Algolia vs Elasticsearch

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Algolia vs Elasticsearch: What are the differences?

Developers describe Algolia as "Developer-friendly API and complete set of tools for building search". Our mission is to make you a search expert. Push data to our API to make it searchable in real time. Build your dream front end with one of our web or mobile UI libraries. Tune relevance and get analytics right from your dashboard. On the other hand, Elasticsearch is detailed as "Open Source, Distributed, RESTful Search Engine". Elasticsearch is a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine capable of storing data and searching it in near real time. Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash are the Elastic Stack (sometimes called the ELK Stack).

Algolia and Elasticsearch can be categorized as "Search as a Service" tools.

Some of the features offered by Algolia are:

  • Database search
  • Multi-attributes
  • Search as you type

On the other hand, Elasticsearch provides the following key features:

  • Distributed and Highly Available Search Engine.
  • Multi Tenant with Multi Types.
  • Various set of APIs including RESTful

"Ultra fast", "Super easy to implement" and "Easy setup, fast and relevant" are the key factors why developers consider Algolia; whereas "Powerful api", "Great search engine" and "Open source" are the primary reasons why Elasticsearch is favored.

Elasticsearch is an open source tool with 42.4K GitHub stars and 14.2K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Elasticsearch's open source repository on GitHub.

Uber Technologies, Instacart, and Slack are some of the popular companies that use Elasticsearch, whereas Algolia is used by Medium, StackShare, and Product Hunt. Elasticsearch has a broader approval, being mentioned in 2000 company stacks & 976 developers stacks; compared to Algolia, which is listed in 258 company stacks and 54 developer stacks.

Advice on Algolia and Elasticsearch
André Ribeiro
at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro · | 4 upvotes · 20.8K views

Hi, community, I'm planning to build a web service that will perform a text search in a data set off less than 3k well-structured JSON objects containing config data. I'm expecting no more than 20 MB of data. The general traits I need for this search are: - Typo tolerant (fuzzy query), so it has to match the entries even though the query does not match 100% with a word on that JSON - Allow a strict match mode - Perform the search through all the JSON values (it can reach 6 nesting levels) - Ignore all Keys of the JSON; I'm interested only in the values.

The only thing I'm researching at the moment is Elasticsearch, and since the rest of the stack is on AWS the Amazon ElasticSearch is my favorite candidate so far. Although, the only knowledge I have on it was fetched from some articles and Q&A that I read here and there. Is ElasticSearch a good path for this project? I'm also considering Amazon DynamoDB (which I also don't know of), but it does not look to cover the requirements of fuzzy-search and ignore the JSON properties. Thank you in advance for your precious advice!

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Replies (3)
Ted Elliott

I think elasticsearch should be a great fit for that use case. Using the AWS version will make your life easier. With such a small dataset you may also be able to use an in process library for searching and possibly remove the overhead of using a database. I don’t if it fits the bill, but you may also want to look into lucene.

I can tell you that Dynamo DB is definitely not a good fit for your use case. There is no fuzzy matching feature and you would need to have an index for each field you want to search or convert your data into a more searchable format for storing in Dynamo, which is something a full text search tool like elasticsearch is going to do for you.

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Julien DeFrance
Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter · | 3 upvotes · 14.7K views

The Amazon Elastic Search service will certainly help you do most of the heavy lifting and you won't have to maintain any of the underlying infrastructure. However, elastic search isn't trivial in nature. Typically, this will mean several days worth of work.

Over time and projects, I've over the years leveraged another solution called Algolia Search. Algolia is a fully managed, search as a service solution, which also has SDKs available for most common languages, will answer your fuzzy search requirements, and also cut down implementation and maintenance costs significantly. You should be able to get a solution up and running within a couple of minutes to an hour.

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Roel van den Brand
Lead Developer at Di-Vision Consultion · | 3 upvotes · 16K views
Recommends
Amazon AthenaAmazon Athena

Maybe you can do it with storing on S3, and query via Amazon Athena en AWS Glue. Don't know about the performance though. Fuzzy search could otherwise be done with storing a soundex value of the fields you want to search on in a MongoDB. In DynamoDB you would need indexes on every searchable field if you want it to be efficient.

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Rana Usman Shahid
Chief Technology Officer at TechAvanza · | 5 upvotes · 172K views
Needs advice
on
FirebaseFirebaseElasticsearchElasticsearch
and
AlgoliaAlgolia

Hey everybody! (1) I am developing an android application. I have data of around 3 million record (less than a TB). I want to save that data in the cloud. Which company provides the best cloud database services that would suit my scenario? It should be secured, long term useable, and provide better services. I decided to use Firebase Realtime database. Should I stick with Firebase or are there any other companies that provide a better service?

(2) I have the functionality of searching data in my app. Same data (less than a TB). Which search solution should I use in this case? I found Elasticsearch and Algolia search. It should be secure and fast. If any other company provides better services than these, please feel free to suggest them.

Thank you!

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Replies (2)
Josh Dzielak
Co-Founder & CTO at Orbit · | 7 upvotes · 130.9K views
Recommends
AlgoliaAlgolia

Hi Rana, good question! From my Firebase experience, 3 million records is not too big at all, as long as the cost is within reason for you. With Firebase you will be able to access the data from anywhere, including an android app, and implement fine-grained security with JSON rules. The real-time-ness works perfectly. As a fully managed database, Firebase really takes care of everything. The only thing to watch out for is if you need complex query patterns - Firestore (also in the Firebase family) can be a better fit there.

To answer question 2: the right answer will depend on what's most important to you. Algolia is like Firebase is that it is fully-managed, very easy to set up, and has great SDKs for Android. Algolia is really a full-stack search solution in this case, and it is easy to connect with your Firebase data. Bear in mind that Algolia does cost money, so you'll want to make sure the cost is okay for you, but you will save a lot of engineering time and never have to worry about scale. The search-as-you-type performance with Algolia is flawless, as that is a primary aspect of its design. Elasticsearch can store tons of data and has all the flexibility, is hosted for cheap by many cloud services, and has many users. If you haven't done a lot with search before, the learning curve is higher than Algolia for getting the results ranked properly, and there is another learning curve if you want to do the DevOps part yourself. Both are very good platforms for search, Algolia shines when buliding your app is the most important and you don't want to spend many engineering hours, Elasticsearch shines when you have a lot of data and don't mind learning how to run and optimize it.

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Mike Endale
Recommends
Cloud FirestoreCloud Firestore

Rana - we use Cloud Firestore at our startup. It handles many million records without any issues. It provides you the same set of features that the Firebase Realtime Database provides on top of the indexing and security trims. The only thing to watch out for is to make sure your Cloud Functions have proper exception handling and there are no infinite loop in the code. This will be too costly if not caught quickly.

For search; Algolia is a great option, but cost is a real consideration. Indexing large number of records can be cost prohibitive for most projects. Elasticsearch is a solid alternative, but requires a little additional work to configure and maintain if you want to self-host.

Hope this helps.

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Decisions about Algolia and Elasticsearch
Phillip Manwaring
Developer at Coach Align · | 5 upvotes · 15.6K views

The new pricing model Algolia introduced really sealed the deal for us on this one - much closer to pay-as-you-go. And didn't want to spend time learning more about hosting/optimizing Elasticsearch when that isn't our core business problem - would much rather pay others to solve that problem for us.

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