Not everyone knows about the ability to download almost all of Wikipedia for offline use on a Windows, Mac OS and Linux computer, Android and iOS mobile devices, but this can come in handy: for places where Internet access is limited, in organizations, on a computer for a child to whom you blocked the Internet, in case the only one being developed is the Russian one being developed, an apocalypse will occur or you will move into the past.
This review details the use of Kiwix reading Wikipedia offline, how to download Russian Wikipedia (or another database) to your computer or phone and additional information.
What is Kiwix and how to download Wikipedia software and databases
Kiwix is a free multi-platform software for offline access to Wikipedia and other materials. On the official website for downloading, there are available database reading applications - Kiwix Reader and, separately, databases in a special .zim format - Content Packages.
You can download both of them from the following sections of the official website:
- Kiwix Reader - https://www.kiwix.org/en/downloads/kiwix-reader/ . Applications for mobile platforms can also be found in the Play Store and App Store).
- Databases, including Wikipedia in Russian - https://wiki.kiwix.org/wiki/Content_in_all_languages . The same databases can be downloaded inside the applications, but I recommend using the site: torrent files are available there and downloading will be faster, and then, if you use a mobile application, you can copy the database file from your computer to your phone or tablet. Keep in mind that if you want to place the database on a memory card, and it is in the FAT32 file system, then files larger than 4 GB will not fit on it.
Please note that the databases, if we take only the Russian Wikipedia, are available in several versions: the largest for 2019 contains all the articles together with images in them (maxi, 26 GB), there is an option without images (mini, 10 GB) and options only with the most popular articles or collections of Wikipedia materials on a specific topic. Available databases are not limited to Wikipedia, you can find other interesting databases.
Using Kiwix to read Wikipedia offline
I tried Kiwix applications for two platforms - Windows and Android, but judging by the screenshots, on Linux, Mac OS and iOS everything will look the same way.
The application on Windows (after downloading, unzip the archive to a convenient location and run kiwix-desktop.exe) in the "All Files" section allows you to download available databases (in additional search sections you can select the language and category of the database). If the database is already loaded, use the File - Open menu to open it.
Then you can read Wikipedia offline in a way convenient for you: internal links work correctly, and search also (simple input and Enter do not always work, in this case use the option from the prompts that appear). It supports the opening of articles in new tabs, page search and other functions (I could not figure out how the "Reading List" works).
Kiwix application for Android is even simpler: if the databases are found in the storage on the phone or on the memory card, they will appear in the main program window, ready to be opened, if you need to download the databases from the application - open the menu - “Get Content” - “Online” and select databases for downloading (you can use the search in order to quickly find the database you need).
Reading articles will also not cause problems: there is a table of contents, the ability to add bookmarks, and in the settings of the application itself you can find additional options, such as dark mode or switching the interface to Russian (if the English is turned on by default, as happened to me).
Kiwix Server Mode
Both applications support server mode operation. In the program for Windows, the item is called Local Kiwix Server, on Android - Host Books.
After starting the server, other computers and devices on the local network will be able to connect to the Wikipedia host device and view the contents of the selected database as normal Wikipedia in the browser. The address on the local network will be indicated in the application after the server starts.
This may be convenient, for example, in order to organize access to Wikipedia for several computers where there is no access to the Internet.
Of course, when the Internet is available everywhere and relatively cheaply, such things may seem redundant, but just in case I downloaded Kiwix and the most complete database, you never know. I do not know how much the topic is, but it may turn out to be interesting: The best programs for reading books (Windows) , Applications for reading books on Android .