5 Best Free Knowledge Management Software Options

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Knowledge is power, and companies that harness their information effectively empower their customers and employees to do what they need to do.

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Enter knowledge management software.

Gartner defines knowledge management (KM) as a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to the creation, capture, organization, access, and use of a company’s knowledge and information assets. In recent years, Gartner has also emphasized the social aspect of knowledge sharing, as employees and customers can be both knowledge recipients and creators (full research available to Gartner clients).

Why use knowledge management software?

Every company has different needs and purposes for their information, and knowledge management software can be used both internally and externally to meet those needs. Internally, you can use it to manage employee access to information, facilitate training, and foster collaboration.

Externally, use these systems to create self-service knowledge bases (such as FAQs or forums) that allow customers to efficiently find answers to their questions (the quickest and most cost-effective customer support method).

More importantly, as the internet and smart tools are more fully integrated into consumers’ daily lives, your customers will increasingly turn to self-service options first. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service, up from 48% today (full report available to Gartner clients).

Self-service is already an expectation for most customers; 88% of customers expect a brand or organization to offer an online self-service portal.

5 free knowledge management software solutions

However you plan on using your information, we’ve analyzed more than 200 different knowledge management solutions in Capterra’s directory to come up with this list of the top five free KM software options.

Cost is an essential decision-driver for small businesses, most of whom face razor-thin profit margins. Free solutions can make a huge difference for both organizational efficiency, and your bottom line.

But even free options come at a cost.

In most cases, that cost is limited functionality. That’s why we took a close look at some of the top free knowledge management options to help you find the best fit for your budget and your business needs.

This article looks at five highly rated free knowledge management software options. See the full list of free knowledge management software solutions here.

For each of the five solutions in this article, we’ll share their average ratings from real user reviews on Capterra, the cost to upgrade from the free version, and what type of knowledge management solution each product is best-suited for. You can find our full methodology here.

The 5 knowledge management software options we’ll cover:


top 5 free knowledge management software

1. Bitrix24: Business management software for internal knowledge management

Bitrix24 logo
Overall rating: 4.0/5
Ease-of-use rating: 3.5/5
Customer service rating: 4.0/5

Bitrix24 bills itself as a collaboration, communication, sales, and management software suite with more than 35 tools to meet your business needs. These include CRM, marketing, customer service, HR, and project management functionality.

The knowledge base tools in Bitrix24 are geared toward internal knowledge management, such as HR employee self-service portals or new employee training programs. For project managementand team collaboration, each workgroup (an online community of users created to address specific topics or issues) also comes with a wiki, which can be used as a knowledge base for specific projects or subject areas.

The free version of Bitrix24 allows up to 12 users and comes with 5GB of online storage. It integrates with OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, in addition to online and local document editing for select programs like Microsoft Office. Bitrix24 users can create public and private groups or groups with external users, though some folder and file access restrictions are only available if you upgrade to the paid version.

Pros: The breadth of Bitrix24’s offerings make it a great choice for small teams in need of a one-stop shop solution. The free version is feature-rich overall, and with 12 users allowed on the free plan it’s one of the least restrictive free solutions on this list in terms of user count.

Cons: For a knowledge management solution, 5GB of storage can feel pretty small, pretty fast. Customer support is only available for the first week. After that, new users may face a steep learning curve or frustration when encountering technical problems.

Cost to upgrade: Monthly billing costs $69/month for up to six users and 50GB of storage, $99/month for 50 users and 100GB, and $199/month for unlimited users and unlimited storage. Bitrix24 offers a 10% or 20% discount on those prices if billed yearly or for two years, respectively. Each upgrade level comes with its own set of feature upgrades.

Mobile apps: iOS, Android

Most suitable for: Businesses looking for an internal knowledge management tool and a flexible, wide-ranging business management solution.

Screenshot of Bitrix24The “My Drive” view in Bitrix24 (Source)


2. Flowlu: Project management powered by internal knowledge

Flowlu logo
Overall rating: 5.0/5
Ease-of-use rating: 4.5/5
Customer service rating: 5.0/5

Flowlu is an all-in-one business operating suite with functionality for project management, task management, collaboration, CRM, and knowledge management. It also has tools for finance management and online invoicing, making it an incredibly agile suite for businesses.

Flowlu’s knowledge management tools are set up for both internal and external knowledge bases with suggested uses for employee reference, training, and collaboration, as well as a customer help desk self-service portal. It also integrates with tools such as Google Drive, Zendesk Support, PayPal, and Square.

The free version allows up to two users, one admin, and 1GB of online storage. The free version’s feature set is robust for project workspaces, financial management, and invoicing.

Pros: The flexibility afforded by Flowlu’s feature set makes it a great solution for businesses that want a single-point solution. With a five-tiered pricing model, there are also affordable upgrades for teams that want scalability in the future.

Cons: Compared to other functionality within the software, the free version’s knowledge management feature set is a bit limited. With just one internal knowledge base for two users and 1GB of online storage, even small teams will run up against the limits of the free version fairly quickly.

Cost to upgrade: Monthly billing costs $39/month for up to eight users and 10GB of storage, $74/month for 16 users and 50GB, $149/month for 25 users and 100GB, or $299/month for unlimited users and 1,000GB. Discounts are available for annual billing, and each upgrade level comes with its own set of feature upgrades.

Mobile apps: iOS, Android

Most suitable for: Small sales teams looking for an internal knowledge base and flexible business management solution.

Screenshot of internal knowledge base in Flowlu

An internal knowledge base in Flowlu (vendor-provided image)


3. Freshdesk: Help desk software with self-service capabilities

Freshdesk logo
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Ease-of-use rating: 4.5/5
Customer service rating: 4.5/5

Freshdesk is a customer support software solution and part of the much broader Freshworks collection of software offerings. As a full customer support solution, Freshdesk also comes with ticketing management, collaboration, agent productivity tools, and other helpdesk automation functionality.

For businesses focused on customer service, it’s a great option for external knowledge management. With unlimited users allowed on the free plan and no limit to the number or type of knowledge bases, it’s also the least restrictive free solution on this list.

With customer self-service knowledge bases, Freshdesk tracks article feedback, views, likes, and dislikes so you can measure and improve your knowledge base.

Customer support teams can also draw on internal knowledge bases to answer customer questions and can build knowledge by using Freshdesk’s email to knowledge base functionality.

Pros: As a knowledge management solution, Freshdesk’s free option is fairly robust. There is no limit on storage, number of agents, or knowledge bases, giving small teams the ability to grow without fear of outgrowing their software.

Cons: The features for ticket management, collaboration, service-level agreement (SLA) management, and customer management are pretty limited in the free version. Upgrades are based on a per agent, per month model, so larger teams that decide to upgrade could face steep prices.

Cost to upgrade: Upgrades are based on additional features. When billed monthly, the four package upgrades range from $19 to $125 per agent, per month. This price range drops to $15 to $109 if billed annually.

Mobile apps: iOS, Android

Most suitable for: Small to midsize customer service teams in need of a customer self-service platform.

A customer support portal example in Freshdesk

A customer support portal example in Freshdesk (Source)


4. ProProfs Knowledge Base: Knowledge management for external support

ProProfs logo
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Ease-of-use rating: 4.5/5
Customer service rating: 4.5/5

As a dedicated knowledge management solution, ProProfs Knowledge Base is great for teams that want to strictly focus on KM and don’t need a larger business software suite.

That said, it is part of the broader ProProfs learning management, help desk, and training software system, so your knowledge base could be bundled with other solutions if needed. For example, ProProfs offers free versions of its help desk and live chat software, which can be bundled with the free knowledge base software for an integrated customer service package.

The free version of ProProfs Knowledge Base comes with unlimited knowledge bases, making it an easily scalable KM solution. The number of pages (any article with a unique URL) is limited to 20 with the free version, though there’s no limit to the amount of content on a given page. According to ProProfs, there is no storage limit by plan; all plans have a maximum storage limit of 6GB.

The primary difference between the free and paid versions is that the free version only supports public knowledge bases, making it a great solution for businesses in need of a customer self-service portal. Companies interested in internal KM would need to upgrade.

Pros: With unlimited knowledge bases and a fair amount of storage, there should be no problem containing the information you need in an external self-service portal. In addition to rich text editing options, it’s easy to import documents, images, and videos to a knowledge base.

Cons: The free version only allows one author to create knowledge base content. Staff users, groups, and teams are only available if you upgrade, meaning collaboration isn’t an option with the base free package. There are other functionality restrictions with the free version as well, such as the inability to create an internal knowledge base/private site or see revision history.

Cost to upgrade: With a flat 6GB of storage and unlimited knowledge bases for all plans, packages differ by features. When billed monthly, upgrades range from $39 to $349/month. When billed annually, this price range drops to $29 to $299/month.

Mobile apps: N/A

Most suitable for: Small businesses in need of an external customer self-service portal.

A screenshot of ProProfs

Knowledge base sample from ProProfs (Source)


5. Zoho Desk: Helping you help customers help themselves

Zohodesk logo
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Ease-of-use rating: 4.5/5
Customer service rating: 4.5/5

Zoho Desk is a customer service and support software package, part of the expansive Zoho family. Zoho Desk includes ticket management, agent productivity, analytics, and customer self-service features.

As an integrated knowledge management solution, Zoho Desk offers internal and external knowledge bases, as well as community forums for additional customer self-help. All packages come with an unlimited number of article categories, and employees can continue building knowledge by converting ticket solutions to knowledge base articles.

As an all-in-one customer support solution, Zoho Desk includes agent, manager, knowledge base, and ticketing dashboards to track performance. The free version also includes up-voting and down-voting for knowledge base articles, so you can gain insight on what content customers find most valuable.

Pros: Zoho Desk is a great solution for companies that want a robust customer service suite and flexible knowledge management tools. With no limit to the type or number of knowledge base articles, it can grow as your company’s information grows. The free version also comes with strong feature sets for ticket management, customer support centers, customization, and metric tracking.

Cons: The free version only allows up to three agents and has limited options for customer support channels (phone, social, and chat are excluded). Within a knowledge base, the free version doesn’t include article versioning or 301 redirection.

Cost to upgrade: Monthly billing costs $15 per agent/month for unlimited agents and “professional” features, and $30 per agent/month for “enterprise” features. When billed annually, the professional and enterprise packages cost $12 and $25 per agent, per month, respectively.

Mobile pps: iOS, Android

Most suitable for: Small customer service teams in need of a self-service portal.

A screenshot of a self service portal example in Zoho Desk

A re-branded self-service portal example from Zoho Desk (Source)


Want even more KM software options?

Visit our directory


We updated this article May 5, 2019, with new software options and have removed software that no longer meets our market definition, was outdated, or no longer free.

Methodology

We evaluated the products in Capterra’s knowledge management software directory (as of March 22, 2019) to determine if there is a free version, and if it met our inclusion criteria.

Free products

For the purposes of this article, we classified a product as free if:

  • It offers a free, stand-alone version of the software.
  • It is not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product version after a limited amount of time.

Criteria

Once a tool was classified as free, we analyzed that tool according to the following criteria:

  • It has at least 10 reviews published on Capterra’s site.
  • It meets our knowledge management software definition

Is it knowledge management software?

We evaluated verified free product with at least 10 reviews against our knowledge management software definition:

Knowledge management software helps companies manage intellectual assets and create a central place of information for employees or customers to reference.

This check verified basic knowledge management capabilities and appropriateness for the category.

Products were classified as knowledge management software if they contained all of the following core features:

  • Knowledge base management – The ability to create, update, and maintain a repository of information, which might be available publicly to customers or might be reserved for internal use, and which incorporates search technologies to help users find the right information.
  • Full text search – Allows users to perform keyword-based search across all the assets stored in the system. Some software solutions also use AI and machine learning for more advanced search.

Disclaimers

The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Looking for Knowledge Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Knowledge Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Kristen Bialik

Kristen Bialik

Kristen Bialik is a senior specialist analyst covering customer experience for Capterra. She holds B.A.'s in English and Communications from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Journalism Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Follow her at @kebialik for insight on CX for small and midsize businesses.

Comments

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ProProfs Knowledge Base look great. But need best conversation for it.

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Hi Christopher,
I completely understand! Choosing software can be time-consuming and difficult. What kind of software are you looking for?

Thanks,
Tirena

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I’m worn-out reviewing software profiles…who can I pay to help me make the best choice?

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Hi Ahmad,

How can we help you?

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Hi

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Thanks for suggesting Bitrix24, looks very powerful for being free.

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There’s also Polydojo.com, which has a free tier. They’re new, but they’re good! You can keep the Knowledge Base internal to the company, or share certain articles on the public web. Plus, in addition to the Knowledge Base, you get a kick-ass form builder too!

https://www.polydojo.com/

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Does OpenKm Community Support REST API ?

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Vardoc is new completely free Knowledge Base system was just released – built on top of Drupal 8.
See https://www.drupal.org/project/vardoc

Disclaimer: I’m the CEO of the company who built it, Vardot.

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myBase is NOT free. $79 for Individual License.

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eXo is NOT free. Pricing as at May 2017 for SME like ourselves is $5 per user per month…

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