Search capability in XenForo

I'm considering moving our corporate forums to another system, of which XenForo is on the short list. However, I'm a little concerned about the search capabilities. The default search box is a system-wide search, although with several more clicks you can limit your search to specific forums via the advanced search area.

However, searching with quoted phrases (i.e. "search this phrase") doesn't appear to cause just that phrase to be used as a search parameter - still breaks up the words. Can anyone tell me if I'm wrong there?

Also there's no "search in this forum" type capability that allows you to navigate to a forum and quickly search in that forum. Unless there's a plugin for that which I'm unaware of (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Search is such an important part of a community, especially for what I'm going to be hosting (a primarily technical community) that it has to be robust and easy to use. That said, what I'm seeing here on the xenForo boards is FAST, so that's good...

Thanks all!


Well-known member
The search options change depending on where you're at in the forum. For example if I click on the search while viewing this thread I see this.


The "quote" option works on my forum, however we also have the Enhanced Search installed (click here), so I can't speak for the default search.

Upon further inspection, does anyone know if XF has Enhanced Search installed on this forum? The "quote" option doesn't appear to work on here, yet it works on my forum.


Formerly CyclingTribe
Just to confirm, I'm using XFES on CycleChat and quoted searches work there as do * wildcards (although I do have min_word set to 3 in my.cnf to allow for small word/abbreviation searches - rather than the default 4). (y)

Jake Bunce

XenForo moderator
Staff member
There are two search engines supported by XenForo. The default is fulltext which is MySQL's own search engine. It works very well and supports traditional phrase searching with quotes. If you create a demo it will be using fulltext so you can test the phrase search:

The only weakness of fulltext is that it doesn't scale well. So once you get above... say 500,000 posts you will start to have performance problems.

The other search engine is ElasticSearch (a $50 addon). ES scales well and is appropriate for very large and busy forums. We use ES here on As for phrase searching in ES... it apparently doesn't work here on I think it's configurable though. I'm gonna try to find a more certain answer for you.


XenForo moderator
Staff member
The Enhanced Search addon supports phrase searches but has some limitations.

An example, here on XenForo search for

removed the notice and replaced
and then

"removed the notice and replaced"
The second result matches the phrase.

The limitation is it has to be an exact match, including case.


removed the notice and Replaced

Will return no results.


Well-known member
From everything I've heard, ElasticSearch is a very high-performance solution. should serve as a good test-subject, as it uses it.