We all know the old axiom “knowledge is power.” And though it’s true, there’s a caveat: In order to unlock the power of any knowledge, people first need access to it.
Access to knowledge is an issue many businesses face. They have information to share with customers, but they don’t always have an effective means by which to share it. Luckily, there’s a tool that addresses that very issue: knowledge base software.
What is knowledge base software?
Knowledge base software is a tool that allows you to create, store, organize, manage, and share self-service content with an audience.
Some common types of content people use knowledge base software to create — and house — are frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages, how-to articles, and video tutorials.
What are the different types of knowledge base software?
Though most knowledge base tools function similarly, they do come in a few different configurations. For example, there's both internal and external knowledge base software, as well as both standalone software and all-in-one solutions.
- Internal knowledge bases may require login credentials to access information, and the content is private.
- External knowledge bases don’t require login credentials and are open to the public.
Many knowledge base tools allow you to create both private and public content, but not all do.
- Standalone knowledge base software is a dedicated tool that is solely meant for creating, maintaining, and managing a knowledge base.
- Multi-function tools offer knowledge base software as one part of a larger suite of tools.
For example, Help Scout offers Docs — which is knowledge base software — but it’s not sold on its own. It’s offered in conjunction with a number of other support tools, like a shared inbox and live chat, that make up a complete customer support platform.
The 7 best knowledge base software products
Though many knowledge base tools share similarities, some are better suited for different applications than others. Below, we cover seven knowledge base software options to consider, listing where each tool excels the most.
1. Help Scout
Best knowledge base software for customer support.
Help Scout is a complete customer service platform, and one part of the platform is our knowledge base software: Docs. Docs is flexible, easy-to-use knowledge base software that lets you create internal and external knowledge base articles in minutes.
You can quickly upload images and videos to articles to make content even better, and you also get access to Beacon. With Beacon, you’re able to embed a chat-style widget on any page of your site or app so visitors have direct access to your knowledge base library without ever having to click away from the page they’re on.
Docs also integrates seamlessly with our shared inbox. Agents can share links to knowledge base content directly in customer email conversations without needing to do any copying and pasting, which reduces response times and hassle.
Best of all, when you sign up for Help Scout, you get access to the entire customer support platform for about the same cost as most standalone knowledge base software — and often at an even lower cost.
Price: Starting at $20 per user/month.
Best knowledge base software for enterprise companies.
If you’re looking for standalone knowledge base software, Docs360 could be a good option. They have a user-friendly interface and search capabilities, and you’re able to create both internal and external knowledge bases using their tool.
Docs360 also offers some more advanced features like localization, IP address restriction for security, and in-depth analytics. However, they charge per project (a project is essentially one knowledge base) per month, and the base rate is quite high, so it might not be a viable option for smaller businesses.
Price: Starting at $49 per project/month (two users included).
Best knowledge base software for multi-team use.
Guru is internal knowledge base software that allows you to store all your company information. Whether it’s battle cards for your sales team or product roadmaps for engineering, you can store it all in Guru.
They also offer a browser extension, making accessing stored information that much easier. That said, their product is really focused on internal use. So if you want to build a knowledge base customers can use, you’d need to consider another tool.
Price: Starting at $5 per user/month.
Best knowledge base software for very large teams.
Similar to Help Scout, Zendesk is a customer support platform that includes a knowledge base tool. Its knowledge base uses a WYSIWYG style editor, making article creation simple, and you’re also able to collect customer feedback directly from an article (if you so choose).
Zendesk also offers some collaboration features that allow multiple people to work on an article together. However, to get access to a lot of their advanced knowledge base features, you do have to be on an enterprise plan, which is quite expensive.
Price: Starting at $49 per agent/month.
Help Scout vs. Zendesk
Customers rank Help Scout's support tools higher than Zendesk in nearly every category — and it's just a fraction of the price.Compare side-by-side
Best knowledge base software for internal use.
One of the leaders for internal knowledge bases is Notion. Their core benefit is how flexible the tool is: You can make kanban boards, checklists, and text documents. You can also assign tasks to other users and set due dates for tasks. It’s basically an internal wiki plus a project management tool.
Notion does offer a free plan, but it’s only for personal use. If you want to have multiple collaborators (which is where their value really shines), you have to be on their team or enterprise plans. Though $8 per user/month sounds inexpensive, it can add up quickly.
Price: Starting at $0 per month.
Best standalone knowledge base software.
HelpJuice is a standalone knowledge base software product that focuses heavily on design and collaboration. Through their editor you’re able to edit typeface, layout, and colors to match your brand aesthetic.
HelpJuice also allows multiple people to collaborate on articles. You’re also able to see past versions and revisions to articles to stay up-to-date on the latest changes. HelpJuice also boasts a number of integrations, making your knowledge base more powerful.
Price: Starting at $120 per month for four users.
Best knowledge base software for collaboration.
Confluence is very similar in look and function to Notion. They’re also most focused on internal use and project management. To help make life easier, they have an extensive library of page templates so you can get started quickly.
You’re also able to create team spaces to keep things organized and set permissions for different articles. Since it’s an Atlassian product, Confluence also integrates seamlessly with their other products like JIRA and Trello.
Price: Starting at $0 per month (free plan is limited to 10 or fewer users).
How to choose the right knowledge base software
Different teams have different needs, so there isn’t one knowledge base software to rule them all. That said, there are three things we think you should look for when shopping for knowledge base software: value, flexibility, and ease of use.
Measuring value is asking the question: Is this worth what I’m paying for it?
For example, $300 may sound like a lot for a pair of pants, but what if they came with a guarantee to be tailored to fit you perfectly and replaced for the rest of your life any time you needed it? All of a sudden, $300 doesn’t sound so bad.
With knowledge base software, comparing tools based on value instead of cost can make things a lot clearer. For example, two options might have the same cost, but if one gives you access to other tools along with knowledge base capabilities, it probably holds a lot more value, making it the better choice.
There are a couple of ways to think about flexibility.
First, you can consider how many separate functions a tool can perform. With knowledge base software, you might think about whether it’s useful for both internal and external knowledge bases. You could also think about how well it integrates with other tools you might use in conjunction with it.
Second, you can consider how well a tool will grow with you and your needs as time goes on — there should be a balance between buying for now and for the future.
If you’re a team of five, buying for the possible future of being a team of 500 may not be pragmatic. But buying a tool that can cover your needs for the next 12-18 months is probably a smart move.
Ease of use
The simple truth of any software is this: If it’s hard to use, no one is going to use it. That truth applies to both those using it internally and those using it externally.
With knowledge base software, you need to consider the experience of creating and maintaining a piece of content as well as the experience of finding and interacting with content as a customer.
The only way to really know how easy or difficult something is to use is by actually using it. After you’ve made a shortlist of options, do a trial of each. Getting hands-on experience with a product will give you way more insight than any demo ever could.
You should also ask to see existing examples of knowledge bases created using their software. That way you can get a better idea of how a customer would experience interacting with the product, too.
Finding the right solution
Investing in a new tool is always a big decision. It takes time, money, and energy, so there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. Make sure you define your needs and goals upfront. As you learn more about different products, they may shift some, so you need to be a bit flexible, too.
When you’re reviewing options, be critical, get feedback from others, and take your time. It may feel overwhelming at times, but as long as you have a solid game plan, we’re confident you’ll make the right choice.