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Can someone explain why so many want Sphinx search for vB4?

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  • [Forum] Can someone explain why so many want Sphinx search for vB4?

    Can someone explain why so many want Sphinx search for vB4?

    I have no doubt this is good since so many people seem to want this to be available.

    Can someone explain in comparison to other solutions what this brings to the table?


  • #2
    Everyone want a search that is light, fast, and works reasonable well. The search in vb3 was consistent and worked well enough for most people but really large boards had some issues so they started using Sphinx which required some alteration of the vb code for it to work effectively.

    The search system was rewritten for vb4. The idea behind it was to provide a search that scaled better so larger sites didn't run into so many issues. Unfortunately, with it came a lot of other issues. Some of the problems seem to be that the search results are not consistent (ie: if I search for the keyword Sphinx in posts made by jonsidneyb, this thread should show up but it may or may not). Another big issue happens during the indexing. Digitalpoint spent 7 days reindexing the forums using native vb4 search. It took them about 10 minutes with Sphinx.

    So that's why a lot of people are begging for Sphinx.

    Are there alternatives to Sphinx? Probably but I'm not sure what they are or how they compare. Sphinx just happens to be the most respected.
    Plan, Do, Check, Act!

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    • #3
      vBulletin uses MySQL Fulltext search - and this just isn't able to scale.

      On one of our forums a search for a certain keyword would take like 45 seconds on the DB server (dual quad core xeon with plenty of RAM) to be processed - with Sphinx it takes only a few miliseconds.

      This not only makes search very fast, it also avoids table locking ssues (which is the most important problem for big boards).

      Besides that, Sphinx has a lot of features the MSQL Fulltext simply does not have like indexing alternatives (you could index vB as vBulletin so if someone searches for vB posts containin vBulletin or vB would come up), creating summarys, etc. etc.

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      • #4
        So does that mean Vbulletin is switching any time soon? I noticed too the search is often inconsistent.

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        • #5
          As others have mentioned, it's retarded fast. A query that would take (literally) 5 minutes to run with vBulletin default search takes ~0.04 seconds with Sphinx (I'm using Sphinx as the backend search engine for our forum which has ~14M posts in the post table).

          Fast search means the rest of the forum is fast because queries that are tough on your DB servers make all your queries run slower (and in some cases not at all until the search query is done).

          The bottleneck for vBulletin typically is the DB server, so if you can make it so less queries go to the DB servers (especially the search ones which are the most resource intensive), all the better.
          Sphinx Search for vBulletin 4: https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com...tin-4.870/item
          Someone send me a message on Twitter when this site is usable again. https://twitter.com/digitalpoint

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          • #6
            From what I understand though, Sphinx isn't really easy to set up. Seeing the price tags for installation seems to confirm this, however I've never actually gone and looked into installing it myself (search runs fine on my 1.5M post site).

            Please don't PM or VM me for support - I only help out in the threads.
            vBulletin Manual & vBulletin 4.0 Code Documentation (API)
            Want help modifying your vbulletin forum? Head on over to vbulletin.org
            If I post CSS and you don't know where it goes, throw it into the additional.css template.

            W3Schools <- awesome site for html/css help

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            • #7
              If you can install PHP, you probably can install Sphinx. Sphinx is just an extra daemon running (like MySQL or Apache), so you would of course need root access to the server to be able to install a new service.
              Sphinx Search for vBulletin 4: https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com...tin-4.870/item
              Someone send me a message on Twitter when this site is usable again. https://twitter.com/digitalpoint

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              • #8
                One thing that we really need is an Admin CP option that can be used to easily point to a different search engine. Currently we have to make many template edits when we use a third party search engine.

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                • #9
                  The current package system that vBulletin 4 uses makes it so you can do exactly that. I replaced the vBulletin search with a Sphinx-based search, and it doesn't require a single template edit or file edit. It's new package system router/controllers in vB4 is really quite nice.
                  Sphinx Search for vBulletin 4: https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com...tin-4.870/item
                  Someone send me a message on Twitter when this site is usable again. https://twitter.com/digitalpoint

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by digitalpoint View Post
                    I replaced the vBulletin search with a Sphinx-based search, and it doesn't require a single template edit or file edit.
                    How does the forum know you are using Sphinx? Is there anything that needs to be switched in vBulletin?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Andy View Post
                      How does the forum know you are using Sphinx?
                      Well, you could just believe me I suppose. Or if that's not enough, you could go to http://forums.digitalpoint.com and search for the most obnoxious thing you can think of... you can even search 14 million posts for plain old "the" if you really want (I removed all stop-words).
                      Originally posted by Andy View Post
                      Is there anything that needs to be switched in vBulletin?
                      Well, you obviously need to have Sphinx installed and have the vBulletin package I created to interface the two (it goes into the packages folder if you had it to install). Beyond that you just pick which search type you want to use under Settings -> Search Type.

                      My point wasn't really about the specific "how-to", it was more that the package system in vB4 is pretty nice and allows you to do things like completely replace the backend search without editing any templates or files.
                      Sphinx Search for vBulletin 4: https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com...tin-4.870/item
                      Someone send me a message on Twitter when this site is usable again. https://twitter.com/digitalpoint

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                      • #12
                        i think 'How does the forum know you are using Sphinx?' was intended to read as 'how does your vb installation know to use sphinx'
                        Into the Void

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                        • #13
                          Oh... lol... there is a single plug-in you use to insert it into your options so it shows in the Settings -> Search Type drop-down box.
                          Sphinx Search for vBulletin 4: https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com...tin-4.870/item
                          Someone send me a message on Twitter when this site is usable again. https://twitter.com/digitalpoint

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by digitalpoint View Post
                            Oh... lol... there is a single plug-in you use to insert it into your options so it shows in the Settings -> Search Type drop-down box.
                            Thank you now it's starting to make sense.

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                            • #15
                              Bravo! Having just glanced at the search speed at forums.digitalpoint.com, I'm amazed. I hope that the vb people will make a Sphinx search engine option priority #1. -- Rik

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