Make your wiki look great with the perfect MediaWiki theme!
Find the best MediaWiki theme. Based on our year-long expertise in dealing with many different wikis, our expert-curated list of the best MediaWiki themes eases your search. Whether you are seeking something cutting-edge or more traditional, we have got you covered.
In this updated version of our original 2022 blog post, we have included the latest trends, fresh insights, and new examples to ensure you have the most current information.
What Are MediaWiki Themes?
MediaWiki supports multiple themes. MediaWiki themes, also called “MediaWiki skins,” are about changing your wiki’s look and feel to match its purpose. Whether sleek and modern for tech topics or classic and formal for educational content, the suitable theme for your knowledge management with MediaWiki can significantly enhance every user’s experience.
As the wiki creator or maker, you decide on the MediaWiki theme to use. The system administrators of a wiki will then set which themes are available to their users, what the default wiki theme is, and the theme configuration.
What Makes A Great MediaWiki Theme?
Modern MediaWiki themes need to be responsive and mobile-friendly. They should ensure a seamless experience across devices, looking as stunning on ultra-wide desktop monitors as on smartphones. This adaptability is vital in today’s diverse device landscape, significantly enhancing user engagement and accessibility.
The placement of navigation and tools is also crucial. Ideally, good themes make frequently used tools readily accessible with minimal clicks and intuitively placed, aligning with user expectations. This ease of navigation is not just about convenience; it is about enhancing the overall user experience and keeping visitors on your site longer.
It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all wiki theme. The choice often depends on the specific needs and goals of your wiki. While certain themes excel in general adaptability and user-friendliness, making them well-suited for most common use cases, evaluating each based on your unique requirements is crucial.
In summary, the best MediaWiki themes blend aesthetic appeal with functionality, ensuring ease of use and user-friendly navigation across various devices. Remember, a suitable theme can significantly enhance both the user experience and the effectiveness of your wiki.
Top MediaWiki Themes
All themes included in our top list are free and compatible with versions from MediaWiki 1.35 to MediaWiki 1.41. They are also expected to support many upcoming MediaWiki releases.
Chameleon is the most popular responsive MediaWiki theme, and the top MediaWiki theme, according to our wiki experts.
It stands out as being the most customizable MediaWiki theme. You can configure which layout elements to show and where to place them. Unfortunately, some technical know-how is required because you do the configuration via XML. The upside is that you can use Chameleon to create a well-designed wiki in-line with your brand identity.
Suppose you have wondered how to utilize Bootstrap components on your wiki. In that case, we recommend checking out the Bootstrap for MediaWiki Wiki. It demos them and provides the respective code examples for easy adoption.
Stephan Gambke released the first version of Chameleon in 2013. The theme has received many enhancements since and is nowadays maintained by Professional Wiki. Create your Chameleon-based wiki today via ProWiki.
- Chameleon documentation
- Example website: Rhizome Artbase
- Example website: Bootstrap for MediaWiki Wiki
- Example website: Dermoscopedia
- Example website: Maps Extension Wiki
- Create your Chameleon-based wiki today
Medik looks great out of the box and is naturally responsive and mobile-friendly.
Medik provides a somewhat classic wiki-look with a sidebar on the left side of the screen. You can find the user menu at the top right and the page actions and tools right above the page content on the left. On mobile devices the sidebar turns into a Hamburger menu holding the links.
You can use Bootstrap elements, components, and grids within your wiki pages when using Medik. Like Chameleon, Medik optimizes for the best mobile user experience. For detailed instructions on implementing this quickly, visit our Bootstrap for MediaWiki Wiki, a resource we have created to facilitate your adoption process.
The first version of Medik was released in 2019. It is now one of the most popular responsive MediaWiki themes and is available on ProWiki.
- Medik documentation
- Example website: Karsten Hoffmeyer
- Example website: The New Zealand Musculoskeletal Medicine Wiki
- Example website: WikiSkripta
- Create your Medik-based wiki today
Timeless is a popular responsive theme focusing on content and editing tools. You can find the navigation menu and wiki tools in a sidebar on the left. A second sidebar on the right side of the screen contains the page tools.
Timeless comes bundled with MediaWiki. Enabling it is thus very easy, even for inexperienced MediaWiki system administrators.
Unlike most responsive MediaWiki themes, Timeless does not build upon one of the popular responsive web frameworks.
The first version of Timeless was released in 2015. It is now the default theme of ProWiki.
- Timeless documentation
- Example website: KeukenWiki
- Example website: Wiki der Herner Stadtgeschichte
- Example website: Stampy.ai
- Create your Timeless-based wiki today
#4 Vector 2022
Vector 2022, new in our 2024 list of the top MediaWiki themes, is an update to the original Vector theme, bringing the mobile-friendliness and other MediaWiki theme feature improvements the original lacked. It is now the default for several Wikimedia projects.
The objectives for the Vector 2022 MediaWiki theme focus on enhancing the welcoming nature of MediaWiki-run wikis and boosting their usefulness for readers while improving trust and positive feelings towards MediaWiki wikis, enhancing the practicality of standard functions like search and tables of content presentation.
Compared to Vector, Vector 2022 brings new traits like a collapsible sidebar, enforces a limited content width, makes the header and the table of contents stick, and moves the page tools out of the sidebar, combined with visual refinements. Last but not least, it is mobile devices friendly and responsive. However, the Vector 2022 MediaWiki theme does not build upon one of the popular responsive web frameworks.
As the name suggests, the first version of Vector 2022 was released in 2022. It is now the default theme of some Wikipedias, including major ones like the English Wikipedia and the French Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation maintains it.
Unlike a typical theme, Vector 2022 shares its codebase with its predecessor, Vector, and both are downloaded together. The MobileFrontend MediaWiki extension must no longer installed alongside since it no longer brings extra value to the user experience of the MediaWiki.
Vector 2022 links:
- Vector 2022 documentation
- Example website: English Wikipedia
- Example website: MediaWiki.org
- Example website: Traditional Tune Archive
- Vector 2022 source code
- Create your Vector 2022-based wiki today
Tweeki provides a clean layout with a menu bar above your wiki content.
This responsive MediaWiki theme utilizes the Bootstrap framework to be mobile-friendly. It uses as much Bootstrap tooling as possible and provides excellent support for Semantic MediaWiki and Page Forms.
Tweeki is a good choice for wiki-as-website projects. Like with other Bootstrap-based themes, you can use the BootstrapComponents extension to embed Bootstrap elements right into your wiki pages.
- Tweeki documentation
- Example website: Tweeki Demo Wiki
- Example website: TheaterEncyclopedie
- Example website: Prachteinbände
- Tweeki source code
Poncho is a clean, responsive, and modern MediaWiki theme. It features a fixed header, breadcrumbs, dark mode, and a collapsible sidebar.
At the bottom of the page, you will find categories styled as tags and the de-emphasized Talk Page link.
Further features include a share button, print button, and integrated Google Translate. You can hide any or all of those with CSS.
Poncho has been around since 2017 and is actively developed.
- Poncho documentation
- Example website: Sophivorus
- Example website: Appropedia
- Example website: data franca wiki
- Poncho source code
Foreground emphasizes the wiki content by bringing it into the foreground.
Focus on the wiki content is achieved by not having any sidebars. Tools typically found in a sidebar on the left of the wiki content can be found in the menu on the top. A second bar is located below the wiki content, resulting in no tool links between the two bars.
Foreground leverages the Foundation framework to be responsive and mobile-friendly.
Over 200 public wikis use this popular and feature-rich MediaWiki theme. Foreground has been around since 2014 and is still actively developed by the community of its users.
- Foreground documentation
- Example website: Foreground Demo Wiki
- Example website: MediaWiki Widgets Catalog Wiki
- Example website: Wikimanche
- Foreground source code
Pivot focuses on mobile first but pivots to all viewports with elegance. It resembles the classic and well-known Vector theme used on Wikipedia. Thus it is an excellent alternative to the default MediaWiki theme for those that desire something more mobile-friendly.
Pivot, like Foreground, leverages the Foundation framework to be responsive and mobile-friendly. It also self-describes as being awesome by bundling the popular Font Awesome library.
Pivot has been around since 2017 and is still actively developed by the community of its users.
- Pivot documentation
- Example website: Pivot Demo Wiki
- Example website: International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki
- Example website: Znilwiki
- Pivot source code
#9 Vector + MobileFrontend
Vector is the default MediaWiki theme. Many Wikipedias and other Wikimedia projects use Vector, so this theme is instantly recognizable.
Wikimedia developed Vector in 2010 to replace the then-Wikipedia-theme MonoBook. Because it is the default MediaWiki theme for many Wikipedias, many 1000s of wikis use Vector. The Wikimedia Foundation now refers to this MediaWiki theme as ‘legacy Vector’ since they shifted their focus on the MediaWiki Vector 2022 after two years of development and continuous improvements; we finally look at a MediaWiki theme that brings responsive and mobile-friendly features we dearly missed in the past years.
- Vector documentation
- Example website: German Wikipedia
- Example website: German Wikipedia
- Example website: OpenStreetMap Wiki
- Vector source code
- Create your Vector-based wiki today
MediaWiki Theme Help
- Create a wiki with one of the top 3 responsive themes
- Commission a new theme
- Get professional help with theme installation or customization
- How to change your MediaWiki theme
- Installing new MediaWiki themes
- Full list of all themes
- Best MediaWiki Themes in 2024, January 11, 2024