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Table of contents :

Understanding the basics of Elasticsearch


Table of contents :


Elasticsearch is an open-source and highly scalable search engine. Its core function is to monitor and store large volumes of data, therefore, making it readily available for search query requirements. Its search engine structure revolves around a REST API, offering developers the ability to interact with the search engine via indices.

When compared to other types of search engines, Elasticsearch stands out because of its scalability, speed, and efficiency in handling complex queries. Additionally, it is an open-source software which makes it easier for users to fine-tune and modify it. Before delving further into the functionalities of Elasticsearch, let’s have a brief overview of its salient features.

Salient Features

The following are some of Elasticsearch’s outstanding features:

1. Scalability: Elasticsearch was designed to be highly scalable. That means it can start small and grow with your needs with ease. You don’t need specialized hardware to increase the capacity of Elasticsearch and tune it to suit your needs.

2. Speed: Elasticsearch makes use of its custom metrics and algorithms to ensure that search queries are handled in the shortest amount of time possible. This speed is made possible by the fact that Elasticsearch sorts and indexes your data in an optimized fashion. Search results are, therefore, delivered faster and more efficiently.

3. Multilingual Search Analysis: Elasticsearch comes with multilingual support that allows users to perform search queries in diverse languages.

4. Full-Text Search: Elasticsearch offers unique full-text search capabilities that enable developers to search complex sets of data without the need for additional software.

Understanding the Basics of Elasticsearch

Now that we’ve established some of Elasticsearch’s outstanding features, let’s dive in and explore its basic functionalities:

1. Indices and Documents: An index represents a collection of documents of similar nature. For instance, a product index can hold different types of electronic goods such as phones, laptops, and monitors. A document represents an instance of data in your index. Each document is a JSON object that’s distinguished by a unique ID.

2. Mapping: Mapping is defined as how Elasticsearch interprets fields and data types in an index. Mapping enables Elasticsearch to analyze data and compose indices, therefore making it easy to retrieve search results. Mapping enables developers to make customizations on how the search engine handles search requests.

3. Analyzers: Elasticsearch analyzes documents to be indexed via analyzers. Analyzers help to break down the content of documents to meaningful terms, therefore, making it easy for Elasticsearch to search and retrieve results with speed and efficiency.

4. Query API: Elasticsearch provides a comprehensive set of query APIs that allow developers to interact with the search engine. These APIs are REST-based, therefore, making it easy to consume with various client libraries.

5. Aggregations: Aggregations help developers to analyze data in a complex way. They help in computing summaries, identifying trends, and outliers. Elasticsearch comes with various types of aggregation functions for different use cases.

Elasticsearch with PHP Client

The following is an example of how Elasticsearch can be integrated into a PHP application:

Step 1: Download and Install Elasticsearch: Before starting off on any Elasticsearch project, the first step is to install Elasticsearch locally or remotely. You can download Elasticsearch at https://www.elastic.co/downloads/elasticsearch.

Step 2: Install PHP Client for Elasticsearch: There are several PHP libraries for Elasticsearch, e.g., Elastica, ElasticSearch-PHP. For this example, we’ll use Elastica. You can install Elastica via composer, by running the following command:

composer require ruflin/elastica

Step 3: Index Documents: Let’s assume we already have created Elasticsearch instance and Index, now let’s index our first document using Elastica:

$client = new \Elastica\Client();

// Get elastic search index
$index = $client->getIndex('products');

// Create new Document
$newDocument = new \Elastica\Document();

'name' => 'iPhone 12',
'price' => 1099.99,
'description' => 'The new iPhone 12 has arrived...',



Step 4. Searching Elasticsearch Documents: The following code snippet demonstrates how to retrieve documents that match specific criteria using Elastica:

$client = new \Elastica\Client();

$index = $client->getIndex('products');

$boolQuery = new \Elastica\Query\BoolQuery();

// Create a simple filter
$nameFilter = new \Elastica\Filter\Term([ 'name' => 'iPhone' ]);


// Create a search on the index
$search = new \Elastica\Search($client);

// Define number of results to retrieve

// Search for the documents that match the query

$results = $search->search();

How WPSOLR Can Help

WPSOLR provides a powerful search feature for WordPress using Elasticsearch. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use search engine that comes with a comprehensive set of features like fast search, advanced search reports, and a search engine that is capable of searching through vast amounts of data quickly. Additionally, it is compatible with various plugins such as WooCommerce, ACF, and WPML.


Elasticsearch is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a search engine that is scalable, fast, and efficient. It comes with a comprehensive set of APIs that allow developers to interact with the search engine with ease. Additionally, it can be extended with various plugins to cater to different search query requirements. With the above knowledge, you can now start building your next Elasticsearch project.

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