New Google site search

Howdy all,

Did you know that there are nearly ten thousand pages here at Yeah, I didn’t know it either. But, it turns out we’ve got over 12,000 individual posts here in the forums (on over 3000 topics), hundreds of bugs and issues in the issue tracker, and about one hundred pages in the wiki. There is a vast wealth of information to be found on the website…if only one could find it easily and quickly!

Historically, searching has been a bit of a challenge. We have multiple search engines available…one for the forums, one for the wiki, and one for the bugs and issues tracker. But none of them work particularly well, and none of them integrates with the others.

So, I’ve setup a Google Custom Search for those three sections of I think it still needs some refinements, particularly with regard to common subjects, but I’m able to find useful information about 75% of the time (vs. 25% of the time with the old search engines) and in far less time, since I don’t have to hit all three engines and the first page results seem to be far more likely to cover what I’m looking for. I did notice that titles of our pages are a problem…they all contain “Virtualmin…” and so the title in the search results provides almost no information. I’ll be fixing that, and hopefully on the next index the titles will provide additional information.

So, the old search boxes will soon be going away, and I’ll be replacing them with a site-wide search at the top of every page. In the meantime, you can try it out at We don’t mind answering you’re questions, of course, but imagine how great it would be to have it answered in seconds rather than hours!

For those of you looking to solve search for your website, I have to say, I found the process really quick and easy…and let’s face it, Google have come closer to solving search than most folks. I’ve use htdig and several other Open Source search tools, and while they provided reasonable results, they were also usually pretty complex to configure and all got really flaky on large sites (and at about 10000 pages, counts as large). So, while it’s not free (or even all that cheap–we’re paying $500/year for the service, though under 5000 pages is a much more friendly $100/year, or free for non-profits), it saved me a lot of time, and provides better results than we could get from any tools that I’ve ever used before. Might be worth checking out if you need to solve the search problem on your site:

Now, should we add the Webmin wiki to the results? Another 1000 printed pages of documentation is never bad…but would it mislead folks? I guess we’ll have to experiment and find out.