Special pages are pages generated by the software on demand for special purposes, usually related to project maintenance. They are found in the Special:namespace, a virtual namespace whose pages lack corresponding talk pages. They are not written in wikitext and cannot be directly edited but elements of their pages can sometimes be edited through corresponding pages in the MediaWiki namespace. If you make a normal redirect to a special page, the redirect will not be immediately followed (though special pages can be targets of soft redirects), and directly creating any pages beginning with the Special: prefix is also not possible.
A directory of special pages available for the current user can be accessed from Special:SpecialPages, which is found in the sidebar of every page on Wikipedia in the Tools section.
Modifying special pages
Although special pages are not themselves editable, they generally contain standard text which is modifiable (although only by administrators). To find the right portion of text, append ?uselang=qqx to the special page URL, or append &uselang=qqx instead if the URL already contains a ?. This will reveal message names in parentheses. Then, go to that name in the MediaWiki namespace. For example, Special:BookSources?uselang=qqx reveals "(booksources-summary)", so MediaWiki:Booksources-summary is used on that page. To propose a modification, leave an ((edit fully-protected)) request on the talk page of the relevant MediaWiki page. An administrator will make the change if it seems appropriate.
Special:Export (Export pages): produces an XML file containing the wikitext and metadata of either the current version only, or all revisions, of one or more pages, specified in the form of a list; the XML file is in the format required for Special:Import; exporting is typically done either in preparation of applying the latter at another MediaWiki project, or for searching within old page revisions. See Help:Export.
Special:RandomRootpage: redirects to a random root page, that is, excluding sub-pages. Some wikis, such as Wikibooks, use a sub-page hierarchy. This function can be used there as a substitute for Special:Random, so it can be used to show "random books" in Wikibooks, instead of random pages.
Special:AdvancedReviewLog or Special:QualityOversight: listed recent approvals and deprecations of pending revisions. (deprecated in 2022; see phab:T277883)
Special:ConfiguredPages (deprecated in 2022; see phab:T277883)
Special:Log (All public logs): combined display of various logs. The type of log, user and page affected can be specified. Parameters "block", "delete", "protect" and "upload" are available. e.g. Special:Log/block displays the block log directly. For more information, see Help:Log.
Special:GlobalGroupPermissions (Global group management): lists the rights associated with global user groups. Also lists the members of global user groups, and allows for management of rights.
Special:GlobalUsers (Global accounts list): lists users across all Wikimedia wikis, along with global user group membership, and whether their account exists locally on English Wikipedia. Can also be filtered by global user groups.
Special:DisambiguationPageLinks (Pages linking to disambiguation pages), which lists all of the pages that link to disambiguation pages. (This is a replacement for the old Special:Disambiguations page which is deprecated.)
Special:MyLanguage, intended for multilingual sites. This special page goes to the page of the name supplied after the slash, e.g. Special:MyLanguage/Example goes to Example on this wiki. When an interwiki Page or an invalid page name is entered after the slash, this page redirects to Main page.
To present the list on a page, transclude the name:
However, some pages cannot be transcluded and would produce only a wikilink (e.g., ((Special:Random)) → Special:Random). When non-existent pages are linked or transcluded, a red link is produced (e.g., Special:RedLinkExample).[a]
Because the ampersand character (&) is disallowed, it is not possible to create an ordinary link containing &action=edit or &redirect=no in the URL query string.
Special pages in other languages
The term in the site language equivalent to the English word "Special" and the special page name in English (e.g. "Special:Statistics") is used in each project, for example:
"Especial:Estadísticas" in Spanish
"Speciaal:Statistieken" in Dutch
"Spécial:Statistiques" in French
"Spezial:Statistik" in German
These also appear in the URLs. The English word "Special" and the special page name in English (e.g. "Special:Statistics") always works, even on foreign-language sites, but non-English equivalents don't work on English-language projects, nor on other-language project besides the language edition one is on.
^MediaWiki:Nospecialpagetext is the message displayed for non-existent special pages. However, Special:Badtitle is peculiar as it has actual viewable content but is a red link, which is because this special page was intentionally and by design to be considered non-existent (unlike all other valid page names.) See phab:T262959 for more details.