12.9.6 Fine-Tuning MySQL Full-Text Search

MySQL's full-text search capability has few user-tunable parameters. You can exert more control over full-text searching behavior if you have a MySQL source distribution because some changes require source code modifications. See Section 2.8, “Installing MySQL from Source”.

Note that full-text search is carefully tuned for effectiveness. Modifying the default behavior in most cases can actually decrease effectiveness. Do not alter the MySQL sources unless you know what you are doing.

Most full-text variables described in this section must be set at server startup time. A server restart is required to change them; they cannot be modified while the server is running.

Some variable changes require that you rebuild the FULLTEXT indexes in your tables. Instructions for doing so are given later in this section.

If you modify full-text variables that affect indexing (innodb_ft_min_token_size, innodb_ft_max_token_size, innodb_ft_server_stopword_table, innodb_ft_user_stopword_table, innodb_ft_enable_stopword, ft_min_word_len, ft_max_word_len, or ft_stopword_file), or if you change the stopword file itself, you must rebuild your FULLTEXT indexes after making the changes and restarting the server.

To rebuild the FULLTEXT indexes for an InnoDB table, use ALTER TABLE with the DROP INDEX and ADD INDEX options to drop and re-create each index.

To rebuild the FULLTEXT indexes for a MyISAM table, it is sufficient to do a QUICK repair operation:

mysql> REPAIR TABLE tbl_name QUICK;

Alternatively, use ALTER TABLE as just described. In some cases, this may be faster than a repair operation.

Each table that contains any FULLTEXT index must be repaired as just shown. Otherwise, queries for the table may yield incorrect results, and modifications to the table will cause the server to see the table as corrupt and in need of repair.

Note that if you use myisamchk to perform an operation that modifies MyISAM table indexes (such as repair or analyze), the FULLTEXT indexes are rebuilt using the default full-text parameter values for minimum word length, maximum word length, and stopword file unless you specify otherwise. This can result in queries failing.

The problem occurs because these parameters are known only by the server. They are not stored in MyISAM index files. To avoid the problem if you have modified the minimum or maximum word length or stopword file values used by the server, specify the same ft_min_word_len, ft_max_word_len, and ft_stopword_file values for myisamchk that you use for mysqld. For example, if you have set the minimum word length to 3, you can repair a table with myisamchk like this:

shell> myisamchk --recover --ft_min_word_len=3 tbl_name.MYI

To ensure that myisamchk and the server use the same values for full-text parameters, place each one in both the [mysqld] and [myisamchk] sections of an option file:

[mysqld]
ft_min_word_len=3

[myisamchk]
ft_min_word_len=3

An alternative to using myisamchk for MyISAM table index modification is to use the REPAIR TABLE, ANALYZE TABLE, OPTIMIZE TABLE, or ALTER TABLE statements. These statements are performed by the server, which knows the proper full-text parameter values to use.