Deciding between Algolia and Meilisearch for your search solution? We're here to help! In this article, we'll compare their features, capabilities, pricing models, and overall strengths and weaknesses.

What is Algolia?

Founded in 2012, Algolia is a hosted search engine that provides full-text and AI-powered search capabilities. It offers an API that integrates fast, customizable search experiences into websites and mobile applications.

Algolia is known for its remarkable speed and scalability, making it a go-to choice for enterprises looking for sophisticated search functionalities. However, these premium features come with a higher cost, Algolia tends to be more suitable for larger businesses with bigger budgets.

What is Meilisearch?

Launched in 2018, Meilisearch is an open-source search engine that features full-text and AI-powered search capabilities Designed to be developer-friendly and plug-and-play, it addresses most common use cases straight out of the box. Built with Rust, it ensures exceptional performance, security, and flexibility.

Known for its lightning-fast search speeds and modern development environment, Meilisearch is an excellent choice for small-to-medium growing businesses seeking high-performance search functionalities.

Unlike Algolia, Meilisearch is open-source. You can self-host it or use the managed Meilisearch Cloud service, allowing for flexibility and cost-efficiency.

Algolia vs Meilisearch - Key features compared

Developer experience

Algolia and Meilisearch both prioritize ease of use, offering straightforward setup processes and comprehensive documentation. These search engines work out-of-the-box, providing great relevancy in most cases without the need for additional configurations. They feature intuitive REST APIs and place a strong emphasis on the developer experience. Meilisearch's open-source nature is a significant asset, as it enables better feedback collection and faster implementations.

When comparing Meilisearch Cloud and Algolia dashboards, Algolia’s interface stands out for its advanced and comprehensive UI. This is understandable, given that Algolia is a fully-hosted search engine that has been in the market for over a decade. In contrast, Meilisearch, which launched its cloud offering much more recently, is still developing its dashboard.

Overall, the Algolia dashboard feels more beginner-friendly and integrated, guiding users smoothly from data addition to frontend integration. Meilisearch, on the other hand, partially relies on its documentation to guide users through the process. However, it’s important to note that Meilisearch’s dashboard is continually evolving based on user feedback, showing significant potential for improvement.

SDKs and integrations

Both Algolia and Meilisearch provide API clients for a variety of popular programming languages, including JavaScript, .NET, Python, PHP, and more, ensuring developers can easily integrate search functionalities into their applications.

Algolia offers a significantly broader selection of SDKs and integrations, particularly in the realm of specialized e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento). This extensive range of integrations makes Algolia a versatile choice for businesses with specific platform requirements.

Relevance and typo tolerance

Meilisearch and Algolia both deliver excellent relevancy and typo tolerance right out of the box, with options for customization to fine-tune search results. They offer similar features, including synonyms, deduplication, sorting, filtering, faceting, and geosearch.

However, configuring some of these features in Meilisearch can feel more straightforward. Certain functionalities, such as sorting, require fewer configuration steps compared to Algolia. This simplicity makes Meilisearch an attractive option for developers looking for ease of setup and use.

Moreover, unlike Algolia, Meilisearch does not require replicating or copying indexes for each sort criterion, making cost management much more manageable and fair for customers.

Algolia, on the other hand, provides a more extensive feature set with advanced configuration options. Features like filter weighting offer more customization, but this can also add complexity. While Algolia's features can sometimes offer more advanced configuration, Meilisearch is rapidly closing the gap, regularly launching new features that enhance its capabilities.

Both Algolia and Meilisearch offer advanced semantic search capabilities, but with notable differences in accessibility and customization.

Algolia provides NeuralSearch, its approach to hybrid search, which combines neural search and full-text search results. Algolia leverages AI at multiple levels, including search, ranking, and query suggestions. This feature allows you to choose between keyword search and neural search modes. When using Algolia, text embedding is managed by their proprietary model, which is automatically applied to the documents. However, NeuralSearch is not widely available; it is reserved for the highest plan (Elevate) and requires event data from the front end. In practice, many users have yet to see a running instance of NeuralSearch. 

Meilisearch, on the other hand, offers a more customizable AI-powered search experience. It uses state-of-the-art large language model (LLM) providers such as OpenAI and HuggingFace to generate vector embeddings. Additionally, Meilisearch allows you to configure multiple embedders for an index and supports custom embeddings, ensuring flexibility and adaptability. Its hybrid search approach is highly customizable, enabling you to adjust the semantic ratio for each hybrid search query, ranging from full semantic to full-text search. Meilisearch's AI-powered search is available both when self-hosting and on Meilisearch Cloud, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

Analytics & data visualization

Both Meilisearch and Algolia provide robust analytics and data visualization tools to help you monitor and optimize search performance, but they offer these insights in slightly different ways.

Meilisearch offers a comprehensive set of analytics, including metrics such as total searches, user activity, and key search effectiveness indicators like no result rate and click-through rate. You can visualize search trends over time and gain insights into user behavior, including the most searched queries and geographic distribution of searches.

Algolia, on the other hand, provides a more extensive suite of analytics and data visualization tools. Its overview dashboard includes similar key metrics like total searches, user activity, and conversion rates. However, Algolia goes further by offering advanced analytics providing deeper insights into popular filter values and top-performing results.

A notable feature that sets Algolia apart is its A/B testing capability. This allows you to compare an index and its replica with different settings, evaluating metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates. 

In summary, while both Meilisearch and Algolia offer essential analytics tools, Algolia includes more detailed and advanced options, including A/B testing, which can be particularly beneficial for optimizing user interactions in ecommerce use cases. Meilisearch focuses on core metrics and delivers a straightforward visualization of search trends and user behavior.

Community and support

Algolia offers a dedicated Discord community with 507 members, accessible to all users, providing a platform for discussions, questions, and support. For more personalized assistance, email and website support are available starting from the Grow plan. Additionally, Algolia provides Standard and Extended Support options, though pricing is not disclosed and is only available through sales inquiries.

Meilisearch, being an open-source search engine, has fostered a robust community. Its Discord community boasts 2,441 members, offering a vibrant space for open-source enthusiasts and users to engage, share knowledge, and seek help. For Cloud users, Meilisearch ensures comprehensive support tailored to each plan: the Build plan includes Discord support, the Pro plan offers chat and email support, and the Custom plan provides priority support with dedicated channels. This tiered support structure reflects Meilisearch's commitment to accessible and responsive customer service.

Pricing and commercial offerings

Algolia offers a mix of free, pay-as-you-go, and custom pricing plans. The Free Plan includes up to 10,000 search requests per month and 1 million records, while the Grow Plan features a clear pay-as-you-go structure with specific costs for additional search requests and records. However, their Premium and Elevate Plans do not have disclosed pricing and require users to request details from sales.  

In contrast, Meilisearch Cloud has fixed monthly pricing for its Build and Pro plans, priced at $30 and $300 per month, respectively, with specified features and resources included. For larger projects, Meilisearch has a Custom Plan that requires a custom quote.

While Meilisearch does not offer a free tier, it starts at a relatively low monthly cost with substantial resources and support. Additionally, it includes a 14-day free trial without requiring a credit card, making it easy for potential users to explore its features. Moreover, Meilisearch being open-source, it can also be self-hosted for free.

Although Algolia might save some costs in specific scenarios, its complexity and potential hidden costs can lead to higher expenses in practice. Meilisearch, with its clear and predictable pricing model, is often more attractive for businesses that prefer straightforward budgeting and cost transparency.

Global coverage

Meilisearch Cloud has server regions in major cities such as San Francisco, New York, London, Frankfurt, and Singapore, strategically positioning itself in key commercial hubs across North America, Europe, and Asia. This coverage allows Meilisearch to provide reliable performance and data residency options in these important regions.

Algolia has a much broader network with clusters deployed in 16 regions globally. This extensive coverage spans the US, Europe, Asia, and additional regions like Brazil, Japan, and Australia. Algolia’s expansive network allows for greater flexibility in data localization, enhancing performance and compliance with local regulations.

Looking ahead, Meilisearch plans to expand its reach by adding more server regions to its network. This expansion will broaden its global coverage, further enhancing its service offerings.

Algolia challenges

Algolia faces several notable challenges, one of which is its high cost. While Algolia does offer a free tier, it is limited, and scaling up can quickly become expensive. Algolia's powerful features are well-suited for large enterprises, but smaller businesses might find these advanced features and the associated costs overwhelming. The lack of transparency for its Premium and Elevate plans further complicates budgeting, as potential customers must engage with the sales team to get detailed pricing information, which can deter smaller businesses that need to understand costs upfront. 

Additionally, fully leveraging Algolia’s extensive features and capabilities often requires significant customization and technical expertise. This can be a barrier for businesses without dedicated technical teams. 

Furthermore, Algolia's reliance on its proprietary models for AI features means users are dependent on Algolia's technology stack. This dependency can limit businesses looking for more flexibility or integration with other AI solutions.

Meilisearch challenges

Meilisearch, despite its strengths, also faces its own set of challenges. One notable challenge is the absence of a completely free tier in the managed cloud version, which might deter very small businesses or startups looking to minimize costs. While Meilisearch's pricing is transparent and reasonable, the lack of a free option in the managed cloud version can be a disadvantage compared to competitors like Algolia. However, being open-source, Meilisearch provides a free, self-hosted option that ensures cost savings for those willing to manage their own infrastructure.

While Meilisearch offers essential and robust features, it might lack some of the advanced features and integrations that Algolia provides, particularly for specialized use cases such as advanced e-commerce applications.

When should you consider Algolia over Meilisearch?

If your business requires sophisticated e-commerce search functionalities, such as merchandising tools, product recommendations, and advanced filtering options, Algolia is currently better equipped to handle these needs. The platform's features are designed to improve product discovery and conversion rates.

For businesses that want to optimize their search configurations through A/B testing, Algolia provides robust tools to compare different search setups. This is especially beneficial in e-commerce, where fine-tuning search performance can significantly impact sales and customer engagement. 

Algolia’s infrastructure is also optimized for global reach, offering high availability and low latency across different regions. If your business operates internationally and requires consistent performance worldwide, Algolia is a strong contender.

In summary, Algolia excels in delivering advanced e-commerce functionalities, comprehensive analytics, and a globally optimized infrastructure. While it may come with higher costs and a steeper learning curve, these features make it particularly suitable for large enterprises and businesses with complex, high-demand search requirements.

When should you consider Meilisearch over Algolia?

Meilisearch is an excellent choice for businesses that prioritize simplicity, transparency, and flexibility. Its straightforward setup process and developer-friendly design make it ideal for teams seeking a hassle-free implementation. With robust core features that work out of the box, Meilisearch ensures high performance, fast response times, and excellent relevancy without requiring extensive customization or technical expertise.

For organizations that value open-source solutions, Meilisearch is particularly appealing. It benefits from active community contributions and maintenance, fostering a collaborative environment that accelerates innovation. This allows businesses to adapt and extend the search engine according to their specific requirements, providing greater flexibility and control over their search infrastructure.

The open-source model also ensures the search engine remains aligned with user needs, adding a layer of transparency and flexibility. As a result, customers gain better confidence in their ability to shape the product and steer it in the direction they need, enhancing their overall control and adaptability.

Regular updates every two months ensure that Meilisearch users can benefit from the latest advancements and enhancements, keeping the search engine up-to-date with evolving needs and technologies. This continuous improvement cycle makes Meilisearch a strong contender for businesses looking for a dynamic and easy-to-use search solution.

In summary, choose Meilisearch over Algolia if you need a flexible, developer-friendly search engine with transparent pricing and the benefits of an open-source community. Meilisearch’s focus on simplicity, high performance, and continuous innovation makes it a compelling option for businesses of all sizes.

Learn more about what Meilisearch can bring to your business.


Both Algolia and Meilisearch offer robust search solutions with a developer-friendly experience and high performance.

Algolia is particularly strong in the e-commerce space, offering advanced analytics and features tailored to that use case. Its extensive feature set and flexible scalability options make it a great choice for larger enterprises looking for comprehensive search capabilities.

Meilisearch excels with its advanced AI capabilities, fast development cycle, and transparent pricing, making it an excellent choice for tech teams and app builders who want to be efficient and achieve fast ROI while benefiting from a secure, scalable search solution.

If you're considering making the switch, check out our Migrating from Algolia to Meilisearch guide for a smooth transition.

You can see Meilisearch in action using this online demo. Also, feel free to check out its public roadmap and GitHub community to see what new and upcoming features you can look forward to.