Good wiki hosting site?

A friend of mine wants to set up a wiki for perhaps 200 people who fly a particular kind of airplane. He’s looking for a recommendation for a hosting service and software. Here are the specs…

Required:

  • easy to edit. WYSIWYG not required, but simple tags like Mediawiki or Confluence.
  • publicly editable, no login required
  • revision history, easy to undo page changes
  • expect < 200 pages of content max.
  • download of attachments, like PDF, PPT required.
  • discussion / comments per page.
  • searchable, easy to bookmark, generated table of contents

Nice to have:

  • highly desirable to take a copy of the entire wiki offline on a smartphon (iPhone, BlackBerry), PDF ok.
  • Injecting simple HTML.
  • email notifications of page changes.
  • separate domain name
  • exportable to a neutral format, like XML
  • cost under $20/month

General discussion list, blogs, forums not required nor desired.

—————-

What makes this a non-obvious question is that the wiki systems that let anyone edit are too public, e.g., Wikipedia. The wiki systems that are private are too private and require people to register before they can tweak.

21 Comments

  1. Darren Neimke

    October 23, 2009 @ 5:33 am

    1

    Google Wave

  2. Lord Omlette

    October 23, 2009 @ 7:33 am

    2

    pbwiki doesn’t fit your bill?

  3. Anonymous

    October 23, 2009 @ 7:52 am

    3

    I’d suggest Google Sites, except I’m confused by your contradictory requirements (publicly editable, no login, vs. Wikipedia and other systems that let anyone edit being too public).

  4. Nenad

    October 23, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    4

    Ning is pretty good.

  5. Shimon Rura

    October 23, 2009 @ 8:51 am

    5

    You might consider http://pbworks.com/ (formerly PBWiki) which has some good access controls. MediaWiki is also tremendously flexible, but finding the right plugins and configuration options is nontrivial. Still, if you’re comfortable using MediaWiki, you might be better off hiring someone who knows it well to do a custom installation.

    Can you clarify what rights the public should have? In the requirements you say “publicly editable, no login required” and at the end you say that letting anyone edit is too public. Should non-logged-in users be able to edit content? Are you saying there needs to be a moderation process for such edits?

  6. Nick Loman

    October 23, 2009 @ 9:56 am

    6

    DokuWiki (http://www.dokuwiki.org) would be worth checking out for one half of the question.

  7. Jon Anhold

    October 23, 2009 @ 10:08 am

    7

    Dreamhost’s “Dreamhost Apps” offers free Mediawiki hosting:

    http://dreamhostapps.com/

  8. David Wihl

    October 23, 2009 @ 11:03 am

    8

    Google Wave and Google Sites are not appropriate because a login is required for editing. Not logged in users should be able to edit content. Wikipedia has specific editorial policies that might be contradictory to the opinions expressed on this Wiki.

    PBWorks looks interesting.

  9. Brandon Smietana

    October 23, 2009 @ 11:16 am

    9

    For my company wiki I am using hosting by BlueHost.Com, which is extremely cheap; I believe I payed less than 70$ for a year of hosting and the webserver is usually very responsive. Bluehost also has an administrative html interface that allows you to automatically install and configure various applications.

    For the Wiki, I would recommend using Wikkia. I have tried various other wikis and Wikkia was the fastest, most responsive and cleanest for my purposes. The configuration options are minimalist and not as overwhelming as the other wikis I have tried. To edit a page you merely double click on it. I have my wiki configured so that it is publicly viewable but can only be edited by users that have registered.

    http://wikkawiki.org/

    HTML injection and formatting are rather painless and Wikki comes with an excellent formatting guide. I also found that modifying the PHP of wikki in order to add visitor tracking through google analytics was a rather straight forward task. Email me and I will send you a link to my Wiki, if you would like to evaluate it against your requirements.

  10. Nobody

    October 23, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    10

    wikia?

  11. Sevesteen

    October 23, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    11

    I also don’t quite understand your requirements, they seem contradictory. Assuming by “too public” you mean “too visible”, you might look at Wikibooks. Part of the Wikimedia family, but less visible than Wikipedia pages. Free and exportable, so if it doesn’t work out you can switch to a different service. I’ve had a little hobby wiki on there for a couple years, and it has worked fine for me.

  12. Wilbur

    October 23, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

    12

    Alas, I had to roll my own (= modify MoinMoin to disable auto-register), but the toolset is minimal and avoiding a complex database makes backups much simpler.

  13. Guan Yang

    October 23, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

    13

    I will second (third?) the suggestion of PBworks/PBwiki.

  14. Steve Monk

    October 23, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

    14

    It’s not exactly a wiki, but maybe see if Joel Spolsky will set you up with a stackexchange.com site. (Tell him he owes you for a favor for all the times he’s referred to you in his writing)

  15. Jeff Stieglitz

    October 23, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

    15

    You may want to try the commerically hosted wiki by Confluence, which is free for non-profits. See http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/features/

  16. Ethan

    October 24, 2009 @ 1:00 am

    16

    Was just on a Peoplesoft wiki that is hosted here.

    http://www.wikidot.com/

    It looks nice, I did not match all your requirements up to it.

  17. Mike Duffy

    October 24, 2009 @ 2:02 am

    17

    http://www.wikimatrix.org/ has an exhaustive feature comparison.

  18. chris

    October 26, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    18

    Well, I set up a wiki for helicopter flight training using WordPress/Wordpress-wiki. This set-up has all your required elements, can accept HTML/CSS customization, email notifications, and can be self-hosted or hosted for free on WordPress.com. Comments and ratings are easy to implement via various plug-ins, and you can set the level of privacy (“invisible to search engines”, or using role manager, you can set the level of access for classes of users). Since your friend will have a very public wiki, some of the plug-ins available from WP might me nice (eg, IP ban in case a troll wants to cause problems). Set-up isn’t difficult. Some of the other features you’re looking for might be available to somebody who’s a little more experienced. I like having the blog feature for drawing attention to new additions to the wiki.

  19. Samat Jain

    November 19, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    19

    I agree with poster #10: Try Wikia.

    It uses the same software as Wikipedia (Mediwiki), so it should be instantly familiar (or in my case, loathed—I hate MediaWiki, but alas, it’s become a defacto standard that everyone is familiar with). The premise of Wikia is oriented around mini-topical Wikis (i.e., just reading off the home page, a Doctor Who wiki, a Call of Duty (video game) wiki, etc); an aircraft-specific wiki would fit in fine.

    Unfortunately, data is not really exportable (exporting to MediaWiki syntax is not in my book exportable, because AFAIK the only decent parser is MediaWiki itself) and account creation is required.

  20. keith

    November 22, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    20

    I did a wiki using DotNetNuke recently for a customer and it was beautiful. You download a visual studio 2008 project, configure your wiki with an html setup in 5 minutes but at the same time have the full power of “Edit and Continue” in visual studio. Why would anyone use Sharepoint? Of course if you are anti microsoft thats not going to work.

  21. Navin

    September 11, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    21

    I’ve had some pretty good luck with Inspirohost using mediawiki (same software as Wikipedia, I think).

    http://www.inspirohost.com

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