Force merge APIedit

Forces a merge on the shards of one or more indices. For data streams, the API forces a merge on the shards of the stream’s backing indices.

POST /my-index-000001/_forcemerge


POST /<target>/_forcemerge

POST /_forcemerge


  • If the Elasticsearch security features are enabled, you must have the maintenance or manage index privilege for the target data stream, index, or index alias.


Use the force merge API to force a merge on the shards of one or more indices. Merging reduces the number of segments in each shard by merging some of them together, and also frees up the space used by deleted documents. Merging normally happens automatically, but sometimes it is useful to trigger a merge manually.

Force merge should only be called against an index after you have finished writing to it. Force merge can cause very large (>5GB) segments to be produced, and if you continue to write to such an index then the automatic merge policy will never consider these segments for future merges until they mostly consist of deleted documents. This can cause very large segments to remain in the index which can result in increased disk usage and worse search performance.

Blocks during a force mergeedit

Calls to this API block until the merge is complete. If the client connection is lost before completion then the force merge process will continue in the background. Any new requests to force merge the same indices will also block until the ongoing force merge is complete.

Force merging multiple indicesedit

You can force merge multiple indices with a single request by targeting:

  • One or more data streams that contain multiple backing indices
  • Multiple indices
  • One or more index aliases that point to multiple indices
  • All data streams and indices in a cluster

Multi-index operations are executed one shard at a time per node. Force merge makes the storage for the shard being merged temporarily increase, up to double its size in case max_num_segments parameter is set to 1, as all segments need to be rewritten into a new one.

Path parametersedit


(Optional, string) Comma-separated list of data streams, indices, and index aliases used to limit the request. Wildcard expressions (*) are supported.

To target all data streams and indices in a cluster, omit this parameter or use _all or *.

Query parametersedit


(Optional, Boolean) If false, the request returns an error if any wildcard expression, index alias, or _all value targets only missing or closed indices. This behavior applies even if the request targets other open indices. For example, a request targeting foo*,bar* returns an error if an index starts with foo but no index starts with bar.

Defaults to true.


(Optional, string) Type of index that wildcard expressions can match. If the request can target data streams, this argument determines whether wildcard expressions match hidden data streams. Supports comma-separated values, such as open,hidden. Valid values are:

Match any data stream or index, including hidden ones.
Match open, non-hidden indices. Also matches any non-hidden data stream.
Match closed, non-hidden indices. Also matches any non-hidden data stream. Data streams cannot be closed.
Match hidden data streams and hidden indices. Must be combined with open, closed, or both.
Wildcard expressions are not accepted.

Defaults to open.

(Optional, Boolean) If true, Elasticsearch performs a flush on the indices after the force merge. Defaults to true.
(Optional, Boolean) If true, missing or closed indices are not included in the response. Defaults to false.

(Optional, integer) The number of segments to merge to. To fully merge indices, set it to 1.

Defaults to checking if a merge needs to execute. If so, executes it.


(Optional, Boolean) If true, only expunge segments containing document deletions. Defaults to false.

In Lucene, a document is not deleted from a segment; just marked as deleted. During a merge, a new segment is created that does not contain those document deletions.

This parameter does not override the index.merge.policy.expunge_deletes_allowed setting.


Force merge a specific data stream or indexedit

POST /my-index-000001/_forcemerge

Force merge several data streams or indicesedit

POST /my-index-000001,my-index-000002/_forcemerge

Force merge all indicesedit

POST /_forcemerge

Data streams and time-based indicesedit

Force-merging is useful for managing a data stream’s older backing indices and other time-based indices, particularly after a rollover. In these cases, each index only receives indexing traffic for a certain period of time. Once an index receive no more writes, its shards can be force-merged to a single segment.

POST /.ds-my-data-stream-2099.03.07-000001/_forcemerge?max_num_segments=1

This can be a good idea because single-segment shards can sometimes use simpler and more efficient data structures to perform searches.