Sometimes you don’t want to run a heavy web server like Apache but want to use a light program like nginx. Thins page will eventually give you a step by step guide to setup OntoWiki on nginx.

Configuration File

The following configuration should usually be placed (at least on Ubuntu) in a file called /etc/nginx/sites-available/ontowiki. To enable the new configuration you have to create a symbolic link to this file at /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ontowiki.

You can also find this file in its github:gist.

# This is a configurationfile to run an instance of OntoWiki on a nginx server
# Read more about OntoWiki at

server {
    listen   8080; ## listen for ipv4; this line is default and implied
    #listen   [::]:80 default ipv6only=on; ## listen for ipv6

    # Make site accessible from http://localhost/
    server_name localhost;

    # path to ontowiki
    # !!! please adapt to fit your needs !!!
    root /home/ontowiki/ontowiki/;

    # where the logs should go
    # !!! you can also adapt this as you want !!!
    error_log /home/ontowiki/nginx/logs/ontowiki-error.log;

    index index.php;

    # rewrite for favicon
    rewrite ^/favicon\.(.*)$ /application/favicon.$1 break;

    # check if the request is an exception and should not be handled by the index.php
    if ($request_filename !~ ((extensions|libraries).*|\.(js|ico|gif|jpg|png|css|swf|json))$) {
        set $is_exception "f";

    # rewrite all other URLs to index.php
    if ($is_exception = "f") {
        rewrite ^.*$ /index.php last;

    # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
    # see also [1] for a UNIX socket configuration and some other details.
    # [1]:
    location ~ \.php(.*)$ {
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_script_name;

        # tell OntoWiki that rewrite is enabled

OntoWiki will be available through your browser at http://localhost:8080.

Trouble shooting

File uploads exceeding “client_max_body_size”

Nginx has a separate system for limiting interaction with the server. One of these, “client_max_body_size”, limits the payload of a client request, thus limiting the allowed size of POST requests.

To allow for larger file uploads in OntoWiki, one would need to adjust both the value of “client_max_body_size” in Nginx setup and “upload_max_filesize” in the relevant php.ini file, /etc/php5/cli/php.ini in my case.

Known Problems

What is the best value for PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN for use with OntoWiki? c.f, bottom of page.

(please add problems you may have with this configuration here and to the issue tracker)

Further Information

  • (German)


You need PHP version 5.2 or higher. You should set up your PHP environment with the following settings in php.ini:

  • max_execution_time = 120
  • memory_limit = 128M
  • upload_max_filesize = 16M ; depending on the size of knowledge bases you plan to use
  • post_max_size = 16M
  • short_open_tag = Off; if you have this turned on, some features will not work

To get rid of strict warnings, set the default timezone for your server, e.g.

  • date.timezone=Europe/Berlin


Virtuoso Opensource Version 6.1.4 or higher, more details for installation here. MySQL backend is also posible but slower.


Current Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox Browser tested, current MSIE not always tested but should work. Older browser are not fully compatible. More details here

OntoWiki Version

We recommend the installation of a current snapshot release or directly from the repository.

  • how does ontowiki scale with number of users and data?
  • reference to virtuoso documentation 4 gb ram
  • example deployments (real life examples, Caucasus Spiders maybe with number of accesses and data size)
Tags: ontowiki