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Search backend for Wagtail CMS using Whoosh engine.

Build Status

How to use

  • 0.1.x work with wagtail>=2.0,<2.2
  • 0.2.x work with wagtail>=2.2

pip install wagtail-whoosh

After installing this package, add wagtail_whoosh to INSTALLED_APPS. And then config WAGTAILSEARCH_BACKENDS

import os

ROOT_DIR = os.path.abspath(os.path.dirname(__name__))

    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'wagtail_whoosh.backend',
        'PATH': os.path.join(ROOT_DIR, 'search_index')
        'LANGUAGE': 'fr',

Set ./ update_index as cron job


Support autocomplete

If you want to search hello world, you might need to use hello in previous versions. Now you can use hel and the backend would return the result.

# you need to define the search field in this way
index.SearchField('title', partial_match=True)

# or this way

Specifying the fields to search

# Search just the title field
>>>"Event", fields=["title"])
[<EventPage: Event 1>, <EventPage: Event 2>]

Score support

results ="_score").results()
result +="_score").results()
return sorted(results, key=lambda r: r._score)

Language support

Whoosh includes pure-Python implementations of the Snowball stemmers and stop word lists for various languages adapted from NLTK.

So you can use the built-in language support by setting like 'LANGUAGE': 'fr', the language support list is below.

('ar', 'da', 'nl', 'en', 'fi', 'fr', 'de', 'hu', 'it', 'no', 'pt', 'ro', 'ru', 'es', 'sv', 'tr')

If you want more control or want to do customization, you can use ANALYZER instead of LANGUAGE here.

An analyzer is a function or callable class (a class with a call method) that takes a unicode string and returns a generator of tokens

You can set ANALYZER using an object reference or dotted module path.

NOTE: If ANALYZER is set, your LANGUAGE would be ignored

from whoosh.analysis import LanguageAnalyzer
analyzer_swedish = LanguageAnalyzer('sv')

    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'wagtail_whoosh.backend',
        'PATH': str(ROOT_DIR('search_index')),
        'ANALYZER': analyzer_swedish,


NGRAM lengths

In most cases, you can modify NGRAM_LENGTH to make the index operation faster.

The default minimum length for NGRAM words is 2, and the maximum is 8. For indexes with lots of partial match fields, or languages other than English, this could be too large. It can be customised using the NGRAM_LENGTH option:

    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'wagtail_whoosh.backend',
        'PATH': str(ROOT_DIR('search_index')),
        'NGRAM_LENGTH': (2, 4),

further reading

Memory & CPU

By default the Whoosh indexer uses 1 processor and 128MB of memory max. This can be changed using the PROCS and MEMORY options:

Please only change them if you find memory and cpu limits, in some cases, changing them would not speed up the index

    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'wagtail_whoosh.backend',
        'PATH': str(ROOT_DIR('search_index')),
        'PROCS': 4,
        'MEMORY': 2048,

note: memory is calculated per processor, so the above configuration can use up to 8GB of memory.

NOT-Supported features

  1. facet is not supported.


Search backend for Wagtail CMS using Whoosh engine.







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