How to Make a Website Like wikiHow

Do you want to make a website where people can share how-tos, recipes, guides and the like? Using free wiki software and website hosting, you can build your own site. It's easy!

Steps

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    Choose the purpose of your website. You need to have a clear aim and goal for your site. Is it a recipe or cooking tips site? Is it just open, like wikiHow? Make sure you have a clear goal in mind or your site will end up a mess. Don't download or write anything until you've done this.
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    Outline some site rules. Write them all down on paper or in a word processor document. If you have your rules outlined before you begin, you can avoid disallowed posts by setting your rules out straight.
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    Find web hosting if you don't have it already. You'll need one that supports MySQL or PostgreSQL (depending on your wiki software) and the scripting language your software is written in (like PHP or Python). You'll also want some way of uploading files (like FTP), and SSH and/or cPanel (or another control panel) is a brilliant extra feature to have.
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    Upload your wiki software. Connect to your host via FTP and either upload the tar.gz file (if you have control panel or SSH) or the unzipped contents (if you have no way of unzipping it when it's online).
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    If applicable, open SSH or go in to your control panel. If you're in a control panel, go to the file manager option (if you have one) and select the 'tarball' (the .tar.gz file). Select the 'unzip' option and then delete the tarball. If you're in SSH, type 'cd' and the directory where your tarball is (you can use the Tab key to auto-complete names of files and folders). Then type 'tar -xvzf <your_tarball_name>.tar.gz'. Then you can type 'rm <your_tarball_name>.tar.gz' to delete the tarball.
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    Open a web browser and navigate to the folder in which your wiki is kept. Usually, when you unzip the tarball, it'll make a folder for the wiki itself, so if you want you can rename it or move it around - maybe even to your root website folder (so going to example.com will head straight to your wiki). Usually at this stage you'll be sent to a set-up or install page.
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    Install your wiki. Most (if not all) wikis will have an installer or setup script. Type in all the values (like your wiki's name, the admin account details, etc.) and start the installation. Your software will make all the necessary changes to files.
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    Configure your wiki. If you want to add a logo or some front page information, do that now.
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    Post your house rules. Make sure they're in a clear place.
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    Open up to the public! Submit your site to search engines and add some of your own content. It's no fun if you don't take part yourself.

Tips

  • You can use user control panels built in to your wiki software to make other users in to administrators.
  • Keep checking your wiki and clean it up frequently.
  • You can usually lock pages to make them un-editable to unregistered users or administrators. Overdoing this, however, will make your website less inviting. So strive for a balance.

Warnings

  • Any website where any users can create content is susceptible to spam. Spam is Stupid Pointless Annoying Messages. Consider making your site registration-only, or look around for a CAPTCHA option (you might find one in any user-created modules section if there isn't an option built in). If this doesn't work, just have moderators that patrol regularly, encourage users to report or correct spam and make high-traffic pages locked from editing - this is less of a should and more of a must for the front page.
  • Always keep your wiki software updated so it is at less risk of being hacked. This is very important for high-traffic wikis.
  • Use a strong administrator password and change it regularly.

Things You'll Need

  • Web hosting
  • Wiki software
  • A domain name (such as www.wikihow.com)
  • Some idea of your site's topic
  • A list of site rules
  • Some friends to help out with your site (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Wikis