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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.

Example:

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

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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.

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

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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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