Sphinx overview

Sphinx is an open source full text search server, designed from the ground up with performance, relevance (aka search quality), and integration simplicity in mind. It's written in C++ and works on Linux (RedHat, Ubuntu, etc), Windows, MacOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other systems.

Sphinx lets you either batch index and search data stored in an SQL database, NoSQL storage, or just files quickly and easily — or index and search data on the fly, working with Sphinx pretty much as with a database server.

A variety of text processing features enable fine-tuning Sphinx for your particular application requirements, and a number of relevance functions ensures you can tweak search quality as well.

Searching via SphinxAPI is as simple as 3 lines of code, and querying via SphinxQL is even simpler, with search queries expressed in good old SQL.

Sphinx clusters scale up to tens of billions of documents and hundreds of millions search queries per day, powering top websites such as Craigslist, Living Social, MetaCafe and Groupon... to view a complete list of known users please visit our Powered-by page.

And last but not least, it's licensed under GPLv2.

Performance and scalability

Key features


The Sphinx Search server is dual-licensed, thus it can be either commercially licensed or freely available via the Downloads page if used in accordance with the terms of the GPL v.2.

For those interested in commercial licensing, typically needed for embedding Sphinx in non-GPL products (OEMs/ISVs). Please refer to the Commercial Licensing page for additional information, or reach out to the Sphinx Licensing team directly via our Contact page.