# Known limitations

Currently, Meilisearch has a number of known limitations. Some of these limitations are the result of intentional design trade-offs, while others can be attributed to LMDB, the key-value store that Meilisearch uses under the hood.

This guide covers hard limits that cannot be altered. Meilisearch also has some default limits that can be changed, such as a default payload limit of 100MB, a default database size limit of 100GiB, and a default search limit of 20 hits.

# Maximum number of query words

Limitation: The maximum number of terms taken into account for each search query is 10. If a search query includes more than 10 words, all words after the 10th will be ignored.

Explanation: Queries with many search terms can lead to long response times. This goes against our goal of providing a fast search-as-you-type experience.

# Maximum number of words per attribute

Limitation: Meilisearch can index a maximum of 65535 positions per attribute. Any words exceeding the 65535 position limit will be silently ignored.

Explanation: This limit is enforced for relevancy reasons. The more words there are in a given attribute, the less relevant the search queries will be.

# Example

Suppose you have three similar queries: Hello World, Hello, World, and Hello - World. Due to how our tokenizer works, each one of them will be processed differently and take up a different number of "positions" in our internal database.

If your query is Hello World:

  • Hello takes the position 0 of the attribute
  • World takes the position 1 of the attribute

If your query is Hello, World:

  • Hello takes the position 0 of the attribute
  • , takes the position 8 of the attribute
  • World takes the position 9 of the attribute

NOTE

, takes 8 positions as it is a hard separator. You can read more about word separators in our article about datatypes.

If your query is Hello - World:

  • Hello takes the position 0 of the attribute
  • - takes the position 1 of the attribute
  • World takes the position 2 of the attribute

NOTE

- takes 1 position as it is a soft separator. You can read more about word separators in our article about datatypes.

# Maximum number of attributes per document

Limitation: Meilisearch can index a maximum of 65,536 attributes per document. If a document contains more than 65,536 attributes, an error will be thrown.

Explanation: This limit is enforced for performance and storage reasons. Overly large internal data structures—resulting from documents with too many fields—lead to overly large databases on disk, and slower search performance.

# Maximum number of documents in an index

Limitation: An index can contain no more than 4,294,967,296 documents.

Explanation: This is the largest possible value for a 32-bit unsigned integer. Since Meilisearch's engine uses unsigned integers to identify documents internally, this is the maximum number of documents that can be stored in an index.

# Length of individual filterableAttributes values

Limitation: Individual filterableAttributes values are limited to 500 bytes.

Explanation: Meilisearch stores filterableAttributes values as keys in LMDB, a datatype whose size is limited to approximately 500 bytes. Note that this only applies to individual values—for example, a genres attribute can contain any number of values such as horror, comedy, or cyberpunk as long as each one of them is smaller than 500 bytes.

# Maximum filter depth

Limitation: Meilisearch does not accept searches with more than 2000 OR filters.

Explanation: OR filters create nested structures which can lead to a stack overflow.

# Example

Either of these filter expressions would cause a search query to fail:

user = 1 OR user = 2 [] OR user = 1500 OR user = 1501 [] OR user = 2000 OR user = 2001
[
  ["user = 1", "user = 2", [], "user = 1500", "user = 1501", [], "user = 2000", "user = 2001"]
]

# Size of integer fields

Limitation: Meilisearch can only exactly represent integers between -2⁵³ and 2⁵³.

Explanation: Meilisearch stores numeric values as double-precision floating-point numbers. This allows for greater precision and increases the range of magnitudes that Meilisearch can represent, but leads to inaccuracies in values beyond certain thresholds (opens new window).

Limitation: Meilisearch returns up to 1000 documents per search.

Explanation: This non-customizable limit ensures the database is protected from malicious scraping. This limit only applies to the search route. If you want to get all documents in your database, you can use the get documents endpoint instead.