Compare XWiki to Mediawiki

The aim of this document is to compare XWiki to MediaWiki for professional/business purposes.

What is a wiki?

A wiki is classically presented as a set of alterable web pages by all users with permissions. It allows the collaborative creation of content (including text, images, videos etc.), as well as the creation of links between different sets of content.

Wikis have been made popular by the famous multilingual Wikipedia encyclopedia (created in 2001) that became one of the most visited websites in the world, with more than 17 million articles (beginning of 2011).

But some wikis, such as XWiki, go further by proposing additional features addressing professional needs.

Two of the best known wikis: MediaWiki and XWiki

This document / wiki page aims to compare two of the most famous wikis solutions on the market: XWiki and MediaWiki.


MediaWiki is a free & open source wiki software written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia. It is now also used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis, including the website.

MediaWiki benefits from the awareness of Wikipedia. When we talk about wikis, people always think of Wikipedia, since it is the most famous wiki. Many users come to wikis from Wikipedia and so, they immediately think of using MediaWiki to meet their business needs. This is a positive thing since it helps promote wiki usages. However, this is not the most suitable wiki for companies and their business needs.

In terms of features, Wikimedia offers the "historical" features of wikis:

  • Page creation
  • Page modification: it simply consists of adding/modifying or deleting content
  • Creation of links between information
  • Discussion: the creation of a page can generate exchanges between all contributors
  • Versioning: it is possible to follow the modifications made on a wiki page (What was modified? By whom? When?)
  • Rollback: it is always possible to rollback and choose the previous version of the wiki page
  • Rights management: each registered user on a wiki has rights that allow him to create, modify, consult or delete wiki pages

MediaWiki supports multilingual management, various extensions and media formats, providing also options to configure the wiki appearance.


XWiki distinguishes itself from the other wikis by offering enterprise-oriented features such as:

  • Office documents import (i.e a Word document is transformed into a wiki page; XWiki retains the layout, images contained in the document and also the documents attached to the page)
  • The management of unstructured data (like Wikipedia), as well as structured data (forms, spreadsheets...)
  • Export of the data in many formats (PDF, HTML, XAR...)
  • An activity stream that allows an overview of all the wiki activities
  • The customization of the wiki (logo, colors, look and feel of menus)
  • Connection to the Enterprise Directory (data retrieval, SSO)
  • Fine rights management (by space, page, user groups)

Other strengths include flexibility and scalability. XWiki is also a web application development platform. For example it allows the creation of dedicated/ specific applications (Meeting management application, Customer Relationship Management etc). Extensions, applications and macros are available for free.

Comparison between XWiki and MediaWiki

In terms of technology and features

Free Software and Open Source Yes  Yes
LicenseLGPL  GPL
Programming languageJava PHP
OSAll platforms supporting JDK 1.6 or higher*nix, Windows, Mac OS X
DatabaseMySQL / PostgreSQL / Oracle  MySQL / PostgreSQL / Oracle / SQLite
Classic features 
  • Preview : Yes
  • Minor edition : Yes
  • Page history : Yes
  • Compare versions of the page : Yes
  • Index of pages : Yes
  • Preview : Yes
  • Minor edition : Yes 
  • Page history : Yes
  • Compare versions of the page : Yes
  • Index of pages : Yes


Special features
  • Interface translated into 28 languages
  • Conflict management: locking the page
  • Multiwiki: yes by default
  • Structured data: yes by default
  • Export PDF: yes by default
  • Blog: yes by default
  • Ticket management system: plugin
  • Interface translated into 140 languages
  • Conflict management: conflict resolution
  • Multiwiki: plugin
  • Structured data: plugin
  • Export PDF: plugin
  • Blog: no
  • Ticket management system: no
 Ergonomic and easy to use
  • Possibility to edit a section: yes
  • Page Template: yes
  • Double click edition: yes
  • Toolbar: yes
  • WYSIWYG editor: yes
  • Keyboard shortcuts: yes
  • Possibility to edit a section: yes
  • Page Template: yes
  • Double click edition: optional
  • Toolbar: yes
  • WYSIWYG editor: plugin
  • Keyboard shortcuts: yes


  • Calendar: plugin
  • Photo gallery: yes
  • Forum: plugin
  • Blog: yes
  • Ticket system: plugin
  • Integration with LDAP: yes
  • Calendar: plugin
  • Photo gallery: yes
  • Forum: plugin
  • Blog: no
  • Ticket system: no
  • Integration with LDAP: yes (plugin)


Source :

MediaWiki and XWiki are both excellent wikis, although each one uses different programming languages. The significant difference between them is given by the "Enterprise" and business-oriented features. 

For the business needs, MediaWiki allows the creation of a basic wiki, but lacks some of the professional features, such as:

  • Users and groups rights management
  • Ergonomics enabling easy handling of tools
    • WYSIWYG Editor available as a plugin 
    • "Save and Continue" function
  • Importing Office documents
  • Programming and structuration features 
  • Industrial management of wiki farms 

Therefore, the PHP architecture of MediaWiki does not seem to be adapted to the needs of the big companies. On the other hand, XWiki Enterprise meets the needs of all types of companies, either small or large.

While XWiki Enterprise allows the management of both unstructured and structured data, MediaWiki only supports unstructured data. 

Moreover, the XWiki livetables allow you to navigate more easily through the whole information available on wiki pages. It is even possible to filter data, based on a particular field, and to search by tags. Users are offered a useful and nice experience with the possibility of using the WYSIWYG Editor by default and through the existence of a large number of macros (table of contents, video, gallery, html etc.)​.

Finally, with XWiki you can even create your own applications, by using the Application Within Minutes wizard.

Actually, besides being a second generation wiki, XWiki is a true development platform, on top of which it is possible to develop applications:

  • collaborative intranets
  • knowledge bases
  • websites
  • documentation sites
  • business applications

In terms of market positioning

A first difference in terms of market positioning is the fact that XWiki is aimed towards businesses, work groups and developers, while MediaWiki targets mainly Wikipedia and final users. Most of MediaWiki's developers work on the Wikipedia project, which makes them consider Wikipedia issues that do not really respond to business needs, mostly the ones related to performance and functional optimization management of the large volume of contributions.

Unlike MediaWiki, XWiki SAS offers the type of professional support that is absolutely needed inside companies. There are several providers that offer services based on MediaWiki, but what these companies do not have are the committers and wiki specialization, aspects that everyone can find at XWiki. At XWiki, the developers are specialized in managing complex business projects and decisions are taken differently. While MediaWiki is using the requirements from Wikipedia, XWiki has the XWiki Enterprise Roadmap, which is also used internally.

In terms of needs

Inside the Enterprise, a wiki such as XWiki is mostly used in a private manner for the following needs:

  • Knowledge base
  • Collaborative intranet
  • Documentation
  • Support
  • Business applications

Why use XWiki rather than MediaWiki?

XWiki is a true wiki for the Enterprise

XWiki has a set of features aimed at companies : 

  • Office document viewer
  • Export PDF
  • Rights management
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • LDAP connectivity
  • API rest
  • Many macros
  • Multilingual
  • ....

XWiki: a wiki ... but not only

While MediaWiki addresses basic wiki needs, XWiki goes much further.  XWiki is actually a complete development platform. It allows you to start with a simple knowledge base, then add wikis or features to address other issues.

If your projects are getting even more complex, XWiki will fit to become a real collaborative intranet.

Finally, its customization abilities are very important. From the appearance of your wiki to the creation of applications to solve your specific problems, with XWiki it is possible to meet your company's IT needs (Intranet / Extranet / Website).

Services and professional solutions

The XWiki SAS company provides a full range of services including consulting, development, support, training and hosting.

The XWiki team has expert knowledge on the software and will allow you to reap all the benefits.

XWiki is the professional Open Source wiki

XWiki import services

XWiki SAS provides data import services. If you are a MediaWiki user, it is possible to import your data into XWiki with our import modules.

Click here to find out more.