6 Best Free Knowledge Base Software in 2024 (+ Free Trials)
- Knowledge base software helps your company create, store, and share company policies and procedures.
- Be aware of the limitations that come with a FREE knowledge base: users, storage, and articles.
- Click here to skip to the "Best Free Knowledge Base" software list.
- See a list of 10 knowledge base companies that offer free trials here.
Free is my favorite number.
However, free isn’t always the right price for your knowledge base software.
In my time with ScreenSteps — a knowledge ops solution that includes all the same tools as a knowledge base — I’ve researched many different knowledge base software services.
I’ve learned that not all knowledge base software services are created equal. BUT, having some form of documentation and organization is better than not having anything.
If you are looking for knowledge base software on a budget, here are six options to get you started on knowledge management.
But, first, I’ll explain what knowledge base software is and warn you about three common shortcomings of free knowledge base software.
What is knowledge base software?
Knowledge base software is a tool that helps businesses organize and manage their company information and resources. With a knowledge base, you create, store, and share articles and other resources.
It is a one-stop shop for all of your company’s knowledge. The power of a knowledge base is your end-users know exactly where to look for information when they have a question.
This information includes how-to articles, reference guides, policies, checklists, etc. It is any information or resource that helps your end-users access essential information or perform a task.
There are many different types of knowledge base software. The main knowledge base options are internal or external. This is dependent on who you want your knowledge base to support.
An internal knowledge base is for company employees who have a login. An external knowledge base is for customers or anyone with internet access. They do not need a login for an external knowledge base.
3 limitations with free knowledge base software
Like all software services, knowledge base software comes with a cost. That includes free knowledge base software. Instead of money, the cost of free knowledge base software is quality and capabilities.
Free knowledge base software may have all the right tools for what your company needs. It also may fall short. Going into your research, you need to keep in mind:
- What is your immediate goal with a knowledge base?
- How will you use your knowledge base in the future?
- Will your company grow in the next five years?
When selecting free knowledge base software, pay attention to these three limitations.
1. Number of users allowed
Many free knowledge base software options only offer their service for free when it is just one to three employees using the software. Look at what the more advanced plans cost. How many users can you have with the next-level plan?
If you anticipate your knowledge base will grow soon or you will need to add more users, then you may prioritize getting a knowledge base that better fits your growth and expansion needs.
Make sure you understand what is considered a “user” before choosing a knowledge base software. Is a user someone who can write the articles? Or are they considered a user if they simply view the articles?
2. Amount of storage space
How much storage space is included with the free plan? Most knowledge base software companies offer multiple plans. One of the ways knowledge base companies calculate the cost is the amount of storage space.
With free knowledge base software services, there is typically a limited amount of storage space. This isn’t a problem if you only have a few policies and procedures you need to document.
3. Number of articles
Similar to storage space, some knowledge base services limit the number of articles you can write and store with a free service. Sometimes this number is as low as five articles.
In these cases, they usually offer more articles with a more advanced plan that costs money.
A small number of articles may work for your company if you don’t have a lot of policies or procedures.
How to choose knowledge base software
Before you select knowledge base software for your business, you’ll want to know what you are looking for. Use these five tips to help you research and decide on the best knowledge base software for your business today and in the future.
6 best free knowledge base software solutions
While there aren’t a lot of free knowledge base software solutions available, there are a few. And those services may be sufficient for what your company needs to manage your business’s knowledge.
Not all knowledge base software services offer a free knowledge base plan. However, most knowledge base software companies provide a free trial.
In no particular order, here are six of the best companies that offer a free knowledge base software service.
Best 5 Free Knowledge Base Software Platforms
Document360 offers both internal and external knowledge base software. However, for the free version, Document360 only offers a customer-facing knowledge base.
The authoring tools and templates make it good for creating knowledge base articles. It is widely known for its collaboration features.
Document360 has a wide array of features, but not all are included in the free plan. Here are some of the top features included in the free plan:
- Public knowledge base
- Article templates
- Tag management
- Customization and branding
In comparison to the paid plans, there are a few limitations with the free Document360 knowledge base. Those limitations include:
- No private knowledge base option
- 50 articles
- 1 GB of storage space
- 5 team accounts
- No personalized domain (domain reads as Document360)
If you need more than the free version, then Document360 offers plans starting at $99 per project per month. These plans provide more tools and allow you to add additional users.
Document360 also offers a 14-day free trial for its paid plans.
Who is a good fit for Document360
Your company would be a good fit for Document360 if you are a growing company and considering upgrading your knowledge base usage in the future.
If you have plans to create a knowledge base budget in the future, Document360 can grow with your company. Document360 is used by large corporations because of its ease of collaboration.
Confluence is more than a knowledge base. Outside of serving as a knowledge base, Confluence is a collaboration tool that is a team workspace. It helps with knowledge management and project collaboration.
Confluence has a robust collection of features. Many of those tools are included in the free version of the knowledge base. Some notable features included in the free version are:
- Unlimited pages and spaces
- Page versioning
- Template library
- App integrations
Overall, Confluence’s free plan includes a lot of its knowledge base features. Confluence mainly restricts the users and space as well as leaves out a few features from the free plan. Those limitations are:
- 10 users
- 2 GB of storage
- 1 site
While the free version of Confluence offers a lot, you may want additional features, such as permissions and insights. Confluence has paid plans starting at $6.05 per user per month.
Who is a good fit for Confluence
The free version of Confluence is a good fit for small single teams with 10 or fewer users. If you are looking for a single source of truth that also helps your team track your work, the free Confluence plan will help you get started.
Also, if your company already uses the Atlassian suite, specifically Jira, Confluence is a good option.
Image via hiverhq.com
Hiver is a Gmail-based knowledge base. You can set it up as an internal and external knowledge base. It brings your email, chat, knowledge base, WhatsApp, and phone support into your Gmail account.
Hiver has many features to help you organize, collaborate, and handle emails (or customer support questions). Some of its key features include:
- Multi-channel support
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Email management
While Hiver is not free, Hiver does have a start-up program. The program offers start-ups a free knowledge base for six months. You have to reach certain requirements to be eligible for the program.
- Usage limitations
- Technology focused more on collaboration and customer support distribution than knowledge base functionality
The Hiver start-up program offers free services for the first six months to eligible businesses. After the six months are completed, the start-ups get a discounted price.
For tenured businesses, Hiver offers a 7-day free trial. Hiver's plans start at $15 per user per month.
Who is a good fit for Hiver
If your company is a startup, Hiver could be a good starting point to build a knowledge base for your business.
4. ProProfs Knowledge Base
Image via ProProfs Knowledge Base
ProProfs Knowledge Base is primarily a customer-facing knowledge base. It is focused on helping companies provide self-service options — like a help desk — to their customers.
One advantage of the ProProfs Knowledge Base is that the free version includes all of its features. Some of the notable features include:
- Unlimited views
- Mobile and tablet
- Reports and analytics
Because ProProfs Knowledge Base offers all of its features with its free knowledge base, there are few limitations. The only major limitation is:
- Limit of 25 articles
Once you've exceeded your 25 articles, you start paying for the business plans. Business plans start at $49 per author per month.
Who is a good fit for ProProfs Knowledge Base
If you have a small team and minimal policies and procedures (less than 25), then ProProfs Knowledge Base is good for your company.
Image via support.microsoft.com
SharePoint — while not exactly a knowledge base — is a self-proclaimed “knowledge management and storage system.”
While SharePoint isn't technically free, it is a part of the Microsoft 365 suite. So, if you have the Microsoft 365 suite for business, it won't cost your company extra to use SharePoint to manage your company's knowledge.
With a Microsoft 365 suite, you have SharePoint and nine additional Microsoft applications. Here are notable features if you use SharePoint on its own:
- Folders and sub-folders
- Home page customization
- Includes Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Teams
SharePoint isn’t intended to be a standalone application. It is meant to be paired with the Microsoft 365 suite. Because of that, you don’t have a document authoring program. You need additional applications to document policies and procedures, like Word, PowerPoint, etc.
Listed out, your limitations are:
- No content creation tools
- 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
Technically, SharePoint is not free. However, if your company is already using the Microsoft 365 suite of products for your office, then you already have SharePoint. It will be no additional cost for your team to use SharePoint as your knowledge base.
If you don’t have Microsoft 365 for business, then you will need to purchase one of the three annual subscriptions. These subscriptions start at $6 per user per month.
Who is a good fit for SharePoint
If your company is already using Microsoft 365 and you haven’t tried SharePoint, it is a good option if you need a "free" knowledge base.
🔎 Related: 7 Best Alternatives to Sharepoint for 2024
6. Google Workspace/Google Drive
Google Drive allows you to create, store, and share your documents. However, it is restrained by its authoring tools. It doesn’t have interactive options like many paid knowledge base software services.
Google Drive offers a suite of applications to help you author and share your resources. Those applications include:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Forms
While Google Drive includes a suite of applications, there are a few limitations with the free version. Those are:
- 15 GB of storage
- No shared drive for your team
- 100 people for video and video conferencing
- Support is only available via self-service online and community forums
Google Drive is typically used for personal use. Once you expand your team and your usage, Google has Google Workspace plans to help your team collaborate better. Google Workspace plans start at $6 per user per month.
You can try Google Workspace for 14 days for free.
Who is a good fit for Google Drive
Google Drive is a good fit for a small team that doesn’t have a large collection of policies and procedures. Also, if you don’t have complex processes and procedures, Google Drive works.
Knowledge base software platforms with free trials
The number of available free knowledge base software services is limited because there is a lot that goes into the software.
Luckily, many knowledge base software services offer a 7–30 day free trial so that you can test the software before purchasing it. Here are a few companies that offer a free trial for their knowledge base software:
|KNOWLEDGE BASE SOFTWARE
|FREE TRIAL (# of days)
Learn more with this list of some of the best knowledge base software services.
Match your knowledge base to your company’s growth
There are many knowledge base software options to help you start documenting your company’s policies and procedures. Primarily, these services are for individuals or small teams.
As your company grows and matures, you will need a knowledge base that can manage your large collection of digital guides. This means it is easy to create articles and for your end-users to find the appropriate resource.
ScreenSteps knowledge base software is for growing companies that can’t afford for employees to make mistakes. With ScreenSteps, our content creation tools make it faster and easier to create clear guides. Plus, our advanced search functions help end-users find articles in as few as two clicks.
While ScreenSteps doesn’t have a free version, we do have a 14-day free trial so that you can test the software before committing to it.
Want to see how ScreenSteps’ knowledge base software works? Watch the pre-recorded demos to see the software in action. Or sign up for a personalized demo with one of our ScreenSteps experts here.