# Asynchronous updates

MeiliSearch is an asynchronous API. It means that the API does not behave as you would typically expect when handling the request's responses.

Some operations are put in a queue and will be executed in turn (asynchronously). In this case, the server response contains the identifier to track the execution of the operation.

# Async flow

  • When making a write request (create/update/delete) against the search engine, it stores the operation received in a queue and returns an updateId. With this id, the operation update is trackable.
  • Each update received is treated following the order it has been received.
  • You can get the update status on the /updates route.
  • Processed updates are marked as processed and kept in the operation list (available at /indexes/:index_uid/updates). They won't be deleted.
sequenceDiagram participant C as Client participant Q as Queue participant M as MeiliSearch C->>Q: enqueue first update Q-->>C: return updateId: 1 Q-->>+M: begin update 1 C->>Q: enqueue second update Q-->>C: return updateId: 2 M->>-Q: dequeue update 1 Q-->>+M: begin update 2 M->>-Q: dequeue update 2

# Which operations are async?

Every operation which could be compute-expensive is asynchronous. These include:

  • Update index settings
  • Add/update/delete documents

# Understanding updates

All updates return the following fields:

  • status: The state of the operation (enqueued, processed, or failed).
  • updateId: The id of the update.
  • type: The type of the operation, including its name and number.
  • enqueuedAt: The date at which the operation has been added to the queue.

Updates that have already been processed also return the following fields:

  • duration: The number of seconds taken to complete the operation.
  • processedAt: The date at which the operation has been processed.

Finally, failed updates return an additional field:

# Examples

Adding documents:

  "status": "processed",
  "updateId": 1,
  "type": {
    "name": "DocumentsAddition",
    "number": 19653
  "duration": 12.757581815,
  "enqueuedAt": "2019-12-07T21:10:07.607581330Z",
  "processedAt": "2019-12-07T21:10:20.511525620Z"

Failing to upload document:

  "status": "failed",
  "updateId": 3,
  "type": {
    "name": "DocumentsAddition",
    "number": 1
  "error": "document id is missing",
  "duration": 0.000048524,
  "enqueuedAt": "2019-12-07T20:23:50.156433207Z",
  "processedAt": "2019-12-07T20:23:50.157436246Z"

# Terminate MeiliSearch while a task is processing

In the rare cases when you need to terminate MeiliSearch in the middle of a process, know that it will not corrupt or alter the database in any way. This is because MeiliSearch's asynchronous tasks are .

Essentially, tasks are done in transactions. If the transaction fails or is killed for any reason before completing, none of the tasks will be committed to your database.

You can use the status field returned by the update route to determine if a process has been committed to MeiliSearch or not.

  • status: enqueued => Not yet begun. If MeiliSearch is killed and then restarted, the task will remain enqueued and be processed eventually.
  • status processing => In progress. If MeiliSearch is killed, there will be no consequences, since no part of the task has been committed to MeiliSearch. After restarting, MeiliSearch will treat the task as enqueued.
  • status processed => Completed. This action is done and is permanently added to your MeiliSearch instance. If you kill MeiliSearch, there will be no data loss; your database will remain exactly the same as before you killed MeiliSearch.

# Example

Imagine that you're adding 100 documents in one batch to MeiliSearch. If you kill the process after 99 documents have successfully been added, then none of the 100 documents will be present in the dataset when you restart MeiliSearch. The same is true if the 100th document raises an error. Either all documents are added, or none are.

Thus, killing MeiliSearch is always safe!