Jaime Frutos Morales's blog


How to install and configure Sphinx in Ubuntu 9.10 with MySQL support

Filed under: Databases, Ubuntu — acidborg @ 21:40

Description: “Sphinx is a full-text search engine, distributed under GPL version 2. Commercial license is also available for embedded use. Generally, it’s a standalone search engine, meant to provide fast, size-efficient and relevant fulltext search functions to other applications. Sphinx was specially designed to integrate well with SQL databases and scripting languages. Currently built-in data sources support fetching data either via direct connection to MySQL or PostgreSQL, or using XML pipe mechanism (a pipe to indexer in special XML-based format which Sphinx recognizes). As for the name, Sphinx is an acronym which is officially decoded as SQL Phrase Index. Yes, I know about CMU’s Sphinx project“.


  • Install the packages needed: apt-get install gcc make libmysqlclient15-dev libmysql++-dev
  • Download Sphinx from here.
  • Decompress it: tar xvfz sphinx-*.tar.gz
  • Enter its directory: cd sphinx-*
  • Run configure: ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/sphinx --with-mysql
  • Compile Sphinx: make
  • Install Sphinx (as root): make install


  • Enter Sphinx’s directory: cd /usr/local/sphinx/etc
  • Make a copy of its default configuration: cp sphinx.conf.dist sphinx.conf
  • Modify it to fit you database schema and preferences (I recommend reading Sphinx’s official documentation and this tutorial by IBM first).
  • Create all indexes: /usr/local/sphinx/bin/indexer --all
  • Something like this will be shown:

    Sphinx 0.9.9-rc2 (r1785)
    Copyright (c) 2001-2009, Andrew Aksyonoff

    using config file '/usr/local/sphinx/etc/sphinx.conf'...
    indexing index 'software'...
    collected 10 docs, 0.0 MB
    sorted 0.0 Mhits, 100.0% done
    total 10 docs, 649 bytes
    total 0.013 sec, 48970 bytes/sec, 754.54 docs/sec
    total 2 reads, 0.000 sec, 16.3 kb/call avg, 0.0 msec/call avg
    total 5 writes, 0.000 sec, 0.4 kb/call avg, 0.0 msec/call avg


  • You can perform a basic search using: /usr/local/sphinx/bin/search desired_word . It matches all words by default, but you can change this behaviour. Run /usr/local/sphinx/bin/search without arguments to show the available options.
  • Example: /usr/local/sphinx/bin/search samba

    Sphinx 0.9.9-rc2 (r1785)
    Copyright (c) 2001-2009, Andrew Aksyonoff

    using config file '/usr/local/sphinx/etc/sphinx.conf'...
    index 'software': query 'samba ': returned 1 matches of 1 total in 0.000 sec

    displaying matches:
    1. document=10, weight=2
    description=Samba is a SMB/CIFS file, print, and login server. It seamlessly integrates Linux/Unix Servers and Desktops into Active Directory environments using the Winbind daemon.

    1. 'samba': 1 documents, 2 hits

The use of /usr/local/sphinx/bin/search is just for test and debugging purposes. There are native API ports for PHP, Python, Java, Perl, and Ruby. I will explain the integration between PHP and Sphinx on another post.


  1. […] How to install and configure Sphinx in Ubuntu 9.10 with MySQL … […]

    Pingback by Running PHP And MySQL On Linux | Any Article Blog — 23/11/2009 @ 04:50

  2. Very nice article. I thought to let you know that you website wasn’tt getting displayed properly on minimo browser on my pda.

    Have a nice time…sorry for typing mistake

    Comment by Irene — 01/12/2009 @ 02:41

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