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MySQL Full Text Search only finds words with a length of at least 4 characters

Question by Guest | 14/10/2012 at 17:20

I have implemented a MySQL full text search for a small web project. Thereby, I have strictly followed the instructions, I have found on the internet, but, however, it does not work as it should. It just does not find words less than 4 letters! There are many shortcuts on my website with 3 letters, which are now, of course, excluded from the search.

So far, my MySQL query looks like this:

SELECT * FROM tab WHERE MATCH (col1, col2) AGAINST
('+Word -MySQL' IN BOOLEAN MODE);

What do I have to change to make it work?

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Stefan Trost

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Your MySQL query is already correct, you do not have to change anything. What caused the exclusion of all words under 4 letters is a setting of MySQL, which limits the minimum word length of a full-text search to 4 letters by default.

In your MySQL system variables, there is somewhere the line:

ft_min_word_len = 4

This stands for "Full Text Minimum Word Length" and provides exactly the behavior excluding words with 3 letters as you have described. If you change this value and start your MySQL server again, and then perform a "REPAIR TABLE" to set up the index with the new settings, you can change this word length. I have described this in more detail in my tip Change Minimum Word Length in MySQL Full-Text Search

Problems arise only, if we can not change the MySQL settings, for example, if we are hosting the homepage on a shared hosting provider, which do not allow to change the settings. For this case, it can still be worked with a combination of LIKE and the full-text search.
14/10/2012 at 19:26

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