Internal vs. external product documentation

Last updated: March 2024

A hub, help center, support wiki, or simply product documentation: these are all solid synonyms for what we like to call a knowledge base. A knowledge base is an accessible self-serve space where you centralize important information — helping people find the answers they need to achieve their best.

Knowledge bases can be internal, meaning they share information with a select team or broadly across an organization. Or they can be external-facing and built with customers in mind. (Our knowledge base for Aha! customers is a good example.)

Although the overarching goals of internal and external knowledge bases are similar, the documents kept within each can be quite different. (We use the term "document" loosely. It can refer to just about any type of information: Think notes, meeting agendas, diagrams, and videos.) For instance, an internal knowledge base at a software company houses resources cross-functional teams need to plan, build, and deliver the company's products, as well as team-specific notes and onboarding materials. An external knowledge base includes anything customers need to get started and make the most of your software.

Build a knowledge hub using Aha! software — get started now.

This guide provides a brief overview of the differences between internal and external knowledge bases. Explore the details below or visit our related resources for more specific information on knowledge bases.


What is the difference between an internal and external knowledge base?

At a basic level, internal and external knowledge bases serve different audiences. But again, their objectives are similar: to help people learn something essential or successfully complete a job.

We think of our internal documentation as a companywide playbook that provides details on how we work, make product decisions, and deliver new functionality to customers. Our playbooks also include information such as product positioning, user personas, and customer research.

Our external knowledge base is geared toward customers — first-time trialers and more seasoned users alike. It includes how-to articles, best practices, and videos on how to use the Aha! software suite.

Let's take a closer look at the differences:

Internal knowledge base

External knowledge base


Internal teams and colleagues

Prospective and paying customers


To help the team work together by boosting healthy collaboration, knowledge sharing, and efficiency

To help customers get started with your product quickly, solve common problems independently, and learn advanced functionality



Aha! has companywide documentation, but each team also maintains its own docs.


Support documentation is often created by product marketing, technical writers, or the customer support team.

Common contents

Knowledge base software can help you handle publishing both internal and external product documentation. For example, a purpose-built tool like Aha! Knowledge makes it possible to plan, draft, and deliver knowledge hubs to any audience. Our software comes with templates like the one below to help you get started.

Get this knowledge base article template — with a free trial.

Knowledge base article large

Regardless of a knowledge base's type, documentation is never "done." You will continually update, refine, and add or remove information as your product and team evolve. The more effort you put into it, the more invested people will be in the value you are building.