Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide public health problem with significant comorbidity and mortality. Improving quality of life and survival of CKD patients necessitates a large number of preventive and therapeutic interventions. To resolve these issues several organizations have developed guidelines, which are difficult to compare comprehensively. The Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes website at http://kdigo.org compares five major guidelines. The section 'compare guidelines' covers 41 topics distributed over five major subjects: (1) general clinics; (2) hemodialysis (HD); (3) vascular access for HD; (4) peritoneal dialysis; and (5) chemistries. The tables compare guideline recommendations and the evidence levels on which they are based, with direct links to each of the guidelines. These data show that the different guideline groups tend to propose similar targets, but that nuances in the guideline statements, their rationale, and grading of evidence levels present some discrepancies, although most guidelines are based on the same literature. We conclude that there is an urgent need to harmonize existing guidelines, and for a global initiative to avoid the parallel development of conflicting guidelines on the same topics. The tables displayed on the website offer a basis for structuring this process, a procedure which has recently been initiated by a body composed of the five guideline development groups.