Whenever you search for some information, one among the many results should be Wikipedia. In simple words, it can put together as an ocean of information where every drop consists of something that can be accredited to have value for web. Wikipedia is backed up by Mediawiki, a wiki software which lets users to sign up and edit the resource with more and more value every other day.
What is wiki and its advantage?
Wiki’s are the way through which users of your company, organization or a community can easily edit the information which can be reviewed and published. Editing wiki’s does not require a plugin or addon and the task can be directly accomplished within a browser. Most of the wiki software provide users with WYSIWYG editors that help in editing the information base while others need the users to learn the markup language. This mark up language depends on the type of wiki software that is being used by the site.
Many companies do have wikis for the information base for its employees which is accessed within its sphere. Now a days, even websites are using wikis to enable users add value for the web as well as for the website.A commercial example could be wikihow.
How to create a wiki like wikipedia with open source and free wiki software?
If you are interested in creating a wiki, all you need is a free wiki software that powers your site, hosting and the time to run and maintain it.
The choice of selecting a wiki can be pretty tough with the availability of many number of wiki engines. Different wiki software have different features. In this post, we have compiled a list of some of the best and free wiki software through which you can build your wiki. We have also outlined the features of these free wiki software or wiki engines to help you in making the choice.
Dokuwiki aims at making it simple and has an ideology that it is better when it is simple. Released under GNU General Public License version 2, Dokuwiki is a simple to use and highly versatile open source free wiki software that does not require a database. Dokuwiki is a popular choice when choosing a wiki software and has many advantages over similar wiki software.
The free wiki software is easy to install and use, requires low system requirements, has built in access control lists, supports over 50 languages, device independent and open source. Due to its clean and readable syntax, Dokuwiki is loved by users and the ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator favorite. It is especially useful in enterprise content and the large number of plugins contributed by community allows a broad range of use cases like corporate knowledge base, private notebook, software manual, project workspace, cms-intranet.
Related : Free forum software
Foswiki is a free enterprise collaboration platform which is developed, supported and maintained by its users and the open source community. It can be used for team collaboration, knowledge base, project management, document management and social applications.Since Foswiki is a wiki, you and your team members can collaborate and edit pages directly in the browser. It lets you have advanced collaboration within your team by providing you with the ability to enter macros to automate pages and build entire applications from within the browser.
Foswiki provides a world class built in text editor with the help of which you get what you see. With the help of Foswiki, you can create dynamic pages: status boards, to-do lists [Also read: Evernote alternatives to create todolists],inventory systems, employee handbooks, bug trackers, etc. It also provides you with more than 200 polished actively maintained extensions & the flexibility to customize the layout of the site or per page, user or group. Foswiki is compatible with Twiki and includes a seamless migration path.
Jspwiki is a leading open source wiki engine which is feature rich and is built around JEE components (Java,Servlets,JSP). The software being open source has been released under Apache Public License. Some of the many features that the software provides to users are:
- Wikimarkup / structured text
- File attachments
- Templates Support
- Data storage through your choice of two WikiPage Providers, with the capability to create and plug in new ones
- Fine grained control over authorization and authentication. However it is simple to configure
- Easy plugin and page filter interfaces
- Support for UTF-8 and is JSP based.
- Easy to install
- Page locking feature to prevent editing conflicts
- Support for multiple wikis
- Custom user preferences
We started this post with a note about Wikipedia. The huge information base is powered by Mediawiki. Mediawiki is a free wiki software licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public License. Mediawiki requires PHP 5.3.3+ and one of the following database engines:
- MySQL 5.0.2 or later (Related: MySQL database management tools)
- PostgreSQL 9.0 or later
Due to a security issue, it is recommended to make use of PHP 5.3.5+. With the help of many extensions available for Mediawiki within the community, you can customize it further to meet your needs and requirements. Take a look at wikihow and you will understand to what extent can Mediaiwki be customized.
Moinmoin is a free software licensed under the GPL. It is an advanced, easy to use and extensible WikiEngine with a large number of community users. The software is powered by Python.
Phpwiki is a clone of Wikiwikiweb written it PHP. It is easy to use and setup. The wiki engine uses MySQL or PostgreSQL. Unlike Mediawiki, optional database prefix can be used which allows hosting more than one wiki using the same database.
Phpwiki supports rich and powerful text formatting rules that also support some rudimentary HTML tags, recent changes list and a search feature, plugins and skins. Inorder to have support for attachments, you should install some plugins. It comes with a set of default pages and works out of the box with no configuration needed.
Written in PHP and distributed under the General Public License, Pmwiki is designed to be simple to install, customize and maintain for a variety of applications. It is a wiki based system for collaborative creation and maintenance of websites. Pmwiki pages look like normal webpages with an edit link facilitating the users to make modifications to the existing webpages easily.
Features provided by Pmwiki
Custom look and feel : If you are the site administrator, you can quickly change the appearance and functions of Pmwiki site by using different skins and HTML templates. The ability to edit pages can be left open to public or to a set group of authors.
Access control : Pmwiki provides you with the ability to password protect an entire site or a group of pages or individual pages. The password protection controls who can read pages, edit pages and upload attachments. Pmwiki’s access control system is completely self contained. However; it can also work in conjunction with password databases such as .htaccess, LDAP servers and MySQL databases.
Customization and plugin architecture : Pmwiki philosophy is to include only essential features in the core engine. However; if you are an administrator, you can customize and add new markup, hundreds of features using extensions (called “recipes”) that are available from cookbook.
Developed by an active open source community, Twiki is a flexible, powerful and easy to use enterprise wiki, enterprise collaboration platform and web application platform.It is an open source enterprise wiki and web application platform with the help of which you can collaborate globally, manage projects, share documents, share knowledge, use as intranet and create web apps.
Twiki is a structured wiki which can be typically used as a project development space, a document management system, a knowledge base, or any other groupware tool on an intranet, extranet or the internet.The functionality of Twiki can be extended with the help of plugins.There is no need of programming skills inorder to use Twiki. Twiki is a cgi-bin script written in Perl and is released under GPL. It reads a text file, hyperlinks it and converts it to HTML on the fly.
Wackowiki, a forked from Wakkawiki is a powerful open source wiki system which uses PHP5 and MySQL5 as its database. It uses SafeHTML parser to strip down all potentially dangerous content which may cause cross site scripting vulnerabilities.The software supports many languages like Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Spanish & provides the following features:
- Full version control
- Powerful differentiation between revisions
- Access control through per page access control lists
- What you think is what you will get while editing
- Integrated page commenting functionality
- Monitors a page and send you an email notification when a page is modified or comment is made
- Support for custom themes (skins) designed
- Uploads per page or global
- Clusters and relative addressing
- Generates automatic table of contents
- On the fly correction of punctual typos & special characters
- Completely multi lingual
Wikkawiki is forked from Wakkawiki. Released under GPL license, Wikkawiki has been designed for speed (tools to check website speed), extensibility and security. Wikkawiki is a flexible, standards-compliant and light weight wiki engine written in PHP [Also read: php debugging tools] and uses MySQL to store pages. Inorder to install and use the latest version of wikkawiki, you should use PHP 5.0 or above & MySQL 4.1 or above. It is intended towards individual users, development teams (software documentation), companies & organizations (intranet/public website backend).
The following are many features provided by Wikkawiki
- Easily customizable layout with the help of 100% modular themes
- Global and page level RSS feeds
- Human and search engine friendly page titles [Read: Yoast seo plugin configuration which helps in setting up search engine friendly wordpress website]
- 100% web based installer/upgrader
- 100% web based upgrading from wakkawiki
- Shell/root access note required
- Optional rewrite rules support
- Security and antispam features like access control and advanced referrer management
- Page editing with many options like editor, page preview, search replace handler included
- A good number of options to format
- Support for automatically parsed links, image links, forced links,shortcuts for interwiki linking and css driven linking
- Options for uploading and downloading media
- A large selection of plugins and user contributions including calendar, feedback form, google search form, etc
- Rss feed inclusion and rss auto discovery
- Advanced code highlighting using GeSHi
- Wikiping functionality to broadcast lists of recent changes to remote servers
- Configurable user login and registration screens
- Revision control tools
- Administration tools which provide user and oage administration, mass page deletion, mass page reversion, comments control, optional gzip page compression
Xwiki Enterprise is a professional wiki that has powerful extensibility features such as scripting in pages, plugins and a highly modular architecture. Xwiki software is developed in Java under the LGPL open source [Also read: Open source ecommerce software] license. It offers various features like WYSIWYG editor, powerful wiki syntax, strong rights management, LDAP authentication, version control, imports & exports etc.,
Xwiki is a light and powerful development platform that allows you to customize the wiki to your specific needs with the help of 700 extensions, applications, macros, skins, plugins, snippets etc. Xwiki finds its usage in many use cases like collaborative intranet, knowledge base, CMS, competitive intelligence, public debate, collaborative creation of school courses, website creation etc.,
12. Zoho wiki
If you are interested in avoiding the technical aspects of installing and maintaining a wiki, Zoho wiki is an ideal choice. Zoho wiki lets you create online portals for group collaboration and knowledge sharing. With the help of zoho wiki, you can
- create collaborative portals for effective knowledge management which range from enterprise intranets to team portals and documentation sites.
- create searchable, centralized information repository for easy organizational access.
- create private or public workspaces and promote active conversation between employees, teams, project clients and partners.
Zoho wiki provides workspaces, widgets, user management, complete branding control and notifications which form the top assets and features of Zoho wiki. A better collaboration experience, centralized data access, control of your brand, quick set up, enterprise security and zoho advantage are some of the top reasons to choose zoho wiki.
The above are some of the best free wiki software. Out of these free wiki software, we have so far come up with usage of mediawiki, zohowiki, twki and wikkawiki. Which software have you used and what wiki software are you going to prefer? Please do leave your valuable comments below.