Felix Writes: PmWiki

Main / PmWiki

Created in 2002, PmWiki is one of the oldest wiki engines still actively developed, at 15 years old as of this writing. It's written in PHP, and as such requires a properly configured web host (some are simply broken), but no database. Installation requires the knowledge to edit a config file and set directory permissions via FTP, but otherwise is quick.

More important are the features that set it apart:

  • A variety of ways to link pages, such that the text looks natural yet still points at the same canonical URL.
  • Page trails with automatic previous/top/next links.
  • Ships with a complete set of documentation; each and every install is self-documented.
  • Very easy to make skins -- you only need one template file containing ordinary HTML interspersed with placeholders.
  • Despite all that, PmWiki is still only 1.4MB in size.


  • While pages are stored in flat files, the data format is opaque; you pretty much need a working PmWiki install to retrieve the text.