External Search allows you to replace Higher Logic Vanilla's (Vanilla) out-of-the-box search functionality (called Elastic Search) with a third-party service, such as Coveo, Google, SearchUnify, and more.
When configured, your community's search bars (shown below) will no longer navigate users to Vanilla's native search results page; instead, they will navigate users to whichever external third-party you have set up.
- Because External Search will navigate users away from your Vanilla community when searching, be sure that your third-party search service can pull in your Vanilla content to ensure community engagement is not negatively impacted.
- If you want to pull results from a third-party service into Vanilla without replacing Vanilla's out-of-the-box search functionality, consider using our Federated Search feature instead.
Set up External Search
⚠️ IMPORTANT: Before you'll be able to access the External Search page, you must contact Vanilla Support and request to have it enabled.
- Access the Dashboard.
- Navigate to Settings > Addons > External Search.
- Enter the search string provided by your third-party search service and replace the query with
%s . See the example below for more information on this process.
- If you want searches to open in a new tab, thereby ensuring users are not navigated away from your Vanilla community, toggle ON the Search Result in New Tab option. This is a best practice.
- Click Save.
- If using Google, a search string would be: https://www.google.com/search?q=star+trek
- The query is star+trek, which would be replaced with %s to get: https://www.google.com/search?q=%s
✔️ TIP: When External Search is enabled, Admins can manually navigate to Vanilla's search page by appending your community URL with
/search. However, non-admin users will be automatically redirected to the external third-party search page.
User experience with External Search enabled
When a user searches in your Vanilla community, they will be be navigated to the search result page of the third-party service you set up.
- You have set up Google as your third-party service, using https://www.google.com/search?q=%s.
- A user searches
star trek in your Vanilla community. Instead of viewing search results natively within your Vanilla community, they are sent to Google's search results page via the string https://www.google.com/search?q=star+trek