1.11. How do I make the archives searchable

The archives (unless made explicitly private) are indexable and searchable by standard web search tools (for example you could encourage google to index your archive pages and then do searches with google restricting results to your domain).

  eg Search google for, "clever technique site:your.domain.dom"

But you should note that Google does not index all your posts, especially the recent posts which have not yet been crawled and indexed yet. An alternative is to use a third-party mailing list archive service which usually index your messages up to the minute. These services are usually free, although some may run Google ads. Below is a list of providers:

Mail-archive: http://www.mail-archive.com/ Home of the official Mailman-* mailing list searchable archives, they also run Google ads.

The following sites have set up unofficial gateways of the Mailman-* mailing lists in the past, but were asked to terminate their unapproved activities, or investigation into their unapproved activities is ongoing:

Gmane: http://www.gmane.org/ Gmane is an older USENET gateway/archive service, some lists may have delay in indexing
Nabble: http://www.nabble.com/ Nabble has instant indexing up to the minute, clean UI.

Go to the sites, fill out a form to request your lists to get added. Then you will have a searchable archive within a day or two. They may also offer import of historical mailing list archives.

Other commonly used and recommended external search tools include:

Swish: http://www.swish-e.org
MnoGoSearch: http://www.mnogosearch.org/
HT:Dig: http://www.htdig.org/

There is a shell script by Karl Fogel that runs on your local workstation and fetches the periodic .txt.gz files from a public archive and searches them with grep. This only works for public archives.

For instructions on how to incorporate Namazu as the search engine for Mailman, see 4.08 How can I add Namazu as a search engine for my Mailman list archives?.

For instructions on how to incorporate Swish-e as the search engine for Mailman, see http://wpkg.org/Integrating_Mailman_with_a_Swish-e_search_engine
There is also some useful instruction at this page: http://infothecary.org/jordan/mailman.html

As an alternative, there are some patches for Mailman that integrate it with HT:Dig and work with both pipermail, the Mailman internal archiver, and/or with the MHonArc external archive page generator when that is also integrated with Mailman. The patches maintain list archive privacy while providing per-list indexing and searching of the archive pages. The patch adds a search box to each list's archive TOC page.

The patches to handle this are on the Mailman Launchpad bugs pages, with ids:-

  [ #266553 ] Archive indexer control to improve indexing
  [ #266554 ] Integration of Mailman & htdig for archive search
  [ #558089 ] Mailman/pipermail/MHonArc integration patch

The Launchpad URLs for the patches are here


Instructions for applying these patches (you need the copy of the Mailman source tree you installed from) are given on the referenced pages.

There are now bzr branches on Launchpad kept up to date with the head of the Mailman 2.1 branch. These are at


Branch with indexing and ht://Dig patches


Branch with MHonArc patches


Branch with MHonArc, indexing and ht://Dig patches

There is also a Debian/Ubuntu PPA containing builds of these packages at https://launchpad.net/~mailman-administrivia/+archive/ubuntu/ppa

Converted from the Mailman FAQ Wizard

This is one of many Frequently Asked Questions.

MailmanWiki: DOC/How do I make the archives searchable (last edited 2024-04-18 17:39:50 by msapiro)