Time to Consider WordPress as a Serious Mediawiki Alternative
Do you want to create a wiki website? Are you looking for a user-friendly MediaWiki alternative? Want to add some wiki-style content to your website?
A wiki is a software system which allows to collaboratively add and edit content. Traditionally people use wiki software like MediaWiki to create a wiki website. Now you can easily build an excellent wiki website using WordPress. If you are unfamiliar with it, WordPress is the most popular CMS on the web. It’s also a beginner-friendly platform.
MediaWiki Wiki Software
MediaWiki is a popular wiki software (a.k.a wiki engine) which was first introduced in 2002. Though MediaWiki was originally developed for Wikipedia, it has been used by thousands of wiki websites as it is a robust and open-source software.
It has some useful extensions which extend its functionality beyond the original idea. A website created with MediaWiki is primarily focussed on creating and collaborating on encyclopedic content. Including other functions like blog, forum, shop etc., becomes impossible.
Some of the important MediaWiki features are,
- Full text search – search using keywords and phrases
- Page history and revisions – track changes to a page, see the revisions, and choose the best version
- User rights (Page-level permissions) – give permission for users and user groups to view, edit, manage etc.,
- Wikilinks – provide links to internal wiki pages automatically
- Magic Words – use some keywords to change the behaviour of a page. Provide dynamic content.
- Templates – embed templates with pre-filled content into any pages
- WYSIWYG Editor – its a visual editor which can be added using an extension
- Access Control List (ACL) – restrict access to specific pages for users or user groups. Also added through an extension.
MediaWiki Use Cases
People use MediaWiki for 2 main purposes
- Create a collaborative website
- Use its powerful content restriction and editing capabilities (via extension)
A public wiki is a wiki website which is accessible to anyone for creating and sharing knowledge.
MediaWiki has gained popularity mainly because of people’s familiarity with Wikipedia. People who want to create a public wiki go for MediaWiki because they want to give their users a Wikipedia-like experience.
A private wiki is a wiki website in which the access is limited to a closed group / community. MediaWiki is used for creating a private wiki by many groups and organizations. For a large community they use several MediaWiki extensions and even add their own code to customize it according to their needs. They use it for internal technical documentation and corporate knowledge sharing.
Need for a MediaWiki alternative
Though many popular websites are using MediaWiki, recent trends show that the number of sites using MediaWiki is reducing.
According to BuiltWith, recently there is a steep decline in the number of websites using MediaWiki. The same was confirmed through W3Techs – Web Technology Surveys.
If people are not using MediaWiki, they’re certainly going for an alternative. So let’s see the main reasons to look for a MediaWiki alternative.
- MediaWiki is not suitable for websites which might evolve in the future. If you think your wiki website will have additional functionality like a blog, forum, shop, etc., then you wouldn’t want to use MediaWiki.
- Being proficient in MediaWiki requires a good programming background and experience to handle it. It can be difficult for users without coding knowledge.
- Though MediaWiki has some extensions, its flexibility is limited, and the extensions are also not easy to use.
- MediaWiki allows for customizations, but it requires coding. There is also limited MediaWiki skins for design and styling options.
WordPress Alternative for MediaWiki
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) which powers nearly 33% of all the websites on the internet. It was introduced in 2003 as a blogging tool but have evolved as a CMS, and it continues to evolve.
WordPress is known for its versatility and has thousands of themes and plugins which adds different functionality to it. The best thing about WordPress is that it is beginner-friendly and to create websites with WordPress, you don’t need coding skills.
To use WordPress as an alternative to MediaWiki you need a WordPress wiki plugin. Plugins are to WordPress what extensions are to Mediawiki. We recommend Helpie KB, the best WordPress wiki plugin.
Helpie KB – WordPress Wiki Plugin
Helpie KB is a wiki plugin and is one of a kind WordPress plugin which can turn a regular WordPress website into a fully-collaborative wiki environment.
It combines the flexibility and ease-of-use nature of WordPress with the collaboration and wiki-style content creation and management of MediaWiki. With Helpie Wiki you can do the important things which you do with MediaWiki and it will get even more powerful in the future.
Helpie KB – Features
Here’s what you can do with Helpie’s wiki plugin.
Helpie KB gives you full control over your wiki content. It has Dynamic Capabilities with which you can choose who gets to perform what actions you perform on your wiki.
You can choose who can,
These capabilities can be set for the full wiki setup, for specific topics and even for a single wiki article based on various control factors.
It has a text and media-rich front-end editor which makes it very easy for editing articles and adding media like images, GIFs and videos. Adding media content is not easy with MediaWiki and other open-source wiki software.
Helpie KB has a revision system which allows you to roll back to a previously edited version of the wiki article. You can also compare different edits of the article and choose to publish the best version of the article.
Elementor Page Builder Integration
In WordPress, you can use drag and drop page builders to design and customize your website easily. Elementor is a very powerful page builder for WordPress and HelpieKB wiki plugin can be fully integrated with Elementor to design and customize your wiki website. You can even create your own wiki templates with Elementor template builder and Helpie.
With these wiki features you can create any type of wiki website like a personal knowledge base (notebook), collaborative document writing space, community-based knowledge building site, and even a corporate wiki environment for internal knowledge transfer and documentation.
Other Reasons to Choose WordPress over MediaWiki
Add Wiki-Style Content to a Website
Today people no longer create a website with a single function. Most of the websites created today are multifunctional. Though there is a need for wiki style content people also want to integrate it with their blog, forum, shop, etc. So people look for a multipurpose CMS which also has a wiki functionality.
Manage Wiki from WordPress Dashboard
Some web designers just use MediaWiki on the website’s subdomain to include wiki-style content to their site, probably for documentation purposes. This wiki subdomain has to be maintained separately.
But with Helpie wiki you can simply install Helpie wiki plugin on your WordPress site and manage your wiki from your WordPress dashboard.
Freedom to design a creative wiki website
MediaWiki does have some good MediaWiki skins to change the appearance and design. But WordPress has thousands of themes and templates to choose from. Helpie wiki plugin is fully compatible with all decently coded themes.
WordPress wiki website is much easier to design and simple to customize. You could customize a WordPress theme without any coding knowledge.
Get Dedicated Support from Helpie Wiki
MediaWiki has a good community which could help you if you face some problems, but if you are facing serious issues, you need to hire a developer to take care.
Helpie wiki plugin has a dedicated support team to help you with your wiki website. Also, WordPress has a large community which will help you when you face issues with other themes and plugins.
Using WordPress as a MediaWiki alternative is not entirely a new concept
Throughout the past decade, many people were searching for wiki alternatives. You can find many old questions and discussions on forums like Quora, Stack Overflow, Reddit. They were looking to use WordPress and other CMS as a wiki alternative.
You could also find some very old ‘Wiki’ plugins on the WordPress plugins directory. Some even go as old as 12 years. I wonder how many old wiki plugins were removed by the WordPress directory. Some of these plugins even describe themselves are alternatives to wiki software such as MediaWiki.
These plugins didn’t succeed because they couldn’t give collaborative capabilities which are given by the wiki software. But today the tide has changed by Helpie wiki plugin.
Now is the time for WordPress Wiki
WordPress has highly evolved today, and it is more powerful than ever. Also, now we have an advanced HelpieKB WordPress wiki plugin which is fully collaborative and very powerful which leverages the flexibility and easy to use nature of WordPress CMS.
So, it is high time that we see WordPress as a serious alternative to MediaWiki and other open-source wiki software.
You can check out HelpieKB right now