About This Demo

The Business Problem

Slow Search

Your website's search capability is most likely slow. Your customers or potential clients must wait too long to get results. Your competitor's websites on the other hand return search results extremely quickly. This slowness is friction and friction is the enemy of an effective website.

Slow Or Complex Browsing

Maybe your users have to click through to multiple pages on your site in order to find the information they seek. Maybe your users cannot perform the multiple criteria searches they desire because your search functionality cannot easily support it.

The Solution


This simple demonstration website was built to show the capabilities of Meilisearch. Meilisearch is a search utility that you can integrate into your website. It is capable of allowing your users to perform searches on your website at staggeringly fast speeds. It is capable of supporting highly complex faceted search experiences as well as blazing fast keyword searching.

How It Works

The Basics

Meilisearch is an open source product. It is a search utility in the family of Algolia, Typesense and Elasticsearch. All of these search tools are made up of purpose-built indexes that are hosted on separate servers from your website. Have a look at this comparison chart for more information.


Meilisearch relies on you to build its indexes. You integrate with the Meilisearch API and compose documents that get added to indexes you define. Each document represents an entry on your site and each index supports the ways your users might perform searches. For example, if yours is an e-commerce website, you would have a document for each sku. These documents would belong to an index that was optimized for keyword search. Another set of documents might belong to an index that was optimized for searching across multiple product criteria at once, i.e. faceted search.

Building The Index

If you are reading this it is likely that your website is complex enough for speedy search across large volumes of data to be business critical. This means your website is likely running on a content management system. It is likely that your CMS has plugin capability and can already integrate with Meilisearch. This demo was built on Craft CMS and relies on a custom plugin we wrote specifically for Meilisearch. Each time an entry is submitted in the CMS, a call is made to our Meilisearch instance to update or create a document that represents the entry in the search index. The Meilisearch API is extremely easy to use and inexpensive to integrate with.


Meilisearch's direct competitor is Algolia. Algolia is a cloud-based service that charges per document and per API query. For small to medium businesses this can become prohibitively and unpredictably expensive. Meilisearch can run on any number of hosting environments. The demo you are experiencing is running from a Digital Ocean Droplet. This is extremely cost effective as well as cost-predictable, ideal for deployments where someone is paying attention to the budget.

Our clients have highly complex business needs. We have found over the years that having maximum control over their tools is essential. With self-hosted Meilisearch we have the necessary level of control.

About Meilisearch

Open Source

Meilisearch is licensed under the MIT open source license and is free to use or fork as needed.

In Business

Meilisearch is a for-profit start-up based in Paris. They currently have 21 employees and are expanding. They offer paid cloud hosting at both basic and enterprise levels. This is their current business model.


The Meilisearch API is readily integrated into applications of multiple languages including Node JS, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc. Because of this level of API support through SDK's, many developers are capable of integrating it into many types of web platforms. Choosing Meilisearch should mean that you need not worry about support and expansion in the years to come.

About Craft CMS

Premium Editorial Experience

Virtually all of our clients who run websites on Craft CMS chose it for its editorial experience. The people who really touch your website on a daily basis are your content writers and editors. They don't often get a vote when a CMS platform is chosen. But CMS usability has a direct, although less-visible effect on your bottom line.

Highly Extensible

Most modern CMS platforms have plugin capability. Few of them deliver on the full potential of this architecture. The Craft CMS plugin architecture creates opportunities for developers to rapidly and reliably customize or augment any part of the system. This is to your advantage as the website owner because you know you can code your way out of most any future technical challenge.

Cloud Integration Ready

Modern websites are highly cloud dependent. This means they rely on multiple cloud-based web services to perform critical business functions at scale. Craft CMS is purpose-built with this in mind. The integration built between Craft and this demo serves as an example of how easily outside web services can be integrated into Craft.

About The Search Interface

InstantSearch.js By Algolia

It was mentioned previously that Meilisearch, as an open source project, was inspired by Algolia. The good people at Algolia developed a comprehensive Javascript library, available in multiple Javascript flavors, to aid in the fast creation of front-end search interfaces.

InstantSearch.js provides components or 'widgets' for things like keyword search fields, auto-complete fields, faceted search menus based on index attributes, etc. These can be quickly and easily integrated into your front-end interfaces.

InstantSearch.js Is Open Source

Since Algolia made InstantSearch.js open source, Meilisearch and any other similar search utlities can build on its capabilities to speed the work of developers using their platforms. InstantSearch made the creation of this demo possibly 50 times less time consuming than it otherwise would have been.

About The Dataset

Many Real Records

This demo was intended to show off the high speed and high relevancy capabilities of Meilisearch. In order to really deliver on this, we needed a real dataset, a big one. Fortunately Yelp provides an open access subset of their overall listing database.

The Yelp Dataset

The Yelp Dataset is a JSON formatted subset of all Yelp listings. It contains name, description, address and multiple selection facets of a large number of real-world businesses in the United States. It was ideal for this demo's purposes.

When most Solspace clients need search, they really need highly filterable and complex faceted search. The Yelp Dataset made demonstrating Meilisearch's capabilities in this area much more straight-forward.

About Solspace


At Solspace we believe that the first principle of web development is reliability. We express the idea best in our book about Web Reliability. Your customers or clients have a purpose when they come to your website. Your website should produce the least possible amount of friction. Your customers should get in and out of your website as quickly as possible with the least resistance possible, all while deepening their business relationship with you.

Our Expertise

We consider ourselves craftspeople. We enjoy our work because excellence in web development can be immediately evident. We believe in serving our clients best through the cultivation of advanced skills as well as through the selection of excellent tools. To this end we specialize in web development tools that we believe serve the craftsperson best, among them are Craft CMS, Laravel, Node JS, React JS, Vue JS, &c.

Our Services

Solspace can design and build highly complex websites from scratch. But the bulk of our client interactions are with companies who have relied on us for many years to support and advance the organization's digital initiatives.

We excel in developing and expanding complex web systems. We thrive in complex team environments. And we love seamlessly tying multiple web systems together into cohesive wholes.