The Ultimate Guide to Wiki Software

Learn more about wikis and choose the right tool for your team.

What is the best wiki software? The short answer is "it depends".

There is a wide range of wiki software solutions, all with their pros and cons. To select the tool that's right for you and your team, it's important to know what your options are and how to evaluate them.

What is wiki software?

Wiki software is a type of software that allows users to collaboratively create, organize, and edit content online. It's a tool that allows companies, teams, and communities to build a shared knowledge hub for the topics that are relevant to them.

The term comes from the word "wikiwiki," which means "fast" in the Hawaiian language. The first-known wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, was created by American computer programmer Ward Cunningham in 1994.

In the decades since the birth of WikiWikiWeb, numerous wiki software solutions entered the market, so you have a lot of excellent options to choose from. To learn more, read our detailed wiki software comparison guide.

Notable features of wiki software

When it comes to wiki software, everyone has different criteria and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there a several features that are shared by most top-rated wiki tools:

Depending on the type of wiki you're planning to create, some of these features may be more or less relevant to you.

Types of wiki software

There is a wide variety of wiki software solutions to choose from, and while they share a name, they solve very different problems. In this guide, we will go over the main wiki types:

Public vs. private wiki software

First, it's important to distinguish between public and private wiki software.

Private wikis (also known as internal wikis) are accessible to a limited number of editors and readers. Private wiki software is used by teams and organizations to share information privately among its members.

Examples of private wiki software include:

Wiki software

Learn how to create a private wiki or an internal wiki.

On the other hand, public wikis – such as Wikipedia or Wikia – are publicly accessible on the internet. The content of a public wiki is collaboratively created, updated, and consumed by the public, with little to no access restrictions.

Examples of public wiki software include:

Public wiki software MediaWiki

MediaWiki powers some of the largest wikis in the world, including Wikipedia. It allows users to share their content both publicly and privately and for a long time had been the wiki software of choice for companies, students, and hobbyists alike.

However, in recent years, its popularity has been steadily declining, with more and more users migrating their content to modern wiki platforms that offer a more intuitive interface, faster search, and real-time content editing capabilities.

Discover the best MediaWiki alternatives.

Personal vs. company wiki software

To make sure you pick the right tool for the job, consider the type of wiki you are planning to create. Will it be a simple wiki for your personal hobby project? Or do you want to build a wiki for your company to share confidential information? Depending on your use case, the ideal solution may be very different.

If you are looking for a personal wiki, pick a software you enjoy working with, without worrying about advanced enterprise features.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a company wiki, make sure to carefully and thoroughly evaluate your requirements against available options.

Company wiki software Nuclino

While every organization may have its own unique needs and preferences, an ideal company wiki should:

Learn how to create a company wiki, also known as an enterprise wiki, a corporate wiki, a business wiki, or a team wiki.

Confluence wiki software

One of the oldest corporate wiki solutions on the market is Confluence. It's highly customizable and versatile wiki software that has accumulated a lot of features over the years. If you're looking to build a complex company wiki with custom fonts, colors, and layouts, and don't mind the steep learning curve and occasionally slow page load time – Confluence can be a great option.

But if you value speed and ease-of-use over the feature count, you may want to consider an alternative solution.

Discover the best Confluence alternatives.

Hosted vs. self-hosted wiki software

The final decision you have to make is whether you want a hosted (or "cloud-hosted") or a self-hosted wiki. A self-hosted wiki is hosted and managed locally, while a hosted wiki relies on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) hosting provider.

Examples of hosted wiki software:

Examples of self-hosted wiki software:

Most modern wiki platforms tend to be cloud-hosted. While some people prefer to self-host software, this comes with high maintenance costs. If you don’t have a dedicated IT team to set you up with a self-hosted solution and continuously manage the server over time, a hosted system could be the better option.