache log shows a different error message, then the MoinMoin Python scripts may be abending. To determine the cause, you could try temporarily renaming moin.cgi to, loading with the Python idle IDE and executing it to determine if there are any error messages.

Not Found

If the Apache error log shows the message "File does not exist: C:/Apache/htdocs/mywiki", the ScriptAlias statement in httpd.conf may be incorrect.

The Page Cannot be found

If the Apache error log shows the message "File does not exist: C:/Apache/htdocs/????", you may have mistyped the url "" into your browser.

FrontPage Loads Without Icons

If the Apache Error log shows many error messages "File does not exist: C:/Apache/htdocs/wiki", then the Alias statement in httpd.conf may be incorrect.

Windows Installation using IIS



Before you install MoinMoin, make sure you have the necessary infra-structure in place, namely the Internet Information Services webserver (any version should be OK), and a Python installation (version 2.3 is required, the latest python release is recommended).

In the following description, we assume that you have installed or will install things to these locations:

  • IIS to its default location
  • C:\Python - the Python interpreter

  • C:\Moin - MoinMoin itself

Quite often, you might want to install things elsewhere, which is no problem at all; you just have to adapt any paths that appear in a command or config file to the locations you have chosen.

This installation procedure was tested with IIS 5.1 for Windows running on Windows XP SP2, using Python 2.4.


Installing IIS

From Microsoft: (

  • To install IIS, add components, or remove components: Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel and start the Add/Remove Programs application. Select Configure Windows, click the Components button, and then follow the on-screen instructions to install, remove, or add components to IIS.

Make sure that your webserver runs without problems before you start to install MoinMoin; problems with your webserver installation are not in the scope of this document.

Installing Python

Download Python 2.3.4 and install it. Python installation is done via a standard Windows installer program.

Alternatively, you may download the ActivePython distribution as a Microsoft Installer package.

Installing MoinMoin

Before creating a wiki instance, you have to download and install the basic MoinMoin software. We assume you already have downloaded the distribution archive to the "C:\TEMP" directory.

Open a console window and enter the following commands:

cd \temp
cd moin-1.3
python install --prefix=C:\Moin --record=install.log
  • /!\ TODO: fix instructions for .tar.gz format used by recent moin versions.

This will install all necessary files to the "C:\Moin" directory, and create a "install.log" file listing all the files that are created there.

Creating a Wiki Instance

Enter these commands in a console window from C:\Moin:

md mywiki
md mywiki\data
md mywiki\underlay
xcopy share\moin\data mywiki\data /E
xcopy share\moin\underlay mywiki\underlay /E
copy share\moin\server\moin.cgi mywiki\
copy share\moin\config\ mywiki\
copy share\moin\htdocs\index.html mywiki\default.htm

"mywiki" is the name of your wiki instance, you might want to chose a different name best fitting the intended use of this instance; just don't name it simply "wiki", because that would result in confusion and problems later on.

We have to make sure that moin.cgi can find the MoinMoin directory, so that "import MoinMoin" will work. The easiest way to make sure MoinMoin can be imported is to append to sys.path within moin.cgi.

You can change the first two lines of code in moin.cgi to something like this:

   1 #!python
   2 import sys
   3 sys.path.append('C:/Moin/Lib/site-packages')

Notice that we're pointing to the directory which contains the MoinMoin directory, not the directory itself.

Next, you'll need to create two virtual directories in IIS. One for the shared data, and one for this specific wiki instance.

Go to Control Panel => Administrative Tools => Internet Information Service. Open up the tree to Default Web Site.

Right click on Default Web Site and choose New => Virtual directory. This will bring up a wizard with the mandatory useless first screen, hit next. Enter "wiki" for the alias name and hit next. Browse to "C:\Moin\share\moin\htdocs" and hit next. Leave the Access permissions at their defaults and hit next. And now you're done, hit finish!

Now follow the same steps, but set the alias to "mywiki" and the path to "C:\Moin\mywiki".

Use IIS Admin to remove permissions to read the data directory: expand the "mywiki" node, right click on data, select Properties, and uncheck Read. Repeat these steps with the underlay directory.

Now you need to setup the 'mywiki' alias so that it will run Python to interpret .cgi files. On Windows Server 2003, you will need to click the Create button under Application Settings to create an application space. Right click on your new 'mywiki' alias and choose Properties. On the first tab (Virtual Directory), click the Configuration button. The first tab is the App Mappings tab, which defines which programs to use for each file exetension. Click Add. Browse to your python.exe (probably something like c:\pythonXX\python.exe). Then add -u "%s" "%s" after the Python executable path. The Executable line will look something like this: "C:\Python22\python.exe" -u "%s" "%s". In the Extension box enter .cgi with the begining period. Make sure that the Check that file exists option is not checked (if it is, MoinMoin won't be able to display sub pages). Ok, you're done with the alias configuration, click OK several times to get back out of all the dialog boxes.

If you add another wiki instance, you'll only need to setup the reference to its folder, they can safely share the "wiki" alias which points to static files only.

That is all, try to access your new-born wiki with the URL "". You should see the FrontPage, try to edit and save it, and if that works, see if your edit is reflected on the RecentChanges page.

Finally, edit "" and at least change "sitename" and "logo_string" to some personal values:

sitename = u'My Wiki'
logo_string = u'<img src="/mywiki/images/mywiki-logo.gif" alt="MyWiki Logo">My Wiki'

Where "images" is a directory under your "mywiki" instance.

NOTE: The configuration variable "url_prefix" in "" should match the alias for "C:\Moin\share\moin\htdocs" or themes will not work ("/wiki" for the instructions above). This way, any reference in "" to "/wiki/something" will look in the shared data directory and a reference to "/mywiki/something" will look in the wiki instance directory. These are considered absolute paths because relative paths will not work correctly.

Since MoinMoin 1.3.5, it seems you need to change the Custom Errors setting for 404 before you can create new pages. You can accomplish this by performing the following steps:

  1. Go into the IIS Manager, right-click on 'mywiki' (or whatever your wiki instance directory is called), and select properties.
  2. Next, go to the Custom Errors tab and find the 404 entry, and click the Set to Default button.

IIS 6.0 (Windows Server 2003)

The instructions below also apply to IIS 6.0 but the more aggressive security settings in newer version of IIS disallow the usage of unknown CGI extensions. That means you will always get a 404 error unless you do this:

  1. Open IIS Manager by going to Start Menu->Programs->Administrative Tools->IIS Manager.

  2. Go to the Web Service Extensions folder.

  3. Under the Action menu, select Add a new Web service extension....

  4. For Extension name, give it a name such as .cgi or Python cgi or something.

  5. Under Required files click the Add... button and type in the exact command-line string you used above. Eg: c:\python24\python.exe -u "%s" "%s", then click the Ok button.

  6. Make sure the Set extension status to Allowed checkbox is checked and click the Ok button.

Another change that may be necessary if you are receiving HTTP Error 403 19 1314 while using IIS 6.0 is to adjust the Identity settings for the Application Pool that is being used by your site. The following steps assume you are adjusting the Default Web Site.

  1. Open IIS Manager by going to Start Menu->Programs->Administrative Tools->IIS Manager.

  2. Go to the Application Pool folder.

  3. Select the Application Pool you wish to adjust. (likely DefaultAppPool ) When you do this on the right you will see the Application pools for each site on the server. This will include a Description (likely Default Application )and a Path (<Default Web Site>). In this way you can be certain you are adjusting the appropriate Application Pool.

  4. With DefaultAppPool still selected right click and select Properties.

  5. Select the Identity tab and with Predefined clicked use the drop down box to change the Identity to Local System instead of Network Service.

    Please be aware that this is a workaround since you SHOULD set your group settings to allow Network Service to access the cgi scripts.

Under Windows Server 2003, you will also need to give your IUSR_MACHINENAME account Modify access to the mywiki\data and mywiki\underlay sub-directories, as file system permissions are more restricted by default than previous Windows versions.


If you see an error like "ImportError: No module named MoinMoin", it means that python cannot find MoinMoin. See above for how to add to sys.path.

If you see an error like Error 13: Permission Denied, it means that your web user permissions for the files do not have write/modify enabled.

If the page never loads after hitting Save Changes, you should check the permissions of the data directory. Make sure the IUSR_COMPUTERNAME user has modify permissions.

If some images like InterWiki and WorldWideWeb don't show up, it could have been because of incorrect permissions or a bad "url_prefix" in "" or the cached pages need to be updated by an Edit or deleting them in the data folder. Or you are using MS IE which has broken CSS :before support - try another browser.

If you see an error message like:

Check your URL regular expressions in the "wikis" list in "". Content-type: text/html;charset=utf-8
MoinMoin Configuration Error
Could not find a match for url: "servername/wikiname/moin.cgi?
Check your URL regular expressions in the "wikis" list in "".

and you don't intend on using a serverfarm, remove the and farmconfig.pyc files and try again. The error message shouldn't appear when you refresh the page.

If you are using URLScan, you might have to add the following setting in the file %SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\urlscan\urlscan.ini:



How to deal with common errors

First follow the instructions

Moin has provided instructions for common usage. Try creating a wiki using the default values within the instructions. Your wiki would then be stored where ours is, and named mywiki ... but you can change that place, and this name, AFTER you have a working wiki. The default values have been chosen carefully to work for most people on most platforms, or at least be a good start.

  • First follow the instructions
  • Do not change any configuration option unless you must.
  • Play with a working wiki before you try to customize it.

Change one thing at a time

When your wiki is running, go and customize it to your needs, but remember to change only one option at a time. You probably don't fully understand how all options work, and if you go and break few things in the same step, you will have hard time to fix it.

Check That Your Webserver Can Use Python

This is also in HelpOnInstalling/BasicInstallation. Use this script:

echo Content-Type: text/plain
echo "Your web server is running as:"
echo "CGI scripts work"
echo "Now we try to invoke Python interpreters and get their versions:"
python -V 2>&1
python2.3 -V 2>&1
python2.4 -V 2>&1
echo "Finished."

to see if you can get it to announce that cgi works. Then you will also know which versions of python are usable. This is especially handy for users with no root access.

Built-in test

There's a built-in diagnostic mode that's useful when doing an install; just append "?action=test" to the URL of your wiki:

lynx --dump http://`hostname`/mywiki?action=test

If you see an import error here, but

python -c "import MoinMoin"

works, it's likely a result of missing file permissions or a wrong PYTHONPATH setting within the web server environment.

Duelling Pythons

The most common problem you might encounter is when you have an old Python version installed into "/usr", and a newer Python distribution into "/usr/local"; this is typical for GNU/Linux distributions that still come bundled with an old Python version.

In that case, if you enter "python" on your prompt, you will usually get the more recent Python interpreter, because "/usr/local/bin" is in your PATH. The situation is different in your webserver environment, and thus you might have to change the bang path of "moin.cgi", like this:


    MoinMoin - CGI Driver Script
  • Debian stable users might want to look for backport of newer Python, or download and build Python from source.
  • When installing, make sure you install with the version of python you want to run moin with. python install will install with the first python in the path, which may be the version you expect or not! /usr/local/bin/python2.4 will install in specific python. You will have to use the same path in the moin server script.

Missing file permissions

If you are root, the installed files may be readable only by root, but they must also be readable by the web server before the wiki will work. This includes both the Python modules and the site itself. For the data directory, the wiki engine also needs write access. To fix this, first find out where the Python module directory is; look in install.log, or run the command:

python -c "import sys; print '%s/lib/python%s/site-packages' % ( sys.prefix, sys.version[:3] )"

For the example below, we'll assume that the Python module directory is /usr/local/lib/python2.3/site-packages. Make the files world-readable using the following commands:

cd /usr/local
chmod -R a+rX lib/python2.3/site-packages/MoinMoin

Set Your Variables Carefully

Be especially careful when you retype instead of cut and paste. Quoting errors in can cause things to fail. The following items are also variable issues. Also, some features only work if they are enabled by their option in either or

moin.cgi found, Moin doesn't run

If you have to add the moin code location into the system path, make sure to specify the place above MoinMoin itself, so that the word MoinMoin is recognized during the import request.

CSS files do not work

Very common error is missing CSS styles. Your wiki look bare and ugly, unlike this nice wiki. In most cases, you did broke the configuration by not reading the instructions, or by trying to customize the instructions because you are smarter then us. :-)

The fix is very easy: make sure your Apache Alias and ScriptAlias are NOT the same. This Apache setup will never work:

Alias /wiki/ "/prefix/share/moin/htdocs/"
ScriptAlias /wiki/ "/var/www/wiki/moin.cgi"

Alias is used to server static files: css, images etc. ScriptAlias is used to hide moin.cgi from the url. You must use different values! You can use anything you like for ScriptAlias, or Alias, but Alias must match the url_prefix configuration option. Here is an example that works (the default):

# Apache config
Alias /wiki/ "/prefix/share/moin/htdocs/"

# Wiki config
    url_prefix = '/wiki'

BradsWiki: MoinMoin/InstallDocs (last modified 2006-06-30 07:21:42)