Explore 6 open-source alternatives to Confluence

24 Aug 2023 5 min read

Written by

Dorina Anton

, Marketing Specialist

Important updates

πŸ‘‰ Discover our new Confluence Migrator (Pro) and the 2 steps process to migrate smoothly to XWiki!

πŸ’» You can also check out our webinar article which will provide you with insights on all the features of the new Confluence Migrator (Pro), a demo of the migration process, and the transcript for the Q&A session.

πŸ“£ We recently hosted another webinar about all the improvements brought to our Confluence Migrator (Pro) and Pro Macros.

As part of our company's mission to advocate for open-source solutions and digital sovereignty, today we want to look at some of the most popular open-source alternatives to Confluence and how your organization can benefit from using these software solutions. If this is your first time dipping your toes into the open-source world, we'd like to point out a few important differences between proprietary and open-source software.

  • Open source means the code is 100% public whereas the source code in proprietary software isn't;
  • Open-source software platforms have the option to use them for free while proprietary software requires a paid license in order to use the product;
  • Many contributors develop the product, identify bugs, test the product and point out what can be improved while proprietary software is developed by a dedicated team;
  • Open source means no vendor lock-in and choice of hosting;
  • Open-source software offers more balance from a cost/value perspective.

80% of respondents for The State of Open Source Report said that they increased the use of OSS in the last year and not without reasons. Discover in today's article what some of the most popular open-source wikis have to offer.

  1. XWiki
  2. MediaWiki
  3. DokuWiki
  4. BookStack
  5. Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware
  6. Wiki.js
  7. Check out our post-webinar article about the new Confluence Migrator (Pro)
  8. Closing thoughts

XWiki

Open-source-alternative-to-Confluence-XWiki

XWiki is a powerful free and open-source Enterprise wiki platform that offers extensive customization features, collaborative editing, document and files management, integration capabilities, and granular rights management. It is a flexible and scalable solution, with many robust features for creating, organizing, and sharing knowledge within organizations. It is written in Java and runs under the LGPL license.

Open-source by nature and by heart, we believe in the freedom to choose any service provider and host your instance in the environment that you prefer, cloud or on-premise. Furthermore, in the last years we've welcomed many Confluence users and facilitated their migration process by developing a free Confluence migrator (now available as a community extension and can be used for testing purposes, but it is not supported and not recommended for production usage), and working on a myriad of bridge macros between Confluence and XWiki (31 at the moment). With full ownership of your data and no worries about lock-in policies, you can migrate from Confluence to XWiki and even to other tools.

⚑We've released the new Confluence Migrator (Pro) for multiple space migration that will improve the speed of your migration process significantly.

The most popular ways in which organizations use XWiki across the globe are internal and external knowledge base, documentation, procedures management, intranet, self-service desk, digital workplaceblogging, and public website. Moreover, because XWiki allows you to build on top of it you can further add use cases to your wiki instance with extensions or XWiki's hundreds of RESTful remote APIs, scripts, and apps made in App Within Minutes. Last, but not least, the XWiki community is active, dedicated in developing the software, and truly embodies collaboration as a driving-value.

XWiki features to check out:
βœ… Hierarchical organization of structured content in nested pages and sub-wikis;
βœ… Seamless editing using WYSIWYG, Markdown, and wiki syntax editors;
βœ… Section editing;
βœ… Auto-save and "Save and continue" functionality;
βœ… Version rollback, history tracking, and comparison between versions;
βœ… Page cycle with multiple actions within a page;
βœ… Easy import and export from and to XWiki in multiple formats;
βœ… Scripting and automation capabilities;
βœ… Collaborative web applications through App Within Minutes;
βœ… Efficient navigation via "livetables" (filterable tables) for structured data;
βœ… Comprehensive navigation features like search, page index, breadcrumb, URL, jump to page, etc;
βœ… Full look & feel customization;
βœ… Multilingual support in 40 languages;
βœ… Multiple authentication connectors;
βœ… Users and Groups rights management (by space, page, user groups);
βœ… Built-in powerful SOLR search with advanced filtering;
βœ… Notification features, including RSS feed, activity streams, and email alerts for specific pages;
βœ… Plus many other features.

What is different compared with other wikis

XWiki can be used as a 1st generation wiki for content collaboration needs (similar to Wikipedia) or as a 2nd generation wiki for collaborative web applications. This means that you can define and manipulate structured data directly within your XWiki instance, enabling the creation of custom data structures and applications. These structures can also be downloaded and reused in other pages as well.

Last but not least, XWiki is designed with enterprise-level features in mind, such as fine-grained access control, security measures, scalability, and extensibility. These attributes empower the development and integration of complex applications, macros, scripts, and plugins, allowing you to tailor the platform to your specific business needs. As your company scales, XWiki can seamlessly scale alongside your operations.

What users say about XWiki

The Wiki platform has brought our company "Energisa" the union of several units throughout the country and generating synergy among them. The simplicity and ease of access, integrated areas and processes and provided us improve our knowledge management. Today we have Wiki Energisa published in the world, providing external access collaborators, which further added in platform, beyond the time gain. I recommend its use as it is a platform that unites the management with the ease of access to any and all content published on the Wiki. GetApp review

TRY XWIKI FOR 30 DAYS

You can download and install the XWiki software available on xwiki.org for free and take care yourself of the maintenance, backups, upgrades, development, and extensions. If you don't want all this hassle, our team of dedicated experts provide specialized long-term support through a customer portal that is easily accessible through a Technical Support Contract. We believe in equitable options so we provide adaptable pricing options according to user tiers that meet the needs of organizations; from SMBs to international corporations, you can rely on expert assistance as we take care of your wiki instance.

If you want to compare XWiki with other products such as Nuxeo, Alfresco, SharePoint, Google Suite, Notion and more, check out our alternatives page.

MediaWiki

Open-source-alternative-to-Confluence-MediaWiki

MediaWiki is a free and open-source wiki released under the GNU General Public License. Written in PHP, it was initially developed to power Wikipedia, one of the most well-known and widely used online encyclopedias. Its primary purpose is to enable users to collaboratively create and edit web-based content. It is multilingual, extensible, and customizable, being one of the most robust wiki platforms out there today.

Furthermore, thanks to the vast array of features it has, you can use it as an alternative to Confluence for knowledge repositories, content-management purposes, public wikis, and collaborative documentation. Its flexibility and specific functionalities, such as support for mathematical and chemistry formulas, make it particularly relevant in academic and research settings.

Some of the most notable MediaWiki features:

βœ… Simple and intuitive markup language (wiki syntax);
βœ… WYSIWYG editor for non-technical users;
βœ… Easy editing, formatting, linking, categorizing, and referencing;
βœ… Revision history and rollback features for content management;
βœ… Plugin ecosystem and extensions for customization;
βœ… Multilingual support for global collaboration;
βœ… User Management;
βœ… Variety of templates that streamline the workflow and ensure consistency of pages.

What is different compared with other wikis

It has been designed to serve very high-traffic websites and large amounts of content (such as Wikipedia), being well-known for its reliability and scalability as a wiki platform. Furthermore, it has been developed to allow users to organize content hierarchically and semantically and to facilitate interwiki linking with other MediaWiki-based wikis. This feature fosters interconnected knowledge sharing and collaboration across different MediaWiki-based platforms. Last but not least, you can create reusable content templates inside MediaWiki, which can enhance consistency and standardization across your wiki.

What users say about MediaWiki

Despite the maintenance work it was even more refreshing to keep the tool in-house and on-premise. It made employees realize the importance of the tool, generating greater involvement of the team as a whole. The tool allowed us to better understand our day-to-day and generate more efficient and dynamic processes. Capterra review

Thanks to its open-source nature, you can self-host for free or buy hosting services as well as professional development and consulting.

DokuWiki

DokuWiki-alternative-to-Confluence-Wikipedia-Screenshot

Screenshot from Wikipedia

DokuWiki is a simple-to-use open-source wiki written in PHP. What's notable about it is that it doesn't require a database because it stores all data in files for simple data storage and retrieval. It uses a simple markup language that is clean and readable and more commonly used by technical users. It is also easy to install, maintain, do backups, and integrate and manage plugins by an administrator user. Moreover, it also has low system requirements.

DokuWiki was especially made for documentation purposes, but it also enables other use cases such as content management and collaboration, and knowledge base management.

Main DokuWiki features to check out:

βœ… Revision control;
βœ… Recent changes feature;
βœ… Uploading and embedding of images and other media;
βœ… Customizable Interwiki links;
βœ… Section Editing;
βœ… Easy navigation;
βœ… Automatic save to avoid content loss during editing;
βœ… Anti-spam measures;
βœ… Simple and clean Markdown syntax;
βœ… Fine-grained access control;
βœ… Namespace support;
βœ… Plugin system and extensions that enhance functionality;
βœ… Array of templates;
βœ… Search functionality;
βœ… Multilingual support in 50 languages;
βœ… ACL support.

What is different compared with other wikis:

If your organization needs simple documentation and collaboration features without much hassle when it comes to maintenance, backup, and integrations, then DokuWiki can be a good option to explore. Its main use case is documentation. Also, it might be a suitable fit for small to medium sized projects that need documentation, a corporate knowledge base, and technical manual features in a simple interface.

What users say about DokuWiki:

I like that it is so easy to setup and maintain, no complicated database setup to deal with. It’s perfect for instances where you don’t need a huge multiuser wiki. It’s great for keeping notes for one person or a small workgroup or family. G2 review

You can download, install, and use it on your own server without any direct cost.

BookStack

Open-source-alternative-to-Confluence-BookStack

Screenshot from BookStack

BookStack is a free and open-source documentation platform that provides a modern, simple and intuitive user-friendly experience for creating, managing, and sharing content. Released under the MIT license, this wiki software allows you to freely use and modify the code, encouraging a collaborative and customizable environment. Whether you prefer self-hosting on your own infrastructure or utilizing cloud services, BookStack offers the flexibility to suit your hosting preferences.

This wiki software is fit for use cases such as documentation for projects, products, or internal processes, corporate knowledge base, collaborative content creation, and even diagrams and book creation. It suits smaller teams with less complex business requirements.

Main BookStack features to check out:

βœ… WYSIWYG editor;
βœ… Content structured hierarchically;
βœ… Revision History;
βœ… User and permission management;
βœ… Media support;
βœ… Category and tagging;
βœ… Reading progress feature for articles;
βœ… Multilingual support in 9 languages;
βœ… Multi-factor authentication.

What is different compared with other wikis

It is an intuitive wiki software with premade structuring in Shelves > Books > Chapters > Pages. BookStack provides its user interface in both a light theme and a dark theme, which is configurable at user level. On the other hand, in order to install it you need knowledge in Laravel which can be challenging for non-technical users.

What users say about BookStack:

Just a note to say thank you for such a well-polished, speedy, functional application. Reddit review

BookStack is fully free and open source. There is no cost to downloading and installing your own instance of Bookstack. If you find yourself needing technical expertise, you have the option of opting for paid support services.

Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware

Tiki_Wiki_open_source_alternative_to_Confluence_SourceForge_printscreen

Screenshot from Source Forge

Tiki is an open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and available under the LGPL license. It offers a comprehensive suite of features for collaborative content creation and management. Furthermore, this wiki software is also versatile and can be employed for websites, portals, intranets, and extranets, GeoCMS, and Groupware web application.

Main Tiki features to check out:

βœ… Collaborative creation and editing of wiki pages;
βœ… Integrated Blog and Forum features;
βœ… File Management capabilities;
βœ… Support for Wiki Syntax;
βœ… Theme and templates customization;
βœ… Extensible functionality through a module and plugin system;
βœ… User administration and access control to groups;
βœ… Multilingual support for 35 languages;
βœ… Diverse navigation features.

What is different compared with other wikis

Tiki's design philosophy emphasizes an "all-in-one" approach, providing a wide range of out-of-the-box features. Users can enable or disable specific functionalities based on their needs. This approach simplifies the initial setup process while allowing customization to suit different project requirements. Tiki's user interface aims to be accessible to non-technical users, promoting collaboration and ease of content management.

What users say about Tiki:

Tiki was on a small list of possible solutions for a website project that included collaborative translation of mixed media. It's performed remarkably well and exceeded most of my expectations and even imagination of what was posable. The community is active and helpful. I since deployed several websites with this software and have found its robust features an asset, even when I have not initially planned on using them. Source Forge review

You can download, install, and use Tiki without any licensing fees. You also have the option of paid consulting and support services.

Wiki.js

Wiki.js-open-source-alternative-to-Confluence-Wikipedia-screenshot

Screenshot from Wikipedia

Wiki.js, constructed using Node.js and written in JavaScript, stands as a favored open-source wiki platform among developers due to its distinct attributes such as syncing with Git repositories. Beyond its developer-oriented foundation, the interface is fully flexible, enabling personalized adjustments to both the administrative section and the wiki's appearance.

This wiki software can serve as a comprehensive solution for handling dev-oriented use cases especially. It also serves IT project managers in fostering a collaborative culture.

Main Wiki.js features to check out:

βœ… Support for multiple editors such as Markdown, WYSIWYG Rich-text, raw HTML, and AsciiDoc;
βœ… Multilingual support;
βœ… Optional synchronization with Git repositories or push to S3 / DigitalOcean Spaces for archiving;
βœ… Over 50 integrations;
βœ… Built-in search engine and support for Elasticsearch and Azure Search;
βœ… Categorization features for organized content structuring;
βœ… Customization options for look & feel;
βœ… Rendering pipeline and plugin support;
βœ… Version tracking that has comparison tools.

What is different compared with other wikis

It has the unique capability to store content directly as .md files and seamlessly synchronize with an organization's Git repository. This enables direct synchronization of content with version control, making it an open-source alternative to Confluence for development teams who want to manage documentation alongside their codebase. Therefore, while having an user-friendly UI/X, Wiki.js still requires a certain level of technical knowledge and skill to set up and manage effectively.

What users say about Wiki.js:

The best thing about this software is the fact that content is written using markdown syntax and all the content is directly synced with git. Also a lot of authentication is present with this software and above all, it is open-source software. G2 review

You can either host Wiki.js on your on-premise servers for free or use "single-click" install on the DigitalOcean and AWS marketplace.

Check out our post-webinar article about the new Confluence Migrator (Pro)

Looking for an even smoother process to transition from Confluence to XWiki? Well, we've gathered feedback from the market, and we've poured resources into developing a more powerful migrator. The new Confluence Migrator (Pro) has many new improvements such as:

  • A 2-step migration process
  • Multi space import
  • A clear report detailing the logs of the import process
  • A new, more straightforward UI

Discover below in our newest article the complete set of features and functionalities for a hassle-free migration from Confluence to XWiki. Last but not least, you can check out the post-webinar article for the demo and Q&A session.

DISCOVER THE NEW CONFLUENCE MIGRATOR (PRO)

Closing thoughts

No software fits all businesses and we understand that. Picking the right platform for your team impacts the structuring and workflows that you establish.

These open-source alternatives provide varying features and strengths, so it's essential to assess your organization's specific requirements before choosing the most suitable option. By opting for an open-source alternative to Confluence, you benefit tremendously from the involvement of a passionate community, extensibility, and much-needed flexibility. Furthermore, the purpose of a wiki fits perfectly with the dynamics of distributed teams.

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