Search Configuration in SharePoint 2013

In this article we can explore the underlying Configurations required to enable Search in SharePoint 2013.

Search Service Application

Search Service Application needs to be created for working with SharePoint Search. This service application enables all the search components and provides an interface to manage them.

The underlying infrastructure includes:

  • Content Sources
  • Result Sources
  • Result Types
  • Crawler
  • Indexer
  • Schema

By default, a Search Service Application is created when SharePoint is installed.

How to create a Search Service Application

Open Central Administration then select the "Manage service applications" link.

Manage service applications

In the page that appears you can see the Search Service Application listed.

Search Service Application

If you cannot see one, choose the New button from the ribbon, then Search Service Application item.

Search Service

In the page that appears enter the following application information:

  • Name
  • Application Pool
  • Account

application information
Click the "OK" button to save the changes. Wait for few minutes and your Search Service Application will be created.

Search Application Service 

You can click on the Search Service Application to view the Search Topology.

view the Search Topology

It is recommended to use a Managed Account for search.

Search Accounts

We can specify the user accounts who can manage the service application.

In the Service Applications page click on the "Search Service Application" (non-text area) then click the "Administrators" button from the ribbon.

In the page that appears enter the Administrator account then click the "Add" button and check the Permission items as shown below.

Permission items

Click the "OK" button to save the changes.

Search Components

The following are the core Search Components:
  • Crawler
  • Indexer
  • Query Processor

Crawler is responsible for reading all the contents (documents, lists, items and so on).

Indexer maintains an index to the crawled contents.

The Query Processor handles user queries. For example when the user searches for Home the query processor handles it.

Analyzer carries out search usage analysis.

Types of Crawling

There are the following 3 types of Crawling:

  • Full Crawl where the entire content will be crawled. This is time consuming and usually takes 30 minutes for a 1 GB of content (no 2 crawls can be in parallel).
  • Incremental Crawl only crawls content modified since the last crawl (no 2 crawls can be in parallel).
  • Continuous Crawl can be configured to start at regular intervals and multiple crawls can be done. Thus continuous crawl provides fresh results compared to the others.

Types of Crawling 

Despite the availability of incremental and continuous crawls, a Full Crawl might be required during service updates, new content source addition, managed properties extraction and so on.

Content Sources

By default there will be a content source named Local SharePoint sites. We can also configure other content sources like:
  • Another SharePoint site
  • External website

We need to perform a Full Crawl to do our search.

Full Crawl

To perform a Full Crawl open Central Administration then seelct "Service Applications" -> "Search Service Application" then select the "Content Sources" link.

Full Crawl

In the page that appears click the context menu over the default content source and choose the "Start Full Crawl" option.
Start Full Crawl option

Wait a few minutes until the Crawl is completed. You can refresh the page often to see the status.

Testing Search

After the Full Crawl is completed you can return to the SharePoint Site and search for Home. If your site title matches the word, you will get results like below.
Testing Search

The result confirms the Search is configured correctly.


Create and configure a Search service application in SharePoint Server 2013


In this article we explored the Configuration required to enable a search in SharePoint 2013.