• This web contains the official documentation of the TWiki Release 01-Dec-2001, code named AthensRelease. It is a read-only web for reference.
• This release is deprecated, see TWiki-6.0 for the latest release.
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TWiki Installation Guide

Installation instructions for the TWiki 01-Sep-2001 production release


These installation steps are based on the Apache Web server on Linux. TWiki runs on other Web servers and Unix systems, and should be fine with any OS and server that meet the system requirements. Documentation for other platforms is currently limited. For Windows, check TWiki:Codev/TWikiOnWindows. Search the TWiki:Codev web for other intallation notes.

Standard Installation

Request and download the TWiki 01-Sep-2001 distribution in Unix ZIP format from http://TWiki.org/download.html. (To install TWiki on SourceForge, for use on a software development project, read TWiki:Codev/SourceForgeHowTo.)

Step 1: Create & Configure the Directories

NOTE: If you don't have access to your Web server configuration files - for example, if you're installing on an ISP-hosted account - use the alternative Step 1 instead.

  • Create directory /home/httpd/twiki and unzip the TWiki distribution into this directory.
  • The twiki/bin directory of TWiki must be set as a cgi-bin directory. Add /home/httpd/twiki/bin to file /etc/httpd/httpd.conf with only ExecCGI option.
  • The twiki/pub directory of TWiki must be set so that it is visible as a URL. Add /home/httpd/twiki to file httpd.conf with normal access options (copy from /home/httpd/html ).
  • Now add ScriptAlias for /twiki/bin and Alias for /twiki to file httpd.conf .
    NOTE: The ScriptAlias must come before the Alias, otherwise, Apache will fail to correctly set up /twiki/bin/, by treating it as just another subdirectory of the /twiki/ alias.

Example httpd.conf entries:
 ScriptAlias /twiki/bin/ "/home/httpd/twiki/bin/"
 Alias /twiki/ "/home/httpd/twiki/"
 <Directory "/home/httpd/twiki/bin">
    Options +ExecCGI
    SetHandler cgi-script
    AllowOverride all
    Allow from all
 <Directory "/home/httpd/twiki/pub">
    Options FollowSymLinks +Includes
    AllowOverride None
    Allow from all

  • Restart Apache by /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/S85httpd restart .
  • Test that the twiki/bin directory is CGI-enabled by trying visiting it in your browser:
    • Enter the URL for the bin directory, http://yourdomain.com/twiki/bin/.
    • Your settings are OK if you get a message like "Forbidden. You don't have permission to access /twiki/bin/ on this server".
    • Settings are NOT correct if you get something like "Index of /twiki/bin" - recheck your httpd.conf file.

Step 1 for Non-Root Accounts

To install TWiki on a system where you don't have server administrator privileges, for example, on a hosted Web account:

  • Download and unzip TWiki on your local PC
  • Using the table below, create a directory structure on your host server
  • Upload the TWiki files by FTP (transfer as text except for the image files in pub)
TWiki dir: What it is: Where to copy: Example:
twiki/bin CGI bin cgi-enabled dir /home/smith/public_html/cgi-bin
twiki/lib library files same level as twiki/bin /home/smith/public_html/lib
twiki/pub public files htdoc enabled dir /home/smith/public_html/pub
twiki/data topic data outside of htdoc tree (for security) /home/smith/twiki/data
twiki/templates web templates outside of htdoc tree (for security) /home/smith/twiki/templates

Step 2: Set File Permissions

  • Make sure Perl 5 and the Perl CGI library are installed on your system. The default location of Perl is /usr/bin/perl. If it's elsewhere, change the path to Perl in the first line of each script in the twiki/bin directory, or create a symbolic link from /usr/bin/perl.
    • IMPORTANT: On ISP-hosted accounts, Perl CGI scripts usually require a .cgi extension to run. Some systems need .pl, the regular Perl extension. Modify all twiki/bin script filenames if necessary.
  • Set the file permission of all Perl scripts in the twiki/bin directory as executable to -rwxr-xr-x (755).
  • To be able to edit the Perl scripts and .tmpl files it is necessary to chown and chgrp -R twiki so all the files have the owner you want.
  • NOTE: This Guide assumes user nobody ownership for all files manipulated by the CGI scripts (executed by the Web server), and user twiki for all other files. You can:
    • replace nobody with another user if your server executes scripts under a different name (ex: default for Debian is www-data).
      • HINT: Run the testenv script from your browser: http://yourdomain.com/twiki/bin/testenv. It will show you the user name of the CGI scripts, a table listing all CGI environment variables, and a test of your twiki/lib/TWiki.cfg configuration file (you'll configure that in a minute).
    • replace user twiki with your own username
  • Set the permission of all files below twiki/data so that they are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to -rw-rw-r-- (664) and to chown them to nobody.
  • Set the permission of the twiki/data directory and its subdirectories so that files in there are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to drwxrwxr-x (775) and to chown them to nobody.
  • Set the permission of the twiki/pub directory and all its subdirectories so that files in there are writable by user nobody. A simple way is to chmod them to drwxrwxr-x (775) and to chown them to nobody.
  • NOTE: The twiki/data/*/*.txt,v RCS repository files in the installation package are locked by user nobody. If your CGI scripts are not running as user nobody, it's not possible to check in files (you'll see that the revision number won't increase after saving a topic). In this case, you need to unlock all repository files (check the RCS man pages) and lock them with a different user, ex www-data, or delete them all - new files will be automatically created the first time each topic is edited. A simple way to change ownership is with a search-and-replace in all files; for example, using sed:
    for f in *,v; do sed 's/nobody\:/www-data\:/' $f > x; mv x $f; done

Step 3: Set the Main Configuration File

  • Edit the file twiki/lib/TWiki.cfg, setting the variables to your needs.
    • Set the file extension in the $scriptSuffix variable to cgi or pl if required.
    • Make sure RCS is installed. Set $rcsDir in twiki/lib/TWiki.cfg to mach the location of your RCS binaries.
  • Security issue: Directories twiki/data , twiki/templates and all its subdirectories should be set so that they are not visible as a URL. (Alternatively, move the directories to a place where they are not visible, and change the variables in twiki/lib/TWiki.cfg accordingly)
  • Test your settings by running the testenv script from your browser: http://yourdomain.com/twiki/bin/testenv. Check if your twiki/lib/TWiki.cfg configuration file settings are correct.

Step 4: Finish Up from Your Browser

That's it for the standard virgin installation of TWiki. Read on for server-level customization options.

Additional Server-Level Options

With your new TWiki installation up and running, you can manage most aspects of your site from the browser interface. Only a few functions require access to the server file system, via Telnet or FTP. You can make these server-level changes during installation, and at any time afterwards.

Enabling Authentication of Users

  • If TWiki is installed on a non-authenticated server - not using SSL - and you'd like to authenticate users:
    1. Rename file .htaccess.txt in the twiki/bin directory to .htaccess and change it to your needs. For details, consult the HTTP server documentation (for Apache server: [1], [2]). In particular, the following red part needs to be configured correctly:
      Redirect /urlpath/to/TWiki/index.html http://your.domain.com/urlpath/to/TWiki/bin/view
      AuthUserFile /filepath/to/TWiki/data/.htpasswd
      ErrorDocument 401 /urlpath/to/TWiki/bin/oops/TWiki/TWikiRegistration?template=oopsauth
      • NOTE: In case you renamed the CGI script files to have a file extension you need to reflect that in the edit, view, preview, etc entries in .htaccess.
      • NOTE: The browser should ask for login name and password when you click on the Edit link. In case .htaccess does not have the desired effect you need to enable it: Add "AllowOverride All" to the Directory section of access.conf for your twiki/bin directory.
    2. Copy the TWikiRegistrationPub topic to TWikiRegistration. Do that by either editing the topics in theTWiki06x00 web, or by renaming the .txt and .txt,v files in the twiki/data/TWiki06x00 directory.
      • HINT: You can customize the registration form by deleting or adding input tags. The name="" parameter of the input tags must start with: "Twk0..." (if this is an optional entry), or "Twk1..." (if this is a required entry). This ensures that the fields are processed correctly.
  • Register yourself in the TWikiRegistration topic.
    • NOTE: When a user registers, a new line with the username and encrypted password is added to the data/.htpasswd file. The .htpasswd file that comes with the TWiki installation includes user accounts for TWiki core team members that are used for testing on TWiki.org. You can edit the file and delete those lines.
  • Create a new topic to check if authentication works.
  • Edit the TWikiAdminGroup topic in the TWiki:Main web to include users with system administrator status.
  • Edit the TWikiPreferences topic in the TWiki:TWiki06x00 web to set access privileges.
  • Edit the WebPreferences topic in each web, if necessary: set access priviliges.

Adding a New Web

To create a new web:

  1. Create a new web data directory under twiki/data and check the file permission of the directory.
    • Use a name starting with characters A..Z, followed by a..z and/or 0..9 characters, but not a WikiWord.
  2. Copy all files from the twiki/data/_default directory to the new data directory, preserving the original files' owner, group and permissions (on Unix, use cp -p). The data files must be writable by the owner the CGI scripts are running on (usually, nobody).
    • HINT: You can set permissions of .txt and .txt,v files to -rw-rw-rw- (666) and then edit the topic using your browser; RCS will restore the file permissions correctly when saving the topic.
  3. Add the new web to the web list (visible in the upper right corner of each topic) by editing the site-level preferences, TWikiPreferences:
    • Add the new web to the %WIKIWEBLIST% variable.
  4. Update the web settings by editing the WebPreferences topic of the new web:
    • Customize the %WEBTOPICLIST% variable to contain the web-specific links you prefer.
    • Set the WEBBGCOLOR variable to a color. The number represents the unique color for the web.
    • Set Plugins, access privileges, custom variables, other web-level options (ex: %WEBCOPYRIGHT% can be set for an individual web).
  5. Add the new web to the color-coded web directory table by editing the TWikiWebsTable topic.
  6. Test the new web: view pages, create a new page.

That's it for a basic new web set-up!

Optionally, you can also:

  • Create custom web-specific templates in a new twiki/templates/Someweb directory (otherwise, templates are inherited from twiki/templates).
  • Add TWikiForms for form-based page input that's stored separately from the main free-form topic text.

NOTE: User home topics are located in the TWiki.Main web - don't try to move them or create them in other webs. From any other web, user signatures have to point to TWiki.Main web, using a Main.UserName or %MAINWEB%.UserName format. (The %MAINWEB% variable is an advantage if you ever change the Main web name, but the standard Main.UserName is easier for users to enter, which is the bottom line!

TWiki File System Info

See Appendix A: TWiki File System for an installed system snapshot and descriptions of all files in the TWiki 01-Sep-2001 distribution.

-- PeterThoeny - 13 Sep 2001
-- MikeMannix - 03 Dec 2001

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Topic revision: r41 - 2001-12-05 - PeterThoeny
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