Sphider-plus version 4.2021c - The PHP Search Engine

All required information.

[ Installation Summary ]


Sphider-plus requires PHP 5.3 - 8.x (proven up to version 8.0.1) with installed GD, mbstring, PECL and zlib libraries. Additionally, if RAR compressed files should be indexed, the RAR extension is required.
Also a MySQL (version 5.3+) database or MariaDB (proven up to version 10.4.17) must be available.

The following PHP and Apache settings should be adjusted on the server before installing Sphider-plus

allow_url_fopen :            On

allow_url_include :          On

PHP safe_mode :           Off     (deprected since PHP5.4)

Webserver mod_rewrite : On

display_errors :              On

register_globals :           Off     (deprected since PHP5.4)

error_reporting :            E_ALL & ~E_DEPRECATED & ~E_WARNING & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_STRICT

memory_limit :             256M (minimum)

AlllowOverride :             All    (to be found in apache sub folder .../conf/httpd.ini)

Additional note: The .htaccess files supplied with Sphider-plus may cause problems on some servers and might need to be disabled by renaming them.

In order to enable correct function of Sphider-plus, please follow the instructions as described below.
Additional (but important) note:

            Please do not edit/modify any of the Sphider-plus scripts and files during first installation.

Everything must be performed by means of the admin backend. There are several self tests implemented, which should not be bypassed by altering the scripts. Because as long as the admin interfaces shows error messages and warnings, later index procedures and the search algorithm may fail.


[ Installation of version 4.2021c ]

New installation

In order to get Sphider-plus running, perform the following steps:

1. Unzip the downloaded file, and upload all folders and files to the server, for example to:


2. Create at minimum one database as part of the MySQL server, which will hold the Sphider-plus data tables. Collation of the SQL server connection must be defined to utf8mb4_unicode_ci already before creating any database.

In order to get full UNICODE support, the collation of Sphider-plus databases also must be set to utf8mb4_unicode_ci, which is available for MySQL server version 5.5.3+

Creation of this database needs to be done outside of the Sphider-plus scripts, before entering into the admin backend the first time. For example with a tool like phpMyAdmin, PLESK, or something similar.

During this step you already define

- Name of database

- Username

- Password

- Database host

which will be required later on in step 5 of the installation process. Please take in mind that Sphider-plus obligatory requires a password for database access. Otherwise the database will not be usable for Sphider-plus. Additionally take care that your password should not contain special characters, because some MySQL versions do not process them. Sometimes the 'Database host' is also called 'Server' or 'Database server', like in the tool phpMyAdmin.

3. Open the Admin interface with your browser by addressing the Admin with something like:


First access to the admin backend is granted without login. Later access to the admin backend will only be granted after login. Use admin as user name and also as password.

On first login, there will be several warning messages, because no database is allocated to Sphider-plus. By means of a self test performed each time the Admin is called, also write permission to sub folders, converter availability, etc. are checked. Eventually it might become necessary to follow some warning messages like:

chmod 777 the folder …/admin/tmp/

Additional note: Admin backend login may fail for several server configurations. Please notice the FAQ chapter for several examples how to fix such an issue.

4. Open the sub-menu 'Database' and select 'Configure'. Now you will need to log-in for the database management. Use 'admin' as user name and password. Afterwards, only the menu selection will be presented again. Select 'Configure' again to enter.

5. Entering the first time into this section, there will be again several warning messages. At minimum one database has to be declared for:

Name of database

User name


Database host

Prefix for tables

as defined before in step2 externally, when you created the database. Additionally you need to add a free selectable name as table_prefix. This table prefix is obligatory. A blank character as prefix is not enough. Minimum length of the prefix must be at least 4 characters.

Pressing the 'Save' button will assign Sphider-plus to these database definitions. Never the less, the warning message 'Tables are not installed for database x' will remain in the database settings overview.

Now you should get the first (green) message like

Database 1 settings are okay.
Tables are not installed for database 1

All further steps for installing the tables for database1 and activating the database for Admin, Search User and Suggest User remain blocked, until you do not get this part of step 5 to work.

The 'Install all tables for database x' is an independent procedure, which has to be invoked by the Admin after the database has been allocated.

If you don't get running this step 5, there is no database connection available for Sphider-plus containing the name of database, user name, password and database host.

If the application should work with only one database, the settings for the non-required databases may remain blank. A corresponding message will be displayed:

Mysql server for database 2 is not available!

Trying to reconnect to database 2 . . .

Cannot connect to this database.

Never mind if you don't need it.

Installation of multiple databases is described in documentation chapter 'Multiple database support'

6. If only one database should be activated, this step 6 could be skipped.

Next step to get Sphider-plus to work will be the activation of the database. There are three settings available in the 'Activate / Disable' section:

- Select active database for Admin

- Select active database for 'Search' user

- Select active database for 'Suggest URL' user

Each setting allows activating of one database. So, if multiple databases are configured, an independent use of databases is enabled for 'Admin', 'Search' User and 'Suggest URL' user.

7. Turn back to the standard Admin interface by selecting 'Sites' as one of the available menu selections. Again a warning is presented, because up to now no URL was entered, which could be indexed. A site URL could be entered by selecting one of the three possibilities:

- Add site

- Import URL list

- Index

At the bottom of 'Sites' view a database overview is presented like:

Database 1 with table prefix 'search1_' contains:

2 sites + 9 page links + 0 categories + 417 keywords + 13 media links

8. In order to adopt the Sphider-plus scripts to the individual paths (addressing) of your server, in admin backend open the menu 'Settings' and press any 'Save' button. This will individualize your personal configuration file.

9. As final step of the installation, modify user name and password for Admin log-in, as well as for the database 'Configuration' menu. In order to do so, in admin backend open the menu 'Settings' and find the sub menu 'Authentication for admin and database configuration'. First, you will be asked for the currently valid values, which are all set to 'admin' as per default download of the Sphider-plus scripts. Afterwards you may define new values for your individual usage.

10. Sphider-plus is ready to index the first site now, using the default settings as delivered by download. In order to individualize the settings, the submenu 'Settings' will offer more than 100 options to be defined.


If you activate the IDS (Intrusion Detection System) as one of the options in admin backend, be aware that a 'PHPSESSID' Cookie will be added to users search form.


Updating from 3.x to 3.y

No longer supported


Updating from 4.x to 4.y

4.2021a :

In order to become compatible with PHP 8.x, nearly all scripts have been modified. As also database has been altered, Spider plus needs to be installed completely new for full functionality of this release.

Please perform a fresh installation like described in chapter 'New Installation'.

4.2021b :

In order to update to this version please follow these short instructions:

Close all admin windows of your Sphider-plus installation and copy the scripts:




to any folder outside of your Sphider-plus installation.

Now copy all the new Sphider-plus scripts as per download over the existing scripts of your former v.4 version and then restore your saved files back into the new Sphider-plus installation. So you will keep the access to your database, the Admin access authorization.

Be aware that the file 'userstyle.css' in all templates has been altered in this new Sphider-plus version.

The additional line is something like:

.submitBox { background: #fff; text-align: center; width:50%; border:1px solid #070; border-radius: 10px; box-shadow: 10px 10px 3px #777; }

Add this line to your userstyle.css and modify it for your individual requirements.

Afterwards obligatory enter into the admin backend => Settings menu and press any of the 'Save' buttons. So you will get access to the new options of this version.

Now you will have to personalize the 'Settings' menu for your individual requirement again.

4.2021c :

In order to update to this version please follow the instructions as defined for version 4.2021b.


The Sphider-plus honeybee