Once theSphinx server is setup, we can begin with WordPress integration. The first thing we need to do capture the override the query_vars in WP_Query before it runs it’s own search. We’ll do this by running an action on ‘parse_query’ with the code below.

[cc lang=”php”]
function my_parse_query(&$wp_query) {
if($wp_query->is_search && class_exists(‘SphinxClient’)) {
$results = my_sphinx_search_posts($wp_query->query_vars);
if($results) {
$matching_ids = array();
if(intval($results[‘total’]) > 0 ) {
foreach($results[‘matches’] as $result) {
$matching_ids[] = intval($result[‘attrs’][‘post_id’]);
} else {
$matching_ids[] = -1;
//clear the search query var so posts aren’t filtered based on the search
$wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_search_term’] = $wp_query->query_vars[‘s’];
if(isset($wp_query->query_vars[‘paged’])) {
//set our own copy of paged so that wordpress doesn’t try to page a query already limiting posts
$wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_paged’] = $wp_query->query_vars[‘paged’];
$wp_query->query_vars[‘post__in’] = $matching_ids;
$wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_num_matches’] = intval($results[‘total’]);
add_action(‘parse_query’, ‘my_sphinx_parse_query’, 10, 1);

In the above, we’re first verifying that the current [cci lang=”php”]$wp_query[/cci] object is trying to run a search and that the Sphinx extension for PHP is correctly installed on the server. If both of the previous statements are true, it runs the [cci lang=”php”]my_sphinx_search_posts()[/cci] function to get the post ID’s matching our search terms; we’ll get more into that function in a bit. To prevent the [cci lang=”php”]WP_Query->get_posts()[/cci] function from further filtering the posts that Sphinx has already selected, we are un-setting the ‘s’, ‘paged’ query_vars, but we are saving them for later use by storing them under different names with the query_vars array as ‘sphinx_search_term’ and ‘sphinx_paged’ accordingly. Not also that we’re saving the total number of matches sphinx found under ‘sphinx_num_matches’ in the query_vars as well.

Now lets dig into the [cci lang=”php”]my_sphinx_search_posts()[/cci] function.
[cc lang=”php”]
function my_sphinx_search_posts($args) {
$defaults = array(
‘search_using’ => ‘any’,
‘paged’ => 1,
‘posts_per_page’ => 0,
‘showposts’ => 0
$args = wp_parse_args($args, $defaults);
$sphinx = new SphinxClient();
$sphinx->setServer(‘’, ‘9312’);

$search = $args[‘s’];
switch($args[‘search_using’]) {
case ‘all’:
case ‘exact’:

$page = isset($args[‘paged’]) && (intval($args[‘paged’]) > 0) ? intval($args[‘paged’]) : 1;
$per_page = max(array($args[‘posts_per_page’], $args[‘showposts’]));
if($per_page setLimits(($page – 1) * $per_page, $per_page);
$result = $sphinx->query($search);
return $result;

The function above is just a wrapper around the Sphinx search. It accepts an array of arguments, which matches up to the query_vars array used by [cci lang=”php”]WP_Query[/cci] during a search query. It is using the search based query_vars to create the search arguments to send to Sphinx and then returning the final result.

Now that we’ve searched against Sphinx and have gotten [cci lang=”php”]WP_Query[/cci] to return the posts based on the Sphinx result, we need to reset the query_vars that we modified earlier so that WordPress continues to behave as if it ran the search itself. We’re going to do this by adding an filter to ‘found_posts’.
[cc lang=”php”]
function my_sphinx_search_filter_found_posts($found_posts, &$wp_query = null) {
if(!is_null($wp_query)) {
if(isset($wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_num_matches’])) {
$found_posts = intval($wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_num_matches’]);
if(isset($wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_search_term’])) {
$wp_query->query_vars[‘s’] = $wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_search_term’];
if(isset($wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_paged’])) {
$wp_query->query_vars[‘paged’] = $wp_query->query_vars[‘sphinx_paged’];

return $found_posts;
add_filter(‘found_posts’, ‘my_sphinx_search_filter_found_posts’, 10, 2);

That’s it. We’ve setup WordPress to use Sphinx as its search engine, while letting it still degrade nicely to use WordPress’ default search if Sphinx isn’t available.

I have grouped this code together as a stand-alone plugin that can be downloaded and used on your own site: WP Sphinx Search