We all know that Wikipedia is the largest online knowledge vault, where people hang-on to get all kinds of information. But this information source is available online and you need an internet connection to get the information, how about having an offline copy of Wikipedia?

We all know that we can build a website like Wikipedia but taking an offline copy is something new isn’t it? Let us quickly see how to do that.

Kiwix Logo

Kiwix is the software that brings Wikipedia in your palm. Kiwix is basically an offline reader for web content and can be used for many other things. Let us see how to use Kiwix to setup your offline Wikipedia.

Download and Install Kiwix

  • You can download Kiwix here and is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and Linux.
  • There is a portable version (34.6 MB) available for windows and I am just going to download it for this article.
  • Extract the downloaded kiwix-0.9-rc2-win.zip file.
  • When you open the extracted files folder, you should see two folders – install and kiwix. Open the kiwix folder.
  • Run the kiwix.exe application file.
  • When you start kiwix for the first time you should see a dialog box that prompts you to download remote catalog of available books. Click Yes.

Download Remote Catalog Dialog Box

  • Next you will be presented with another dialog as shown below, click OK.

New Content Message Kiwix

  • The catalog will be retrieved and displayed to you in Kiwix Library as shown below.

Kiwix Library

So we were talking about downloading the entire Wikipedia isn’t it? but I never spoke about the size, did i? If I had mentioned about the size you wouldn’t have even bothered to read till this far :-) But wait there are some interesting stuff that I want to show you and before that let me show you how to setup your offline Wikipedia.

Setup Your Offline Wikipedia

Let us just find the Wikipedia ZIM file, Kiwix supports ZIM format and hence you would just have to feed a .ZIM file.

In the Kiwix Library, under search ZIM files type Wikipedia and pick the Language that you could possibly read. I have chosen English and I can see a list of ZIM files that match my criteria are displayed.

Search Wikipedia ZIM

As yes, the size of Offline Wikipedia is 39.96 GB, with proper internet connectivity and bandwidth you should be able to download the file and setup your offline Wikipedia. You could also see another ZIM file that gives Wikipedia without images sized at 11.77 GB.

There are also other variations like,

  • Wikipedia Selection for Schools holds 6000 articles and comes at a size of 4.5 GB.
  • The free encyclopedia in simple English holds 99,150 articles plus 86,073 Medias and comes at a size of 1.75 GB.

Pick the one that suits you and start enjoying Wikipedia offline too.

Now let’s head to the interesting part, we all know that Wiki also has other projects like Wikiquote, Wikivoyage, Wiktionary, Wikispecies, etc. All these can be downloaded individually through Kiwix Library.

If you are unable to download the ZIM file from the kiwix library, the reason is because of the mirror website unavailability and you won’t see an error message that tells you the problem. In such case you can directly head to the below link and download the ZIM file, if the mirror website is unavailable then you will at least know it.

http://download.kiwix.org/zim/

I just downloaded the WikiVoyage(no pictures) ZIM file (wikivoyage_en_all_nopic_06_2014.zim) which comes at the size of 65 MB.

Offline Wikipedia Wikivoyage

Once you have downloaded the ZIM file, just click File -> Open file option from kiwix library and select the ZIM file from your system. You now have the offline copy of your wiki. The search is very powerful so you can also make use of it to quickly find articles that you are interested in.

There is also a ZIM compatible webserver available called Kiwix-serve that allows you to serve the offline wiki over your network. I haven’t tried this, so if someone is already using this or tried this, please share your experiences over here.

Installing and setting up an offline Wikipedia is a one time job, but since ZIM files cannot be updated you have again download the latest version in order to view the updated information.

Kiwix is highly preferred in schools, libraries and universities but why not at home? Try it and let me know how it went. Found this article useful? Just spread the knowledge.