Configuring Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013

There are so many improvements related to enterprise search in SharePoint 2013. We will see those soon in coming posts.

In this post you will learn how to configure enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 to provide excellent new SharePoint search features available in the latest version of SharePoint in your SharePoint site.

You have to perform below steps to configure search in SharePoint 2013.

  • Create manage accounts required for search
  • Create search service application.
  • Configure Search service application.
  • Create Content Source - In this we will see what is Continuous crawling.
  • Create Search center.
  • New Improvements in Search.

You can download the complete search configuration guide by clicking on the image below.

As usual we will start our steps from the central administration screen.

Create managed accounts:

Before creating  and configuring the required search service application, we have to create the accounts which we use for enterprise search. Here I have an account in AD called SP_search. Now i will add this account as managed account.

To do that go to central administration page and click on security.

Search-Cinfigure Service accounts

Click on Configure Managed accounts under general security. It will open below Figure : Registered Managed Account. Please enter the Username, Password. If you want to set the automatic password change click on the check box against the "Enable automatic password change" otherwise leave as it is and click ok. The account will get added to the list of managed accounts.


Figure:Registered Managed Account

Create search service application:

Click on "Manage Service Applications" under Application Management from central administration.

Click on search service application from new service application list.


Figure: Create Search service application.

Scroll down a little bit from the "Create New Search Service Application" popup screen, then Select the create a new application pool and enter the application pool name as "SP-Search Admin Web Service"and select the account as "spsearch". Please see the below Figure.


Scroll down a little bit more from the popup screen, then Select the create a new application pool and enter the application pool name as "SP-Search Query and Site Settings Web" and select the security account as "spsearch".


You have entered all the required values to create the search service application, hit the OK button.

It will show the below dialog box "Please wait while your changes are processed for search service application".


It will the show the below screen as the final status of completion of creating the search service application application. Please see the below Figure.


To verify it you can go and check under the "Manage Service Applications" section you will have newly created "Search Service Application".


Configure search service application:

Click on Search Service Application from the above figure to see the administration page details of search.

It will display the below figures.

By selecting various parameters under system status of search administration you can configure search.

You can observe that the "default Content access account" here is "SPSearch".  Please see the below screen.


Second half of the search administration and main one is Search Application Topology. Please see the below screen there are four databases created by creation of Search service application.

  • Administration database
  • Analytics Reporting Database
  • Crawl Database
  • Link Database

In SharePoint 2013 Analytics services also included in the search.  As I said before there are lots of changes in Search in 2013, we will cover each one of them.


want my guide to  “Configure Enterprise Search”? It’s a free download you can get by clicking the button below.  It’s a great asset to print out and keep handy whenever you configure search in your project.

Create Content Source:

We have created search service application successfully. Now its time to create content source to get the desired content show to the user.


Go to search central administration and click on content sources under Crawling section.


From the Figure: Content Sources,  you can observe that by default it will create Local SharePoint sites content sources, but in the real world we will create individual content source for each web application. So lets create a content source.

To create it click on "New Content Source" from the Figure:Content Sources.

Enter the details shown in the below figures for

Name: SharePoint-Journey

Select the type of content to be crawled: SharePoint sites

Type Start address below :


Leave the remaining setting by default shown in the below Figure.


Crawl schedules:

Leave Enable Continuous Crawl. Create Incremental Crawl and Full Crawl based on your requirement.

Please see the below Figures: Full Crawl schedule and Incremental Crawl schedules.

Schedule Full Crawl

Figure:Full Crawl schedule-Once in a week i.e. on Saturday at 12:00 AM.

Schedule Incremental Crawl

Figure:Incremental Crawl schedule -For every 5 hours.

After configuring both schedules click ok. New content source "SharePoint-Journey" will get added to a list of content sources. For first time if you add a content source by default Full crawl it get initiate automatically.

Enable Continuous Crawls:

One of new features that got added in search in SharePoint 2013 is continuous crawl. In the previous versions of SharePoint whenever users upload the content they have to wait till the next incremental to complete to see the contents in search, but now it's no more an issue. Once the contents get uploaded into SharePoint details will get displayed as early as possible with this setting. 

If you observe the below Figure: Enable Continuous Crawl, while creating the content source the incremental crawl will get disabled. This itself says that you don't require the incremental crawl because it has been set to "Enable Continuous Crawl".

But to enable it you should have enough Infrastructure in place so that performance will get affected.

Continuous Crawl

One more thing to note here  is if you set continuous crawl, while creating the content source for the first time it will show the crawl status as continuous crawl by default.

Please see the below Figure.

Disable Continuous Crawl

Figure:Disable Continuous Crawl.

Now we have created content source and have seen what is the purpose of Continuous crawl.

The next step is creating the search center where users will search the content that is required for them.

Create search center:

Basic search center:

To create the basic search center go to create site collections from the central administration screen under Application management.

Please check the Create sitecollection post for more information on how to create a site collection in SharePoint 2013.

Basic search Center

Figure:Basic Search Center

While creating the site collection Please select "Basic Search Center" from the Enterprise .Click ok. 

It will create a Basic search center.

Enterprise search center:

To Create Enterprise Search Center please use the same approach as a basic search center but we have to select "Enterprise Search Center" site template.

Enterprise Search Center

Figure:Enterprise Search Center

New improvements in search results page:

You have everything ready for search lets start searching. Open the Enterprise Search center site collection.

New Improvements in Search results page are:

See the below Figure where you have different options to search like.

  • Everything
  • People
  • Conversations
  • Videos
  • Reports
Search Results

Below one is a basic search site, these options will be available in enterprise search as well. You can observe that under Result Type:1 you can search based on document type like PDF, web page, word etc.

Next one is based on Author:2 who created the document.

Third one is based on Modified date 3: where you can change the search results based on date can be changed using slider.

The options for slider are one year ago, one month ago, one week ago.

Search Results

Once you select the document from the search results small popup opens where you can see

  • Document name
  • Document type
  • Last modified
  • Contributor

There are three more options to Open, send via email and View library to see the details of the library where the document or item stored.

Search Results

No more PDF Ifilters:

You don't need to install the PDF Ifilter and make a lot of settings to search PDF documents in SharePoint 2013.

That will take care by SharePoint 2013 now, Please see above Figure, where i have uploaded a PDF document and it displayed for users without doing any configuration or settings.


We have created the Search service application, created the accounts required to create it and we have seen how search administration page looks and what are the new changes in Search topology. Then we created the Content source, while creating it we have seen new option called "Enable Continuous crawl", then we created the Search center and what are the new changes in search results page.

Hope this post is useful to start the basic search configuration for your farm environment.

Click the image below to download it so that you don’t forget any of the steps in this post.

Enjoy the SharePoint search features provided in SharePoint 2013.

› Configuring Enterprise Search

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About Author

Devendra Velegandla is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award (2014-2019) for Office Apps and Services, Office Servers and Services MVP and  SharePoint Server. He received the MCC award for his contributions in Microsoft MSDN/TechNet forums. He loves sharing articles, videos, and tutorial on SharePoint and Office 365.