Cheap MediaWiki 1.37.1 Hosting Recommendation
MediaWiki is free server-based software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It’s designed to be run on a large server farm for a website that gets millions of hits per day.
A Wiki is a web application that allows users to create and edit web page content using a web browser. The term wiki also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website. Mediawiki is a wiki software package licensed under the GNU General Public License, making it free and open source software. This Mediawiki software is used to run the popular web encyclopaedia Wikipedia, besides all projects of Wikimedia, wikis hosted by Wikia, and many other wikis.
What is MediaWiki Used for?
Collaborative wiki software has revamped how we as Internet users approach content on the Internet. Whereas previous content was bundled into either static information added by a webmaster or a discussion board-like format, wikis allow any user to contribute their knowledge to the entirety of the Internet.
Here on campus, Kennesaw State University uses Mediawiki, which is the web software behind Wikipedia. When thinking about a particular project and the role a wiki can have in it, please consider that wikis can be beneficial in some areas and detrimental in others.
Beneficial areas for wikis include:
- Course-collaborative data or research – Wikis allow for grouping and organization of data into categories and topics and allow each page to be editable by any of the permissable users.
- Department-specific tasks or guidelines – Guidelines or tasks allow for guidelines to be always up-to-date, being updatable by any employee who accesses the page.
- Project Details – Wikis provide a central area for users to update information, meeting details, tasks, and knowledge regarding departmental projects.
Detrimental areas for wikis include:
- Message boards – Message boards do not naturally fit in a wiki system, as any message or shared item can be edited or removed by another user.
- Sharing portals – As with message boards, shared items can be edited by any user after posting.
- Public facing site – As all wikis hosted on campus are authenticated through netID, the wiki pages are not readable by non-authenticated users.
- File hosting – Wikis are not acceptable sites for hosting files such as video, images, and documents.
- MediaWiki now has limited support for JPEG2000 files.
Action API changes
- (T280806) The API methods for fetching tokens which were deprecated in MediaWiki 1.24 have been removed. action=query&meta=tokens&type= should be used instead. Please note, some token types no longer exist, and you should just use type=csrf for those instead.
- action=query&prop=info&intoken -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=csrf
- action=tokens&type= -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=
- action=query&list=recentchanges&rctoken -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=csrf
- action=query&prop=revisions&rvtoken=rollback -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=rollback
- action=query&meta=userinfo&uiprop=preferencestoken -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=csrf
- action=query&list=users&ustoken=userrights -> action=query&meta=tokens&type=userrights
- (T242768) The PasswordCannotMatchUsername password policy has been removed, please use PasswordCannotBeSubstringInUsername instead. If you have not customized your password policies, there will be nothing to do here.
- $wgBrowserFormatDetection – This setting allows the enabling or disabling of automatic detection of possible phone numbers in a webpage in iOS Safari.
- $wgParserEnableLegacyMediaDOM – This setting defaults to true, and enables the legacy media HTML structure in the output from the Parser. The alternative modern HTML structure for media is described at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Parsing/Media_structure. In a future release of MediaWiki, this option will default to false, so it’s a good idea to test this setting on your wiki early and report any issues.
- $wgContentHandlerTextFallback – This migration setting, which defines how to react if a plain text version of a non-text Content object is requested using ContentHandler::getContentText(), is deprecated.
- $wgActions – This setting lets sysadmins override which actions can be used. It has been re-worked to support injecting dependencies into Action sub-classes as part of wider work on dependency injection. Previously, $wgActions was an array where the keys were the names of actions, and the values had the following impacts (for a given key ‘Foo’):
- `true`: use the class ‘FooAction’ unless for a specific page WikiPage::getActionOverrides() wants to override that action
- a string: use the class with that name, and do not allow over-riding on a per-page basis
- `false`: the action is disabled
- a callable: use the Action instance returned by invoking that callback, and do not allow overriding on a per-page basis
- an object: use that specific Action instance, and do not allow overriding on a per-page basis.
As part of T253078, values can now be arrays that are not callables, which are treated as ObjectFactory specs, allowing for services to be injected. Additionally, the distinction between values that allow per-page overrides and those that do not be removed – all actions can now be overridden on a per-page basis using WikiPage::getActionOverrides().
- $wgShellboxUrl – This setting, new in 1.36 to configure the novel Shellbox encapsulation system, is now deprecated; use $wgShellboxUrls as a mapping of service => URL instead.
- $wgIncludejQueryMigrate – This setting, introduced in 1.29 to on whether to provide a migration layer for jQuery, has now switched its default value from true to false. This may break gadgets that depended on methods that were removed in jQuery 3 in 2017. See T280944 for more information.
- A number of settings have been renamed. The former configuration variable names are deprecated, but will be used as the fallback if they are still set, and remain temporarily available for extensions which might try to read them:
- $wgFileBlacklist is now $wgProhibitedFileExtensions
- $wgMimeTypeBlacklist is now $wgMimeTypeExclusions
- $wgEnableUserEmailBlacklist is now $wgEnableUserEmailMuteList
- $wgShortPagesNamespaceBlacklist is now $wgShortPagesNamespaceExclusions
- $wgFragmentMode – This setting, which determines the encoding of section IDs, has now switched its default value from legacy-first to html5-first: both the HTML5 anchor and the legacy percent-encoding-style anchor will still be generated for section titles, but references to them will use the HTML5 version, resulting in human-readable fragments.
- (T274695) $wgAjaxEditStash, deprecated in 1.36.
- $wgShowDBErrorBacktrace, deprecated and non-functional since 1.32.
- $wgShowSQLErrors, deprecated and non-functional since 1.32.
- $wgLangObjCacheSize, without deprecation; the LanguageFactory service now always retains at most 10 objects in its LRU-cache.
- $wgDjvuToXML, without deprecation; the tool it enables is obsolete and abandoned upstream. Use $wgDjvuDump to use that tool instead.
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How to Choose Cheap MediaWiki 1.37.1 Hosting Recommendation?
Reliability and Speed of Access
Not only should the web host be reliable and fast, it should guarantee its uptime (the time when it is functional). Look for a minimum uptime of 99%. In fact, even 99% is actually too low — it really should be 99.5% or higher. The host should provide some sort of refund (eg prorated refund or discount) if it falls below that figure. Note though that guarantees are often hard to enforce from your end — especially if the host denies there was any downtime. However, without that guarantee, the web host will have little incentive to ensure that its servers are running all the time.
Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth)
Data transfer (sometimes loosely referred to as “traffic” or “bandwidth”) is the amount of bytes transferred from your site to visitors when they browse your site.
Don’t believe any commercial web host that advertises “unlimited bandwidth”. The host has to pay for the bandwidth, and if you consume a lot of it, they will not silently bear your costs. Many high bandwidth websites have found this out the hard way when they suddenly receive an exorbitant bill for having “exceeded” the “unlimited bandwidth”. Always look for details on how much traffic the package allows. I personally always stay clear of any host that advertises “unlimited transfer”, even if the exact amount is specified somewhere else (sometimes buried in their policy statements). Usually you will find that they redefine “unlimited” to be limited in some way.
In addition, while bandwidth provided is something you should always check, do not be unduly swayed by promises of incredibly huge amounts of bandwidth. Chances are that your website will never be able to use that amount because it will hit other limits, namely resource limits.
To give you a rough idea of the typical traffic requirements of a website, most new sites that don’t provide video or music on their site use less than 3 GB of bandwidth per month. Your traffic requirements will grow over time, as your site becomes more well-known, so you will need to also check their policy when you exceed your data transfer limit: is there a published charge per GB over the allowed bandwidth? Is the charge made according to actual usage or are you expected to pre-pay for a potential overage? It is better not to go for hosts that expect you to prepay for overages, since it is very hard to forsee when your site will exceed its bandwidth and by how much.
For the same reason as bandwidth, watch out also for those “unlimited disk space” schemes. Many new sites (that don’t host videos or music) need less than 20 MB of web space, so even if you are provided with a host that tempts you with 100 GB (or “unlimited space”), be aware that you are unlikely to use that space, so don’t let the 100 GB space be too big a factor in your consideration when comparing with other web hosts. The hosting company is also aware of that, which is why they feel free to offer you that as a means of enticing you to host there.
Does its technical support function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (often abbreviated 24/7), all year around? Note that I will not accept a host which does not have staff working on weekends or public holidays. You will be surprised at how often things go wrong at the most inconvenient of times. Incidentally, just because a host advertises that it has 24/7 support does not necessarily mean that it really has that kind of support. Test them out by emailing at midnight and on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings, etc. Check out how long they take to respond. Besides speed of responses, check to see if they are technically competent. You wouldn’t want to sign up with a host that is run by a bunch of salesmen who only know how to sell and not fix problems.
Email, Autoresponders, POP3, Mail Forwarding
If you have your own site, you will probably want to have email addresses at your own domain, like firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. Does the host allow you to set up whatever email addresses you want on your domain, so that mail can be forwarded to your current email address, or placed into a mail box on your web hosting account itself? Can you set an email address to automatically reply to the sender with a preset message (called an autoresponder)? Can you retrieve your mail with your email software?
This is called various names by different hosts, but essentially, they all allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account. I will not sign up with a host where I have to go through their technical support each time I want to change a password or add/delete an email account. Such tasks are common maintenance chores that every webmaster performs time and time again, and it would be a great hassle if you had to wait for their technical support to make the changes for you.
Web Server and Operating System
Is the type of operating system and server important?
In general, most people will want to sign up for a web host offering a Unix-based system (like Linux, FreeBSD or OpenBSD) and running the Apache web server. Most web-based software assume your website is running on such a system, and you will usually experience fewer compatibility issues with it. There are also a lot of guides available on the Internet on configuring such systems, so finding help when you need it is easier as well.
In my opinion, the only time when you will want to use a Windows server is if you’re running Windows-specific programs, like ASP scripts. But even then, you’ll probably be better off looking for a PHP-equivalent, and using a Unix-based system.
I was actually hesitant to list this, but I guess it’s futile not to. However, I would caution that while price is always a factor, you should realise (“realize” in US English) that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best.
Monthly/Quarterly/Annual Payment Plans
Most web hosts allow you to select an annual payment plan that gives you a cheaper rate than if you were to pay monthly. My current personal preference is to pay monthly with all new web hosts until I’m assured of their reliability and honesty. Paying monthly allows me to switch web hosts quickly when I find that the current host does not meet my requirements: this way, I’m not tied down to a bad web host because I have prepaid for an entire year. I do this even if the new web host guarantees that they will refund the balance if I’m dissatisfied, since at the point I sign up, I have no assurance that they will honour their guarantee. Later (usually after a couple of years), when I’m satisfied with the host, I may change payment plans to the discounted annual plans.
Not all hosting companies own or lease their own web servers. Some of them are actually resellers for some other hosting company. The disadvantage of using a reseller is the possibility that you are dealing with people who don’t know much about the system they are selling and who take longer to help you (they have to transmit your technical support request to the actual hosting company for it to be acted upon). However, this also depends on both the reseller and the underlying hosting company. It is thus wise not to rule out all resellers; there are a number of reliable and fast ones who are actually quite good and cheap. In fact, a number of resellers sell the same packages cheaper than their original hosting company. If you find out that a particular company is a reseller, you will need to investigate both the reseller and the real hosting company.
If you don’t stay in the USA, you have the option of hosting your site with some local provider. The advantage here is the ease of dealing with them (they are after all easily accessible by phone call or a visit), your familiarity with the local laws and easy recourse to those laws should it be necessary. It should be your choice if your target audience is local (eg a local fast food delivery service). On the other hand, hosting it in USA has the advantage of faster access for what is probably the largest number of your overseas visitors (particularly if you have an English-speaking audience). You also have a large number of hosting companies to choose from, and as a result, cheaper prices too.