Returns search hits that match the query defined in the request.

GET /twitter/_search?q=tag:wow


GET /<index>/_search

POST /<index>/_search

GET /_search

POST /_search


Allows you to execute a search query and get back search hits that match the query. The query can either be provided using a simple query string as a parameter, or using a request body.

Partial responsesedit

To ensure fast responses, the search API will respond with partial results if one or more shards fail. See Shard failures for more information.

Path parametersedit

(Optional, string) Comma-separated list or wildcard expression of index names used to limit the request.

Query parametersedit


(Optional, boolean) If true, the request does not return an error if a wildcard expression or _all value retrieves only missing or closed indices.

This parameter also applies to index aliases that point to a missing or closed index.

(Optional, boolean) Indicates if an error should be returned if there is a partial search failure or timeout. Defaults to true.
(Optional, string) Defines the analyzer to use for the query string.
(Optional, boolean) If true, wildcard and prefix queries will also be analyzed. Defaults to false.
(Optional, integer) The number of shard results that should be reduced at once on the coordinating node. This value should be used as a protection mechanism to reduce the memory overhead per search request if the potential number of shards in the request can be large. Defaults to 512.
(Optional, boolean) Indicates whether network round-trips should be minimized as part of cross-cluster search requests execution. Defaults to true.
(Optional, string) The default operator for query string query (AND or OR). Defaults to OR.
(Optional, string) Defines the field to use as default where no field prefix is given in the query string.
(Optional, string) A comma-separated list of fields to return as the docvalue representation of a field for each hit.

(Optional, string) Controls what kind of indices that wildcard expressions can expand to. Valid values are:

Expand to open and closed indices.
Expand only to open indices.
Expand only to closed indices.
Wildcard expressions are not accepted.

Defaults to open.

(Optional, boolean) If true, returns detailed information about score computation as part of a hit. Defaults to false.
(Optional, integer) Defines the starting offset. Defaults to 0.
(Optional, boolean) If true, concrete, expanded or aliased indices will be ignored when throttled. Defaults to false.
(Optional, boolean) If true, missing or closed indices are not included in the response. Defaults to false.
(Optional, boolean) If true, format-based query failures (such as providing text to a numeric field) will be ignored. Defaults to false.
(Optional, integer) Defines the number of concurrent shard requests per node this search executes concurrently. This value should be used to limit the impact of the search on the cluster in order to limit the number of concurrent shard requests. Defaults to 5.
(Optional, integer) Defines a threshold that enforces a pre-filter roundtrip to prefilter search shards based on query rewriting if the number of shards the search request expands to exceeds the threshold. This filter roundtrip can limit the number of shards significantly if for instance a shard can not match any documents based on it’s rewrite method ie. if date filters are mandatory to match but the shard bounds and the query are disjoint. Defaults to 128.
(Optional, string) Specifies the node or shard the operation should be performed on. Random by default.
(Optional, string) Query in the Lucene query string syntax.
(Optional, boolean) If true, request cache will be used for this request. Defaults to index level settings.
(Optional, boolean) Indicates whether should be rendered as an integer or an object in the rest search response. Defaults to false.
(Optional, time units) Specifies how long a consistent view of the index should be maintained for scrolled search.

(Optional, string) Defines the type of the search operation. Available options:

  • query_then_fetch
  • dfs_query_then_fetch
(Optional, boolean) If true, returns sequence number and primary term of the last modification of each hit.
(Optional, integer) Defines the number of hits to return. Defaults to 10.
(Optional, string) A comma-separated list of <field>:<direction> pairs.
(Optional, string) True or false to return the _source field or not, or a list of fields to return.
(Optional, string) A list of fields to exclude from the returned _source field.
(Optional, string) A list of fields to extract and return from the _source field.
(Optional, string) Specific tag of the request for logging and statistical purposes.
(Optional, string) A comma-separated list of stored fields to return as part of a hit.
(Optional, string) Specifies which field to use for suggestions.

(Optional, string) Specifies suggest mode. Defaults to missing. Available options:

  • always
  • missing
  • popular
(Optional, integer) Defines how many suggestions to return in response.
(Optional, string) The source text for which the suggestions should be returned.
(Optional, integer) The maximum number of documents to collect for each shard, upon reaching which the query execution will terminate early.
(Optional, time units) Specifies the period of time to wait for a response. If no response is received before the timeout expires, the request fails and returns an error. Defaults to 30s.
(Optional, boolean) If true, then calculates and returns scores even if they are not used for sorting.
(Optional, boolean) Indicates if the number of documents that match the query should be tracked.
(Optional, boolean) Specifies whether aggregation and suggester names should be prefixed by their respective types in the response.
(Optional, boolean) If true, returns document version as part of a hit.

Request bodyedit

(Optional, query object) Defines the search definition using the Query DSL.

Response bodyedit


(Integer) Milliseconds it took Elasticsearch to execute the request.

This value is calculated by measuring the time elapsed between receipt of a request on the coordinating node and the time at which the coordinating node is ready to send the response.

Took time includes:

  • Communication time between the coordinating node and data nodes
  • Time the request spends in the search thread pool, queued for execution
  • Actual execution time

Took time does not include:

  • Time needed to send the request to Elasticsearch
  • Time needed to serialize the JSON response
  • Time needed to send the response to a client

(Boolean) If true, the request timed out before completion; returned results may be partial or empty.


(Object) Object containing a count of shards used for the request. Returned parameters include:

(Integer) Total number of shards that require querying, including unallocated shards.
(Integer) Number of shards that executed the request successfully.
(Integer) Number of shards that skipped the request because a lightweight check helped realize that no documents could possibly match on this shard. This typically happens when a search request includes a range filter and the shard only has values that fall outside of that range.
(Integer) Number of shards that failed to execute the request. Note that shards that are not allocated will be considered neither successful nor failed. Having failed+successful less than total is thus an indication that some of the shards were not allocated.

(Object) Contains returned documents and metadata. Returned parameters include:


(Object) Metadata about the number of returned documents. Returned parameters include:

  • value: Total number of returned documents.
  • relation: Indicates whether the number of documents returned. Returned values are:

    • eq: Accurate
    • gte: Lower bound, including returned documents

(Float) Highest returned document _score.

The _score parameter is a 32-bit floating point number used to determine the relevance of the returned document.

This parameter value is null for requests that do not sort by _score.


(Array of objects) Array of returned document objects. Returned parameters include:

  • _index: Name of the index containing the returned document.
  • _type: Document type. [7.0.0] Deprecated in 7.0.0. Types are deprecated and are in the process of being removed. See Removal of mapping types.
  • _id: Unique identifier for the returned document. This ID is only unique within the returned index.
  • _score: Positive 32-bit floating point number used to determine the relevance of the returned document.
  • _source: Object containing the original JSON body passed for the document at index time.


Search a specific indexedit

GET /twitter/_search?q=user:kimchy

The API returns the following response:

  "took" : 5,
  "timed_out" : false,
  "_shards" : {
    "total" : 1,
    "successful" : 1,
    "skipped" : 0,
    "failed" : 0
  "hits" : {
    "total" : {
      "value" : 1,
      "relation" : "eq"
    "max_score" : 1.3862944,
    "hits" : [
        "_index" : "twitter",
        "_type" : "_doc",
        "_id" : "0",
        "_score" : 1.3862944,
        "_source" : {
          "date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
          "likes" : 0,
          "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch",
          "user" : "kimchy"

Search several indicesedit

GET /kimchy,elasticsearch/_search?q=user:kimchy

Search all indicesedit

To search all indices in a cluster, omit the <index> parameter.

GET /_search?q=user:kimchy

Alternatively, you can use the _all or * value in the <index> parameter.

GET /_all/_search?q=user:kimchy
GET /*/_search?q=user:kimchy