Frustration with Wikipes

When I came up with the idea of Wikipes to provide an easy way for anyone to submit recipes using the wiki-concept, I didn’t know what wiki software to use. I tried out numerous ones, from the famous Mediawiki one that Wikipedia uses, to PhpWiki, and numerous others.

Most were very difficult to customize and style up, others were confusing to use, some I couldn’t even figure out how to install. After a week of trying out wiki softwares, I settled on DokuWiki, which was standards-compliant, easy to cusotmize, and I could modify it to suit the needs of a recipe site.

Barely 6 months after the unveiling of Wikipes, the site gets between 3,000 to 5,000 visitors a day. Unfortunately, a recipe is only posted once or twice every 3 days. I’m not sure why; is it because people are not used to the wiki concept, are intimidated by the open approach, or are too lazy to type up a recipe using a template?

To add to my frustrations, Dreamhost decided to mess with the Zend Optimizer, and this caused problems with Dokuwiki and Wikipes was down for a whole weekend, when traffic is the biggest. I sent in a support ticket to them and they got back to me 3 days later, talked with the Dokuwiki guy about the problem, saying it’s a bug in their software, and I was sent this letter from Dreamhost support:

So I’ve started a conversation with the DocuWiki guy, but no easy answers thusfar. The strangest thing is that out of all of the PHP sites we host (and we host a ton…probably about 90,000 of our 130,000 domains use PHP) it’s just you and the one other DocuWiki user that have had any problems.

Since so many of our customers are dying to use the Optimizer the best suggestions I’ve got are to either compile a PHP binary of your own that won’t use the Optimizer or to switch to a different wiki (we offer a one-click install of mediawiki, which powers the Wikipedia and is pretty great).

Once you get a PHP binary somewhere in your homedir you can use this guide to have all .php scripts on your site run via it

They’ve given me an ultimatum, either use another wiki software, or have a broken site, since I don’t know how to compile my own PHP binary. I’ve spent countless hours modifying Wikipes, working with Erik from to flesh out the site, and getting the word out.

I knew Wikipes, being a new thing, would face an uphill battle, but I didn’t expect to have problems that are beyond my control. I’ve always been able to figure things out, but this is the first time that I’ve used a software where the alternatives aren’t that great.

So, my question is this, should I continue on, and try to find another wiki, or cut my losses and move on. I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall with no footholds to climb over.

10 Responses to “Frustration with Wikipes”

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  1. I use Wakka at NetVillage, highly modified, of course. I have the modified source which I can provide. The original Wakka seems to be up and a derivative can be found at as well. I highly recommend it. It is PHP and MySQL, very simple syntax and scales, oh boy it does.

    Don’t pussy out, fight! Another suggestion is to think on getting your own server. I have mine at ServerBeach, for $99 a month (which I split among 3 other friends). $25 a month for your own server to do whatever you please can’t be beat.

  2. horai

    Carry on, you’ve never been one to quit before and you have a very successful site.
    Can Docuwiki suggest something as it’s a bug in their software?
    The other thing is I do know someone who can program in PHP binary but he’s mad busy at the moment.
    I will ask him if you want me to but if he said yes he would need to know exactly what was needed.

  3. David:

    Thanks very much for the advice and the links to the wiki’s. A dedicated server has definitely been considered, but it’s a risky thing if someone doesn’t make payments on time, I’ve had that happen before.


    Thanks for the offer, but I’ve come to the conclusion to start anew and try a different wiki, so I can build up the site with the knowledge I’ve gained in the past 6 months for designing a wiki around recipe submission.

  4. kurt krueckeberg

    Well, you could subscribe to the Dokuwiki mailing list and post your problem and see what feedback you get.

  5. The problem has been solved, but it was enough to make me want to start over again, without using a wiki, as it was the wrong tool for the job.

  6. Dmytri Kleiner

    I like MoinMoin wiki, perhaps you should try it.

    I am setting up some wiki based stuff too, around MoinMoin, email me if you want to talk.

    Regards and good luck with your project.

  7. Hi Matt, I’m experimenting with Dokuwiki on DreamHost and stumbled on this page via a Google search. How was this finally solved? Would you recommend using Dokuwiki and DreamHost? Do you have any recommendations about what is the best way to configure these DH settings for Dokuwiki:

    [ ] Run PHP as CGI
    [ ] PHP Version 5 (only works with PHP-CGI)

    [ ] Extra web security (enables mod_security Apache module)

    [ ] FastCGI support

    What software have you decided to use?

    Thanks for any info!

  8. I believe the Dokuwiki creator fixed the problem, but other problems made me stop using Dokuwiki and running Wikipes as a whole. I love Dokuwiki, it is a great piece of software that keeps getting better, although it wasn’t easy upgrading it to new versions due to my customizations to fit the needs of a recipe submission site. I eventually realized it was the wrong tool for the job in my situation, not Dokuwiki’s fault.

    As for the setting, I had it set to run PHP as CGI, I didn’t enable PHP 5 support, but you can try it out, if it doesn’t break anything, then that’d be good. I always leave the Extra Web Security on, unless it breaks any scripts, which it rarely does. FastCGI support should only be turned on if PHP5 is working fine for you.

  9. carpinteyrokgq


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