Managing Webs

What are Webs?

A Foswiki site is divided into "Webs", or groups or topics - each one represents one subject, one area of collaboration. Administrators can add, rename or delete webs.
At file level, a Web is a directory located inside the data directory, with text files as topics.
A number of Webs are fixed: System for documentation, Main to store user pages and site-wide preferences, Trash for the topic recycle bin.
Other webs can be created as needed.

Public webs: Main, Sandbox, System, SystemFoswiki

Template webs: _default, _empty

Create a new web

To use this form you must be administrator.

Before you begin: consider that less webs are better than more webs. Cross-linking topics is easier, and searches are faster, if there are only a few larger webs.

Name of the new web Required

Naming rule: the name must start with an upper case letter, followed by upper or lower case letters or numbers. Examples: Learn, SupDocs, KNow3

If you are creating a sub-web (a web inside a web), use the notation Existingweb.Newweb.

About sub-webs

You can only create (Hierarchical) sub-webs if the {EnableHierarchicalWebs} setting in configure is enabled. sub-webs are currently enabled (default) .

You might not need sub-webs. Foswiki topics already have a parent/child relationship within a web, which is shown in the breadcrumb. Try to keep the number of webs to a minimum in order to keep search and cross-referencing simple.


Enter a short description of the web. This description will be used in the SiteMap. If you are using links: write Web.TopicName instead of just TopicName for correct linking.

Additional Settings

Leave these settings as default if you do not understand what they mean.

Template web

Base the new web on an existing web.

About template webs

There are two methods used to create a new web.
First you can use a specially designed TemplateWeb. This is an invisible web that begins with an underscore "_" character (for example _default). All topics in the template web will be copied into your new web.
The second method is to use an existing web as a template web. This may be useful if you already have a web that you would like to use as a starting point. Only topics that have names beginning with "Web..." (like "WebHome" or "WebNotify") are copied. In either case you will want to be sure to verify that your new web has all the custom modifications that you desire.

  • You must have ROOTCHANGE access to create a top-level web (one with no parent)
  • A new web created using the _default or _empty template webs must have their access controls set before public use
  • _empty is really empty (only has a WebPreferences topic); normally you want to choose _default.
  • Only the person who created it has permission to change the WebPreferences in the new web

List on SiteMap page

Should the new web be listed on SiteMap? Even if hidden, the web will be linkable and accessible to users.

Include in global search and %WEBLIST%

Specify if you want to exclude the web from global search, and from the %WEBLIST% macro used in the WebLeftBarWebsList.

Web color

Displayed on SiteMap and in the left bar (Pattern Skin).
Choose by clicking on the input field, or enter a System.StandardColors.

In-depth info on Webs

Subweb preferences are inherited

The preference settings of a subweb are inherited from the parent web and overridden locally. Preferences are ultimately inherited from the System.DefaultPreferences topic.

Example Preference Inheritance for Sandbox/TestWeb/SubWeb.SubWebTopic topic:
  1. System.DefaultPreferences default settings
  2. Main.SitePreferences site-wide settings inherits from and overrides settings in System.DefaultPreferences
  3. Sandbox.WebPreferences inherits from and overrides settings in Main.SitePreferences
  4. Sandbox/TestWeb.WebPreferences inherits from and overrides settings in Sandbox.WebPreferences
  5. Sandbox/TestWeb/SubWeb.WebPreferences inherits from and overrides settings in Sandbox/TestWeb.WebPreferences
  6. Sandbox/TestWeb/SubWeb.SubWebTopic inherits from and overrides settings in Sandbox/TestWeb/SubWeb.WebPreferences

Subweb navigation

The default Pattern skin indicates Subwebs by indenting them in the sidebar relative to their level in the hierarchy.

Renaming or Deleting a Web

Rename a web via the Tools section in each WebPreferences topic. You may delete a web by moving it into a Trash web.


You may only rename a web if you have the following permissions
  • You must be allowed to rename and changes topics in the web you want to rename
  • You must be allowed to rename topics in the parent web of the web you want to rename
  • If the web is a root web (i.e. it has no parent web) then you must have permission to both create and rename root webs. These permissions are controlled by the ALLOWROOTCHANGE preference, which can be set in Main.SitePreferences.
  • If you move the web to another parent web you must be allowed to create and change topics in the new parent web. When you rename a web Foswiki will try and update all links that refer to the old web. You should note that links only get updated in topics that you are allowed to edit. If you use access rights in the Foswiki installation it is generally best to let an administrator rename webs to avoid too many broken links.

Renaming the webs in the distribution

It is possible, though not recommended, to change the names of the webs in the distribution. If you plan to rename the Main web, remember that Foswiki stores user topics in this web. That means that every WikiName signature - Main.SomeUserName - points to it and would need updating (unless the macro style %USERSWEB%.SomeUserName, is used throughout). This potentially large change can be performed automatically if you rename the web from the Tools section of WebPreferences, as described above.

ALERT! If you want to rename the System or Main webs, remember they are referred to in the Foswiki configuration. You will need to change the {SystemWebName}, {UsersWebName} and/or {LocalSitePreferences} settings in the configuration using the configure interface.

ALERT! Renaming the webs in the distribution is not recommended because it makes upgrades much more complicated.

Related Topics: AdminDocumentationCategory, AdminToolsCategory
Topic revision: r1 - 21 Mar 2011, ProjectContributor
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