What is Kiwix?

The short story

Kiwix is an offline reader for online content like Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, or TED Talks. It makes knowledge available to people with no or limited internet access. The software as well as the content is free to use for anyone.

The long story

«What’s the point of an offline reader? Everybody is online 24/7 anyway!»

This is what you may think if you are earning a reasonable salary and live in a developed country with a strong democracy. But this is not reality for everyone: More than half of the world’s population -four billion people – still does not have access to the Internet.

The main reasons for this are:

  • Infrastructure: in many countries and in rural areas, internet access is often slow, unreliable, or not available at all. This may also happen because of natural disasters, or war.
  • Affordability: many people with low or no income simply cannot afford to pay for data.
  • Censorship: restrictions on internet access for political reasons are increasing, and it’s not only about social media. Even today, several countries are blocking Wikipedia.

The Kiwix project aims to make online content accessible for people without online access, regardless of the reason. Founded more than 10 years ago by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin, this project now provides a complete suite of software components to compress whole websites like Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, and Stack Exchange into content packages. These are then stored locally and can be read on almost any device.

Kiwix is a non-profit organisation and is based in Switzerland. Our software is open-source available for free. The work we do is partially provided by volunteers, partially funded by individual donations, and grants from foundations.