The search API 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.

Multi-Index, Multi-Typeedit

All search APIs can be applied across multiple types within an index, and across multiple indices with support for the multi index syntax. For example, we can search on all documents across all types within the twitter index:

GET /twitter/_search?q=user:kimchy

We can also search within specific types:

GET /twitter/tweet,user/_search?q=user:kimchy

We can also search all tweets with a certain tag across several indices (for example, when each user has his own index):

GET /kimchy,elasticsearch/tweet/_search?q=tag:wow

Or we can search all tweets across all available indices using _all placeholder:

GET /_all/tweet/_search?q=tag:wow

Or even search across all indices and all types:

GET /_search?q=tag:wow

By default elasticsearch doesn’t reject any search requests based on the number of shards the request hits. While elasticsearch will optimize the search execution on the coordinating node a large number of shards can have a significant impact CPU and memory wise. It is usually a better idea to organize data in such a way that there are fewer larger shards. In case you would like to configure a soft limit, you can update the cluster setting in order to reject search requests that hit too many shards.

The search’s max_concurrent_shard_requests request parameter can be used to control the maximum number of concurrent shard requests the search API will execute for this request. This parameter should be used to protect a singe request from overloading a cluster ie. a default request will hit all indices in a cluster which could cause shard request rejections if the number of shards per node is high. This default is based on the number of data nodes in the cluster but at most 256.