Wikipedia is one of the largest sources of information on the web today. It is ranked the 6th best website in the world according to Alexa rankings. And it is perhaps the largest website in the world today with information on almost every subject you can think of. Who needs a $2,500 (more or less) set of Encyclopedia Britannica, when you could get all the information for free? The catch is, you need to go online to access all the information, which you can’t do if you don’t have internet connectivity. Well, that used to be the catch, but not anymore! What if you could download the entire Wikipedia database so you won’t have to go online each time you need to look something up? Well, now, you can do just that! In this post, we’ll show you how exactly to do that!
The reason this is so practical is, Wikipedia doesn’t have any elements that add on extra weight to it. It doesn’t have video files that would hog down your computer’s memory. It doesn’t have any ads anywhere. Flash banner ads take up space. Wikipedia doesn’t even have some advanced flash-wizardry or widgets or any other heavy and unnecessary code functionality that might increase the file size. It is just simple text and images, driven by a simple, yet powerful and dynamic software that organizes the data and provides search functionality. Wikipedia is an example of the perfect compromise between user-experience, simplicity, functionality and performance. That is why it is easily downloadable.
How to download Wikipedia
There are a quite a few methods you can do this.
Wikipedia provide database dumps of their wikis themselves. You can find these dumps at Wikipedia Dumps. These are updated on a regular basis. These dumps are usually .xml files, which you can easily download. But we’d suggest you use a download manager for this, such as DAP or IDM, because these files may be quite large, and may take up GBs of space.
These dumps can be read by a software called WikiTaxi. You will have to import the dumps into this software, and it will them uncompress them, ready for use. You will find all the help you need on the WikiTaxi page.
Kiwix is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is a good alternative to WikiTaxi. This methods works in a similar way to WikiTaxi. You download database files, and open them using this software. Kiwix uses a different version of the files though, and the Wiki dumps will not work here. You will have to download the database files from the Kiwix website. These are .zim files, as large as the dumps, but they don’t need to be compressed.
WikiOffline app for iOS
For iOS and Mac users, there is an app called WikiOffline. It has a great user interface, and supports tabbed browsing. You can carry all the Wikipedia articles in your pocket. This app also displays the articles in an attractive manner. Definitely a must-have for iPhone/iPod/iPad owners.
Now if you’re a Wiki-geek who likes reading up on things to enhance his knowledge, you might want to buy a WikiReader. It is a handheld cellphone sized reader with a 3.5 inch capacitive touch-screen, and it comes for just $99! It has millions of Wikipedia articles, and it can be updated as well. Definitely a great info-gadget to have!
Using any of the above ways, you can now always stay connected to Wikipedia. So if you’re out on a beach next time and someone asks you a technical question, you’ll have the answer for them right in your pocket!