I am planning to setup a public wiki using mediawiki, but I never used mediawiki for a public site before and I am not experienced with it, even as a user.

I am planning to create a very restricted wiki setup with restricted account creation and editing only by registered users, but content open to the public. So I am planning to do the following :

  • add a UserLoadFromSession hook to allow automatic logon to the wiki if the user is already authenticated (the wiki will be a part of an existing site, the site already contains a user database and login form. I want to disable all user management related functionality of mediawiki)
  • remove several special pages by adding a SpecialPage_initList hook (do I need to do something else to prevent access to related functionality, for example list of users?)
  • disable all kinds of file uploads or external content ($wgEnableUploads=false, $wgAllowCopyUploads=false, $wgAllowExternalImages=false, $wgAllowImageTag=false, $wgRawHtml=false etc )
  • hide all private user information, like IP addresses, watchlists etc, except usernames. ($wgPageShowWatchingUsers=false, $wgShowIPinHeader=false,$wgAllowPageInfo=false, $wgRCShowWatchingUsers=false, $wgAllowUserCssPrefs=false)
  • disable all functionality that involve sending emails ($wgEnableEmail=false, $wgEnableUserEmail=false, $wgEmailAuthentication=false)
  • disable all unnecessary features like api, feeds, ajax, suggestions etc ($wgEnableAPI=false, $wgEnableWriteAPI=false, $wgDisableAnonTalk=true, $wgFeed=false, $wgUseAjax=false, $wgUseTrackbacks=false etc)

My question is : am I missing something, do I need to do anything else to secure the wiki?


  • 1
    Say some more about your use case. Are you trying to lock down account creation and editing to only users provisioned elsewhere? Or how will you deal with spam and vandalism? Many small wikis just don't have the critical mass of folks dedicated to reverting junk. Describe your threat model a bit more.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 22:19
  • To be honest I don't think I will be able to stop spam and vandalism but I am planning to moderate user registration. And yes, only registered users will be able to edit the wiki.
    – Nathan B.
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 22:27
  • And site users will be mostly information security professionals so they will be over sensitive about their privacy and security. They should be fine with trolling and spam (they should be used to it from full disclosure mailing list) but I need to minimize possible attack surface.
    – Nathan B.
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 22:41
  • Thanks, that helps. Is your question mostly related to how to configure mediawiki, or do you also want to ask about other ways to lock the server down? If so - what platform is it deployed on? Can you update the question and title to reflect what you're looking for (since it is rather different than many wikimedia installations)?
    – nealmcb
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 23:51
  • My question is only about mediawiki. I don't need any help about other components.
    – Nathan B.
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 0:12

1 Answer 1


Sorry for being the downer, some of MediaWiki's security pages are rife with warnings

"MediaWiki is not designed to be a CMS, or to protect sensitive data. To the contrary, it was designed to be as open as possible. Thus it does not inherently support full featured, air-tight protection of private content. But with the massive increase of MediaWiki use in corporate intranets and the many CMS-like features emerging, demand for tighter security is emerging.

To help authors of security extensions, this list of the security flaws found in the field is being maintained, so that they can test their extension against each. There are several extensions that claim to give selective read/write access to pages in Category:Page specific user rights extensions, and currently most of these do exhibit several of the listed flaws."

I don't know if that affects your actions, but I remember seeing all sorts of warning when locking down my internal mediawiki.

  • I read those warnings too. But what I am trying to do is only removing unnecessary features and reduce attack surface. I am not trying to do anything about authorization mechanisms.
    – Nathan B.
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 19:20

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