What's the best open source wiki platform?

I've been tasked with setting up a wiki for our developers to share project information (Server IPs, Interface Documentation, Architecture Diagrams, etc). My manager has suggested Deki and I've also heard of MediaWiki and Twiki. One project here uses Trac but we don't need it's SVN capabilities and we'd like to have a WYSIWYG editor if possible. We also want to host this wiki locally.

I couldn't find many web resources comparing the various wiki platforms and previous stack overflow questions haven't really addressed the question directly.

What's the best wiki platform? What have used in the past that's been good / terrible?


  • Clean interface
  • Easy to use
  • Attach Files to pages
  • User Management Hierarchy (Users / Groups)
  • Open source
  • Hosted Locally

If not duplicate, pretty similar: Coding Standard Wiki

Update: We've decided to go with Deki. Great interface, WYSIWYG, User Hierarchy and installing from the VM image was a snap. I upvoted the Deki post but I'm going to give best answer to the wikimatrix answer as that was the best suggestion for helping me compare the various wikis platforms. Thanks!


Try comparing them in Wiki Matrix

The thing about WYSIWYG that trips a lot of people up is when people try to paste in items from other sources.

I had a site I maintained for a nonprofit group and I used FreeTextBox. It's neat, it's free, and it runs in ASP.NET - all the criteria I needed. the members of this club were simply not going to figure out HTML and use that to make things bold, underlined, etc. So, I gave them FTB which worked a bit like Microsoft Word. Win/win, right?

Wrong. Since by default I left in all of the controls FTB gives you, people picked all kinds of weird crap, mainly fonts. Everyone in the organization loved Comic Sans. Ugh. This was made to edit a public-facing site and everything looked hideously inconsistent - the size of the fonts, the types of the fonts, everything.

So, I went in and turned off most of the stuff I didn't want people doing, like changing the fonts or the sizes and so forth.

You know what people did instead? They would edit everything in Microsoft Word and then paste it in. They noticed that they couldn't do what they wanted in FTB so they just used Microsoft Word to get around it (I'm sure this is how they send screenshots in email as well). And FTB just accepts all of this, usually with really messed up line breaks as well so things looked even more janky. And FTB is designed such that when things get messed up it's hard to fix them without digging into the HTML, which was outside of the range of what these members were capable of.

If I ever get around to touching that site again I'm stripping out FTB and putting in something like the WMD editor using Markdown like Stack Overflow uses. I agree that not letting people see what their edits will look like in realtime is an issue that "wiki" editors miss. But I also think that letting people use a true WYSIWYG editor online (or at least one that will just accept the HTML-in-the-background that Word produces) is a recipe for disaster. I like the compromise Stack Overflow uses - don't let them use real HTML but give them a real time preview.

So, although WYSIWYG editing is one of your requirements, you may want to rethink that depending on the audience of your site.

At work we currently use Deki from Mindtouch. It has all the features you posted.

Great product, but the main reason I chose this was that they have a ready-to-use version on a VMware image. Just download the image and the VWware player and run it from you computer. Then you can access it through a browser.

When we got a VMware server I just moved it there and kept using it.

I like mediawiki, we are using it here: http://wiki.lessthandot.com/index.php/Main_Page

I'm not sure about the "User Management Hierarchy (Users / Groups)" but MoinMoin covers all the other bases.

Since Wikis are generally flat (i.e. everyone can do everything), I'm not sure separating users into more than two hierarchies (admins and normal users) makes that much sense. Of course, people who have never user a Wiki before are usually driven by fear and doubt and they will believe that they must protect the wiki against vandals.

The counter-argument is that you can't delete anything in a wiki and that Wikipedia has survived years in the Internet with little protection. Since "revert" is just one click away and it's cheap, I think energy is better invested into other features of a wiki engine.

A little note from personal experience: The WYSIWYG editors are still in their infancy. I find that I'm much faster when using the raw edit mode. The feature makes it more simple to sell it to upper management, though (= people who think "Word" == "Operating System").

I don't know if it has all the features you want...(but I suspect it might)

ScrewTurn Wiki

nevermind...it doesn't have WYSIWYG editing...

FWIW, I highly recommend Foswiki.org (former TWiki). It's a highly mature Wiki with a very good WYSIWYG editor as well as solid wiki-ML, and it also allows all HTML tags.

It is very easy to install on many platforms and contains good security measures, including finegrained access control for users and groups.

We used ScrewTurn Wiki as our local wiki in the company. We haven't had any problems so far. Afaik, it has all the features you asked for. But of course, you should try it first especially if you need an asp.net wiki engine.

Although I mostly use MediaWiki, it doesn't have WYSIWYG and it's not good for restricting reading. If you want to restrict editing (as per your "User Management Hierarchy (Users / Groups)") then it's quite doable, but for restricting reading there's basically on guarantee that you can do it in a water-tight manner. It's just not built for that.

Maybe you should look at TWiki. It has a WYSIWYG editor and you can also write directly in HTML. This is beneficial because you're not storing the pagers in an intermediary layer of wiki markup.

I believe it has very powerful access control from the ground-up too. For users it is quite nice. I think it is tricky to install, but you didn't list easy installation as one of your requirements. ;) Once you get past that it should be fine. It also has a strong community, although keep an eye out for differently named forks thanks to a recent, uh, disturbance.

I like the Wiki in FogBugz, but I use FogBugz so it's certainly convenient.

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