10 Most Popular Search Engine Technologies in 2024

Search Engine Technologies
Time to read
7 min to read
Nov 14 2023
By Stacy
Anastasia Bezuglaya
A fast and reliable site search is the cornerstone of any ecommerce website as it is the easiest way to connect visitors with the products they are looking for. To ensure that your search performs at the top level and successfully converts visitors into paying customers, you should be smart when choosing your internal search engine. We've analyzed the 10 most popular search engine technologies to help you make a better-informed decision.
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The importance of a reliable site search

Nowadays users have certain usability expectations from ecommerce websites. And access to the site search is one of the things they take for granted when shopping online. In fact, as many as 43% of users go immediately to a search bar the moment they open an ecommerce site.

But adding just any search to your website is not enough. It has to be a smart, reliable, and fast search engine that will smoothly link your potential customers with their desired products. Such search has the power not only to help you convert more of your traffic but also elevate the user experience and create a better brand image.

Consider adding the quality search to your ecommerce website, as it will later pay off the time and money spent in full.

What are the top 10 search engines in 2024?

Modern database for search engines offer a wide array of features and product suggestions if something is difficult to find, as well as a full-text search for more precise contextual findings, a faceted technique that allows filter down the product list, and fuzzy search returning relevant results despite mistakes or misprints in queries.

But how to choose the best product search engine technologies for your website? Well, before you make a rash decision, let's look at the most popular choices. As Database Engines ranks, ElasticSearch is the most common solution used by developers in 2023. It is followed by Splunk, Solr, MarkLogic, Algolia, Microsoft Azure Search, Sphinx, ArangoSearch, Virtuoso, and OpenSearch.
Top ten search engine technologies
Top ten search engine technologies
For those who are looking for a reliable and efficient solution we usually recommend Elasticsearch, Solr, or Sphinx as these search engines have remained at the top for the last decade:
Ranking of search engines for the last 10 years
Ranking of search engines for the last 10 years

What features define an effective search

Task number one for an effective search is to retrieve the best matches which meet the user request – a relevant result not including the rest of the data from the website. But, all the engines act this way. The difference between Elasticsearch, Solr, and Sphinx is not that huge.

Let's dive into the diversity of DBMS (database management system) search engine features to consider when choosing one:

  • Full-text: can be a search by a single word, multiple word forms, or a sentence.
  • Fuzzy search: a technique that helps to return relevant search results for queries containing mistakes and misprints.
  • Geospatial search: automatically detects the user's geolocation.
  • Faceted search: allows to expand the search with such attributes as size, color, and others (search by brand name, vendor, product rating, etc.)
  • Sorting feature: consists of a search by range (for example, by a price range, size range or time interval), and a filter-assisted search (to include only the desirable parameters).
  • Near real-time (NRT) indexing: considers the frequent updates (such as constantly changing information, for example, availability in stock, dynamically changing prices, or product description details).
  • Highlighting: visual indication of the words entered in the search bar, snippets.
  • 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.


Sphinx is an open-source search engine technology that provides full-text search functionality to client apps. Among its advantages are high search relevancy, rapid speed (of over 500 queries/sec), simplicity of integration, and the support of various queries types, for example by phrase and word proximity. Sphinx comes up with handy editable tables, directives 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, uses Sphinx for the faceted search to serve 400+ million users per month, with peak volumes of 15,000 search 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 a fast and powerful search engine technologies for indexing & querying huge volumes of documents using limited computing resources.

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

Searchanise, a smart search application for Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and CS-Cart, uses the Sphinx technology as the basis. The full-text capability provides high indexation speed and a great amount of simultaneously processed queries. It also comes with all the visualization, analytics, and other features that make it user-friendly and easy adapt to.


ElasticSearch is an open-source search and analytics engine capable of resolving an increasing number of requests. Today ElasticSearch is the most commonly used search engine.

It can rapidly index frequently changing data in less than 1 sec, making it one of the fastest search engines. Projects where databases constantly update would benefit the most from it. Besides, Elasticsearch is scalable, which means, as your database becomes bigger, the search speed does suffer.

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


Splunk is a search engine software that indexes and searches log files stored in a system. It monitors, analyzes, and searches machine-generated Big Data in real-time through a web-style interface.

It has a number of benefits and useful features, for example, it provides instant results, allows to generate alerts, graphs, and dashboards, produces metrics, and detects problems to get actionable data. Also, Splunk makes it easy to incorporate AI into the data strategy the company uses.

However, Splunk has its limitations too. It is not particularly user-friendly, especially to those who are new to it. To be able to implement Splunk effectively one often has to get paid training, as free documentation is not always enough. As a consequence, debugging and troubleshooting could be challenging for less tech-savvy users.
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Solr is a stand-alone open-source search engine platform from the Apache Lucene project. It supports a rich schema specification that allows for flexibility in dealing with different document fields and has an extensive search plugin API for developing custom search behavior. Solr provides stopwords, synonyms, and quality faceted search based on unique field values, explicit queries, date ranges, numeric ranges, or pivots.

Solr is not as speedy as ElasticSearch and suits the databases with static data where frequent changes do not prevail better. The reason lies in caches: even the slightest update would require re-indexing and refreshing, which is usually a time-consuming process.

Nonetheless, Solr has been effectively used by such websites as Zappos, Reddit, Macy's, and Netflix.


MarkLogic is a multi-model enterprise database technology coupled with search and application services. To put it in simple terms, MarkLogic stores and manages a variety of data, at the same time providing built-in search and a number of application services.

The power of MarkLogic lies in its distributed architecture that has the ability to process huge amounts of data. This is the reason why MarkLogic is used in government, financial, and publishing sectors, which have large-scale systems in production.

However, if one doesn't need to store and search through enormous amounts of data, MarkLogic may not be the best choice.


Algolia is a hosted Software as a Service search. It is easy to implement and has a number of useful features as the majority of other search engines, such as typo correction, search analytics, and facets.

Most often it is compared to ElasticSearch. Some users prefer ElascticSearch over Algolia, due to more affordable pricing and greater flexibility.

Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search

Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search, known before as Azure Search, is a Search as a Service framework that provides indexing and querying capabilities for data uploaded to Microsoft servers.

Features of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search include suggestions, facets, geo-search, synonyms, and more. It can handle modern query syntaxes as well as natural language queries. Azure is a highly customizable and flexible solution with advanced data security. eBay, Samsung, Pixar, and Apple iCloud use it.

Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search is a good match for enterprises, however, smaller companies may find the pricing quite high. Also, note that Azure integrates best with other Microsoft software. So, if you're not planning to stick to Microsoft's ecosystem Azure might not be the best choice.

Arango, Virtuoso, OpenSearch

The last three search engine technologies on the top 10 list are ArangoDB, Virtuoso, and OpenSearch. These engines are not so widely used, compared to the first 7. Nonetheless, they have their benefits as well.

ArangoSearch is a full-text search engine natively integrated into ArangoDB. With ArangoSearch, users can combine two information retrieval techniques: boolean and generalized ranking retrieval. Apart from other features, the developers of Arango highlight its ability to rank results by relevance.

Virtuoso is a hybrid Relational Database Management System, which specializes in AI-driven data visualization, i.e. Virtuoso helps to create graphical representations of information and data. In particular, users can manage their data represented as relational tables and property graphs. Some users highlight its snappy speed as a definite plus.

OpenSearch is a search and analytics engine that split from Elasticsearch. It was released in 2021. OpenSearch allows users to work with data: ingest, aggregate, view, and search it. As an open-source project, it can be used, modified, extended, and monetized in various ways.

Closing thoughts

All search technologies are quite similar in terms of their capabilities. If you already have a project on Sphinx or Solr, it is better to stick with it instead of rushing to switch to Elasticsearch or similar.

But if you don't use any DBMS search in your ecommerce site, it's time to pick one. Look through the analysis of the 10 major solutions we've conducted above to choose the one that will fit your needs best.

And if you want to spare time and effort, take a closer look at out-of-the-box search solutions, such as Searchanise. Searchanise is a smart Sphinx-based search app that can be instantly added to your website without any coding. The app offers all the features of a quality search engine, such as high speed and relevance, filters and facets, analytics, merchandising and promo tools, personalization, and more.

Integrate an advanced site search without robbing a bank! Pick your platform below:

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“Rock solid performance! I wish we knew about this app a year ago! The intuitive nature of the searches and speed of information make this a perfect app for our web store."
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"Works great for our needs!
The Searchanise plugin/service excels where other leading (and much more expensive) search providers have fallen short on our site. We have over 17,000 products and this plugin indexes them flawlessly and creates a top-notch search experience for our customers. Really pleased that we found this one."
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My last hope was to try Searchanise. I was, and I am still amazed! The search results are PERFECT! The sync speed is AMAZING without bags or delays. And I have never seen such great support. The Searchanise App is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I really hope someday to find again such a nice team and support."
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"Searching for a Search app? Try Searchanise. We are totally impressed, works great, it's faster than the default BC search and looks gorgeous in our shop - it's form and function! Supported by wonderful people. Many thanks to Alexey and the team! Excellent app and awesome team"
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"The results are fantastic.
We use it on many customers and they are all satisfied. It greatly enhances Magento's search."
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"I could say a lot of great things about this add-on, but I think this one line suffices; adding the Searchanise feature to your store is one of the most important and rewarding decisions you will make for your business and customers. Not to mention, the team is an absolute delight to work with, namely Angelina Morozova!"

Anastasiya Kupriyanova - Content creator
Stacy is a content creator at Searchanise. Her professional areas of interest are SaaS solutions and ecommerce. Stacy believes that quality content must be valuable for readers and achieve business goals. When she is not busy writing, which does not happen often, she reads passionately, both fiction and non-fiction literature.

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