WordPress Sphinx Search Plugin

WordPress Sphinx Search Plugin allows to use Sphinx Search Server power to enable ultra-fast and feature-rich search on WordPress-based websites. It is especially useful if your WordPress site becomes very large.

Search results are more relevant and you can search in posts, pages and comments using flexible search syntax, quickly sort the results by freshness or relevance. This plugin comes with sidebar widgets to display the most recent searches and top and related search terms.

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WordPress Sphinx Search plugin

Search by Relevance, Freshness or Both

Search by Freshness & Relevance is the best for searching through blogs, news headlines, etc. When using this mode, recent records are ranked higher, but within records with the same freshness, more relevant records are ranked higher.

Search by Relevance is the best for searching through articles in which relevance does not depend on freshness, like for Wikipedia articles.

Search by Freshness it the best for searching through the most recent content. Using this mode will help to find latest posts, comments and pages of entire blog.

Sphinx Search plugin supports searching in posts, comments and pages which is helpful to limit search results only by selected areas.

Search Management Tools

Search Management Tools is a set of tools for managing search terms.

Using Search Management Tools your can:

  • approve/ban search terms to improve quality of content on Search widgets
  • import new search terms which you want to present on Search widgets
  • administrate keywords black list
  • and more...

Search Statistics Tool

Search Statistics Tool is an analytic tool which can help your to find:

  • latest searches
  • most popular/unpopular searches
  • statistics slice for periods of a week, a month, 3 months etc
  • and more...

Plugin FAQ

Q: What is Sphinx Search Server?
A: Sphinx is a full-text search engine which provides fast and relevant full-text search functionality. Read more on Sphinx website http://sphinxsearch.com
Q: How to install Sphinx Search manually?
A: To manually install Sphinx use the official Sphinx Search documentation.
Q: How to update the search index?
A: The best option to update search index is to setup cron job task for it. Also you may manually update search indexes through WordPress Sphinx Search administrative interface.
Q: I have just activated the plugin, however when I try to run the Plugin's Wizard it does not do anything. What is wrong?
A: This might be jQuery version collision. Our plugin uses jQuery v1.4 and supposed to work with WordPress up to 3.8 version which uses jQuery v1.x (i.e. 1.10 for WP3.8). Check if your installation has custom plugin or WP is modified to use jQuery v2.x. If so then it will impossible to use our plugin's Wizard.
Q: I have just installed and run the wizard, however I have the following error message. What to do? Can not start searchd, try to start it manually.
A: If you use version 2.1 or higher you can see the exact command below message “Can not start searchd, try to start it manually.” which you need to run manually through terminal on your server. If you have ‘Permissions problem’ try to run the command as super user.
Q: How to run indexer manually
A: Open terminal and run following command: `/path/to/indexer -c /path/to/sphinx.conf --rotate --all`
Q: When I run searchd or indexer I got ERROR: invalid section type 'X-Powered-By' in ../sphinx.conf line 1 col 1.
A: You are using CGI version of php, by default it shows a http header like "X-Powered-By: PHP/4.3.6" To prevent this, PHP needs to be invoked with the '-q' option for 'quiet'. Open sphinx.conf in editor and change first line to: `#!/usr/bin/php -q`
Q: I got WARNING: index 'wp_main': preload: failed to open /path/to/indexes/wp_main.sph No such file or directory; NOT SERVING
A: That means you have no indexes to serve. You need to build them. You may do it via wp-admin or manually: On wp-admin>Settings>Sphinx Search page click "Re-index WordPress index" Or use run this command manually in terminal: `/path/to/indexer -c /path/to/etc/sphinx.conf --all --rotate`
Q: Sphinx installs fine, but when I go to search for something on the blog I get no results.
A: Check Sphinx version, Sphinx version should be 0.9.9 or higher.
Q: How do I modify the plugin php script to specify the path where I have Sphinx installed?
A: Run Sphinx Configuration wizard from WP Admin panel. There are two important steps: 1. Install or use existing Sphinx binaries There you can specify the path to your own indexer and searchd 2. Setup path to Sphinx indexes There you can specify where to store index files and sphinx.conf file. This path should be writeable by web server.
Q: Cannot activate plugin. If I try to activate the plugin I get the following PHP error: Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class SphinxClient in /home/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-sphinx-plugin/php/sphinxapi.php
A: Check that you haven't: 1. any other plugins which loaded Sphinx Search API library. 2. Sphinx Search PECL extension installed
Q: I’ve got an error “Indexer: configuration files not found.” on clicking “Run Indexing & Contunue” (“Sphinx data indexing” step of Wizard).
A: Check that the user which is running your web server (it's usually apache, www-data or smth like this) can run indexer/searchd and can read/write into sphinx.conf. Then run Sphinx Configuration wizard from WP Admin panel again.
Q: How to set the maximum number of search results above 100.000?
A: 1)Go to Sphinx Search plugin directory and open rep/sphinx.conf in text editor. 2)Find max_matches parameter in searchd section at the bottom of the file 3)Set new value i.e. max_matches = 1000000 4)Open Sphinx Search control panel in WP Admin 5)Click on "Run Sphinx configuration Wizard" and skip all steps in the Wizard, it will rebuilds sphinx.conf file at the last step, click Finish. 6)Restart Sphinx Search (click on "Stop Sphinx daemon" and then "Start Sphinx daemon") 7)Open tab "Search settings" and set the same max_matches value in the field "Maximum number of search results".

Commercial Support

Ivinco Commercial Support

This plugin is developed by Ivinco. If you need commercial support, or if you’d like WordPress Sphinx Search Plugin customized for your needs, we can help.

Get Commercial Support

More Cool Features of The WordPress Sphinx Search plugin

Sidebar Search Widget: easy to use widget which extends standard search form with Advanced search functionality.

Custom Search Terms for Top searches widget: allows your to add your own terms and display them always in the Top searches list.

New! Friendly URLs support: 1) Short and easy to remember search URLs. 2) Good for SEO - they better describe pages for Search Engines.

"Search in" settings: allows you to limit search to posts, pages or comments.

Flexible search syntax: enables using special operators to tune your search query. Read more about this syntax on the documentation page.

Multilingual Search: do you want to search in other language than English? No problem!

Sphinx Configuration Wizard: easy to use wizard to setup Sphinx Search Server at your WordPress blog.

Keyword highlighting: use Admin Settings page to style the keyword highlighting and search results.

Use only approved search terms: use this option to show only approved search terms in the widgets.

Please use the form below to leave your testimonials

Have a technical question? See tutorial page and leave your comments there.


TerryApril 28th, 2011 at 10:11 am

Sphinx Search Plugin works great on my sites, and the commercial support is high-quality and fast-delivery. Thanks to Mindaugas and Ivinco team. Thank you very much.

Li-AnSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 6:55 am

an interesting plugin but there is no way to get the featured images in the search page results ?

Yaroslav VorozhkoSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 am

Hello Li-An,
There is no such feature. If you need such feature – we provide commercial support service and we could change our plans to help you faster.

Li-AnSeptember 23rd, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thank you for quick answer. But as my blogs are not commercial, I have no money for such things 🙂

Al GuevaraDecember 13th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Can your search plugin block certain (not all) searches? IE, one post or page only, versus ALL posts, ALL pages?

Al Guevara

Al GuevaraDecember 13th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Can your search plugin EXCLUDE a single post or page?


Al GuevaraDecember 13th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Sorry for the double post…. I was taken to an error page saying I didnt fill out the COMMENT section, which of course I did, so I did it again, and it succeeded. Something wrong with the form.

Yaroslav VorozhkoDecember 19th, 2011 at 7:26 am

Al Guevara,
There is no such feature. If you need such feature – we provide commercial support service and we could change our plans to help you faster.

Indigo Stanza (@k0nsl)December 15th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Please resume development on this great plugin.
Thanks for making it.

IlyaAugust 22nd, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Thanks for the great plugin! Is there possibility to start sphinx daemon automatically after apache restart?

Sergey NikolaevAugust 22nd, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Hello Ilya. I think there should be some way, e.g. add smth like ‘service sphinxd restart’ to /etc/init.d/apache or maybe make a special configuration for ‘monit’, but I don’t quite understand why this is needed since apache daemon and sphinx daemon do not have anything in common and work separately unless there’s some very custom configuration.

semihSeptember 27th, 2013 at 12:02 am

Thanks for the great plugin! Is there possibility to start sphinx daemon automatically after apache restart?

Sergey NikolaevSeptember 27th, 2013 at 6:35 am

Hi Semih. If you mean normal apache restart (e.g. service apache restart) then you can make a hack in apache init script so it restarts sphinx daemon on start. If you’re worried about Sphinx daemon sometimes not running due to some circumstances you can also add smth like /etc/init.d/sphinx start to crontab so it’s run once per minute, then the longest possible downtime will be less than a minute. Please contact us at info@ivinco.com if you need our help with this or similar things.

HusamSeptember 27th, 2013 at 7:06 am

Thank you guys for the great plugin and AWESOME!!! results keep the good work

IlyaNovember 17th, 2013 at 4:07 am


Thanks for you great plugin! However, advanced search does not work after last update. Plugin does not find anything if I use advanced search. Even on default settings and with default plugin template.

PS Where I have put the template files to avoid them on plugin updates?

amonakhovNovember 18th, 2013 at 8:56 am

Hello Ilya,

Thank you for giving us your feedback! Actually we did not experienced such a problem on our sites but we would like to help you with yours.

Could you please give us a bit more details about your problem with advanced search? You did some changes to default plugin template, didn’t you? Once you perform a search, is there a request to the server at all (any javascript error appers)? If the request is performed well then what is the state of URL at that moment?

About template files. If you change plugin templates I would recommend before doing an upgrade to make a backup of your current plugin state since all templates will be replaced with new onces after automatic update. But if you have a backup, you will have a chance restore back your templates and have a fresh code again at the same time.


Luis DelgadoMarch 4th, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hello, does the plugin work also using the internal (the admin interface) search box?

ilmkiduniaAugust 30th, 2014 at 6:18 am

I installed this plugin anybody tells me how can I use it

Sergey NikolaevSeptember 1st, 2014 at 5:18 am

Hi Ilmkidunia

Did you read the tutorial http://www.ivinco.com/software/wordpress-sphinx-search-tutorial/ ?

St Mildreds Area Community SocietyJune 16th, 2015 at 4:54 pm

I am a novice to this but I have set up pages and I have downloaded Sphinx to the plugin. When I came to use the wizard the following message comes up
Installation: Sphinx installation error, try to run this command manually in Terminal:
Command: ./configure –with-mysql –prefix=/www/sites/0d2/a19/testwordpress.smacs.co.uk/web/wp-content/uploads/sphinx 2>&1 at the directory:/www/sites/0d2/a19/testwordpress.smacs.co.uk/web/wp-content/uploads/sphinx/sphinx-2.1.9
try running it with sudo if it doesn’t work.

It says use the manual system but how does this work, It also says that the Sphinx index is not working.
PS I am not a programer but I have managed to set this web site up for a local society that I belong to. All I am looking for is a simple word search.

Sergey NikolaevJune 17th, 2015 at 5:54 am

Hello. If you know how to use linux terminal I recommend to try to install sphinx like this:
1) yum install sphinx
2) apt-get install sphinx

1) or 2) depends on your OS.

If you’re using a shared hosting ask your hosting provider to install Sphinx binaries for you.
Feel free to ping me at opensource@ivinco.com and if you give me access to the server I can help you configure the plugin.

St Mildreds Area Community SocietyJune 17th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Further to Sergev email. Thank you for this but I did say that I am a novice and not a programmer. I do not know how to use Linux, but the Sphinx wizard for some reason does not work. I just need some easy explanation on how to install a search feature on the web site. At some point it mentions using WP-content where do I find this?
Thank you

Sergey NikolaevJune 18th, 2015 at 7:39 am

I’m afraid you’d better stick with default WP search then or look for another plugin which doesn’t depend on a third-party tools like Sphinx or Solr or Elastic or smth else. It’s just that because of the nature of their “third-partiness” they sometimes require extra effort to install them and when you’re on a shared hosting or don’t have access to the terminal by another reason there’s little you can do about this.

And again – I perhaps can help you if you ping me at opensource@ivinco.com. Feel free to contact me.

Li-AnFebruary 26th, 2016 at 8:31 am

@Sergey: ummulshifa seems to be a bad bot copying my first comment 🙂

Sergey NikolaevFebruary 26th, 2016 at 11:21 am

Thanks Li-An. Indeed. I’ve missed that.

SergeNovember 8th, 2016 at 2:59 pm

> Thanks Li-An. Indeed. I’ve missed that.

I’m to!

Друзья, спасибо! РЕАЛЬНО КРУТАЯ ШТУКА!

VladislavSeptember 13th, 2018 at 9:17 am

The plugin has not been updated for more than a year.
Please tell me, the plugin will be supported in the future?

Sergey NikolaevSeptember 13th, 2018 at 9:57 am

Hi Vladislav

Thanks for contacting us. Do you miss any feature or have any problem with the plugin?

VladislavSeptember 13th, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Sergey Nikolaev: Thanks for the answer!
No problems, I plan to use the plugin.
So I wanted to make sure that he was alive 🙂

ssnobbenFebruary 11th, 2020 at 9:24 am

Hi is your Joomla plg working for Jooma 3.9.15 too and will you update it working with Joomla 4 too?

IlyaJune 27th, 2020 at 3:22 pm


You plugin has been unfortunately removed from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-sphinx-plugin/ Can you put it directly on your website please?

Sergey NikolaevJune 29th, 2020 at 5:19 am

Hello Ilya

This extension is not supported by Ivinco any more, but our friends from Manticore Software are continuing working on the project. It’s available in beta stage with more new features. If you are interested in helping with beta testing please send an email to contact@manticoresearch.com

DmitriiMay 6th, 2021 at 5:12 pm

Привет. Где сейчас скачать ваш плагин? Нужен именно под Sphinx

Sergey NikolaevMay 7th, 2021 at 2:08 pm

This extension is not supported by Ivinco any more, but our friends from Manticore Software are continuing working on the project. It’s available in beta stage with more new features. If you are interested in helping with beta testing please send an email to contact@manticoresearch.com

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