The Best MediaWiki Alternative ( updated for 2019 )

Looking for the best alternative to MediaWiki? Need a better solution to create your wiki website?

This has been the same with us a few years back when we were looking for an alternative to MediaWiki for creating our wiki website.

Why were searching for a MediaWiki Alternative:

We were looking for the best software tools to create a wiki website.

After our extensive research, we found MediaWiki as the most popular tool for creating Wiki websites. The popularity is mainly due to people’s familiarity to Wikipedia.

While it is useful to a certain extent that is it has some excellent features. It was quite uncomfortable and we started to look for another way for creating a wiki.

There were many reasons why we started to look an alternative for MediaWiki. Some of them are:

  1. Complicated setup: First of all, we found it to be very difficult to set up and configure. If you are a beginner or don’t have much experience, you are going to find it really difficult to cope up with its complexity.
  2. Poor Documentation: Considering the complicated setup, it should have been better if  easy and proper documentation was provided. Unfortunately it wasn’t provided and it was frustrating to figure out things on our own and to keep it going. It took almost a month to get hold of MediaWiki clearly.
  3. Hard time upgrading MediaWiki: MediaWiki used to release newer versions at least twice or thrice in a year. Upgrading MediaWiki and its extensions have never been an easy job as it had to go through multiple processes which were very confusing and time-consuming.
  4. Narrowed Use-case: When we tried to evolve our website to have some additional functionality like a blog, we found that it is almost impossible to do it with MediaWiki. MediaWiki only focuses on the encyclopedia type of website.
  5. Programmer Oriented: Even after setting up and configuring our wiki website, we found that MediaWiki requires deep programming skills and experience to operate it properly and to use it with full advantage.
  6. Editors have a hard time: It was not intuitive for our editors, and we had to look for a user-friendly tool.
  7. Restrictions: It had many limitations like the content you add cannot be directly published, will be strictly controlled and structured by editors.
  8. Customization: While they don’t have much styling option, customizing in MediaWiki is also highly complicated, and you need to be very proficient in coding to achieve it.
  9. Interface: Because I’m a massive fan of things looking “pretty” with pretty interfaces, I really felt MediaWiki looked very old-schoolish.

The Best Alternative we found for MediaWiki:

Though there were so many alternatives, we came across wiki software like DokuWiki, TWiki, Documize, etc. Most them were open-source alternatives. Finally, we found WordPress to be the best alternative for creating a wiki site.

Why WordPress?

There were many advantages in WordPress compared to MediaWiki and other tools, and we will state the reasons why we went with WordPress.

Some of the reasons for choosing WordPress was:

  1. Beginner friendly: It was a completely beginner friendly platform to learn. Never needed many technical abilities or coding skills to work with.
  2. Tons of Resources: I have to say this when we started to learn WordPress, there were thousands of resources and tutorials in the online for free, and they made things very more straightforward and more comfortable.
  3. Never needed a Developer: When we started to work with MediaWiki, we hired a developer because of its complexity, who did nothing more than to take 600$. However, with WordPress, we never needed a developer till date because of its simplicity and ease of use.
  4. Robust Community: WordPress has such an active and vast community who are always there to help you when you get stuck.
  5. Thousands of Plugins and themes: WordPress has thousands of plugins and themes in its library, which will help you to create any kind of website with any functionalities you need. Nothing is impossible with WordPress.
  6. Multifunctionality: Using WordPress, not only can you create a wiki site but also extend your site to use it as a personal blog, business website, e-commerce websites and much more; which was never possible with MediaWiki.
  7. Market share: There would be for no reason; WordPress has been used by 34% of all websites, while MediaWiki has been used only by 0.1% of all websites. (https://w3techs.com/technologies/comparison/cm-mediawiki,cm-wordpress)
  8. Interface: WordPress has a sleek, minimalist, and lightweight interface and is pretty intuitive to use. With thousands of themes available, you can design it any way you wish.
  9. SEO: All WordPress sites come with built-in SEO features like the ability to allow search engines to crawl content, ping search engines when the material is published, and other SEO features.

See how to create a WordPress website in less than 5 minutes.

The Only problem with WordPress:

While we loved WordPress in and out because of its simplicity and the possibilities it allowed, the only thing that was frustrating was, it never had a proper Wiki plugin.

Plugins are for WordPress what extensions are for MediaWiki. To use WordPress as the best Wiki platform, you need a proper Wiki plugin.

Sadly, there were never proper wiki plugins in WordPress, which was very disappointing for us. And so, we decided to create a suitable WordPress Wiki plugin by hiring many developers, and we finally came up with a robust Wiki plugin called “Helpie KB Wiki Plugin.”

Why Helpie KB Wiki?

Helpie KB Wiki is the only Wiki plugin for WordPress which has some of the important wiki features that one would expect in a wiki software.

No other plugins in the WordPress has the possibility to create a robust wiki site as Helpie does.

Helpie KB Wiki – Features:

Powerful Search:

The primary purpose of a wiki is to give you answers, after all. Helpie has a powerful smart keyword weighed search.

Our search engine searches up to thousands of articles within seconds and prioritizes results based on contextual weight.

Priority and weight are given to content appearing in different places like title, post content ( exact position in post content ), tags, etc.

It also has a powerful auto-suggest which starts to show live suggested results as you start typing.

Simple WYSIWYG Front-end editor:

None of your users will want to contribute to your wiki if your Front-end editor is complicated and hard to use.

Frontend Editor

Helpie comes with a default minimalistic, medium.com-like editor.

Helpie basically has two types of editor. One is the medium.com like editor (WYSIWYG editor). The other is the TinyMCE editor, which will work exactly as the default WordPress editor ( in the front-end).
With our easy to use front-end, rich-text, and media-rich editor, any user can create or edit content with just a click of a button.

Dynamic Capabilities:

It is like the Access Control extension of MediaWiki, but a lot more powerful. Using Helpie’s powerful dynamic capabilities feature, you can choose who

  • Can view
  • Can edit
  • Can publish
  • Can approve

At all three levels, including Global, topic, and article level.

Global level control is for the entire wiki website.

You can also control the capabilities of various Topics / Categories.

The best thing about Helpie’s dynamic capabilities is that it even lets you control the capabilities to even a single article page.

All these control levels can be applied based on various factors such as All, No one, Logged in, User role, and user name.

To know more about these capabilities check the Dynamic Capabilities article.

Revisions:

Sudden changes happen, and a good wiki should have a built-in mechanism of undoing them and checking various versions.

Helpie has a powerful revision history option where edits of an article will be saved as revisions.

It also enables you to monitor and compare various edited versions of the content. To users who are given access, it lets them choose which revision should be published.

Adding Categories and Tags:

You can also allow the users to select the topics/categories for the content they are adding or even allow them to create their own new topic.

Users can also add tags to their content to help others find their content easily.

Highly Customizable (Elementor Integration):

Helpie KB Wiki is highly customizable. It has good branding and styling features. For people who want more Helpie is fully-integrated with the amazing Elementor Page-Builder and you can use Elementor for styling and desigining.

Elementor is a potent page builder for WordPress and HelpieKB wiki plugin can be fully integrated with Elementor to design and customize your wiki website.

You can also create your own wiki templates for your article page, category page and even the Front page with Elementor template builder and Helpie.

Comments, Mentions, and Discussion Threads:

Keeping the wiki up-to-date and improving the accuracy of the information in it often involves discussing the content.

Helpie KB Wiki also has a neat comment section which will create a productive collaborative wiki environment.

Better Navigation:

Navigation is vital in a wiki.

Your customers/team can now find what they are looking for in a breeze by our robust Table of contents.

Helpie has two types of TOC. One is the full Wiki TOC where users can jump to any part of the wiki from your Table of contents.

Other is the In page navigation which will help you navigate in your articles into in-page navigation links in the Table of contents.

CONCLUSION:

To conclude, you will never find a powerful collaborative wiki tool like Helpie in WordPress.

Helpie wiki plugin also has a nominal yearly price (for updates and support) and has no restrictions on the number of users.

Compared to Confluence and other alternatives which are mostly paid on an annual/monthly subscription with limited users, it is the most affordable option.

So why still waiting? Go ahead and try 7 – days free trial of Helpie KB Wiki on your own site.

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