Stable release(s)
Desktop2.3.0 / 8 September 2022; 4 months ago (2022-09-08)
Android3.6.0 / 10 September 2022; 4 months ago (2022-09-10)
iOS1.15.6 / 24 May 2022; 7 months ago (2022-05-24)
Electron2.2.62 / 16 December 2022; 32 days ago (2022-12-16)
UWP2.2.5 / 10 November 2022; 2 months ago (2022-11-10)
Browsers3.6.0 / 12 November 2022; 2 months ago (2022-11-12)
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Windows 10 Mobile
  • Desktop: 121 MB
  • Electron: 71.1 MB
  • Android: 80 MB
  • iOS: 48.3 MB
  • UWP: 12.1 MB
Available in100 languages
LicenseGPLv3 Edit this on Wikidata
Library of history and rationalwiki etc.
Kiwix Android App

Kiwix is a free and open-source offline web browser created by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin in 2007. It was first launched to allow offline access to Wikipedia, but has since expanded to include other projects from the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as public domain texts from Project Gutenberg. Available in more than 100 languages, Kiwix has been included in several high-profile projects, from smuggling operations in North Korea and encyclopedic access in Cuba to Google Impact Challenge's recipient Bibliothèques Sans Frontières.


Founder Emmanuel Engelhart sees Wikipedia as a common good, saying "The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access. This is why I have launched the Kiwix project."

After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Engelhart became interested in developing offline versions of Wikipedia. A project to make a Wikipedia CD, initiated in 2003, was a trigger for the project.

In 2012, Kiwix received a grant from Wikimedia France to build a kiwix-plug, which was deployed to universities in eleven countries known as the Afripedia Project. In February 2013 Kiwix won SourceForge's Project of the Month award and an Open Source Award in 2015.


The software is designed as an offline reader for a web content. It can be used on computers without an internet connection, computers with a slow or expensive connection, or to avoid censorship. It can also be used while travelling (e.g. on a plane or train).

Users first download Kiwix, then download content for offline viewing with Kiwix. Compression saves disk space and bandwidth. All of English-language Wikipedia, with pictures, fits on a large USB stick or external media (87 GB as of December 2021, or 47 GB with no pictures).

All content files are compressed in ZIM format, which makes them smaller, but leaves them easy to index, search, and selectively decompress.

The ZIM files are then opened with Kiwix, which looks and behaves like a web browser. Kiwix offers full text search, tabbed navigation, and the option to export articles to PDF and HTML.

There is an HTTP server version called kiwix-serve; this allows a computer to host Kiwix content, and make it available to other computers on a network. The other computers see an ordinary website. Kiwix-hotspot is an HTTP server version for plug computers, which is often used to provide a Wi-Fi server.

Available content

Reading Wikipedia through Kiwix on a boat in the South Pacific

A list of content available on Kiwix is available for download, including language-specific sublists. Content can be loaded through Kiwix itself.

Since 2014, most Wikipedia versions are available for download in various different languages. For English Wikipedia, a full version containing pictures as well as an alternative version containing text only can be downloaded from the archive. The servers are updated every two to ten months, depending on the size of the file. For English Wikipedia, the update frequency is thus substantially lower than the bzip2 database downloads by the Wikimedia Foundation, which are updated twice a month.[circular reference]

Besides Wikipedia, content from the Wikimedia Foundation such as Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks, and Wikiversity are also available for offline viewing in various different languages.

In November 2014, a ZIM version of all open texts forming part of Project Gutenberg was made available.

Besides public domain content, works licensed under a Creative Commons license are available for download as well. For example, offline versions of the Ubuntu wiki containing user documentation for the Ubuntu operating system, ZIM editions of TED conference talks and videos from Crash Course are available in the Kiwix archive as ZIM file formats.

Historic Wikipedia articles selection releases

Between 2007 and 2011, three CD/DVD versions containing a selection of articles from the English Wikipedia were released.[circular reference] They are now available as Kiwix ZIM files:

  • Wikipedia Version 0.5
  • Wikipedia Version 0.7
  • Wikipedia Version 0.8


Kiwix can be installed on a desktop computer as a stand-alone program, installed on a tablet or smartphone, or can create its own WLAN environment from a Raspberry Pi.

As a software development project, Kiwix itself is not directly involved in deployment projects. However, third party organizations do use the software as a component of their own projects. Examples include:

Locations of 13 universities in 11 countries where Kiwix was deployed as part of the Afripedia Project

Package managers and app stores

Kiwix is available in the native package managers of most Linux distributions. From 2014 to 2020, it was absent, due to XULRunner, a program on which Kiwix depended, being deprecated by Mozilla and removed from the package databases.

Kiwix is available on Debian-based distros, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, and in the Sugar and ArchLinux distributions. It is also available on Android. Kiwix JS UWP and Electron packages are available in the native Windows package manager winget.

Kiwix is available in the Microsoft Store, on Google Play, and Apple's iOS App Store. It is also available as an installable HTML5 app (Kiwix JS) in the form of browser extensions for Firefox and Chromium (Chrome, Edge) and as a Progressive Web Application (PWA), all of which work offline. Electron packages of the HTML5 app are compiled for Windows and popular Linux distributions. Since 2015, a series of "customized apps" have also been released, of which Medical Wikipedia and PhET simulations are the two largest.

See also

  • GoldenDict supports the ZIM file format since 2013, including offline use (except on Android) and the ability to create full-text indices.
  • XOWA
  • Internet-in-a-Box

This page was last updated at 2023-01-18 22:21 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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