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Configuring FastCGI on Apache on Windows

(And adding it as a Windows service)

Note about FastCGI

The Moin project recommends mod_wsgi as the preferred python accelerator. It is faster performing, and easier to set up & configure under Windows than FastCGI. For example, mod_wsgi does not require being run as a Windows Service, which eliminates a whole section of this page.

If you have a working FastCGI on Windows, and want to consider switching, I have switching instructions here.

Moin in the standard CGI configuration is perfectly fine for a personal wiki or small workgroups. But, if you want to take your wiki performance to the next level, FastCGI is the way to go. FastCGI will have a noticeable and dramatic impact on speed, which is particularly noticeable on pages with lots of images. Among other tricks, FastCGI works by keeping the python process open, thereby reducing the small delay caused by waiting for a python process to launch for each request. More info is available on the FastCGI webpage.

Prerequisites & Requirements

  1. You already have working copy of MoinMoin on Windows - (See HelpOnInstalling/ApacheOnWin32)

  2. You're running Moin version 1.8.x or later. (if you're running an earlier version of Moin, try checking past revisions of this page)

  3. Assumes your wiki instance is located at d:\moin\mywiki (You will have to adjust these instructions to your specific set up).

  4. If you run (or anticipate running) multiple wiki's on the same server, you will want to have your wiki-farm configured and working first. (You will make life easier for yourself-- because of how FastCGI works, you will not be able to easily call two .FCG files at the same time (nor will it make sense to) from setting up the FastCGIservice below, etc. If you are only setting up one wiki, then by all means, proceed... (see also HelpOnConfiguration and FarmQuestions).

(See also HelpOnInstalling/FastCgi)

Install FastCGI

  1. Download the latest compiled mod_fastcgi.dll from e.g., mod_fastcgi-SNAP-0404142202-AP2.dll

  2. Rename it to something more sensible, like mod_fastcgi.dll (if you choose not to rename it, be sure to specify the full name in the LoadModule line on the httpd.conf file).

  3. Copy it into the Apache2\modules folder at c:\Program Files\Apache Software\Apache2\modules\.

FastCGI MoinMoin Configuration

  1. Copy moin.fcg from d:\Python25\share\moin\server to your instance home, d:\Moin\mywiki

  2. Change the first-line shebang statement to point to your python installation. This would be exactly has your old working moin.cgi file:

     #! d:/Python25/python

Modify has to be configured slightly differently for Windows than it does for Linux/Unix. Open the file located in: D:\Python25\Lib\site-packages\MoinMoin\server\:

httpd.conf Configuration

Open your Apache config file (c:\Program Files\Apache Software\Apache2\conf\), and add the following directives:

  1. Scroll down to the LoadModule section and add mod_fastcgi.dll, like in the example below (if you didn't rename your file, you'll need to exactly to match your file name):

    LoadModule fastcgi_module modules/mod_fastcgi.dll
  2. Scroll down to the AddHandler section and add the following:

    AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcg
  3. Modify your ScriptAlias line to point to your moin.fcg file (fas we configured in the section above). There are two options here; if you are running a single wiki, use i. If you have a wiki farm, use ii:

    1. Example if you're running a single wiki:
      ScriptAlias /mywiki    "d:/Moin/mywiki/moin.fcg"
    2. Example if you're running multiple wiki's (i.e. a wiki farm):
      ScriptAlias /mywiki     "d:/Moin/moin.fcg"
      ScriptAlias /yourwiki   "d:/Moin/moin.fcg"
      ScriptAlias /theirwiki  "d:/Moin/moin.fcg"
  4. Register the moin.fcg as an external server. This needs to match the port we specified in moin.fcg in the steps above (if you changed the port number). Make sure the path to moin.fcg points to the correct location. We'll also specify the loopback IP, instead of the interface IP, so that it will work even if the computer's IP address changes.

    FastCgiExternalServer d:/Moin/mywiki/moin.fcg -host

When finished, you should have something similar to this at the tail of your httpd.conf file:

### point to the python wiki htdocs:
Alias       /moin_static180/    "D:/Python25/share/moin/htdocs/"
### Your ScriptAlias(es) need to point to your .fcg files:
ScriptAlias /mywiki    "D:/moin/moin.fcg"
ScriptAlias /yourwiki   "D:/moin/moin.fcg"
### Setting the external server:
FastCgiExternalServer d:/Moin/moin.fcg -host

Move your old moin.cgi elsewhere to ensure that it's not being called.

You're done! Now it's time to test.

Open a commandline window (Start > Run... > type cmd), navigate to your moin.fcg location, and type the following command (substituting your python path, as necessary). Leave the window open while you test (closing it will quit the python process).

d:\python25\python moin.fcg

If all went well (and you marveled at how much faster moin is now), you can now proceed to the next section to register moin.fcg as a local service. This ensures that moin will come up across restarts.

Register moin.fcg as a local service

We're now going to create a new service that automatically starts our moin.fcg after reboots.

  1. Download & install the MS Windows 2003 Resource Kit. (of course, you already have the Resource Kit installed, since you're using RoboCopy to back up your wiki, right?! See HelpOnInstalling/Win32MoinEasyBackup). We need two commands from the Resource Kit, srvany.exe and instsrv.exe. For convenience sake, you can optionally move these to some place more convenient (you'll have to navigate to them via the commandline).

  2. From the commandline (Start > Run... > type cmd), navigate to your Resource Kit folder and type the following to create a new service, which we'll name FastCGIservice. You can use a different name, if you prefer.

    INSTSRV FastCGIservice C:\Windows\system\srvany.exe
  3. Now we have just created the service, we have to configure it. Run regedit.exe (Start > Run... > type regedit):

    1. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\, create a new key (right-click > New > Key) called FastCGIservice.

    2. Under the FastCGIservice you created above, create a new key (right-click > New > Key) named Parameters

    3. Within the Parameters key, create a new string value (right-click > New > String Value) named Application (key value will be listed as REG_SZ type). Double-click your value and specify the path of application:

    4. Within the Parameters key: perform the same steps above, this time creating an AppParameters value and specify a parameter:

    5. Within the Parameters key: perform the same steps above, this time creating an AppDirectory value and specify the current directory:

  4. Now configure it via the Services applet (Start > Settings > Control Panels > Administrative Tools > Services), such as automatic start.

You're finished!