Jump to navigation Jump to search

A Guide to the role of Administrator for MediaWiki in a hosted environment

This article is part of a series compiled as a guide to encourage and assist those building a MediaWiki-based website in a hosted environment.

Each article links to relevant documentation from the website and the website. Where the official documentation does not adequately cover the issues for a hosted site, or is too 'advanced', additional information, explanation and advice is provided.

MediaWiki Administrator Role

A distinction is made here between the role of Administrator and the role of System Administrator for MediaWiki.

  • A MediaWiki Administrator has access to the Special Pages, can create and manage users, and customize the MediaWiki interface. Without access to either the server, or the website root directory, the Administrator role is limited.
  • The System Administrator is responsible for the overall system. However, if MediaWiki is installed in a hosted environment the highest level of access will be to the root directory of the web site - access to the server itself, the command-line, or the web server, is not possible. Therefore, in practice, the role of System Administrator is limited to whatever can be achieved by editing the LocalSettings.php file, plus responsibility for maintenance, backup and recovery, security etc..

If you are the website owner for a hosted MediaWiki installation then, in practice, you would have both roles.

The Special Pages cover a wide range of administrative tasks and familiarity with this section of MediaWiki is the best starting point.

Customising MediaWiki is a major role for an Administrator, and is covered separately. Other Administrator roles are covered below.

Create User Accounts

MediaWiki includes several user groups. The descriptions below is from the Manual:User rights but as a bureaucrat or sysop you can only create and manage users. The group structure including any custom groups is defined in LocalSettings.php by a Systems Administrator.

  • sysop: users who by default can delete and restore pages, block and unblock users, etc.
  • bureaucrat: users who by default can change other users' rights
  • user: registered accounts. Every logged-in user is a member of this group.
  • * all users (including anonymous)
  • autoconfirmed: "registered accounts at least as old as $wgAutoConfirmAge and having at least as many edits as $wgAutoConfirmCount"
  • bot: accounts with the bot right (intended for automated scripts)

See also Help:User page which describes how a registered user can create their own user page with information about themselves. This can be visible to other contributors.

Special Pages and Common Tasks

The MediaWiki Administrator's Handbook provides useful information about the responsibilities of an Administrator and describes many common tasks which can be performed using Special Pages.

Another useful resource is the Help:Special page from

The Special Pages includes a section for Maintenance Reports. An Administrator should regularly look for problems and fix them. Common issues are:-

  • pages can exist without any links to them, called Orphaned pages
  • links can exist without a target page, creating Wanted pages
  • pages may have been moved and the links not updated which can appear to be Wanted pages but they do in fact exist
  • a moved page may have had a redirect but if it is moved again it may cause a Broken redirect or a double redirect.


The information or advice provided in this Guide is based on, or links to, official documentation for MediaWiki and was accurate when this article was created. However, some variation may occur between versions of MediaWiki; and the specifics of web hosting varies by service provider. Consequently, you should always create an effective backup before making any changes; ensure that you can restore your database and website; read the Release Notes before upgrading; and apply best practices to the management of your website. Any action that you take based on information provided here is at your own risk and the author accepts no liability for any loss or damage.