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How to Install PmWiki on Debian 10 / Nginx / PHP-FPM


PmWiki is an open-source wiki-based content management system built in PHP that was started in 2002, and is designed for collaborative creation and maintenance of websites. It allows quick editing as well as appearance changes using skins and templates. PmWiki also provides flexible password-based access control. This guide will explain the installation of PmWiki on a Debian 10 system with Nginx and PHP-FPM.


  • A Debian 10 system.
  • Root user access to your server via SSH.
  • Optional: A registered domain name and valid SSL certificate.

NOTE: All occurences of should be replaced with your IP address or with a domain name pointing to that IP.


Step 1: Update your system

Update your system packages:

apt update 
apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Install Nginx and PHP

apt install -y nginx php7.3-fpm

Verify that PHP-FPM and the Nginx server are enabled and running:

systemctl enable --now nginx.service php7.3-fpm.service

Step 3: Download and unpack PmWiki

You can download the latest stable release of PmWiki with the following command:


Then unpack the tar archive:

tar -xzf pmwiki-latest.tgz
rm pmwiki-latest.tgz

Now move the pmwiki directory to /var/www/html:

mv pmwiki*/ /var/www/html/pmwiki

Step 4: Nginx configuration:

Create a new virtual host file pmwiki80.conf under /etc/nginx/sites-available/ using a text editor of your choice, such as vim or nano, and paste the following configuration (replace with the IP address of your server, or with your domain name if you’re using one):

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/pmwiki;
index index.php;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;

Note that this is a very basic Nginx configuration file, further configuration may be necessary depending on your specific requirements.
Save and close the file, then create a symbolic link pointing to it in the sites-enabled directory:

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/pmwiki80.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

You can now reload the Nginx service to apply those changes:

systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 5: PmWiki Installation

PmWiki needs to have write access in a wiki.d directory:

cd /var/www/html/pmwiki
mkdir wiki.d
chown www-data:www-data wiki.d

Since there is no index.php file by default, we will create it:

echo "<?php include_once('pmwiki.php');" > /var/www/html/pmwiki/index.php

Using a web browser, nagivate to You should see the default PmWiki homepage if you followed the previous steps correctly. We’ll now customize the installation:

Make sure your current working directory is /var/www/html/pmwiki and copy the sample configuration file for editing:

cd /var/www/html/pmwiki
cp docs/sample-config.php local/config.php
vim local/config.php

We’ll now make the following changes:

  • $WikiTitle = 'Pmwiki'; to $WikiTitle = 'YourWikiTitle';
  • #$ScriptUrl = ''; to $ScriptUrl = '';
  • #$PubDirUrl = ''; to $PubDirUrl = '';
  • Uncomment the following line: #$PageLogoUrl = "$PubDirUrl/skins/pmwiki/pmwiki-32.gif"; and optionally enter the path to a custom logo of your own.
  • # $DefaultPasswords['admin'] = pmcrypt('secret'); to $DefaultPasswords['admin'] = pmcrypt('StrongPasswordHere'); (This sets a site-wide default administrative password).
  • Optional: If you want to allow browser caching, uncomment the following line: # $EnableIMSCaching = 1;.

The other default parameters and values should be reviewed and modified according to your specific needs. Also, all URL schemas should be changed to https:// if you choose to use HTTPS.

Step 6: Nginx HTTPS config

Assuming you have a domain name and a corresponding SSL certificate, you can setup HTTPS:

First create a new configuration file with a text editor of your choice:

vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/pmwiki443.conf

Paste or type the following:

server {
    listen 443;
    listen [::]:443;
    root /var/www/html/pmwiki;
    index index.php;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;


    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /path/to/your/cert.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /path/to/your/key.pem;

Enable it and reload the nginx service to apply these changes:

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/pmwiki443.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
systemctl reload nginx.service

The HTTPS version of your site is now ready. If you wish to permanently redirect all traffic to the secure version, open /etc/nginx/sites-available/pmwiki80.conf in a text editor and add the following line after the server_name directive:

return 301$request_uri

Save and exit, then reload Nginx again:

systemctl reload nginx.service

Finally, re-edit /var/www/html/pmwiki/local/config.php and change the URL schema in all applicable values from http to https.

You should now be able to access PmWiki at

Further Reading

You can read PmWiki’s documentation on your own instance once you complete the installation. Access it at

PmWiki’s official website is located at

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