How to Download Wikipedia Articles Free for Offline Reading

By Posted 2012 Updated   DownloadsTutorials

Download Wikipedia offline on your computer to read full Wikipedia articles offline for free wherever you are in the world. Wikipedia officially makes available free database dumps for personal use and you can easily download Wikipedia dumps. Thus, it easy for interested readers to download the full Wikipedia database and browse it offline.

I am sure that many of us love to read the comprehensive information provided by Wikipedia, an authoritative resource on every topic compiled by voluntary editors and contributors. But downloading Wikipedia database dumps and processing them for reading is not as simple as it sounds, and specialised Wikipedia readers make the task easier. Simply download complete Wikipedia on your computer and its easy to spend reading time on your next long flight.

Download Kiwix Wikipedia reader

To get started, download the most popular Wikipedia reader Kiwix, an open source free software for reading web content offline and is specially recommended for reading Wikipedia content offline. First you can start by downloading the version of Kwix for your operating system like  Mac, Windows, Linux and more. I chose to download the Windows version on my computer.

kiwix install

and here is what the start-up screen looks like.

kiwix wikipedia reader

Download Wikipedia ZIM Files

Then you need to download the full Wikipedia .ZIM file which contains all the articles of Wikipedia to the particular date mentioned on the download files. ZIM files are an standardised open format to store wiki content for offline use.

Wikipedia zim file

These files are frequently updated and right now I can see to English versions on the website. You can download an older version since 2010 which has 45,000 articles with pictures (3.7GB), or download the latest full version which contains all Wikipedia articles till January 2012, but contains no pictures to reduce the download size. I decided to download the latest January 2012 version, but it was a huge 9.7 GB download file! Pre-indexed ZIM files and the Kiwix Wikipedia reader are also available for combined download (9.2GB). You can download the bittorrent versions of these files also.

If those huge downloads seem too time-consuming for your broadband Internet connection, you can choose to download smaller versions of the Wikipedia which might be more useful to your needs like the simple English Wikipedia (730MB), 6000 child friendly Wikipedia articles (2.6GB), or the 30,000 best Wikipedia articles (2.3GB). They are available in the other section below the links.

best Wikipedia resources

After you install the ZIM file, you can get started with the Kiwix Wikipedia reader.  I installed the simple English Wikipedia, a 730 MB download which came in under half an hour on an 8 MBps broadband connection.

download zim file

Read Wikipedia Offline

In Kiwix, Click Open File, load the ZIM file and the entire Wikipedia content loads instantly. The software will ask you to index all content for faster searching, and you should enable that option.

browse Wikipedia

Their screencast video shows you how you can use the Kiwix reader to browse Wikipedia articles offline, search for content and find your needed information quickly and easily.

I hope you download Wikipedia easily after using this tutorial and like me get ready to read Wikipedia offline on your laptop during the next long air travel, and make good use of your time and expand your knowledge.


7 comments on “How to Download Wikipedia Articles Free for Offline Reading

  1. QOT says:

    Try it. I am really making good use of my time with Wikipedia on my air flight schedules.

  2. Anurag says:

    Very useful application you have reviewed but if I want to carry the entire Wikipedia offline on my Android phone, can you recommend an app for that?

  3. enigmahernandez says:

    This software Not working in a NETWORK LAN Windows Based

  4. andrew nathanael says:

    how to download wikipedia offline?

  5. Sajid Hussain says:

    Hi!. I downloaded “pages-articles.xml.bz2” and I am using it through WikiTaxi. It’s working fine but I have a question. I downloaded the above mentioned dump which was created in Jan. 2013. Now there’s the new version of this dump available created in April 2013. My question is can I update my older dump to the current one without downloading all the data? I only need the updates.
    Please help if you can.
    Thanks

  6. Brad says:

    Too bad that there is no option to have the default small pictures and the “normal” pictures which are included normally on a Wikipedia page.

    Just think about it for example Huffman coding article.
    What would it worth without image. It is useless.

    It could be also articles about sorting algorithms etc.
    There are many examples where definitely necessary having at least a small image.

  7. chat says:

    Before reading this article, I thought reading wikipedia offline need huge media storage. But, as long as below 10 GB. I’ll try to download it.

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