Wikispaces is no longer offering free non-education wikis

Today we are announcing that Wikispaces is no longer offering a free option for non-education wikis.

We are even more committed than ever to offering our free services for anyone in education, and we are building more and more great free functionality for teachers and others in education every day, but for anyone outside of education, Wikispaces is no longer offering a free option.

Existing wikis on Wikispaces that are not categorized as being used in education, have started displaying a banner that shows three options:

  1. If the wiki is being used in Pre-K, K-12, or Higher Education, you can choose the option to categorize your wiki as an education wiki. Once we verify that your wiki is being used in education, it will remain active and will be free going forward.
  2. If the wiki is not being used in education and you want to keep it, you may choose to upgrade your wiki to our Plus plan ($50 per year, or $5 per month) or our Super plan ($200 per year, or $20 per month). If you have several wikis you want to upgrade you may want to consider our Private Label service which gives you unlimited wikis with more integration and administrative options starting at $1,000 per year for 100 users.
  3. If you no longer wish to keep your wiki active, you may allow your wiki to expire and it will be deleted. If you would like to export the contents of your wiki you can download the contents of your wiki in wikitext, HTML, or PDF format.

We know this may come as frustrating news to many long term non-education users of Wikispaces but its an important decision for us as we move forward with our core mission of serving teachers and the broader education community. We hope that our $50 per year option is a good one for most people who would like to keep their non-education wiki on Wikispaces and we will of course do our best to help everyone through this transition.

If you have any questions or need our help please don’t hesitate to contact us at help@wikispaces.com

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50 Comments

  1. Ruzho
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    As an unemployed hobbyist, I can barely pay for my bill to connect to the internet, much less any services online. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed the service Wikispaces has given to my gaming group. With this decision, however, it is time to part ways.

  2. a user
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Super disappointed by this change. I rather have advertisements than not have a wikispace.

  3. Tom Holden
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    This is upsetting news. The wiki I administer is very educational, but not in a proscribed academic institution. I imagine there are many others. No revenue is generated from the wiki nor from an employer or any other source against which this new cost might be expensed. This is in contrast to the teachers and educational institutions which can continue to obtain free hosting, supported as they are by public and private funding.

    Can you direct me to some other hosting service for wikitext that won’t cause extensive re-writing and reorganization?

    Tom

  4. Maria Lapesigue
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I would like to ask how much time we have or until when is the expiration of upgrading or exporting non education wiki? Would appreciate quick response since we have more than 5 wiki’s.

    thanks,
    Maria

  5. Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Ruzho, we completely understand. We hope you find a new free service that meets your needs.

  6. Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    a user, understood. We’ve decided that advertising isn’t a road we want to go down. Hopefully you’ll find a free option that works for you.

  7. Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Tom, we appreciate that there are plenty of great wikis out there, worthy of support, that aren’t strictly in education. We’ve picked education as our focus but that’s not to suggest there aren’t other worthy activities.

    If you email us we’ll do what we can to help you migrate.

  8. Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Maria,

    You have until 14 November 2014.

  9. Jodie
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    What a load of garbage. You created a reputation and refined your platform with users like us, and now you’re evicting us! All existing wikis should be grandfathered into this new policy.

  10. Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    I expect a great many people will be wanting to move their wikis elsewhere, and I’m sure you would prefer not to receive emails from them all, so please provide a guide to migration here rather than individually to each user on request. In particular, please explain how the exported data can be used to regenerate the wiki on an alternative host.

  11. Cara Carabowditbowdi
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    “its an important decision for us as we move forward with our core mission of serving teachers and the broader education community.”

    How exactly does excluding everyone else help you “move forward” again? This looks like nothing more than a pathetic cash grab to me.

    Also, Tom- here’s a list of alternates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_hosting_services

  12. Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Since 2008, the Lexington, KY LARP community has used Wikispaces to host information about our games, and has used it as a primary resource for our online presence. The use of Wikispaces for this purpose has also encouraged others in our groups to use the service for their own personal needs. As of today, that relationship will likely be phased out. I have enjoyed Wikispaces for it’s ease of use compared to other online wiki options, but for a hobby it is not feasible to ask people to fork over even a dollar for something we have enjoyed free for the last 6 years.

  13. Martha
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Pretty sure that this is a revenue-minded decision and that while the statement “our core mission is education” is likely true, it is only part of the story and is also a money grab. Which is ok, but it’s better to be honest and say that you have expenses (or whatever) and to continue to offer the service, you have to charge.

  14. Posted September 22, 2014 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I have a none éducation wiki but have a plus plan, does this mean that after november 14th my wiki will be gone

  15. Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I strongly protest against this policy change. It was nowhere announced when we started our Wiki in wikispaces that we would run the risk that we had to pay in the future. This means also that we run the risk that even the educational ones will be charged in the future. This is not a reliable way of doing your business and I am strongly requesting to review this change. We are a non profit organisation (UN), serving the public. Why do we need to pay as well?

  16. Alan
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for being free for non-profits up till now. Our organization has zero budget, so we will have to bail off of wikispaces. -Alan

  17. teresa okeefe
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    While it is not your responsibility or obligation to provide alternative wikis, it would be appreciated if users could have a discussion page to share this information to help with the migration process. I am fortunate and do not have a lot to export – I am sure others do. However, we do likely have some common goals for functionality and could benefit greatly from a shared discussion about moving from this site.

    If you would prefer that THIS thread not be that forum, please provide an alternate space for the topic.

    Thank you and this has been a great resource site.

    (i’m thinking of using Google Docs, it’s free, and some customization will need to be done to get it to the “starting point” of wiki spaces, but it’s doable)

  18. Steven
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to say that this is a very unwise decision financially, and bad for customer relations. Those of you customers that have been on the free plan (which I imagine is most of your casual users), chose the free plan for a reason.

    You will soon see that asking all these users for money doesn’t translate to paying customers. It just turns into leaving customers (I estimate about 85-90%) and now-paying-yet-slightly-miffed customers (15-10%) .

    This will happen. But whether it’s good or not depends on how you look at it. If you are in fact hoping for the non-paying customers to leave and stop using server space so it can open up to paying customers (or education customers), then this is exactly what you should do.

    I can see the benefit in that if you only want to focus on education and leave almost all of the non-education wikis behind, but abandoning your largest group of users to focus on a very small group of users (as important as they are) isn’t something to be done lightly.

    I am simply advising you as to the future of this decision. If I am right or wrong, then you shall see very soon, but mark my words, this is something that is impossible to undo after a certain period of time (say… I dunno, 30 days).

    Should you have very strong convictions about this decision, then I wish the best of luck to you. I just hope you’re not going into this blind.

  19. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Jodie,

    We understand your frustration. We’ve been happy to provide free service for everyone for 9 years but now its time for us to fully focus our free product on teachers and students. Hopefully you will find an alternative that works for you.

  20. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    There is no other wiki service that uses exactly the same format of wikitext as ours so there’s nowhere you can simply import a wikitext export of a wikispaces wiki and have everything work perfectly. We are closest to mediawiki’s wikitext which several platforms and services use, if you’re interested in modifying the wikitext source. Alternatively, some wiki services allow you to import HTML pages which we also provide as an export option. So that might be another alternative.

  21. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Cara,

    Every organization has finite resources. We need to focus all of ours on the education market. It’s not always obvious from the outside how much time it takes to support a large group of free users.

  22. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Preston,

    I’m really glad to hear that Wikispaces has worked so well for you for so long.

    We completely understand if you’ll be moving somewhere else. Best of luck with your group.

  23. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Martha,

    If we were doing this to make money, we would have no problem coming out and saying so. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money and we’ve never been ashamed of doing that with our Private Label and Campus services over the years. We’ve always been open about why we do things, being obtuse in this case wouldn’t be like us, and I agree with you when you suggest it would be counter productive.

    Another point to make here is that we were acquired in February by TES Global, a company in London that was itself acquired by TPG, a very large private equity firm. TES bought us because we can help them with their strategic goals of being of service to teachers in every part of their work. They didn’t buy us so that we could grow our consumer subscriber base which has only been a small part of what we do for a long time.

    Hope that helps clarify things and that you find a good solution for your needs going forward.

  24. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Roel,

    If you are currently paying for a Plus plan for your non-education wiki, our recent announcement doesn’t change anything. You can keep using your wiki and renewing as normal.

  25. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    You’re very welcome. Thanks for the note.

  26. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Teresa,

    Agreed. I’ve posted a couple of thought and we’d be happy to support a discussion if others want to join in.

  27. Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Steven,

    We do appreciate you taking the time to provide your input.

    In my response to Martha, I laid out some thoughts about why this is not a decision we made to make money. If we were doing this to make money, I agree, it would be a bad decision both financially and for customer relations.

    The outcomes we are focused on are our education users and our education business. For several years now all of our product development has been targeted there, and that’s going to continue to be the case going forward.

    And it may not be obvious, but the vast majority of our users have been in educations for many years. We have much much more going on in education than in all other fields combined so that’s one of the reasons why we’ve been focused on education for so long.

  28. Posted September 27, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Would you PLEASE help me?

    I am trying to verify my wiki for a conference in October. I created this wiki 5 years ago. Now it is saying that I need to verify it. I sent a note to you on 9/20 and received a note back from Hary saying that I am not the creator or organizer and then asks “Please let me know if you need help with anything else.” He didn’t help me with that. I need him to tell me the name of the creator or contact the creator to contact me.

    Yesterday, I received a note from him asking me to send him the name of the wiki.

    PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I need to get this verified for our conference.

    Leigh Zeitz
    zeitz@uni.edu

  29. Jan
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Just a question,
    As I moderate several wikis under my account, does this mean that you have to pay for each wiki separate?

    Thank you fro your answer.

  30. Facundo
    Posted September 29, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Hello Adam, does our wiki needs to initiated by a school, or being used by a school to be considered under the ‘education’ free wiki. I don’t get that part.
    Thanks in advance.

  31. Posted September 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Facundo, nope, it absolutely does not need to be initiated or used within a school to qualify.

    Home schooling, or a presentation wiki created by a teacher giving a talk at an education conference are two examples of wikis used outside of schools that qualify.

  32. Posted September 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Jan, you have three options:

    1) Pay for each
    2) Merge them (contact us by email for details) and then pay for just one
    3) If you think they might qualify as being used in education, request our free upgrade.

  33. Posted September 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Leigh, did you send Hary the name of the wiki? It may be that we can’t find the one you are talking about by your email address. You need to let us know the address of the wiki and the username you are logged in with and we can help you from there.

  34. anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    First of all, thank you for offering us free Wiki services for years. I really loved it and it became essential part of my work / travel / hobby environment.
    I had 17 non-educational wikis that I created using wikispaces wiki hosting service.
    I respect wikispaces’ business decision and I decided to move those wikis to somewhere else.
    There are not many choices available if you want to have private wikis.

    I picked wikidot hosting service, which offers up to five free wikis (can be private).

    I consolidated some of my wikis and moved most of my wiki contents to a new home.
    The process was very painful even the wikitext syntax used with wikidot was relatively similar to wikispace’s wikitext syntax. I used “vi” to globally change the text and made additional changes (page by page). I created several hundreds, if not more than a thousand, pages under my new wikidot account.

    From my experience:
    * wikidot doesn’t offer a WYSIWYG editor (so probably for more experienced users)
    – wikispaces provides matured service, I think
    * I used “vi” editors’ global replacement
    – I considered writing a Python script but gave up as it requires grammatical analysis (but in theory possible)
    * wikidot allows more fine control over how a page looks
    – but it tends to require more lines of code to get what you want
    * If you are familiar with CSS, you may want to fiddle with the default CSS
    – otherwise you need to insert many style=”…” to alter the default style
    – ex. table is centered by default (style=”align:left;” is required to change it left-aligned)
    * some features are not available to implement with wikidot wikitext syntax
    – ex. merged rows in a table is not supported (in wikidot wikitext)
    * directory structure is slightly different
    – ex. no “home” page

    I was planning to move all of my wiki pages to somewhere else. But I found that creating / editing / tables using wikitext was extremely painful and wikispaces provides quite a good WYSIWYG editor, which is essential to manage table rich documents.

    So, I’m very inclined to acquire one wikispace Plus account ($50/year) to host my table rich documents.

    My 17 wikis are going to be reorganized into 6 wikis (5 free wikis + 1 Plus account).
    I think this is something I can swallow.

    Thought my migration experience (although it is still on going) might be helpful for others in similar situations.

    Hope this helps.
    Aki-

  35. Posted September 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Aki, thanks for the kind words and all the helpful detail.

  36. user
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Who is Adam?

  37. Aaron
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    This very saddning news. i loved my wiki and many people did to but i do understand this change. Thank you wikispaces thanks for the memories

  38. Ryan
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Is there any website that can translate Wikispaces-style WikiText to a different form of WikiText? In fact, is it possible to translate between any two forms of WikiText at all?

  39. Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    user, I’m one of the founders of Wikispaces.

  40. Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, we’re not aware of any tool that does that translation for you out of the box.

  41. teresa
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Aki. That’s great information and I’m actually curious about the types of wikis that you have built here. (I have so much collected information, maybe i could be keeping it in a better format…. wiki style instead of flat and “unbound”

    I’ve been keeping an eye on this space for suggestions for alternative sites. Wikidot sounds too technical for my skill level (I would need a WYSIWYG editor). I have done a little investigation of other free/paid wiki sites and have not found another private site with the functionality of wikispaces.

    It would be great if some others share their search for alternate homes as Aki has. That way we can help/inform each other through this transition.

    Incidentally, Adam, my sister is a homeschooler and I have informed her about this site. They are a merry band of independents, but surely a shared wiki space could be a valuable resource for her and her “tribe” as she calls the other homeschooling parents in her group.

  42. Posted October 2, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I run a few wikispaces that are used as a reference for research conferences (for talks/workshops etc.) and as a platform for the research community to express their views (examples are ictd.wikispaces.com, cscw2013.wikispaces.com, chi2014.wikispaces.com). Since the links to these pages have been advertised and broadcasted on different websites and even research literature, porting it would be be quite a setback (and paying isnt an option because the there’s no entity that would pay for it – since these are past conferences)

    3 questions:

    1) Since this is for research purposes (and hence “academic”), do they qualify as education wikis?

    2) If not, is there a possibility of a redirect service, so that people who still access the old URL could be redirected to the new one that I create?

    3) Thirdly, with your experience so far of helping people with the transition, would you like to recommend a wiki service that may be easiest to transition to? (I know there are some suggestions in the comments above, but just wanted to get a few recommendations based on all the experience so far – thanks!)

    cheers
    Anupam

  43. Posted October 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Anupam,

    Yes, they qualify as education wikis on Wikispaces. Feel free to submit your requests.

  44. Posted October 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Teresa,

    That’s great. We have lots of homeschoolers using education wikis on Wikispaces.

  45. anonymous
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    teresa wrote:
    > Thank you, Aki. That’s great information and I’m actually curious about the types of wikis that you have built here.

    The wikis I built were either photo-centric wikis (travel and other hobbies).
    Other wikis were technical ones that contained lots of figures and tables (one wiki per topic).

    My photos are hosted in other photo sharing site so that all wikitexts in the photo-centric wikis are mostly links (to external servers) and captions.
    It was extremely painful to move tables. My photo-centric wikis included several large tables and it took quite a while to move them to my new wikis under wikidot.

    > Wikidot sounds too technical for my skill level (I would need a WYSIWYG editor).

    Yes, Wikidot is definitely for more experienced users.
    We have to admit that wikispaces did a pretty good job providing us a nice WYSIWYG tool.
    I don’t see any good alternatives that rival wikispaces, IMHO.

    Anyway, I decided to get one wikispace Plus account and I consolidated my technical wikis under a new wikispaces wiki. This is because I’m afraid that my ability to communicate with / to utilize / to express in wikis might be greatly hindered if my technical wikis are hosted under wikidot wiki hosting site. My technical wikis are used as part of thinking / developing process.

    My new wikispaces wiki’s home page contains links to multiple topics, each of which was once a separate wiki page. It is a bit inconvenient but I think I can swallow.
    However, as multiple technical wikis are now hosted in a single wiki, I had to enforce strict file-name rule so that files from multiple wikis won’t collide.

    There is no single solution that fits everyone.
    Depending upon your skill level, your wiki contents, private or public, …, your migration path will be different. Hope you can find a right migration path soon.
    As you said, that would be very helpful if people post their own migration stories.

    Aki-

  46. anonymous
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    While I was moving wiki pages to wikidot wikis, I found some of wikidot wikitext features useful.
    I would like to present them here hoping that wikispaces would consider incorporating those syntax to their wikitext.
    (1) Strike-through tex
    wikispaces => strikethrough text
    wikidot => –strikethrough text–
    (2) Escape parsing
    wikidot => @@not subject to parsing@@
    – I found it quite useful
    (3) [[html]] … [[/html]] for embedding YouTube
    wikidot =>
    [[html]]

    [[/html]]
    – very intuitive and easy to use
    (4) [[code]] … [[/code]]
    wikispaces => [[code]] … [[code]]
    wikidot => [[code]] …[[/code]]
    – I think using the same tag for both is a bit confusing

    //

    I think some of them can be implemented without creating incompatibility.

    Thank you for your attention.
    Aki-

  47. Posted October 4, 2014 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks Adam!

    That’s great. Just tried to request a complimentary Plus upgrade and certified that the wiki will be used exclusively for Higher Education (hope that’s the right category).

    cheers
    Anupam

  48. Posted October 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Two questions:
    Pricing: How long will the new owners stay with the pricing setup? They gonna raise prices? What pricing would it take to run your system as a breakeven venture serving all comers?

    Any provisions for nonprofits such as churches (“religious education”} and retirement centers (“how to stay alive and enjoy life”)?

  49. Posted October 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Thomas,

    We have no plans to raise pricing for current services.

    Churches and retirement centers are both welcome to try our Plus and Super services.

  50. Ryan
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    To my understanding, the purge won’t actually begin until November 14, right? (I’m speaking as someone who’s working hard to preserve as much as possible of the Wikis of which I’m a part.)

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