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Differences in 2.0

New styles

The themes in webtrees 2.0 have been rewritten to work on a wide range of devices; mobiles, tables, laptops and desktops. The location of some menu and edit items has changed. You can see this on the demo site.

Base URL detection

In webtrees 1.7, webtrees attempted to detect the URL of the site. This was not always reliable. Sometimes, it was not even possible.

In webtrees 2.0, you must specify the URL of your site in the file /data/config.ini.php. Add a line using the following format:


Media folders containing /../

In webtrees 1.7, media folders could contain /../, to specify a folder outside the /data folder.

In webtrees 2.0, this is not allowed. Media files and folders must live entirely within your /data folder (or the folder you specified in the control panel).

In webtrees 1.7, the /data folder could contain symbolic links.

In webtrees 2.0, symbolic links are not allowed.

Sending e-mail

webtrees 2.0 no longer provides the “PHP Mail” option for sending e-mail. PHP Mail has serious security vulnerabilities, and is no longer supported by major mail libraries.

You will need to use sendmail (if your server provides it), or an SMTP server.


In webtrees 1.7, you must create this file yourself, using robots-example.txt.

In webtrees 2.0, if you enable pretty URLs, it will be generated automatically.


The URL of the sitemap.xml file has changed.

If webtrees is installed in the root folder, and you enable pretty URLs, then search engines will find the new files automatically.

If webtrees is installed in a subfolder, or if you do not enable pretty URLs, then you will need to re-submit your sitemaps.

Redirect old URLs onto new URLs

The URL structure has changed. Therefore bookmarks and search-engine links will not work.

However, if you enable pretty URLs, then webtrees will generate suitable redirects from the old URLs, and any existing bookmarks will continue to work.

For example, the old URL individual.php?ged=demo&pid=X123 will be redirected to the new URL trees/demo/individual/X123.

Note that this feature may not work if the old PHP scripts from webtrees 1.7 still exist in the top-level folder. You should delete all the old PHP files except index.php.

Notes/Media/Sources tabs - visibility and privacy

In webtrees 1.7, setting the access level for these tabs would also create a privacy restriction for the data as well. e.g. hiding the tab would also hide the notes/media/sources.

In webtrees 2.0, if you disable or restrict access to the notes/media/sources tabs, then the note/media/source links will instead be displayed on the “Facts and events” tab.

You should add a privacy restriction for notes/media/sources as well.

“Primary” parents

An individual can have multiple parents, for example birth and adopted.

In webtrees 1.7, the birth parents were used on pedigree charts, reports, and other places where only one set of parents could be shown.

In webtrees 2.0, the first parents listed on the individual’s record will be used. There is a new edit option to re-order the parents.

Married versus unmarried

In webtrees 1.7, a couple were described as married, unless a _NMR (not married) fact exists.

In webtrees 2.0, a couple are described as not-married, unless a MARR (marriage) event exists.

This change allows you to create unmarried couples without relying on a custom tag.

Media objects can now contain many media files

webtrees 2.0 now allows a media object to contain many media files. For example, if you scan both sides of a document, you can store them together in one media object.

webtrees will use the first media file that contains an image as the thumbnail. So if your media object contains a video and an image, then the image will be used as the thumbnail.

User registration

In webtrees 1.7, user registration requests were emailed to the genealogy contact for the tree. This meant that users could not sign up to sites where all trees are private. The genealogy contact would then need to ask an administrator to approve the user and set access permissions.

In webtrees 2.0, user registration requests are emailed to the administrator(s).

Similarly, emails for things like forgotten passwords are now sent from the site, rather than from a tree.

Primary photo

webtrees must choose just one image for an individual, to use on charts, etc.

In webtrees 1.7, the image was specified using a custom _PRIM Y tag and other logic.

In webtrees 2.0, webtrees uses the first media object containing an image. There is a new edit option to re-order the media objects.

There is a “data fix” option in the control panel which will sort the media links according the any _PRIM tags.

It is common for images to be linked to the individual, when they should be linked to a fact or event. For example, a birth-certificate should be linked to the birth event, not the individual.

This can cause some inappropriate images to be selected as the “primary image”. The control panel now has an option to easily move these images from individuals to facts.

Custom thumbnails

In webtrees 1.7, you could create a custom thumbnail for a media object. This could be a still image from a video, or a cropped version of a group photo.

You did this by creating a file on the server to replace the default thumbnail. (Note - this was never an officially supported feature, but it was used by many people.)

In webtrees 2.0, you create custom thumbnails by adding a second media file to a media object. (Media objects can now contain many media files.)

There is a tool in the control panel to help find and import custom thumbnails.


In webtrees 1.7, the prefix of the cross-reference ID (XREF), the unique identifier assigned to every object added to a tree, was different for each object type (e.g., I for individuals, F for families, S for sources, etc.). There was also the ability to customize the XREF prefixes for each tree.

Due to the potential for confusion (I with 1, S with 5, O with 0, etc.), all new objects created in webtrees 2.0 will have XREFs beginning with X, regardless of type. All existing objects will retain their XREFs with the old prefixes unless they are renumbered.

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