3 Most Popular Search Engine Technologies in 2020

Have you ever asked yourself how many deals don't happen because of the slow page speed?

Statistics say that 57% of candidate customers quit the website if the loading time exceeds 3 seconds. At this, 80% of web surfers will never visit the slow websites again.

Once users visit your page, your website database with all the items stored in it gets the load. Having +1,000 items in your online store, how are your potential buyers supposed to find the product they want? What will make your customer journey quick and joyful to find the exact product that he or she is seeking for?

An online store or a marketplace with massive product counts can drastically improve its performance with connection of a database search engine. A powerful search engine behind your database, helps the customers in better finding the exact word and converts more deals into eCommerce transactions.

Definitely, search is the link that connects your potential buyer with his desired item!

Top search engine solutions in 2020

Database search engines of today are rich in features and often offer suggestions if something is difficult to find, full-text search for more precise contextual findings, faceted technique allowing to search with filter support, fuzzy search locating the surfer to the most relevant search argument, etc.

But how to choose the best search engine technology for your website? Well, before starting to rush into connecting a search, let us examine the most acknowledged ones. As Database Engines ranks, ElasticSearch is the most common solution used by developers for their databases in 2020. It is followed by Splunk, Apache Solr, Mark Logic, and Sphinx.
list of the most common search technologies
For those who are looking for a reliable and efficient solution for their web applications, we usually recommend Elasticsearch, Solr, or Sphinx as these search engines have remained in the top for the last decade.

Features that define an effective search

The task number one for an effective search is to retrieve the best matches meeting the user request - a clean result not including the rest of irrelevant data from the website. But, all the engines act in this way. There are just mere differences between Elasticsearch, Solr, and Sphinx.
Let's dive in the diversity of DBMS (database management system) search features to consider while opting for one or another database engine:
  • Full-text: can be a search by a single word, multiple forms or a sentence.

  • Fuzzy technique: searches and automatically corrects misprints.

  • Geospatial search: automatically detects the object location based on its lat and long data.

  • Faceted search: allows expanding the search with such attributes as size or color and some others (search by brand name, by purpose, by screen resolution, by hue, for example).

  • Sorting feature: consists of a search by range (for example, by a price range, size range or the time interval), and a filter-assisted search (to include only the desirable parameters).

  • Near real-time (NRT) indexing: considers the frequent updates (such constantly changing information as availability in stock, dynamically changed prices, or product description details).

  • Highlighting: visual indication of the words entered in the search bar, snippets.

  • Visualization: shows the search in a form of charts, tables, and maps helping to realize how data is consumed. It can help with trend analysis or to timely discover security breaches showing them on a graph.

  • Security: ability to identify threats like web server problems or broken links, and show them on a dashboard.

  • Scalability: opportunity to scale the database over time without hampering the search speed.

  • Storage: database search is perceived as an additional source to store data.


ElasticSearch is a distributed open-source software with search-and-analytics tools capable of resolving an increasing number of requests. It can rapidly index frequently changing data in less than 1 sec. Projects where databases constantly update would benefit the most from using this approach. Besides, Elasticsearch is scalable. When your database becomes bigger, the search speed does not slow down.

Uber, Expedia and other giant companies apply ElasticSearch to cope with aggregating business metrics on dynamic (surge) pricing and supply positioning in real-time. Thanks to ElasticSearch, they can handle more than 1,000 queries per second at peak time.

One possible disadvantage with ElasticSearch remains: it actually does not have the "Did You Mean?" feature that is very useful to offer suggestions for a user.


Solr is not as speedy as ElasticSearch and suits better the databases with static data where frequent changes do not prevail. The reason lies in caches: even the slightest update would require re-indexing and refresh. This is usually a time-consuming process. Despite those disadvantages, Zappos effectively applies Solr on their website for search and navigation across 150,000 styles of their items.


Users claim that Sphinx is better than other searches as it uses reStructuredText (RST) for markup. Sphinx comes up with handy editable tables, toctrees to build a hierarchy of data, dynamic linking for cross-referencing and extensive support to set up the software.

Sphinx is also known for its faceted search capabilities. Youku Tudou, China's biggest video site, applies Sphinx for the faceted search to serve + 400 million users per month, with peak volumes of 15,000 queries per second. With the help of Sphinx, Craigslist processes + 300 million queries a day.

Sphinx is the best option for websites using lots of documentation. It's quite fast and powerful for indexing and querying huge volumes of documents using limited computing resources, unlike ElasticSearch which consumes a lot of memory.

However, Sphinx technology lacks data visualization and analytics tools. This inconvenience is easily rectified by apps.

Searchanise, a Sphinx-based application for CS-Cart, WooCommerce, and Shopify eCommerce stores, uses the Sphinx technology as the basis. The full-text capability provides high indexation speed and a great amount of simultaneously processed queries. At this, it comes with all the visualization, analytics and other features that makes dealing with it very user-friendly and easy to perceive.

Search Engines Comparison Table

comparison of search technologies
The search engines comparison table shows the main features available in one or another DBMS search technique. What is better for you? The answer depends on your requirements. Just tick the matches and choose the variant that better serves your expectations.

Closing thoughts

All search engine technologies are quite similar in terms of their searching capabilities. If you already have a project on Sphinx or Solr, it is better to keep it on them and not rush into transferring it to Elasticsearch. Are you using Searchanise? Congratulations! You are the lucky owner of a documentation tool with visualization, analytics, smart search, suggestions, 'Did you mean?' feature and other powerful search capabilities.

If you don't use any DBMS search in your eCommerce site, it's time to connect one. A checklist on how to select an effective search is already before your eyes.

While connecting an engine, trust the experience of web developers who have the best knowledge of technical peculiarities of the search engines.
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About the Company

At Simtech Development, we can help in customizing your CS-Cart based store to connect a diversity of database engine technologies, as well as payment and shipping services at your discretion. We provide hosting solutions and can offer a perfect match of useful plugins for your store. Our quality assurance and +14 years in the eCommerce web development help us to deliver the best experience of growing a business online.
Gayane Tamrazyan - Content Marketer
Gayane Tamrazyan
Content Marketer at Simtech Development. She writes complex eCommerce articles in simple words. Having the interpreter's background, she knows how to explain ideas and win minds of bussinesmen in a more effective and elegant way. Gayane is an active environmentalist, loving hiking, jogging, and travelling. If she is not engaged in researching better solutions for online stores, she travels to find inspiration in the world around.

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