Ana Khlystova
May 08, 2020 | 14 min read

The oldest known Ancient Egyptian manuscript is 4,000 years old. It contains religious spells for priests and an illustrated composition of temple rituals. So, can it be… one of the first self-help knowledge bases or what?

Since they had invented writing, people have felt the importance of collecting and storing valuable information so that other people can utilize it over and over again. The only thing that changed over time is the tools that they used for keeping their knowledge accessible to others.

Ancient Chinese loved bamboo, Egyptians preferred papyrus, paper had been especially popular since its invention until the internet has revolutionized things. These days, people use designated knowledge management tools to keep their valuable information in one place and present it to those who need it. 

So what is the best knowledge base software on the market today? Let’s delve right into the issue.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a database used for knowledge sharing and management. The main point of having a knowledge base is to provide both your customers and your team with the most detailed information about your product/services and answer all of their common questions. That’s why they often call them self-service portals.

Depending on its main use case, knowledge bases can be either public and accessible to everybody or private. Private ones are usually created for internal use inside the team.

Knowledge managements software benefits

Even something as simple as just having it increases your customer satisfaction enormously. In fact, 67% of customers prefer to use company’s FAQs to resolve their issues instead of contacting customer support. And this number is only going to increase.

Now, how exactly can a knowledge base be used? And what are the advantages of having one? Here are just some of the benefits you get when choosing the best software for knowledge management:

  • 24/7 availability. Unlike human customer support, a knowledge base is always available whenever your customers need help
  • Lower workload for customer support reps. If customers can find solutions on their own, they won’t need to contact your team, right?
  • Faster customer support. Support agents can use knowledge base articles while talking to customers – send the whole article or relevant excerpts in response to common questions.
  • All information in one place. A detailed documentation can help you onboard new employees faster and keep everyone on the same page about your product/services.
  • Additional organic visits. Knowledge base content can rank on Google and bring you some additional high intent organic traffic.
  • Customer service automation. You can use knowledge base smart suggestions to automatically answer your customers’ questions on the go.

Main features of knowledge management software

When choosing the best knowledge base software for your business, there are several things you should consider first. First of all, tools for knowledge management come in two variations — stand-alone solutions and those included in all-in-one customer support toolsets.

And it’s crucial for choosing the right one from the start. If you decide to sign up for an all-in-one solution right away, you can be sure that your knowledge base is well integrated into the other channels you use for customer support. Support reps will share the article on the go while customers can find answers faster. However, if you don’t ever plan on having any live chat or email support, it’s better to go with a monosolution and don’t overwhelm yourself with redundant features.

No matter which type of knowledge software you decide to go with, there are several must-have features that any tool for knowledge management should have:

  • Convenient text editor with the ability to insert images, videos code samples as well as mark important parts with special notes, warnings, or tips.
  • Categories, sections, folders. It’s important to organize all the articles in your knowledge base in a convenient and digestible way with the help of categories and sections.
  • Reports. Being able to track how your articles perform in terms of views and helpfulness is crucial. Moreover, many knowledge base tools offer additional reports on failed searches, all searches, articles with 0 views, etc.
  • Multilingual content. customers want to find the answers in their native language, so you should be able to translate your knowledge management system into different languages.
  • Customization options. If you want your knowledge base to look like an integral part of your website, you should be able to customize it with your brand colors, logo, header images, links, CSS and even your custom domain.
  • SEO settings. Your content should be easy to find in Google so the ability to specify title tags, meta descriptions, and target keywords is a must.
  • Search feature so that your visitors can easily find any information they need without having to look through all the articles.

There are some additional features of knowledge sharing software that can make collaboration on articles easier. For instance, collision detection immediately alerts you when someone’s editing knowledge base articles at the same time as you do. Moreover, admins can add team members with different access roles — owners, admins, editors, draft writers, readers, etc.

Many knowledge management software users appreciate the ability to specify different levels of access for their articles. Basically, this feature allows them to choose whether to make their knowledge base public or not. There can be several levels of access — public, URL-based, specific users, and internal.

8 best knowledge base software

1. HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch is an all-in-one customer service tool in its purest form. It offers live chat, ticketing, email marketing, pop-ups and, of course, knowledge base functionality. The best part is that the knowledge base tool is included in all subscription plans starting from the Standard for $15/mo.

What HelpCrunch has in terms of knowledge base functionality is a simple, sleek, modern tool designed to be as convenient as possible. Your customer support reps will be creating knowledge base articles in a WYSIWYG text editor. 

What’s great about the HelpCrunch Knowledge base is that it allows you to manually change SEO details for every article to help search engines better understand its content. You can manually specify title tag, meta description, and target keyword for your articles so that they’re better indexed by search engines. 

For customers’ convenience, articles can be divided into different categories so that customers will easily navigate through your knowledge base. The part that your customers can see has a very light and clean design, but you can add your brand colors and tweak it with custom CSS and JavaScript.

Pricing

The ‘Standard’ pricing plan starts from $15/mo per team member. It includes knowledge base, live chat and pop-up functionality. What’s important is that you get access to the most complete knowledge base functionality for this price, no restrictions.

Verdict: affordable knowledge management software

HelpCrunch is the best knowledge base software for SMBs and startups who want to create a nice and modern help center for their customers. Users will enjoy its simple design, convenient editor and live chat integration for better customer communication.

However, if you’re an enterprise looking for something big and multi-level with different levels of access, you’ll probably be better off with some bigger and more expensive knowledge management software. 

Pros

  • Can be powered by live chat for continuous customer experience
  • ‘Failed searches’ report that shows some knowledge gaps of your help center
  • Customizable SEO settings for every article and the entire knowledge base
  • Overall appearance customization.

Cons

  • No role-based access control
  • Not the best solution for internal knowledge bases
  • No multilingual content

Looking for an all-in-one
customer communication tool?

2. ProProfs

ProProfs offers a set of different tools for all kinds of purposes — from live chat to training maker to even brain games. And yes, it includes knowledge management software.

It offers a rich text editor which, by their own description, looks like Microsoft Word. It has numerous editing tools for styling and formatting, but can feel a little outdated compared. You can make your knowledge base crawlable and available for search engines and specify meta descriptions for each page. ProProfs allows importing files or docs and tracking up to 30 page revisions.

If you choose the Premium subscription, you’ll be able to assign roles and permissions for effective collaboration. 

In terms of appearance customization, you can choose any of the default knowledge base themes and customize it with your brand logo and color scheme. There are templates for all kinds of purposes like user manuals, wikis, technical documentation, or private knowledge bases. 

Pricing

The ProProfs Knowledge Base has a different pricing system compared to all-in-one customer service solutions. They charge per page, not per team member. So, each knowledge base page will cost you from $0.40 to $0.60 per month. Please note that the ‘private access’ mode and different levels of access are accessible only on the Premium subscription which costs $0.60/page per month. 

Alternatively, you can create up to 20 pages for free. 

Verdict: one-size-fits-all knowledge management software

It seems like ProProfs offers some great solutions for any kind of business. Have a small knowledge base that consists of 20 pages? Go with the free version. Want more? Pay $0.40 for each page you want. Need advanced features or private access? Cash up $0.60 per page and enjoy full functionality. 

The other downside that I see is that ProProfs’ text editor is an acquired taste. It does have all the necessary formatting features but feels a little bit outdated.

Pros:

  • Rich text editor
  • Has a free version for up to 20 pages
  • Unusual pricing system, where you pay for pages
  • Numerous themes to choose how your knowledge base will look like
  • Some useful integrations

Cons:

  • The text editor can feel a little outdated at times
  • Can get expensive for bigger knowledge bases

3. HelpJuice

The text editor by HelpJuice is rich in features and, what’s also important, feels modern and intuitive. It has all the necessary collaboration features so that multiple authors can work on one article and not bother each other.

There are several levels of access that you can set for your knowledge base — public, URL-based, internal, and for specific users. In terms of customization, there are several pre-made templates that you can choose from. They’re fully customizable.

HelpJuice offers some powerful knowledge base analytics — articles’ performance in all kinds of numbers and graphs, search terms people use, authors’ activity, etc. It’s really insightful and can help you improve constantly.

Pricing

HelpJuice is an undeniable leader in the world of stand-alone knowledge management products, which shows in their pricing. The cheapest subscription plan costs $120/mo for 4 users while the Premium account with unlimited seats goes for $660/mo. (*Small businesses and startups left the chat*)

On the plus side, they all have the same full feature pack and the only difference is in the number of users. So, what are those amazing features that cost so much?

Verdict: comprehensive knowledge management software

If you’re the kind of startup that can spend a couple of hundreds of dollars on knowledge management software each month, then HelpJuice can be great for you. Otherwise, this is the product for big companies and enterprises.

Sure, it has the widest set of knowledge software features and very detailed analytics, but you won’t be able to integrate it with other customer service tools if you have any. So, be aware that you might end up running several disconnected tools.

Pros:

  • Rich functionality
  • Rich appearance customization
  • Suitable for internal and external knowledge bases
  • Insightful reports

Cons:

  • High prices
  • No integrations

4. HelpSite

HelpSite is a simpler knowledge base software in terms of both functionality and price. It offers a basic text editor, which is somewhat similar to the old WordPress interface. It has all the standard editing features, but nothing extra. 

The customization options for the HelpSite knowledge base are rather limited, too. However, you can specify your custom domain and even customize the layout with custom HTML/CSS.

It’s possible to add a simple contact form to your knowledge base, which can automatically suggest relevant knowledge base articles to those who are trying to contact you. This way, you can dramatically reduce the number of support requests your team has to manage. On top of their native contact form, HelpSite offers integrations with other customer support tools like Desk.com, Zendesk, Groove, etc.

The biggest downside to the HelpSite knowledge base is that it doesn’t offer any reports at all. You won’t even be able to track how your articles perform and see whether you need to improve them somehow.

Pricing

HelpSite offers a free version of its software which allows you to add 1 team member, set up a custom domain, and publish as many as 25 articles. Paid pricing plans cost from $14,99/mo for 250 articles and 4 team members. And if you choose the ‘Gold’ subscription plan for $49,99/mo, you’ll be able to use custom HTML/CSS to customize your knowledge base’s look.

Verdict: simple knowledge management software

HelpSite is probably not the best knowledge base software for bigger companies and businesses. Other than the ability to set your custom domain, its limited customization options will leave you with an outdated-looking help center. And you won’t be able to change anything unless you go with the $49,99/mo plan and will be willing to customize it with HTML/CSS only.

However, small startups that only begin their business journeys can enjoy the free version and create 25 simple articles for starters.

Pros:

  • Free version for 25 articles
  • Has a built-in contact form with auto suggestions
  • Numerous integrations with customer service tools
  • The ability to create internal knowledge bases

Cons:

  • Outdated text editor
  • Extremely limited customization options
  • No reports

5. Document360

Document360 is a powerful knowledge base tool that offers subscription plans for every budget and taste. And it is probably the best knowledge base software for bigger teams as it has the best choice of collaboration features. 

The markdown text editor offers all the necessary editing and styling features, where you can also add links, images, videos, code samples, tables, and call-outs. But it’s markdown nevertheless. 

Since it offers two levels of access, you can use Document360 for creating both external and internal knowledge bases. In addition to that, it’s possible to create multiple knowledge base sites for different projects.

The tool allows you to add team members with different roles — owner, admin, editor, draft writer and readers. They can leave comments to articles (like in Google Docs) and mention other co-workers while your team can access the complete history of articles’ revisions and rollback to previous versions. 

There are two kinds of knowledge base reports offered by Document360 – performance overview and searches. You can check how each of your articles performs, and what percentage of customers still reach out to your support team after reading your knowledge base. And the ‘Searches’ report shows you popular and failed searches.

Pricing

The Document360 knowledge base will cost you at least $59/mo per project. For this price, you get 10,000 monthly visitors, 5GB storage, and 2 team members who can contribute as owners or editors. More advanced plans can cost from $179 to $599 per project per month.

Verdict: the most comprehensive knowledge management software

Document360 is the best knowledge management software for big companies where multiple support collaborate on creating new articles and maintaining a help center site. Advanced analytics will help you keep track of everything from articles’ performance to customers’ behavior. However, not the most affordable prices will scare off small businesses and startups that are not ready to pay $59/mo for just a knowledge management tool.

Pros:

  • Detailed and comprehensive reports
  • Vast collaboration features
  • The ability to create a private knowledge base

Cons

  • High prices

6. Zendesk

Zendesk is one of the oldest customer service solutions on the market. You can find virtually any support feature in their toolset — and the knowledge management system is no exception. The pricing for the Zendesk Guide varies from $0 to $50 per agent per month.

In terms of knowledge management features, Zendesk offers help center and community forums functionality. You can create articles in a rich text editor and customize your help center with custom themes — you know, the usual stuff. However, customer service representatives will definitely enjoy the Google Docs importer offered by Zendesk.

There are also some useful out-of-the-box features such as content history and restoring, access control, or publishing permissions. You can offer your knowledge base in several languages and customers can easily switch between them.

All in all, the Zendesk Guide looks like any other knowledge management software unless you integrate it with the Zendesk Support (aka ticketing). But once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy the Knowledge Capture app. It auto suggests relevant content based on customers’ questions and allows you to create new knowledge base articles right from a ticket.

Pricing

The ‘Guide’ tool by Zendesk costs at least $19/mo per agent, but there’s also a free version available. There are some awesome knowledge base features that are only offered on the ‘Enterprise’ subscription for $34/mo per agent. For instance, you can enjoy the ‘Content cues’ report that lists ideas collected from your support tickets. Or, you can use article assignments and publishing permissions.

You can also buy the Answer Bot by Zendesk for at least $50/mo or more. It will automatically offer relevant knowledge base articles to customers that submitted their requests via chat or email.

Verdict: knowledge management software with numerous integrations

If you’re a big enterprise managing hundreds of customer requests every day, you would enjoy the Zendesk Support Suite that includes not only knowledge base but all ticketing and chat features. Otherwise, the Zendesk Guide has a subscription plan for every need and business size, so you will probably find the option for you. All in all, it’s a decent choice all around.

Pros:

  • Has a free version
  • Multilingual content
  • Article import from Google Docs
  • AI-powered Answer Bot that automatically responds to emails (costs at least $50/mo)
  • Content history and restoring
  • Integration with other Zendesk’s products

Cons:

  • Can get expensive once you want more features and live chat integration
  • Not suitable for internal knowledge bases
  • Not customizable SEO settings

7. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is just one of the many customer service solutions offered by Freshworks (even though it’s probably the most famous one), which include live chat, call center, CRM, etc, but not knowledge base.

The knowledge base feature is included in the Freshdesk product. So, if you want to use Freshdesk’s knowledge base, you would need to buy the whole ticketing system with it. The good news is that it has a free version. 

As knowledge management software, Freshdesk offers a simple WYSIWYG editor with all the necessary formatting and styling features. You can specify meta titles and meta descriptions for all your knowledge base articles and translate your knowledge base articles into different languages. Freshdesk offers standard categories and folders for organizing your knowledge base articles.

Just like with Zendesk, customer support agents can add new content on the go saving their answers as new articles in a few clicks. However, its reports are rather basic in comparison to other knowledge management software. You can simply check how many views each article has and whether your customers rated it as helpful or unhelpful.

Pricing

The basic subscription to Freshdesk costs $19/mo per agent, but there’s also a free version available. For this price, you get full access to the knowledge base and help desk features. Please note that the ability to create multilingual content is available starting from the ‘Garden’ subscription for $35/agent/mo.

Verdict: basic knowledge management software with ticketing

Freshdesk offers rather basic software for knowledge management. You won’t find any advanced reports or notable features there. Moreover, you won’t be able to use it separately from their ticketing system. However, if ticketing and knowledge base are exactly what you’re looking for, Freshdesk will be a pretty decent choice.

Pros:

  • WYSIWYG editor 
  • Free version
  • Built-in ticketing system
  • Configurable SEO settings

Cons:

  • Limited reports
  • Limited customization options
  • Some features like multilingual content can get costly

8. Atlassian

I think the name ‘Atlassian’ is familiar to every project manager or virtually anybody who works by agile methodology. They’re the company behind Jira, one of the most famous issue tracking software.

Atlassian also has their knowledge management software for internal knowledge portals called Confluence, where you can store your company’s information, notes, plans and whatnot. 

The Confluence knowledge management software comes with templates for all kinds of needs — from project plans to competitive analysis to how-to articles. On all subscription plans, you have unlimited pages and can see the full history of changes for each page. If needed, you can roll back to a previous version at any time.

Such features as analytics and user permissions are only available on paid subscription plans. Moreover, if you decide to pay for Confluence, you’ll get access to the ‘anonymous access’ feature which will allow you to make your knowledge base public.

Pricing

Confluence’s prices are based on the number of users you want to allow access to your knowledge base and vary from $5 to $10 per user per month. You can also take advantage of the free version which is crafted for up to 10 users.

Verdict: best knowledge base software for internal use

Confluence is a great choice for small businesses that only need knowledge management software for internal use. You can create a simple and nice private knowledge base for free and call it a day. The price can get a little unpleasant if your team consists of more than 10-20 people. So, you decide whether you’re ready to pay a few hundred bucks for your internal knowledge base. Or maybe it makes more sense to keep it in your customer support software.

Pros:

  • Has a free version for up to 10 people
  • Handy templates for different tasks and purposes

Cons:

  • Limited appearance customization
  • Not the best choice for a public knowledge base
  • Can get expensive for big teams

So, is there the best knowledge base software?

Even if it seems like you only need a knowledge base site at the moment, you should always keep in mind that you might want to scale it in the future. Maybe you’ll need a live chat tool sometime in the future. Maybe you’ll need a dedicated customer service team.

That’s why even if those are not core knowledge base features, pay attention to other features and integrations of your software. Choose top knowledge management software based on its ability to scale in the future.

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