Knowledge base software helps create and manage self-service content.
Are you an online retailer or a startup owner struggling to answer the many queries customers have about your product or service? Do you wish to provide information to prospects but without answering multiple phone calls? If your answer is yes, you might want to try knowledge base software.
A knowledge base platform allows you to create, organize, and manage self-service content for customers. It helps enhance the customer experience, as clients don’t have to rely on the support team to get the information they want. You can also use the software to set up an internal knowledge base for employees.
Despite the benefits, purchasing a knowledge base system is a significant investment. Before investing, why not consider free software to get an idea of how well it works for your business?
This article highlights the four best free knowledge base software options (listed alphabetically) based on user reviews and ratings. (Read how we selected these products.)
Flowlu: Provides knowledge base access control
Flowlu is an online project management and collaboration tool that also includes a knowledge base. It lets you store content in a centralized location and organize it into categories so it’s easier for readers to browse.
You can use Flowlu to write and edit articles and add tags and images to them. You can pin important or trending articles on the top of your homepage. You can add comments to the articles, point out errors, and mention a team member to discuss a specific topic. You can also set access permissions, restricting editing rights to only yourself or database administrators.
Customers or employees can use the auto-suggest and advanced keyword search functions to find articles of interest. They can access the content hosted on Flowlu on any device.
Flowlu offers email and chat support to its customers.
- Collaboration tools
- Content management
- Full text search
$29 per month for eight users (billed annually)
Freshdesk: Offers multilingual content support
Freshdesk is customer service software that helps track, manage, and prioritize customer support requests. The software also features a knowledge base management tool that allows you to create a content repository of troubleshooting guides, product tutorials, FAQs, and blog posts.
With Freshdesk, you can format your articles and add meta descriptions to optimize them for SEO ranking purposes. You can group related articles into folders, with each folder indicating the number of articles within it. You can restrict the visibility of folders for external and internal stakeholders.
The multilingual support feature allows your customers to view knowledge base articles in multiple languages. The platform supports over 30 languages, including English, Chinese, and French.
Freshdesk offers phone, email, and chat support to its customers.
- Full text search
- Live chat
- Knowledge management system
- Self service portal
$15 per user per month (billed annually)
LiveAgent: Provides pre-built templates for drafting content
LiveAgent is an online helpdesk platform that features a knowledge base module to help create various content categories for products, services, customers, and more. It lets you develop customizable search widgets to help readers navigate and find relevant content.
You can create articles, videos, and tutorials, among other content types, for both employees and customers. You can add screenshots and GIFs to your blog posts to make the content more engaging.
LiveAgent offers pre-built templates that you can use to draft different types of knowledge base content, including frequently asked questions (FAQs), how-to content, tutorials, and troubleshooting articles. You can enhance the presentation of your knowledge database portal by selecting different themes and adding customizable logos, header, footer, title, and colors to it.
LiveAgent offers phone, email, and chat support to its customers.
- Activity dashboard
- Agent interface
- Customizable branding
- Customizable templates
- Knowledge management
- Live chat
$15 per user per month
Zoho Desk: Sets expiry dates for knowledge articles
Zoho Desk is online customer service software that also allows you to set up an SEO-friendly knowledge base using keywords and meta titles. It lets your support agents draft knowledge base articles and send them to administrators for review before publishing.
Based on the keywords entered in search queries, the software automatically suggests relevant knowledge or customer support articles. Your agents can simply share the link of these articles or copy-paste them in response to the customer queries. They can also save the articles as drafts or download them as PDF files to share offline with clients.
In the drafting stage, you can set an expiration date for the articles. Once an article expires, you need to review and republish it before it starts appearing again on the help desk or support portal.
Zoho Desk offers phone, email, and chat support to its customers.
- Activity dashboard
- Assignment management
- Live chat
- Self-service portal
$14 per user per month (billed annually)
Selecting a free knowledge management solution isn’t always easy, especially with so many available options on the market. Here are a few considerations to make when shortlisting a free knowledge base system for your business:
- Select a tool that allows you to organize content. If you need to store multiple articles in one knowledge database, then opt for a knowledge base tool that allows you to not only create self-service articles but also segregate them into categories (based on topics, issues, themes, etc.) and then move them into customizable folders. This will help visitors browse through your content library and find relevant articles with ease.
- Select a tool with a powerful search engine. Users search articles or support content to find a quick solution to their issues. A powerful search engine, therefore, is a must-have feature in your knowledge base solution. Check if the free product you’ve shortlisted can scroll through thousands of articles in your knowledge base and deliver relevant results based on the keyword used in the search query. The software should also provide for partial search, allowing users to correct misspelled words and typing errors in their search queries. In addition, customers should be able to easily locate the search bar, enter their queries, and find relevant solutions within the first few results.
- Select a tool that offers mobile optimization: Make sure the knowledge base platform you select works equally well on all devices, including smartphones. This will provide your clients the best customer experience and instant solutions, irrespective of the device they use. Select a software platform that allows you to manage knowledge base articles even on mobile devices. In addition, the software should offer customizable mobile-ready themes with easy adjustments for size and layout to ensure your knowledge base looks aligned and works well even on mobile browsers.
Here are some common questions to ask software providers before finalizing your purchase:
Does your software offer reporting capabilities?
Before you finalize any knowledge management software, ask the vendor about the product’s reporting capabilities. Look for a tool that offers usage and content reporting, such as the number of views on your articles and the time viewers spend on them. These metrics help identify gaps in the knowledge base content and plan improvements.
Does your software allow customization?
Your shortlisted free software should allow you to customize certain aspects of your knowledge base, such as the site layout, content format, font size, URL, themes, logos, and dashboard. Before selecting a knowledge base tool, make sure to ask the vendor about its customization capabilities.
Does your software support file attachments?
At times, you’ll need to add elements such as images and videos to your knowledge base articles to make them engaging and informative for readers. Ask the vendor whether their knowledge management software allows you to embed templates, PDF files, images, audio clips, and video clips into the articles.
To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.
In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.
At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.
To be considered for this list, products have to:
- Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of April 19, 2022). We selected 4 products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
- Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software—not a trial version you have to purchase after a certain amount of time to get the full experience.
- Meet our definition of knowledge base software: “Knowledge base software is a self-serve online library that enables businesses to provide both customers and teams detailed information about their products, services, topics, or departments.”
The “Best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews as of April 19, 2022.
The “Most affordable” tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade as of April 19, 2022.
Product research for this article was contributed by Himanshi Arora.