This thread has been very interesting to follow. But again most of the discussion is for the nerds that is members of this forum, not for all of the ones that is merchants only, not tech freaks.
Search is really something a person can geek out on. It’s always interested me because good search makes a system/store/website a joy to use while slow or non-functional search leads to immense frustration, at least for me.
What shoud they choose, They ofc want a very good system. Not all of them will go to Shopify or Bigcommerce or whatever, its very expensive.
I’m definitely not going with a packaged system. They can be a good fit for some people but it’s not for me.
So for them it reall does not matter, Algolia is there quite easy to setup but can cost a lot. But that is really the same for Elastic. If you want to use the Cloudservice they provide, it quite quickly get very high priced.
Algolia has a free option that should be fine for stores with 1000 to 2000 items as long a they aren’t too busy with visitors. I don’t know if they limit features or performance but they do force a logo to be displayed on your site which is not ideal.
Elasticsearch also doesn’t have to be expensive. For a similarly sized store it shouldn’t be a problem to run Elasticsearch on a smallish VPS together with the web and db servers. If you site gets busier or your catalog grows then something else will need to be done but a separate small VPS should be enough for even a relatively large (~100,000 products) store.
I don’t know about other hosts but I know that Cloudways offers Elasticsearch on their plans. Just check a box to turn it on, no configuration necessary.
Why is it so? Computer power and bandwidth is cheap nowadays. I would like to see a very good TB module that can connect to a good priced Elastic provider. Not one that charge hundreds and hundreds per month. It is fully possible, someone just have to start
Most of the hosted ES cloud providers are focused on larger installations and are priced to match. They also tend to be on AWS which is expensive compared to many cloud hosts.
I think that with 30bz being open source it would be nice if the standard “advanced fast search” module used an open source search engine, but unfortunately I don’t have the skill to code the search module myself.