searchd - Man Page

Sphinxsearch network daemon.


searchd [--config CONFIGFILE] [--cpustats] [--iostats] [--index INDEX] [--port PORT]

searchd --status [--config CONFIGFILE] [--pidfile PIDFILE]

searchd --stop [--config CONFIGFILE] [--pidfile PIDFILE]


Sphinx is a collection of programs that aim to provide high quality fulltext search.

Searchd is the second of the two principle tools as part of Sphinx. searchd is the part of the system which actually handles searches; it functions as a server and is responsible for receiving queries, processing them and returning a dataset back to the different APIs for client applications.

Unlike indexer, searchd is not designed to be run either from a regular script or command-line calling, but instead either as a daemon to be called from init.d (on Unix/Linux type systems) or to be called as a service (on Windows-type systems). so not all of the command line options will always apply, and so will be build-dependent.


These programs follow the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (`-').

The options available to searchd on all builds are:


Tell searchd to use the given file as its configuration, just as with indexer.


Force searchd into console mode; typically it will be running as a conventional server application, and will aim to dump information into the log files (as specified in sphinx.conf). Sometimes though, when debugging issues in the configuration or the daemon itself, or trying to diagnose hard-to-track-down problems, it may be easier to force it to dump information directly to the console/command line from which it is being called. Running in console mode also means that the process will not be forked (so searches are done in sequence) and logs will not be written to. (It should be noted that console mode is not the intended method for running searchd.)

You can invoke it as such:

$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --console

Used to provide actual CPU time report (in addition to wall time) in both query log file (for every given query) and status report (aggregated). It depends on clock_gettime() system call and might therefore be unavailable on certain systems.

You might start searchd thus:

$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --cpustats
--help,  -h,  --?,  -?

List all of the parameters that can be called in your particular build of searchd.

--index INDEX, -i INDEX

Serve only the specified index. Like --port, this is usually for debugging purposes; more long-term changes would generally be applied to the configuration file itself.

Usage example:

$ searchd --index myindex

Used in conjuction with the logging options (the query_log will need to have been activated in sphinx.conf) to provide more detailed information on a per-query basis as to the input/output operations carried out in the course of that query, with a slight performance hit and of course bigger logs. Further details are available under the query log format section.

You might start searchd thus:

$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --iostats
--listen,  -l ( address ":" port | port | path ) [ ":" protocol ]

Works as --port, but allow you to specify not only the port, but full path, as IP address and port, or Unix-domain socket path, that searchd will listen on. Otherwords, you can specify either an IP address (or hostname) and port number, or just a port number, or Unix socket path. If you specify port number but not the address, searchd will listen on all network interfaces. Unix path is identified by a leading slash. As the last param you can also specify a protocol handler (listener) to be used for connections on this socket. Supported protocol values are 'sphinx' (Sphinx 0.9.x API protocol) and 'mysql41' (MySQL protocol used since 4.1 upto at least 5.1).

--logdebug,  --logdebugv,  --logdebugvv

Enable additional debug output in the daemon log. Should only be needed rarely, to assist with debugging issues that could not be easily reproduced on request. --logdebug causes daemon to fire general debug messages. --logdebugv and --logdebugvv points to 'verbose' and 'very verbose' debug info. The last could really flood your logfile.


Do not 'daemonize', or, do not detach into background. Apart debug purposes, this switch is useful when you manage sphinx with upstart init daemon. In this case actual 'daemonizing' will be done by upstart itself, and also all tasks like starting, stopping, reloading the config and respawning on crash will be done by the system, not the sphinx.

--pidfile PIDFILE

Explicitly state a PID file, where the process information is stored regarding searchd, used for inter-process communications (for example, indexer will need to know the PID to contact searchd for rotating indexes). Normally, searchd would use a PID if running in regular mode (i.e. not with --console), but it is possible that you will be running it in console mode whilst the index is being updated and rotated, for which a PID file will be needed.


$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --pidfile /home/myuser/
--replay-flags OPTIONS

Specify a list of extra binary log replay options. The supported options are:

  • accept-desc-timestamp, ignore descending transaction timestamps and replay such transactions anyway (the default behavior is to exit with an error).


$ searchd --replay-flags=accept-desc-timestamp
--port PORT, -p PORT

Specify the port that searchd should listen on, usually for debugging purposes. This will usually default to 9312, but sometimes you need to run it on a different port. Specifying it on the command line will override anything specified in the configuration file. The valid range is 0 to 65535, but ports numbered 1024 and below usually require a privileged account in order to run. Look also the --listen option, it will give you more possibilities to tune here.

An example of usage:

$ searchd --port 9313

Forces searchd to only use system backtrace() call in crash reports. In certain (rare) scenarios, this might be a "safer" way to get that report. This is a debugging option.


Query running searchd instance status, using the connection details from the (optionally) provided configuration file. It will try to connect to the running instance using the first configured UNIX socket or TCP port. On success, it will query for a number of status and performance counter values and print them. You can use Status() API call to access the very same counters from your application.


$ searchd --status
$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --status

Asynchronously stop searchd, using the details of the PID file as specified in the sphinx.conf file, so you may also need to confirm to searchd which configuration file to use with the --config option. NB, calling --stop will also make sure any changes applied to the indexes with UpdateAttributes() will be applied to the index files themselves.


$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --stop

Synchronously stop searchd. --stop essentially tells the running instance to exit (by sending it a SIGTERM) and then immediately returns. --stopwait will also attempt to wait until the running searchd instance actually finishes the shutdown (eg. saves all the pending attribute changes) and exits.


$ searchd --config /home/myuser/sphinx.conf --stopwait

Possible exit codes are as follows:

  • 0 on success;
  • 1 if connection to running searchd daemon failed;
  • 2 if daemon reported an error during shutdown;
  • 3 if daemon crashed during shutdown

Strip the path names from all the file names referenced from the index (stopwords, wordforms, exceptions, etc). This is useful for picking up indexes built on another machine with possibly different path layouts.


Last but not least, as every other daemon, searchd supports a number of signals.


Initiates a clean shutdown. New queries will not be handled; but queries that are already started will not be forcibly interrupted.


Initiates index rotation. Depending on the value of seamless_rotate setting, new queries might be shortly stalled; clients will receive temporary errors.


Forces reopen of searchd log and query log files, letting you implement log file rotation.


Andrey Aksenoff ( This manual page is written by Alexey Vinogradov (, using the one written by Christian Hofstaedtler for the Debian system (but may be used by others). Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL.

See Also

indexer(1), search(1), indextool(1)

Sphinx and it's programs are documented fully by the Sphinx reference manual available in /usr/share/doc/sphinxsearch.

Referenced By

indexer(1), indextool(1).

07/19/2016 2.2.11-release Sphinxsearch