If you site has expanded from just a handful of web pages to hundreds, it is time you provided visitors with a search feature which will help them locate information quickly. This will result in visitors “sticking” at your site for a longer time – you thus keep them engaged. And a search engine will help you too – if you ever want to locate something fast!
There are three ways to get a internal web site search engine. You can use one of the online web site search engine services, or employ a pre-made script (which is the topic of this article) or create one yourself.
The Perl web site search engine scripts mentioned below allow visitors to perform searches on web pages of your site. The scripts would run fine on Linux, Unix, Windows and Mac OS X servers if the Perl language has been installed. In fact, most hosting companies will provide support for Perl and a free database server like MySQL. Also, if you know a little Perl, you would be able to configure the web search engine scripts as per your requirements.
However, remember, if the script does not use indexing or a database application, it would be searching web pages using a brute-force method (opening and closing each file as it searches them) which is server intensive. This is not a good proposition for web sites with hundreds of pages. In such cases, it would be wise to employ a dedicated web site search engine application rather than the simpler web site search engine script. The brute-force search method, however, has an advantage. Since the script will go through web pages each time a search is performed, the search results are always up-to-date.
A simple web site search engine program is available at this site and you can change the scripts to suit your needs. The web site search engine script is written in Perl 5 so you do need to have Perl 5 installed and running on your server. This should not be regarded as a strange request as most web hosting packages feature the CGI Perl with the CGI.pm module. This search script does not use a fancy indexing system, so it is not as fast or efficient as the big commercial search engines. However, it does use a simple but clever indexing approach that considerably reduces the amount of work to be done by the program on each search. If you have a very large site with high search requirements, you might not want to use it. If, on the other hand, your users search only occasionally, you’ll find it very useful.
Boutell web site search program written in Perl
Perl script that can be installed and configured on your web server and searches web pages based on queries entered by visitors.
Fluffy Search is a search engine for web sites and can run on any web server which supports scripting with Perl. Fluffy Search generates an index of the contents of your site which is helpful in quick searches and you can configure the script for your needs. Also, if you use multiple framesets on your site, Fluffy Search can link the found pages into the correct frameset.
The Fluid Dynamics Search engine for web sites runs entirely on your server so visitors aren’t redirected to a separate centralized server to get their results. It is a flat search engine, accepting keywords and showing a ranked list of search results. The application is written entirely in Perl and you can configure the look-and-feel of the template to match your site. Fluid Dynamics Search Engine searches text and HTML files. It can also search other file formats such as PDF, MP3 and MS Office with the help of helper applications.
Cost: To be used in Freeware mode or purchased for $40.
SiteSearch is a freeware CGI script allowing you to add keyword search facilities to your web site. SiteSearch does not index the web site, therefore, using it on sites of more than a few hundred pages is impractical (it’ll take ages to do the search). SiteSearch can only search files in a single directory on your web server. This script will perform keyword searching of words or “” enclosed phrases on your web pages with support for + and – prefixes allowing words/phrases to be required or excluded from the match list. Links on the results page are ordered by confidence and these links and displayed in blocks of 10, with a “view next 10 hits” link provided on the returned page.
KScript’s web site search engine script searches for multiple terms and/or phrases with the option of case sensitivity. Users can also employ + and – logical operators. You can configure several aspects of the script including a stop-terms list, skip directories and files, the results page template, the places where searches are performed on a web page such as title, meta content, URL, links ALT-text etc., the number of pages displayed on the results page and more. The script for Unix/Linux version is also able to search PDF files.
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