Viki Hosting


This document briefly describes how to setup an environment on a Debian 10 (Buster) installation, hosting Viki on an nginx web-server.

It is intended to be a brief set of instructions, so does not include all the necessary features you should install on a public facing system. See the PHP page on the Debian Wiki and the Securing Debian Manual for information.

Debian Packages

Required Packages

  • markdown - Text-to-HTML conversion tool
  • nginx-light - nginx web/proxy server (basic version)
  • php7.3-fpm - server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language (FPM-CGI binary)
  • emacs-nox - GNU Emacs editor (without GUI support)
  • git - fast, scalable, distributed revision control system
  • libhtml-gentoc-perl - module that generates a Table of Contents for HTML documents
  • make - utility for directing compilation
  • net-tools - NET-3 networking toolkit
  • patch - Apply a diff file to an original
  • screen - terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation
  • ssh - secure shell client and server (metapackage)
  • vim - Vi IMproved - enhanced vi editor

Installation and Configuration

  1. Install the required packages, together with any of the optional recommended packages.


    $ sudo apt-get install nginx-light php7.3-fpm markdown \
        emacs-nox git libhtml-gentoc-perl make net-tools patch screen ssh vim
  1. Stop the nginx and php services

    $ sudo systemctl stop nginx php7.3-fpm
  2. Create a configuration file /etc/nginx/sites-available/viki

    $ sudo cp /etc/nginx/sites-available/default /etc/nginx/sites-available/viki

    Add index.php to the following entry in /etc/nginx/sites-available/viki:

    index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;

    to read:

    index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html index.php;

    Add a rewrite rule after the server_name entry in the new configuration file:

    rewrite ^/viki/(Viki|Tech|Business)/search.*$ /viki/search.php?web=$1&$args last;

    Enable PHP scripts by uncommenting the following section:

    # pass PHP scripts to FastCGI server
    #location ~ \.php$ {
    #       include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
    #       # With php-fpm (or other unix sockets):
    #       fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
    #       # With php-cgi (or other tcp sockets):
    #       fastcgi_pass;

    to read:

    # pass PHP scripts to FastCGI server
    location ~ \.php$ {
            include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
            # With php-fpm (or other unix sockets):
            fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
    #       # With php-cgi (or other tcp sockets):
    #       fastcgi_pass;
  3. Create a symbolic link to enable the configuration and remove the symbolic link for the default configuration

    $ cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
    $ sudo ln -s ../sites-available/viki 01-viki
    $ sudo rm -i default
  4. Create a PHP test page:

    $ cd /var/www/html
    $ sudo tee test.php<<EOF
    <?php phpinfo() ?>
  5. Start the services

    $ sudo systemctl start nginx php7.3-fpm
  6. Use a browser to navigate to http://ip.address/test.php

    If the browser downloads the page, then PHP support has not been enabled in Nginx. The page should render in the browser showing all the PHP variable settings. Once you have tested the page succesfully, delete test.php as it would be a security risk if a bad actor obtained the details it displays.

    $ sudo rm /var/www/html/test.php
  7. Clone Viki

    $ mkdir ~/Projects
    $ cd ~/Projects
    $ git clone git://
  8. Build the HTML versions of the source Markdown pages

    $ cd ~/Projects/viki
    $ make
  9. Create a symbolic link under /var/www/html to the Viki clone:

    $ cd /var/www/html
    $ sudo ln -s ~/Projects/viki
  10. Use a browser to navigate to http://ip.address/viki/

  11. The main index page should be displayed. If not, check the /var/log/nginx/error.log for errors. /var/log/nginx/access.log may also help analyse any issues.

  12. Check that the search functionality works. If there is a 404 "page not found" error, it is most likely an issue with the rewrite rule added to /etc/nginx/sites-availabl/viki. If you've installed Viki to a different sub-directory of the web-server root than viki, you will need to modify at least the two references to viki in the rewrite rule.

These instructions have been tested by following them on a fresh minimal install of Debian 10 (Buster).

See Also:

-- Frank Dean - 11-Feb-2020

Related Topics: AboutViki, ConfiguringRemoteRepository, CreatingABlankWiki, MarkDown, NginxTips, NginxOnMacOSX