Frequently Asked Questions

The below are answers to the most commonly asked questions. Feel free to reach out if you need to know more.

What is Kiwix?

Kiwix is an offline reader – meaning that it allows you to browse text or video that is normally only available on the internet. We turn various online contents (such as Wikipedia, for example) into ZIM files, and these can be opened by Kiwix even if you have no connectivity.

Our technology’s main advantage is its high compression rate. For instance, the entirety of Wikipedia (more than 6 million articles, with images) can fit in 80Gb. The Gutenberg Library’s 60,000 books will fit on 60 Gb of storage space.

What is your business model?

Kiwix is a registered not-for-profit entity. We do not collect user data, nor do we put ads anywhere. Kiwix is entirely free and open-source, meaning that you can share and distribute it without having to ask for our permission (do drop us a note as a courtesy so we know where our users are; pictures are awesome too).

Our funding comes from users who enjoy Kiwix and people who support our mission to bring educational content to those who need it. Every help counts, so please consider making a donation.

We also get grants from Foundations to help us give access to specific content (the Wikimedia Foundation being one of them, for instance).

Where do I find zim files?

Kiwix comes without content files. You need to download them from the app’s library, download from our repository, or generate your own via Zimit.

Zim files are too big and I cannot store them!

In some languages, Wikipedia in particular can be particularly large (it has more than 6 millions articles, after all). If you are on a phone, consider hosting your ZIM files onto an external microSD card, or download a version without images (nopic, 60% smaller) or limited to the introduction and infobox of each article (mini, 95% smaller).

We also release thematic contents (e.g. Maths, History, etc.) so that you can pick and chose only the parts that what you want.

I can not copy Zim files on my hard drive or SD card.
Storage is often formatted using the FAT32 filesystem which can’t store files bigger than 4GB.

We recommend to use exFAT or NTFS which can deal with large files and are broadly supported.

Can I only download parts that have changed since I last downloaded Wikipedia?
Incremental updates are not available yet, but we’ve started looking into it. This is a pretty complex project, and we need your help to make it happen!
What do mini, nopic and maxi mean in the Wikipedia zim files?

File size is always an issue when downloading such big content, so we always produce each Wikipedia file in three flavours:

  • Mini: only the introduction of each article, plus the infobox. Saves about 95% of space vs. the full version.
  • nopic: full articles, but no images. About 75% smaller than the full version
  • Maxi: the default full version.
I have a 32-bit computer (Windows XP or Vista) and can't run Kiwix 2.0 nor read the newer zim files. What can I do?

We recently released Kiwix-JS for 32-bit Windows. Try it!

Where can I buy your hotspot?

Physical hotspots are not for sale yet, but you can purchase a Raspberry Pi from your local reseller and create your bespoke image here.