MediaWiki is a popular free web-based wiki software application. Developed by the Wikimedia Foundation, it is used to run all of its projects, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikinews. Numerous other wikis around the world also use it to power their websites. It is written in the PHP programming language and uses a backend database, either the MySQL or PostgreSQL relational database management system.
The first version of the software was deployed to serve the needs of the free content Wikipedia encyclopedia in 2002. It has been deployed since then by many companies as a content management system for internal knowledge management. Notably, Novell uses it to operate several of its high-traffic websites. Thousands of websites use MediaWiki. Some educators have also assigned students to use MediaWiki for collaborative group projects.
The software is optimized to efficiently handle projects of all sizes, including the largest wikis, which can have terabytes of content and hundreds of thousands of hits per second. Because Wikipedia is one of the world's largest websites, achieving scalability through multiple layers of caching and database replication has also been a major concern for developers.
The software is highly customizable, with more than 700 configuration settings and more than 1,600 extensions available for enabling various features to be added or changed. More than 600 automated and semi-automated bots and other tools have been developed to assist in editing MediaWiki sites. Software hacks are also available, although MediaWiki.org lightly discourages them and does not provide a central repository of them.
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