I have a large site with over 900.000 articles. Now I want to use smart search.

Therefore I use the CLI method to index the smart search:

php -d memory_limit=256M finder_indexer.php

No matter how large I set the batch size there is always the same problem. After a couple of hundred batch processess the duration increases heavily.


Processed batch 280 in 4.186 seconds.
Processed batch 1511 in 10.186 seconds.

Do you have any idea what the problem is and how to solve it?

3 Answers 3


The Smart Search functionality has been improved in Joomla 4. You are using Joomla 3 and the Joomla 3 support ends on 17 August 2023.

Maybe you could test if an upgrade to Joomla 4 solves your issue? I would create a copy of the website, install it at another place (e.g. local computer), and test the performance with Joomla 3 + smart search on the local computer. After that I would migrate that test environment to Joomla 4 and test again.

Alternatively you could consider using Elasticsearch, a distributed, RESTful search engine optimized for speed and relevance on production-scale workloads. There's a commercial Joomla plugin available that integrates Smart Search with ElasticSearch.


Alternative search engines for Joomla are also discussed in more detail here: Joomla 4 Smart Search: Extra database for indexing data


Our strategy is to avoid Joomla's search altogether - it is generally made for small sites and it is slow and inefficient, and it'll put a huge strain on the website when someone searches for something - especially for a website as large as yours (as a rule [that we follow], one should not use Joomla's built-in search features for sites with over 10K articles).

As peter mentioned - Elasticsearch is one good alternative. Another good alternative is Sphinx, which we use for our clients. This guide for installing Sphinx on a cPanel/WHM server (and making it work with Joomla) that we have written ages ago still works (it has really stood the test of time) - I believe some minor alterations to in search plugin must be made to make it compatible with Joomla 4 (but you're using Joomla 3, so it should technically work for you).

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