Making use of search function in Ghost and possible limitations

Hi, I just learned something new today. I’ve never thoroughly tested the search on my Ghost site. Please correct me if I am wrong, but based on what I can see, you can’t do more than one keyword search on Ghost. Is that correct?

So, I found that I could search for balls, football clubs, football in London - and so on - as one specific keyword. However, I can’t search using multiple keywords, e.g. “football, clubs” or “football clubs, manchester”, etc.

Why is this? Is this a known Ghost limitation? Is there a way to overcome this limitation?

The second thing I want to know is the search function is very resource hungry on hosting servers. I noticed that when I was typing the example keywords “best football clubs in the world”, after I typed “best” and pressed the space bar to move to the word “football,” the typing slowed right now. So, there was a big noticeable delay in me typing a letter and it appearing on the search bar. The further along the keywords I went, the worse the delay became.

So, I would like to ask the experts what could be causing this.

  1. Is it a Ghost issue of being unable to handle longer keywords?
  2. Or is it possibly a hosting issue? I have a very standard hosting plan with an independent Ghost host.

I have a low-traffic website, so on average, 200 visitors or less a day. I like my hosting company. The support is good, and the guy behind it provides a fairly personalised service. However, I know if I ever increase my visitor numbers, I will need a more capable hosting plan.

I know Ghost is not famous for the search function, and based on memory, search as a feature was added recently. However, the search function is extremely important to the site I am trying to create.

I am wondering if I should be considering a third-party search solution. Is there a good third-party search solution that works well with Ghost? I would prefer not to use third-party companies if I can avoid it. I don’t like having too many integrations. I would WELCOME advice and suggestions from the Ghost experts here.

Thank you.

If you’re using the built in search (“sodo search”), the actual ‘search’ happens on your browser. Basically, some client-side javascript grabs your site’s pages from the content api and builds a database (again, in your browser, not on the server) that you can search. It’s going to be slower on slower browsers, it’s going to be slower with slower internet (because your browser has to get all the titles, tags, and excerpts from the site), and it’s going to be slower as your site gets a LOT of content.

If you want better searching, you probably want to upgrade to Algolia, which stores your content on their server, searches on the Algolia server (not in your browser), and is super fast even to do full text search on a big site. (The free tier is big enough for moderately-sized sites, especially if you run ‘search when you submit’ instead of ‘search as you type’.)


Hi Cathy, Thank you so much for the “proper” answer. I am not a developer. However, I have managed multiple sites by myself for almost 20 years. I normally follow guides or videos and DIY them.

What you explained about how Ghost search works is new information to me. I would be surprised if many people using Ghost know this. I know it’s not my internet speed as I have super fast internet and not shared with others, plus I have multiple browsers installed on a fast machine.

Before getting your reply, I spent an hour or so last night searching online for third-party search integrations for Ghost. I struggled to find any good integrations with Ghost by major search companies.

I have seen the Algolia name before. By your response, I assume Algolia can work with Ghost without any issues. If so, I would be happy to upgrade to Algolia. Please share any good how-to videos or guides with me if you have seen them. I’ll do some research of my own.

Will Algolia integration change the way search appears on my site - from a cosmetic or appearance point of view? I like how my theme works and display results. Would it be possible for it to inherit the CSS styling on how things are displayed and just use the search technology side of things?

I am mentioning the styling issue because I tried a company called SearchIQ a year or so ago, a smaller search company,, nice guys, but I found the way search looked on my site not very appealing, so I never moved forward with it. It does work with Ghost.

As I said, my site, in relative terms, is tiny now. But it’s been growing slowly, and the site is based on easily searchable content. So, I need to ensure the search works as best as possible.

Thanks again.

Here are directions:

What’s missing are instructions at that link (and links within) on how to add it to your theme. You definitely can style it any way you want, but it does take some customizing.

Two recent examples:

1 Like

Thank you so much. However, this may be something beyond me. So, I’m probably going to find someone to do it for me. Out of interest, what should I be selecting here: Screenshot by Lightshot

I was looking for Node.js but I couldn’t see that as an option.

I’ll let you know how it goes :slight_smile:


I don’t remember that screen from getting Algolia set up, but I’d guess Javascript. If you decide to do it, there are three parts:

  1. Get current stuff into Algolia - see the link I provided above for directions, or see Full text search with Algolia for a Ghost membership site if you have stuff paywalled that you need indexed.
  2. Get new stuff to sync with Algolia (there’s a Netlify one-click deploy, so this step is easy)
  3. Add a way to search Algolia from within your Ghost site (edit the theme).

I’ll have a go, see if I can figure it out. Thanks.

Can you give a direction about this?

I didn’t found anything related here, in Algolia forums or Github and it’s probably relative simple to do (I’ll try for sure! :upside_down_face:)