What is Kiwix?

The short story

We can make highly compressed copies of entire websites that each fit into a single (.zim) file. Zim files are small enough that they can be stored on users’ mobile phones, computers or small, inexpensive Hotspot.

Kiwix then acts like a regular browser, except that it reads these local copies. People with no or limited internet access can enjoy the same browsing experience as anyone else.

The software as well as the content are fully open-source and free to use and share.

The long story

Did you know that you could store the entirety of Wikipedia on your phone? And read it anywhere, at anytime?

The challenge

Half of the world -four billion people – can not reliably use the Internet. It mostly boils down to :

  • Lack of Infrastructures: in many remote or rural areas or refugee camps internet is often slow, unreliable, or not available at all. 
  • Cost: many people with low or no income simply cannot afford to pay for data.

The Kiwix project can help address these barriers by making affordable educational content accessible to people without online access.

The solution – how does it work?

Founded more than 10 years ago, Kiwix can compress any website (even large ones like Wikipedia, the Gutenberg project or Stack Exchange) into unique content packages (zim files).

We can copy text, images, videos, just like the original thing – but highly compressed so that they are easy to share and distribute, for instance on a flash drive or microSD card, or broadcast on inexpensive hotspots.

The Kiwix reader runs on almost any device (mobile phones, computers, etc.). For the end user it feels pretty much like a regular browser as the experience is almost identical to browsing the source website(s). Except that there is no internet.

Kiwix is also a nonprofit.

Our software is open-source and available for free. We do not sell ads, nor do we collect any data from our users. The work we do is partially provided by volunteers, partially funded by individual donations and grants from foundations.

in 2020 Kiwix had more than 4 million users in 200+ countries and territories.