Index APIedit

The index API adds or updates a JSON document in a specific index, making it searchable. The following example inserts the JSON document into the "twitter" index with an id of 1:

PUT twitter/_doc/1
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

The result of the above index operation is:

{
    "_shards" : {
        "total" : 2,
        "failed" : 0,
        "successful" : 2
    },
    "_index" : "twitter",
    "_type" : "_doc",
    "_id" : "1",
    "_version" : 1,
    "_seq_no" : 0,
    "_primary_term" : 1,
    "result" : "created"
}

The _shards header provides information about the replication process of the index operation:

total
Indicates how many shard copies (primary and replica shards) the index operation should be executed on.
successful
Indicates the number of shard copies the index operation succeeded on.
failed
An array that contains replication-related errors in the case an index operation failed on a replica shard.

The index operation is successful in the case successful is at least 1.

Note

Replica shards may not all be started when an indexing operation successfully returns (by default, only the primary is required, but this behavior can be changed). In that case, total will be equal to the total shards based on the number_of_replicas setting and successful will be equal to the number of shards started (primary plus replicas). If there were no failures, the failed will be 0.

Automatic Index Creationedit

The index operation automatically creates an index if it does not already exist, and applies any index templates that are configured. The index operation also creates a dynamic mapping if one does not already exist. By default, new fields and objects will automatically be added to the mapping definition if needed. Check out the mapping section for more information on mapping definitions, and the put mapping API for information about updating mappings manually.

Automatic index creation is controlled by the action.auto_create_index setting. This setting defaults to true, meaning that indices are always automatically created. Automatic index creation can be permitted only for indices matching certain patterns by changing the value of this setting to a comma-separated list of these patterns. It can also be explicitly permitted and forbidden by prefixing patterns in the list with a + or -. Finally it can be completely disabled by changing this setting to false.

PUT _cluster/settings
{
    "persistent": {
        "action.auto_create_index": "twitter,index10,-index1*,+ind*" 
    }
}

PUT _cluster/settings
{
    "persistent": {
        "action.auto_create_index": "false" 
    }
}

PUT _cluster/settings
{
    "persistent": {
        "action.auto_create_index": "true" 
    }
}

Permit only the auto-creation of indices called twitter, index10, no other index matching index1*, and any other index matching ind*. The patterns are matched in the order in which they are given.

Completely disable the auto-creation of indices.

Permit the auto-creation of indices with any name. This is the default.

Operation Typeedit

The index operation also accepts an op_type that can be used to force a create operation, allowing for "put-if-absent" behavior. When create is used, the index operation will fail if a document by that id already exists in the index.

Here is an example of using the op_type parameter:

PUT twitter/_doc/1?op_type=create
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

Another option to specify create is to use the following uri:

PUT twitter/_create/1
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

Automatic ID Generationedit

The index operation can be executed without specifying the id. In such a case, an id will be generated automatically. In addition, the op_type will automatically be set to create. Here is an example (note the POST used instead of PUT):

POST twitter/_doc/
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

The result of the above index operation is:

{
    "_shards" : {
        "total" : 2,
        "failed" : 0,
        "successful" : 2
    },
    "_index" : "twitter",
    "_type" : "_doc",
    "_id" : "W0tpsmIBdwcYyG50zbta",
    "_version" : 1,
    "_seq_no" : 0,
    "_primary_term" : 1,
    "result": "created"
}

Optimistic concurrency controledit

Index operations can be made conditional and only be performed if the last modification to the document was assigned the sequence number and primary term specified by the if_seq_no and if_primary_term parameters. If a mismatch is detected, the operation will result in a VersionConflictException and a status code of 409. See Optimistic concurrency control for more details.

Routingedit

By default, shard placement ? or routing ? is controlled by using a hash of the document’s id value. For more explicit control, the value fed into the hash function used by the router can be directly specified on a per-operation basis using the routing parameter. For example:

POST twitter/_doc?routing=kimchy
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

In the example above, the "_doc" document is routed to a shard based on the routing parameter provided: "kimchy".

When setting up explicit mapping, the _routing field can be optionally used to direct the index operation to extract the routing value from the document itself. This does come at the (very minimal) cost of an additional document parsing pass. If the _routing mapping is defined and set to be required, the index operation will fail if no routing value is provided or extracted.

Distributededit

The index operation is directed to the primary shard based on its route (see the Routing section above) and performed on the actual node containing this shard. After the primary shard completes the operation, if needed, the update is distributed to applicable replicas.

Wait For Active Shardsedit

To improve the resiliency of writes to the system, indexing operations can be configured to wait for a certain number of active shard copies before proceeding with the operation. If the requisite number of active shard copies are not available, then the write operation must wait and retry, until either the requisite shard copies have started or a timeout occurs. By default, write operations only wait for the primary shards to be active before proceeding (i.e. wait_for_active_shards=1). This default can be overridden in the index settings dynamically by setting index.write.wait_for_active_shards. To alter this behavior per operation, the wait_for_active_shards request parameter can be used.

Valid values are all or any positive integer up to the total number of configured copies per shard in the index (which is number_of_replicas+1). Specifying a negative value or a number greater than the number of shard copies will throw an error.

For example, suppose we have a cluster of three nodes, A, B, and C and we create an index index with the number of replicas set to 3 (resulting in 4 shard copies, one more copy than there are nodes). If we attempt an indexing operation, by default the operation will only ensure the primary copy of each shard is available before proceeding. This means that even if B and C went down, and A hosted the primary shard copies, the indexing operation would still proceed with only one copy of the data. If wait_for_active_shards is set on the request to 3 (and all 3 nodes are up), then the indexing operation will require 3 active shard copies before proceeding, a requirement which should be met because there are 3 active nodes in the cluster, each one holding a copy of the shard. However, if we set wait_for_active_shards to all (or to 4, which is the same), the indexing operation will not proceed as we do not have all 4 copies of each shard active in the index. The operation will timeout unless a new node is brought up in the cluster to host the fourth copy of the shard.

It is important to note that this setting greatly reduces the chances of the write operation not writing to the requisite number of shard copies, but it does not completely eliminate the possibility, because this check occurs before the write operation commences. Once the write operation is underway, it is still possible for replication to fail on any number of shard copies but still succeed on the primary. The _shards section of the write operation’s response reveals the number of shard copies on which replication succeeded/failed.

{
    "_shards" : {
        "total" : 2,
        "failed" : 0,
        "successful" : 2
    }
}

Refreshedit

Control when the changes made by this request are visible to search. See refresh.

Noop Updatesedit

When updating a document using the index API a new version of the document is always created even if the document hasn’t changed. If this isn’t acceptable use the _update API with detect_noop set to true. This option isn’t available on the index API because the index API doesn’t fetch the old source and isn’t able to compare it against the new source.

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about when noop updates aren’t acceptable. It’s a combination of lots of factors like how frequently your data source sends updates that are actually noops and how many queries per second Elasticsearch runs on the shard receiving the updates.

Timeoutedit

The primary shard assigned to perform the index operation might not be available when the index operation is executed. Some reasons for this might be that the primary shard is currently recovering from a gateway or undergoing relocation. By default, the index operation will wait on the primary shard to become available for up to 1 minute before failing and responding with an error. The timeout parameter can be used to explicitly specify how long it waits. Here is an example of setting it to 5 minutes:

PUT twitter/_doc/1?timeout=5m
{
    "user" : "kimchy",
    "post_date" : "2009-11-15T14:12:12",
    "message" : "trying out Elasticsearch"
}

Versioningedit

Each indexed document is given a version number. By default, internal versioning is used that starts at 1 and increments with each update, deletes included. Optionally, the version number can be set to an external value (for example, if maintained in a database). To enable this functionality, version_type should be set to external. The value provided must be a numeric, long value greater than or equal to 0, and less than around 9.2e+18.

When using the external version type, the system checks to see if the version number passed to the index request is greater than the version of the currently stored document. If true, the document will be indexed and the new version number used. If the value provided is less than or equal to the stored document’s version number, a version conflict will occur and the index operation will fail. For example:

PUT twitter/_doc/1?version=2&version_type=external
{
    "message" : "elasticsearch now has versioning support, double cool!"
}

NOTE: Versioning is completely real time, and is not affected by the near real time aspects of search operations. If no version is provided, then the operation is executed without any version checks.

The above will succeed since the supplied version of 2 is higher than the current document version of 1. If the document was already updated and its version was set to 2 or higher, the indexing command will fail and result in a conflict (409 http status code).

A nice side effect is that there is no need to maintain strict ordering of async indexing operations executed as a result of changes to a source database, as long as version numbers from the source database are used. Even the simple case of updating the Elasticsearch index using data from a database is simplified if external versioning is used, as only the latest version will be used if the index operations arrive out of order for whatever reason.

Version typesedit

Next to the external version type explained above, Elasticsearch also supports other types for specific use cases. Here is an overview of the different version types and their semantics.

internal
Only index the document if the given version is identical to the version of the stored document.
external or external_gt
Only index the document if the given version is strictly higher than the version of the stored document or if there is no existing document. The given version will be used as the new version and will be stored with the new document. The supplied version must be a non-negative long number.
external_gte
Only index the document if the given version is equal or higher than the version of the stored document. If there is no existing document the operation will succeed as well. The given version will be used as the new version and will be stored with the new document. The supplied version must be a non-negative long number.

NOTE: The external_gte version type is meant for special use cases and should be used with care. If used incorrectly, it can result in loss of data. There is another option, force, which is deprecated because it can cause primary and replica shards to diverge.