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This is an overview of terminology used in technical documentation for Wikimedia Foundation infrastructure and software.

This list is meant to be a reference guide for finding the canonical or preferred words to convey a certain concept. Avoid creating additional entries for an already listed concept. Avoid listing abbrevations unless recommended for use in writing to the general public.


  • cluster is group of servers with a common purpose. For example: "text" Varnish cluster, "jobrunner" appserver cluster. Note that a cluster may span multiple DCs.


  • data center (abbreviated DC), is a physical location in which server racks reside. For example: Esams data center as listed on Data centers. This includes both core services and cache PoPs. (Avoid "site" or "cluster".)
  • Developer account (or Wikimedia developer account), an account used by staff or community members for services part of developing, managing, and monitoring software and infrastructure at Wikimedia Foundation. This includes Gerrit, Phabricator, Wikitech wiki, and Toolforge, as well as NDA-restricted apps like Logstash, Superset, and Netbox. Avoid referring to these as a Gerrit/LDAP/Wikitech/Labs account. Avoid "Phabricator account", as Phabricator also supports Wikimedia Unified Login.
  • directory, a file system structure in which files are stored. For example: TMPDIR or $wgExtensionDirectory. (Avoid "path", "folder" or "address".)


  • file path, the absolute path on the file system to a particular file or directory.


  • global account (or Wikimedia global account, or MediaWiki account), an account with Wikimedia Unified Login, as created from any public Wikimedia wiki. Avoid Wikipedia/Meta-Wiki/Commons/Wikidata account. Avoid "CentralAuth account", unless writing about how the login system works. Avoid "SUL" account, this term was used during the transition period but may now lack in context, branding, and incurs a needless abbrevation burden.


  • Nova, the OpenStack software component that powers the virtualisation cluster. "Nova Resource" is a general term for a bunch of things (including instances); one of those things happens to be projects.


  • path, part of a URL starting from the slash after a host and optional port, until the end or any query string or hash fragment. For example: $wgExtensionAssetsPath. (Avoid "folder" or "directory".)
  • PoP (or Point of Presence: A datacenter that caches content as close to our users as possible. See also: Caching overview.
  • Puppet: A server configuration system used in production and in Cloud VPS. When Cloud VPS instances are created, they build themselves according to a set of rules defined by puppet (such as manifests, template, and files). Learn more on docs.puppetlabs.com
  • Puppet groups, A collection of puppet variables and classes available for use with instances.


  • region, The physical data centers where an instance is. For example if a Cloud VPS instance is in "eqiad", it is located one of the OpenStack virtualization hosts in the Eqiad data center.


  • Toolforge, the hosting environment provided by Wikimedia Cloud Services. (Avoid "ToolForge" or "Tool forge".)
  • translatewiki.net, the web-based translation platform used by MediaWiki and other Wikimedia software. Read more about translatewiki.net on Wikipedia. (Avoid "Translatewiki", or "TranslateWiki".)


  • Wikimedia Unified Login, the login system used on Wikimedia wikis, including Wikipedia and its sister projects, meta.wikimedia.org, www.mediawiki.org, and other public WMF wikis. Avoid "CentralAuth", unless specifically writing about how the MediaWiki software and the CentralAuth extension work. Accounts in this system are known as global accounts.

See also