Sphinx Search Engine for vBulletin 4

Sphinx search engine is a free search engine software that supports MySQL, PostgreSQL etc. Sphinx can work on normal script, and vBulletin too.
Why sphinx? With fully configured sphinx search engine, your script can search on large amount of data very very quickly, like a speed of light compared with normal way.

On vBulletin 4, rebuilding search index takes very long time especially if you have lot of posts (more than one million) on your forum. My forum has about 1,5 million of posts. And to rebuild search index of about 10,000 posts, it can take hours. So to rebuild search index of 1,5 million posts, it takes days.
Because rebuilding search index was a painful process for my forum, i was thinking to use sphinx search engine for my vBulletin forum.

So first important point is : if your forum has lot of posts, you’d better to use Sphinx. But if your forum has small amount of posts, you do not need Sphinx search engine.

Sphinx search engine VS vBulletin search

Sphinx on vBulletin :

  • Pros : very fast. It leaves vBulletin search waaaaaay behind.
  • Cons : you need VPS / Dedicated server with SSH access minimum.

Normal vBulletin search :

  • Pros : built-in feature of course.
  • Cons : slow if you have lot of posts.

Now there are 2 available user-friendly options to use sphinx search engine on vBulletin.
First, there is a free vBulletin 4 sphinx product which is shared over here.
Please note that the product is marked as beta which means there is no support of it, so use it for your own risk !

Second, there is a “paid” vBulletin 4 Sphinx product which is offered by DigitalPoint.
You can find the product here.
To buy the DigitalPoint Sphinx, you must become premium member there, starting from only $25 for 1 month of premium member membership.
From its sales letter, it was explained that DigitalPoint Sphinx is more powerful and it supports the latest Sphinx Search Engine version.
And there is support for this product. You can ask simple unix question (such as what i did), and you will have the answer.

I have not tried free vBulletin Sphinx so i can not give its review here.
But i have tried the DigitalPoint Sphinx so i will write a review.

The installation instruction is a little bit hard for a system-newbie such as me, but you can just ask your webhost to do it (if it is a managed server).
After you’ve done some configuration from SSH, you just need to upload some files to your forum directory, and import a XML file as a product.
And the result is magnificent. To rebuild about 1,5 million of posts, i only needed about 5-10 minutes. It saves me days compared with normal vBulletin search.
It is a great products.
And if somehow you want to use the old and normal vBulletin search, you can just disable the product and your forum will use the old way. Enabling it again will activate the sphinx search 🙂

For all vBulletin forum owners with large posts, i suggest you to use Sphinx search engine (whether free or paid one, it’s up to you)

4 replies on “Sphinx Search Engine for vBulletin 4”

Good tips on installing Sphinx. I think Sphinx is a great option as a better replacement for the native vBulletin search – it is fast and offers reasonable relevance – two things the native VB search don’t do well. I would like your opinion on another vBulletin search option called YapMap site search. It shows the user a visual map of the thread and all of the relevant posts in the thread. Thanks!

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