I'm trying to set up MediaWiki on an Apache2 server. Currently, when I navigate to the directory where the wiki is stored in my web browser, I see the contents of LocalSettings.php dumped on the screen, as well as this error message:

Sorry! This site is experiencing technical difficulties.

Try waiting a few minutes and reloading.

(Cannot access the database)

I have double-checked the database name, username, and password in LocalSettings.php, and I am able to log in using these credentials on the web server. I am using a mysql database.

I have been trying to set up a debug log so that I can see a more detailed error message. Here's what I've added to my LocalSettings.php:

$wgDebugLogFile = "/var/log/mediawiki/debug-{$wgDBname}.log";

The directory /var/log/mediawiki has 777 permissions, but no log file is even created. I've tried restarting the Apache server, which doesn't help.

Why is MediaWiki not creating a debug log? Are there other logs that I should be looking at for more detailed error messages? What could the reason be for the error message that I'm getting?

  • 1
    Missing <?php at the top of LocalSettings.php?
    – Tgr
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 20:12
  • Wow, you're right. That was a stupid mistake; thanks for helping me find it! Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


As @Tgr mentioned in the comments, the problem was that I was missing <?php at the top of LocalSettings.php.

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