phpBB 3.3 provides you with a powerful search system which can be used to search throughout your board. The main controls for the search features are located in the Search settings section. Here you can manage the search index, which is used to hold the data necessary for quick and precise search results, it's something like an giant table of contents. By default, two search backends are available - fulltext native, which is included in the phpBB code and works on all DBMSs, and fulltext mysql, which uses the built-in MySQL fulltext searching feature. The first one offers more flexible configuration, while the second one doesn't take too much space in the database and the index is created much faster.
Creating a search index can take a very long time, a new window will pop up and refresh itself while creating the necessary search table entries. Please be patient, the process can take several hours on large boards.
The fulltext native backend works like this: it uses two tables, one containing the words, which are used on the board and which have a numeric ID assigned and a second table, which links post IDs to word IDs. This system is very fast when you need to search a specific word(s) in the whole database, the following statistics, which are offered on the Search Index page, describe how many words and relations the system holds:
- Total number of indexed words
This setting is quite self-explanatory, it is the number of different words that have ever been posted to your board. Only words that match the criteria for indexing, set in the Search settings, are considered.
- Total number of word to post relations indexed
As described above, the second search table holds a list of relations between the posts and words. For example if someone would post "airplane" in two different posts, the system would add the word once and it would add to relations, one to each post.
- Total number of indexed posts
This statistic is shown for the mysql fulltext backend, where the search is done by a internal mechanism of the Database system. It tells you how many posts on the board were indexed.
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