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PHP built-in webserver

When installing DokuWiki as a desktop wiki on a personal computer, only PHP is needed. You can use the built-in PHP webserver. It avoids the hassle of installing and configuring a web server. See PHP built-in webserver for more information.

Installing PHP on windows is really easy thanks to Macos used to ship with PHP, but since macos 12 Monterey, you have to install PHP yourself ; however, this is an easy task thanks to homebrew. On Gnu/Linux systems the package manager generally provides a recent enough version of PHP.

Once PHP is installed, download DokuWiki and extract the files in a directory of your choosing. In this directory (containing the doku.php and index.php file) open a terminal and type in the following:

php -S localhost:8000 index.php

This will start the PHP webserver. For the first time, go to http://localhost:8000/install.php and fill in the form. Next time, just go directly to the wiki at http://localhost:8000/. The terminal window will need to stay open while you are running the server. If you do not want that, there are easy ways around, depending on your OS. Read further.

Further settings

The index.php script even handles URL rewriting. So you can set userewrite option to 1. This is optional but will give you nice URLs. Go to the admin page, then “Configuration settings”, and in the “Advanced” group you'll find the “Use nice URLs” setting, set it to “.htaccess”.

Running DW without the terminal

On macos and Linux, you can close the terminal if you use this command :

nohup php -S localhost:8000 index.php &> /dev/null &

If you want to stop the PHP webserver, open a terminal and run

pkill php

On a mac you can use Automator to create an APP file. Choose to create an application and choose to run a terminal command. Use the command mentioned above. When you save Automator asks you where to store the .app file. You can save it in your Applications folder.

Add &>/dev/null & to the terminal command if you do not want a spinning gear icon in the iconbar at the top of your screen.

When you start it the server will be started without a terminal window. To close the webserver you need to kill the php process in the ActivityMonitor.


I am running a vanilla DokuWiki without any additional plugins with this install method for a couple of days now without any trouble. As mentioned on the PHP built-in webserver page this install is not usable for any production environment. But seems to me it is ok for a local desktop wiki. – jroeterd

php_build-in_webserver.txt · Last modified: 2022-12-14 17:22 by 2a10:3781:2b13:1:e105:4e0b:539b:45a4

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