Search Search

With the changes in Atomz Search that I mentioned in my previous post, I have been left in a bind because I used it on several sites that I do. I’ve started to check out some free alternatives for site searches and I also found out that Atomz actually does have an option that might work for some mid-sized sites.

I contacted Atomz and found out they will allow you to buy the search for $250.00 a year, which is a price point that is more within reach for a small to mid-size business. If it’s within a site’s budget, I think it is worth it for the quality search tool that Atomz provides. For that amount you basically get the same features as Atomz Express Search, except no advertising and they have also bumped the page limit to 750 pages. Strangely enough they are not going to officially offer this as a product; you can only get it by asking for it. When I asked them why they wouldn’t offer it to the public, they told me they used to have a mid-level product called Atomz Prime, but they got turned off by that market because it was too much of a hassle getting people to pay.

As for those who can’t afford to pay, here are some of the alternatives I’ve come across:

  • mnoGoSearch
    This is used on MySQL.com which gives it some instant credibility, although I’ve read that the documentation they offer is “a bit dodgy”.
  • Google Google has a various options, but I get the impression they will either be very expensive or the search results page will be a Google page instead of your own, which isn’t going to cut it on many sites.
  • PhpDig
  • ht:/Dig
  • Picosearch
  • FreeFind
  • Make Your Own with MySQL and PHP or Perl
    MySQL 4.0 has enhanced FULLTEXT searching – of course you’d need some background with MySQL and some type of server scripting language.

For most of the sites I do, I had the following requirements:

  • Must have an indexer which I can run whenever I need to
  • If the results page is on a different site/server(which is ok), I must have access to the templates so I can match the layout of any site
  • A PHP front end would be nice also. mnoGoSearch gets extra points because you can choose from several different types of front ends, including PHP and Perl

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