Compare XWiki to MediaWiki

Last modified by Thomas Mortagne on 2023/10/10

The aim of this page is to compare two of the most famous wikis solutions: XWiki and MediaWiki. We have other dedicated pages if you want to compare XWiki to other solutions.

About XWiki and MediaWiki


XWiki is an open source project supported and developed by the XWiki community and by XWiki SAS. Because of the LGPL license, you own your wiki and its data. It is developed in Java and distinguishes itself from the other wikis by offering enterprise-oriented features.

Other strengths include flexibility and scalability. XWiki is an application development platform, so it allows the creation of dedicated/specific applications. Lots of extensions, applications and macros are available in the Extensions repository.

In terms of business uses, XWiki is used by teams to create knowledge bases and collaborative workspaces but also across the company as an intranet, extranet, website, etc. XWiki counts amongst its clients big companies, such as: Amazon, AFP, EDF, DCNS, EMC, EADS but also SMEs and associations.


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.

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 good thing since it helps promote wiki usages. However, this is not the most suitable wiki for companies and their business needs.

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

Comparison between XWiki and MediaWiki

 XWikiMediaWikiWhy is it important?
Free and Open Source Yes YesOpen Source protects your investment through reversibility and extensibility.
TechnologyJavaPHPThe technology difference is most seen in performance, security or hosting costs.
Operating SystemWindows, Linux and Unix variants, MacOS and all platforms supporting JDK 1.8 or higherWindows, Linux and Unix variants, MacOS 
DatabasesMySQL / PostgreSQL / Oracle  MySQL / PostgreSQL / Oracle / SQLite 
Cloud version Yes + Trial + Free hosting on for individuals/non-profit Yes, third-party hosting services 
UsagesKnowledge base, Collaboration for teams, Business application, Intranet, Extranet, Public website, Support, DocumentationPublic wiki, Knowledge base, Documentation 
Translations38 languages140 languages 
Classic wiki features Yes YesBoth solutions provide Page and File Versioning, Templates, Rights, Search, Discussions, etc.
WYSIWYG Editor Yes YesFrom version 8+, XWiki uses CK Editor, the best WYSIWYG editor with advanced features. The WYSIWG editor is still quite recent for MediaWiki and not the default.
Wiki Syntax Editor Yes YesFor advanced users, Wiki syntax editing is more efficient allowing fine-grained control over the page. XWiki has made the choice to fully support several markup syntaxes.
Office documents import/export and Office/PDF viewers Yes NoXWiki offers the ability to import from various formats and syntaxes, including Microsoft Office documents. You can turn your unstructured Office documents into wiki pages and gather multiple files into an organized instance. Data export is available in many formats (PDF, HTML, XAR).
Extensible Yes PartialBoth solutions support some sort of extensions (Forum, Calendar, etc.). While XWiki supports installing complex applications, MediaWiki's extensibility is done though PHP code hooks.
App Store Yes NoAdditional to the paying store, XWiki's Extensions Repository is focused on providing free extensions contributed by our community.
Authentication LDAP / AD / SSO Yes Yes 
Multi-wikis Yes, each sub-wiki can be fully customized independently NoIn XWiki you can create multiple independent sub-wikis, each with a set of totally different collaborative applications. The wikis decide if they want to share or not users, applications or customizations.
Theming and Styling Yes YesXWiki provides multiple ways to completely alter the styling of your instance. You can start selecting from predefined Color and Icon Themes, to integrating small changes through CSS just for some pages, to the ability of totally change the look&feel by customizing the Skin.
Programming capabilities Yes, Java but also full API access through scripting in wiki pages and in various languages: Velocity, Groovy, Python, plus Ruby, PHP with extension Yes, using PHP, Perl The programming capabilities allows XWiki to adapt to the project's needs increasing the project's success. By using scripting, this is accessible to more people including some non-developers by reusing examples from others, and for developers the development speed is much higher.
Structured Data Yes Partial, with extensionXWiki's unique structure feature will enhance the value of information for all users. Also App Within Minutes allows end users to benefit from XWiki's powerful data management system and easily create applications.


MediaWiki and XWiki are both excellent wikis, although each one uses different programming languages. The PHP architecture of MediaWiki has problems adapting to the needs of the big companies.

The significant difference between them is given by the business-oriented features. While XWiki allows the management of both unstructured and structured data, MediaWiki only supports unstructured data. Besides being a second generation wiki, XWiki is a true development platform. With XWiki you can even create your own applications, by using the Application Within Minutes wizard.

Why use XWiki rather than MediaWiki?

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 your needs (Knowledge Base, Collaborative Intranet, Extranet, Website, Documentation, Support, Business applications, etc.).

XWiki is the professional Open Source wiki

In terms of market positioning a first difference 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.

XWiki import services

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

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