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 http://kartooner.com 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.