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This is a Vagrantfile to create a Vagrant virtual machine running the Nutch web crawler, and storing the results of the crawl in the Solr search engine. It's meant for web site developers who need to develop and test search functionality on their web site. You can run this virtual machine on the machine where you're developing the web site. You can test all the search functionality of your site against a real search engine.

Quick start

VirtualBox and Vagrant

You need to install VirtualBox and Vagrant first (and they may have their own prerequisites, depending on your operating system). The following steps are applicable for Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, etc.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms virtualbox
wget ""
sudo dpkg -i vagrant_1.7.2_x86_64.deb

You may want to try the latest version of Vagrant, rather than the version specified above.

The Vagrant Machine

git clone
cd solr-nutch-vagrant
vagrant up

The vagrant up step takes a little while the first time -- about 10 minutes for me with a relatively fast Internet connection. That's because it has to download a whole Ubuntu 16.04 virtual machine, with the Java JRE and the Solr and Nutch software.

Once the Vagrant machine is running, it takes a few minutes (yes minutes) for Solr to start. You can check that it's running by browsing to localhost:8983/solr on the host machine (your desktop or laptop). Through the magic of Vagrant, your requests will actually be sent to the Vagrant box's port 8983, which is the default Solr port for queries. If it's not running yet, wait a bit longer. If it's still not running in five minutes, something is probably wrong (unless you have a really slow computer).

If you try a search, you won't get any documents yet. You have to crawl the web site first.

Configuring the URL to Crawl

You can ignore this section if the web site you want to search is on the host machine's port 3000 (e.g. being served by Puma or Mongrel, like Rails or Nanoc).

First, edit nutch/urls/seed.txt. Change the domain name and port to the site you want to crawl. If you're hosting the site on the same machine as you're hosting the Vagrant machine, you can leave the domain. If your web server is answering on a port other than 3000, you'll have to change the port.

Note that you can't say localhost for the domain. Because it's going to be interpreted on the Vagrant machine, localhost will refer to the Vagrant machine, not to your workstation that hosts the site you want to crawl.

Next, edit nutch/conf/regex-urlfilter.txt. Go to the last line, and make the obvious changes to make it consistent with the site you're crawling based on the seed.txt file. The spider will crawl only sites that match the regular expressions in this file. The default file provided in this Vagrant machine makes sure you only crawl on the local machine that's hosting the Vagrant machine.

Note that messing up the regular expression in regex-urlfilter.txt can lead to very baffling error messages, or just plain failures to do what you expect. You might want to try reading the Nutch tutorial on setting up a spider to crawl web sites if you're having trouble.

Running a Crawl

After installing, and periodically thereafter, you need to crawl the site you're testing. On the host machine, type:

vagrant ssh -c "crawl"

Or log into the guest and do it there:

vagrant ssh

Now browse to localhost:8983/solr/#/cark/query, and do a search to see if you get any documents.

Note that there's no regularly-scheduled crawl set up on this box. The assumption is that you're using this for development, and would probably prefer on-demand crawls. If you want a scheduled crawl, you can add it to the solr-nutch machine using cron or any other way you're comfortable with. Remember, however, that anything you add to the machine's configuration, you'll have to redo after every time you do a vagrant destroy, or any time you create a new machine somewhere else (e.g. a co-worker wants to do the same thing that you're doing).

[There are ways you can preserve or distribute your changes based on this machine, but I haven't documented them yet. You can read the Vagrant documentation for ideas if you're keen.]

Starting and Stopping Solr

If you're messing with Solr configuration files, you may need to stop and start Solr. You can use the standard commands sudo systemctl stop solr and sudo systemctl start solr.

Using the Search Engine

To learn how to use the Solr search engine from your own site, try the Solr Quickstart and the other Solr documentation on-line.

You can also see the code for the Jade Systems web site, which has a simple and naive implementation of a search. Note that the Jade code should not be used for a production web site, as it assumes a search engine open to anyone on the Internet.


You can report problems or contribute to this project by submitting an issue to the Github issue tracker. I'm happy to entertain pull requests, but it's best to submit an issue first, so we can discuss before you run off and do a lot of work.

This machine is built on Ubuntu Server 16.04 with Solr 4.10.3 and Nutch 1.9.


Ubuntu Server 16.04 with Solr 4.10.3 and Nutch 1.9







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