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Kiwix JS for PWA, Windows and Linux (Electron, NWJS, UWP)

WikiMed montage

Kiwix is an offline reader for multilingual content from Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, TED Talks, Wikivoyage, Stackexchange, etc. It makes knowledge available to people with limited or no Internet access. The software and the content are free for anyone to use. Get the app and download your choice of offline content (a ZIM archive, which can be downloaded in the app). There are hundreds of free archives to choose from, on many different topics and subjects. Build a whole digital library of offline knowledge!

See Kiwix JS for Windows and Linux for the latest release for different operating systems. We also have packaged apps of WikiMed by Kiwix (a complete medical encyclopaedia), and Wikivoyage by Kiwix (a complete travel guide) in English -- no extra download needed!

If you are using Windows 10 or 11, then all three apps are conveniently available in the Microsoft Store: Kiwix JS UWP, WikiMed by Kiwix, and Wikivoyage by Kiwix. They will automatically update when a new package is available. If you are using Linux, then the Electron AppImage package of Kiwix JS also (optionally) self-updates, as does the installable Windows Electron package. All other apps can (optionally) notify you when a new version is available, and give you a download link.

Don't like stores or packages? We've got you covered! Launch this app instantly by opening the installable, offline-capable PWA (Progressive Web App) in your browser right now at pwa.kiwix.org. Get a free ZIM archive to use with it from the Configuration page of the app, or you can preview a ZIM at library.kiwix.org before you download one. Once installed or bookmarked, the PWA works fully offline! Take a look at our demo that shows how quick and easy it is to install the PWA.

How do I get all of Wikipedia offline?

If you want it with images, then please be aware that it's a big download: the English version is around 90 Gigabytes! We recommend you try it out first with one of the themed, much smaller, archives, like Astronomy, Chemistry, Maths, Physics, etc. In-app, you'll find a handy dropdown that allows you to choose your language and your theme, and then download it. The archive will download in your browser.

If you really want full English Wikipedia with images, then we strongly recommend you use the open-source app qBittorrent to download it on a PC with plenty of disk space. First install qBittorrent. Then, when you select a large archive for download in the app, it will provide you with a torrent link. Click the link and allow your browser to download and open the torrent file. This small file will open in qBittorrent and you'll be asked where you want to save the archive you want to download. It's much easier than it sounds!

Technical information

This repository is for development of the Kiwix JS app for PWA, Electron, NWJS and Windows 10/11 Universal Windows Platform (UWP). The latest code is usually on the master branch, but this is used for active development and may be several commits ahead of releases. Installable and portable versions for Windows (XP/Vista/7/10/11) and Linux (32bit and 64bit) are available from releases. Unstable nightly builds of the Electron and NWJS apps are available together with a development deployment, but code may be buggy and change rapidly.

The code is based on Kiwix JS, a lightweight HTML/JavaScript port of the Kiwix Offline reader. Significant development has gone into packaging this app for various frameworks, and to add some features which are often backported upstream. The UWP version targets Windows 10/11 (x86, x64, ARM, mobile, tablet, Xbox, Surface Hub, Holographic) while the NWJS and Electron versions also run on earlier Windows (all the way back to Windows XP) and Linux: see the respective releases for more information. The PWA should work with any browser that supports Service Workers, but has only been tested on Edge Chromium, Edge Legacy, Firefox and Samsung Internet Browser. The PWA uses the File System Access API and the File Handling API for a native-like experience in browsers supporting those APIs. For more info about these APIs, see the bottom of this page: File System Access API and File Handling.

All three apps are available in the WinGet Package Manager. You can sideload the UWP version (in Windows 10/11) by opening a Command Prompt or PowerShell terminal and typing winget install kiwix.kiwixjs (this version will not auto-update, but it will let you know when a new update is ready to install). Alternative sideloading instructions are available in the release notes. The Electron version can be installed with winget install kiwix.kiwixjs.electron, or else by downloading a package from Releases. For testing, the Store, Electron and NWJS versions come packaged with an archive of Wikipedia articles related to Climate Change (as a starter ZIM).

Offline ZIM archives are available in-app, or from the Kiwix repository. This app is regularly tested fully on Wikimedia ZIM files, though a number of other ZIM file types work. There is preliminary, useable support for most Zimit ZIMs from version 1.9.8 onwards, and Type 1 Zimit ZIMs are supported from 2.1.0 onwards. Some archives are very large indeed, for example full English Wikipedia with images is currently around 90GB, and you should download this with a BitTorrent client (torrent and magnet links are provided in the app). For most storage types (including microSD cards) that are formatted as exFAT or NTFS, you can store even these very large files in the storage with no problem. However, if you plan to store your ZIM file on an SD card formatted as FAT32, and you wish to use an archive larger than 4GB, then you will need to split the ZIM: see file splitting instructions.

A lot of development for this app happens upstream in the Kiwix JS repository to which I ontribute actively. Without Kiwix JS, this app would be impossible, and huge thanks goes to the original developers of first the Evopedia app and then Kiwix HTML5, which eventually became Kiwix JS. The original source code runs almost "as is" on the UWP platform, which is testament to how well written that app is. The port and further development of Kiwix JS Windows for Windows 10/11 (including Mobile) is by Geoffrey Kantaris. I can be contacted by email: egk10 at cam ac uk.

Reporting bugs

Please use this repository's issue tracker to report any bugs you have found with the software. Open a new issue (after checking that the issue you identified doesn't have an issue already). In all cases, please state clearly the version number you are using (see the About page in the app), and which browser or platform you are using. Please read the Kiwix JS bug reporting guidelines before opening your issue.

Contributing code

If you have coding experience and are interested in contributing to this project, we suggest you start by contributing to the upstream Kiwix JS repository, as much of the code contributed there is subsequently ported to this repository. Please see CONTRIBUTING.md for details. If you wish to contribute to a specific Kiwix JS Windows/Linux feature, then please open an issue on this repository explaining the feature or other code you aim to contribute and how you propose this should be done. You should be comfortable creating PRs and have good knowledge of JavaScript. Follow the same contributing guidelines as for Kiwix JS.

Other contributions / donations

If you like this project and would like to contribute financially towards keeping it running, you can make one-off or regular donations on the Kiwix Support page. Donations help pay for servers, coding certificates, maintenance, etc. If you would like to contribute time and expertise rather than money, and you have good knowledge of a foreign language, you can help with translations of Kiwix projects. Alternatively, you can help improve Wikimedia projects by making edits or corrections to Wikipedia or Wikivoyage articles.

Privacy Policy

When installed, Kiwix JS Windows and Linux is capable of working entirely offline. This application does not collect or record any of your personal data, though if you installed it from a Store, the Store operator may collect anonymous usage data (see below). The app only remembers your browsing history for the duration of a session (for the purpose of returning to previously viewed pages). This history is lost on exiting the app with the optional exception of the last-visited page.

If you access this application from a secure web server (e.g. the PWA server), it will only work offline if your browser is capable of installing a Service Worker. If you install or bookmark the PWA version in Service Worker mode, then it will work offline, but note that by design any PWA will periodically check the PWA server (in this case, https://pwa.kiwix.org/), if it is available, to check for an updated Service Worker.

Versions of the app that are not installed via a Store or that are not PWAs, will offer to check the GitHub Releases API for updates on startup, but this functionality is optional and can be kept off. Some Electron apps will also optionally self-update (via the same API), if you allow them to check for updates. This applies to the installer (setup) version for Windows, and to the AppImage version for Linux. The Store version and the PWA also self-update, but this is not controllable within the app.

By default, this application will remember your last-visited page between sessions using local stoarage or a cookie that is accessible only on this device. If you are accessing sensitive information that you do not wish to be displayed next time you open this app, we recommend that you turn this option off in the Configuration options.

This application only reads the archive files that you explicitly select on your device and files included in its own package: it is not capable of reading any other files. It will only access the Kiwix archive download server if you specifically request it to access the download library for ZIM archives on the Configuration page. If you run the app as a PWA, it will cache its own code from the secure PWA server and then can be used offline. Some ZIM archives contain active content (scripts) which may, in rare circumstances, attempt to contact external servers for incidental files such as fonts. We block these with a Content Security Policy injected into articles, but in some cases, if the article already has a CSP, ours may be overwritten. Note that scripts only run if you enable Service Worker mode in Configuration.

If you believe your Internet access is insecure, or is being observed or censored, we recommend that you completely shut down your Internet access (Data or WiFi) before using the application.

Additionally, if you obtained this app from a Vendor Store (including extensions), then the Store operator may track your usage of the app (e.g. download, install, uninstall, date and number/duration of sessions) for the purpose of providing anonymous, aggregate usage statistics to developers. If this concerns you, you should check the relevant Store Privacy Policy for further information.

Builds of this app are available that do not use a Store or an online Service Worker. Please see:

  • Releases
  • NWJS version - this version is completely standalone and will never access servers unless you allow it to.