Kiwix is a free and open-source offline web browser created by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin in 2007.[6] 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[7] and encyclopedic access in Cuba[8] to Google Impact Challenge's recipient Bibliothèques Sans Frontières.[9]

Kiwix on a Linux powered desktop computer
Stable release(s)
Desktop2.1.0 / 24 January 2022 (2022-01-24)[1]
Android3.4.5 / 11 November 2021 (2021-11-11)[2]
iOS1.15.4 / 20 January 2022 (2022-01-20)[3]
UWP1.9.0 / 12 February 2022 (2022-02-12)[4]
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Windows 10 Mobile
  • Desktop: 30.6 MB – 106 MB[5]
  • Android: 6.2 MB
  • iOS: 48.3 MB
  • UWP: 4.2 MB
Available in100 languages[5]
Kiwix Android App.


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."[6]

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.[6]

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.[10][11] In February 2013 Kiwix won SourceForge's Project of the Month award[12] and an Open Source Award in 2015.[13]


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).[12][14]

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.[5]

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.[15] The other computers see an ordinary website. Kiwix-hotspot is an HTTP server version for plug computers,[12] which is often used to provide a Wi-Fi server.[16]

Available content

Reading Wikipedia through Kiwix on a boat in the South Pacific.[17]

A list of content available on Kiwix is available for download, including language-specific sublists.[18] Content can be loaded through Kiwix itself.

Since 2014, most Wikipedia versions are available for download in various different languages.[14] 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.[19]

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.[20]

In November 2014, a ZIM version of all open texts forming part of Project Gutenberg was made available.[21][22]

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,[23] ZIM editions of TED conference talks[24] and videos from Crash Course are available in the Kiwix archive as ZIM file formats.[25]


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 was formerly available in the native package managers of some Linux distributions. However, Kiwix is currently not available in most package databases, due to XULRunner, a program on which Kiwix depends, being deprecated by Mozilla and removed from the package databases.[39] Kiwix is available in the Sugar and ArchLinux Linux distributions. It is also available on Android.

Kiwix is available in the Microsoft Store,[4] on Google Play,[40] and Apple's iOS App Store.[3] 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),[41] all of which work offline. 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,[42] including offline use (except on Android) and the ability to create full-text indices.
  • XOWA
  • Internet-in-a-Box
  • Wikipedia:Database download


  1. "kiwix-desktop: Releases". GitHub.
  2. "kiwix-android: Releases". GitHub.
  3. "Kiwix on the App Store". App Store.
  4. "Kiwix JS". Windows Store. Microsoft.
  5. "Kiwix". SourceForge. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  6. Sutherland, Joe. Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser. In: Wikimedia Blog. 12 September 2014. Accessed on 26 November 2014.
  7. "The plot to free North Korea with smuggled episodes of 'Friends'". Wired. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  8. "¿Cómo utilizar Kiwix como servidor local?" (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  9. "Les Lauréats du Google Impact Challenge". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  10. Citazine article on Afripedia (in French)
  11. Traoré, Kardiatou (13 August 2012). "Afripédia : un projet de promotion de Wikipédia en Afrique". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  12. "Kiwix Aims to spread Wikipedia's Reach". 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  13. "OSS Awards küren Schweizer Open-Source-Projekte". Netzwoche. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  14. "Content in all languages - Kiwix". Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  15. Kiwix-serve
  16. "Kiwix-plug - Kiwix". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  17. "Sailing the South Pacific with a copy of Wikipedia on board: The Goodall Family". Wikimedia Blog. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  18. "Content in all languages - Kiwix". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  19. "Wikipedia Database download: English-language Wikipedia". Wikipedia. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  20. Zim archive for Kiwix
  21. Engelhart, Emmanuel. 50.000 public domain books available to everybody, everywhere, offline. Wikisource-l-Mailinglist, Wikimedia Foundation. 19 November 2014. Accessed on 26 November 2014.
  22. "Words and what not: #Wikimedia & Project #Gutenberg - the sum of all knowledge". 20 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  23. Ubuntuusers Hilfsmittel
  24. Kiwix archive for TED
  25. Kiwix archive for additional content
  26. "Main Page - Kiwix". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  27. "Afripedia project increasing off-line access to Wikipedia in Africa". Wikimedia Blog. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  28. "Off-line solutions for reaching students with limited or no internet access". UNESCO International Bureau of Education. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  29. "Raspberry Pi in Masekelo: Bringing Wikipedia to a school without electricity". Wikimedia Blog. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  30. "Children in Mali can now read Wikipedia offline, thanks to MALebooks e-readers". Wikimedia Blog. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  31. "West African schools will test Kiwix, the offline Wikipedia reader". Wikimedia Outreach Education Newsletter. Wikimedia Foundation. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  32. "Kiwix is mentioned on the thank-you page". Zedaga (in French). Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  33. Fondation Orange: le programme "écoles numériques" Archived 5 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. "Hans Oleander: Using offline Wikipedia to guide tours at the bottom of the Earth". Wikimedia Blog. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  35. "Kiwix'le Wikipedia'ya ulaşmak hala mümkün". (in Turkish). 5 May 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  36. " - A Voyager's Companion". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  37. "Navigatrix – the first Linux distribution for cruisers". Your Cruising Editor. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  38. Amarilli, Antoine. "A local copy of Wikipedia with Kiwix - a3nm's blog". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  39. "Debian". Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  40. "Kiwix, Wikipedia offline - Android Apps on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  41. "Kiwix JS PWA". Retrieved 15 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  42. "Add Support Kiwix Encyclopedia of Wikipedia ".zim" file type · Issue #267 · goldendict/goldendict". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
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