[thelist] PHP Search Engine

Paul Bennett Paul.Bennett at wcc.govt.nz
Thu Mar 16 14:27:42 CST 2006

Hi all,

Just a note to BEWARE of a LOT search engine software. I've been researching a replacement piece of software for our site off and on for the past few months and have found that much of the software on offer (free and paid) just isn't very effective in returning good results.

Sure, it may spider your site. Yes it may build a lovely wee index database, but the search results are often atrocious.

Case in point: - (No, I'm *not* picking on Ron here, just illustrating a rant er... Point)


This is a search on the site Ron mentioned, for a piece of text that appears as an H2 in a plain html page.

Results: 0

An acid test for all search software is to grab some text from the vendors site and see if their own site search finds it. You will be amazed....

Additionally, as we've found with our awful site search software, it _just_ _doesn't_ _scale_. We have a site with around 1Gb of content - mainly static HTML and PDF. The site is reindexed nightly (no incremental indexing - that broke within weeks of the install) the index db is almost twice the size of all the actual site content and the indexer refuses to drop old pages. The search is slow, poor quality and I can't wait to kick it's sorry butt to the curb.

Some software may work well with 10's or 100's of pages, but when it gets to the 1000's it's a whole different ball-game.

If anyone wants the results of my research so far, let me know. I may save you some time


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