So I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my host, Dreamhost had started offering what they called Dreamhost Apps. They off certain hosted web-based software for free. One of the apps they will host is MediaWiki. AFAIK they are the first people to host a MediaWiki install for free, even at your own subdomain.
So I decided to see what it looks like:
Signing up is a cinch…
Hm, barely five minutes later and I have a wiki.
This is the “admin side” web panel:
So if you have tinkered with MediaWiki a bit you will know that being able to edit the LocalSettings.php file is key to customising. Because this is free you don’t get any SSH/FTP etc access, but they do let you change the most basic settings via their web panel:
So what does this mean?
- Uploads are already enabled for you. Yay!
- Pretty URLs are already configured. Yay!
- No installing extensions
- No changing the default skin, or email settings, or namespaces, or…
They make it easy to upgrade to a “proper” (paid) Dreamhost account, which is nice. But even as it is, they offer easy backups:
To me, this is vital. It is dangerous to invest your time and effort into anything that won’t let you pick up your data and go elsewhere if things turn pear-shaped. Having that database is your freedom to move to a provider who will treat you right. It also means, in my view, that Dreamhost are happy to compete on the quality of their products and services instead of using entrapment to keep customers. This is an extremely good thing.
Dreamhost Apps is still very new, so it might be a good idea to keep an eye on the support forum.
Dreamhost don’t get everything right but I have always appreciated their value for money and their frank and honest attitude to their customers. I have no complaints. So if you are ultra cheap-skate and/or still scared of a command-line, but you want a wiki to play around with and don’t like the existing options, Dreamhost Apps might be the right thing for you.
PS. They also offer Wordpress, Drupal, ZenPhoto, phpBB and Google Apps, but none of that is as cool as MediaWiki. ;)
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