Pbwiki Review

PBwiki logoBefore I get started, I feel it is only fair to warn you that this is a dual purpose post. Aside from the fact I’ve been meaning to blog about pbwiki for a while, the guys behind it now have a new promotion – review pbwiki and get free upgrades for your account. Whatever works, I guess.

So, anyway. Pbwiki is a free host for random wikis.
They claim to have a really quick set up process. I don’t remember much about it, so I guess it’s pretty painless.
I like the markup style. It’s easier to get into then MediaWiki, rather Kwiki like. Note that I didn’t say I really like the markup style. The now dead RoWiki has my favorite. πŸ˜‰

So, is it actually worth it?
Short answer: It’s free. It’s not time consuming. Yes.
Long answer: Well, there are some downsides.

  1. Everyone who goes to your site will KNOW it’s a pbwiki. Seriously, they go to no great lengths to hide the fact. The little sandwich is prominently displayed on each and every page of your wiki. If you don’t care about that, it’s not too bad.
  2. Only 3 styles on a free account. That’s kinda sad.
  3. Only 10 mb storage space. You can always store stuff on another server, but still. Even free email services give you at least 25 mb now.

Fortunately, we have Flickr for photo storage, Google ads are unobtrusive, and the css styles don’t look half bad. Plus, they seem to occasionally have little promos like this where you can up your wiki’s stats a bit.
But what the really nice thing about pbwiki is that they don’t hassle you for what they do give you, unlike some other free services I could mention. At the risk of sounding even more like an ad, pbwiki is fast, easy, and actually enjoyable to use. Thumbs up!

My Vex Robotics Team’s pbwiki
Get your own pbwiki


12 Responses to “Pbwiki Review”

  1. 1 James February 4, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Oh, also. I forgot to mention that, while pbwiki is free, they do have a “vip” type plan with monthly fee. Pretty much, you get more storage, more css styles, the ability to make your own css styles, lack of Google ads, etc.
    Personally, I don’t mind Google ads. If they both keep out of the way and keep the service free for the poor, more power to them.

    /End shameless plug for the purposes of self benefit.
    Thank you.

  2. 2 Elizabeth Decker February 5, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    hey, james. Um, dude, could there possibly be a user-friendly version of your blog, just so i know what you’re talkingabout sometimes. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  3. 3 James February 5, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Read the first sentance of the second paragraph and click the link. It makes a lot more sense if you know what a wiki is. πŸ˜‰

    There’s a slightly more readable discription here

    Aside from that, what didn’t you understand? I’ll be happy to clarify anything.

  4. 4 Arty March 22, 2007 at 4:35 am

    Now that PB Wiki is maturing and getting into full trhrottle i am noticing a lot of good changes! i joined it recently because i found it was realy, REALY easy to join.. no long questionaires no credit card details, or anything else that sounds suspicious. it was more like:
    – whats the name you want (you.pbwiki.com)
    – email, to recieve your unique password
    – DONE! easy as a peanut battuer sandwich, actually, easier!!
    Then i’ve recently realized that all the adds have been dissapearing and a lot of promos have been thrown, like just this month if you want to upgrade to a SUPER-DOOPER, DIAMOND DOUBLE DELUXE, CEOaccount β€œaka Platinum” which features 5GB of space and at least 15 other features the price is half. HOWEVER that doesnt really appeal to me because i am a user than enjoys FREE browsing, hosting, ect. So im verry with my free account because there arent any popups.. everything is pretty chilled there, and the BEST THING yet!! is that not all the good names are taken! my website is arty.pbwiki.com, HOW good is that!?!?!? no extra symbols or numbers! Aswell, you can make your wiki private, like i did, so only me and my friends see it!
    I hope this info is helpful to all those looking for a wiki to join.

  5. 5 James March 26, 2007 at 1:41 am

    Wow. The previous comment was so full of hype, I don’t even know why I saved it from the spam queue.
    1) The sign up process has been identical since basically forever.
    2) The ads are still there. In force.
    3) There have never been any popups.

    PBwiki is overpriced. If you want to spend the kind of money they want, you’re far better getting real hosting and installing MediaWiki. It’d be ton more flexible, too.

    Essentially, almost nothing has changed since I posted this. I think they’ve added universal account, unlimited comments on free wikis, templates, and some bug fixes. I don’t use any of those features. Big wup.

    Watch for Google’s upcoming JotSpot rerelease. Given their track record, that’s what I’ll probably switch to. I can almost guarantee the storage space will be 10x what pbwiki offers at the free level.

  6. 6 David Weekly March 29, 2007 at 8:54 pm


    Hi! I’m the CEO of PBwiki. Thanks for writing this review of PBwiki; sorry to have not noticed it until now. [ Arthur’s simply an enthusiastic user; we didn’t pay him. πŸ™‚ ]

    RE: ads – there is a single, small Google ad displayed on (free, non-educational) public wikis. Please let me know if you find it obtrusive.

    I’m also not sure if you’ve tried our Point-and-Click Editor yet. It makes it super easy to edit documents without needing to know wiki code, and uniquely you can switch back and forth between WYSIWYG and wikitext modes as you wish. You can also drop in calendars, slideshows, equations, and more with a few clicks. We launched this a few months ago, so we haven’t just been sitting on our thumbs.

    The service is also about ten times faster than it was even two months ago. πŸ™‚

    If you have suggestions for what we could do to make it better, I’m all ears.

  7. 7 James April 7, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    re: ads – I honestly haven’t noticed a difference in the advertising. It’s exactly the same now as it was when I first signed up. I don’t mind it, I usually have Ad-Block Plus Firefox extension turned on, but I flipped it off to take another look, and the ads aren’t any different now then they were before.

    re: Point-and-Click Editor – I honestly hadn’t noticed it’s presence. Took me a bit to figure out how to switch to it. But really, the new editor is just an embedded, customized copy of FCKeditor.

    re: Speed – That is a good thing. Thinking back on it, pbwiki was a tad sluggish at times.

    Maybe I’m just cynical and hard to impress. PBwiki is a decent service, and I’d recommend the free plan to anyone. But I honestly would not pay for a service plan upgrade. Why? Because, as I stated before, for the same amount of money, you could get a real hosting plan, load MediaWiki on it, and have a whole lot more power. This is the same reason why I probably won’t be paying for a wordpress.com upgrade.
    Don’t get me wrong. Pre-setup plans where you don’t have to worry about the software running the site are nice. But I know enough about hosting providers, PHP, FTP, HTML, CSS, etc, that I could set up a decent site and be in full control for roughly the same amount of money as wp.com and pbwiki charge for an upgrade.

  8. 8 David Weekly July 20, 2007 at 10:54 pm


    It’s totally true that it doesn’t cost very much money to set up a MediaWiki on, say, a Dreamhost or 1&1 account. If you’re a geek-on-a-budget, it’s not a bad answer, if you’re comfy with MediaWiki in particular, and don’t really care too much about performance, and don’t really worry about your wiki having a lot of users, and your data isn’t all that confidential, and if you have the time to maintain it securely and keep it up to date with patches, and you’re okay with using a non-WYSIWYG editor. πŸ˜‰

    By using PBwiki you can spend your time worrying about other things. You don’t have to worry about hard drive crashes, breakins, failures, etc. It’ll just always be there for you, up and secure, and easy. Every day the service gets a little better. The time savings and peace of mind is worth a lot to the tens of thousands of businesses (and educators!) that use our service, which is why folks actually spend money on our service.

    Kinda like how you can do your own payroll or income tax on your own, but it’s a PITA and you might get it wrong so you might as well have someone else take care of it for a reasonable fee. We take care of the worry of running a wiki so you can take care of whatever it is that you do for a living – probably not running wikis, unless you’re in our space. πŸ˜‰

    My $0.02, anyhow, kinda biased.


  9. 9 holbrookfields May 2, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    cheaper prices and more storage please…!

  10. 10 tomax7 December 28, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    …thanks for the review. Regarding Arty, he’s posted the same thing word for word on other blogs, so me thinks he might be a pbshrill.

  11. 11 James December 31, 2008 at 1:38 am

    …Does it matter? The CEO of the company posted here.

    Additionally, they’ve already addressed several of my issues with the service.
    – Even free accounts now have 2 gigabytes of storage space.
    – On PBwiki 2.0, they’ve got several color schemes, and none of them look nearly as horrible as the old “Bamboo” or “Hideous Neon Orange” themes.

    My only real complaint is that they’ve dispensed with the “Wiki password” feature in PBWiki 2.0 and now require all collaborators to make accounts. One of the things I found attractive about the old system was that I didn’t have to send out individual email invites to a lot of people; I could just cc everyone with a link and password.

    The old system is still available in PBWiki 1.0, though; so I’m not complaining too much.

  1. 1 pbwiki « Matt’s Weblog Trackback on August 17, 2007 at 7:17 pm
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