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Building a Free Support Website

Introduction

free-support-websiteI work in the software business for quite a while now, on a large scale commercial level as well as on smaller levels and open source projects. Commercial helpdesk and support software is expensive and often their providers lost touch with their user community, meaning their product strategy is hooked on profit rather than serving what is required by the users. Being dependent on one of those products not only cost you a fortune but also takes you out of the loop in where the product is going.

So I sat back and wondered, can I build a support website that.. :

  1. …integrates into WordPress
  2. …costs a little or even better, is free (not counting the hosting fees)
  3. …offers service desk features that can match or at least come close enough to commercial products
  4. …offer documentation features that can match or at least come close enough to commercial products
  5. …is based on open source that allows me to alter or add features I need

What did I come up with?

You are looking at the result right now. The Lewe.com Support website is based on above criteria. All products I used (not counting the hosting service) here are free and open source and provide most freedom in achieving you individual requirements.

Honorable mentions

There are professional help desk software providers out there that offer free plans for smaller companies and teams. It is only fair to mention them here as well. If you do not care where your data is hosted and you can live with a separate domain/website for your support with closed source software that does not integrate into your main site, these offers are definitely worth a look:

  1. Freshdesk (a cloud-based multichannel solution, the free version includes unlimited agents, email ticketing, social media ticketing for Facebook and Twitter, a knowledge-base and reporting)
  2. Jira Service Desk (a cloud-based ticketing solution by Atlassian, thee free version allows 3 agents and email ticketing, 2GB space)
  3. Confluence (a cloud-based wiki solution by Atlassian, thee free version allows 10 users, 2GB space, integrates with above mentioned Jira Service Desk as Knowledgebase)
  4. Zoho Desk (a cloud-based help desk solution, the free version allows 3 agents, email ticketing and private agent knowledgebases)

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