Malformed content must start with an object – How to solve this Elasticsearch exception

Opster Team

August-23, Version: 6.8-8.9

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Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch receives a request body that doesn’t start with an object. This usually happens when the JSON data is not properly formatted. To resolve this issue, ensure that your JSON data starts with an object, i.e., it should start with ‘{‘ and end with ‘}’. Also, validate your JSON data for any syntax errors using a JSON validator. If you’re using a file as input, ensure that it contains valid JSON data.

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This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” Malformed content; must start with an object ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: index.

Log Context

Log “Malformed content; must start with an object” class name is We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

 }  private static void throwNoStartOnObject() {
 throw new DocumentParsingException(XContentLocation.UNKNOWN; "Malformed content; must start with an object");
 }  private static void validateEnd(XContentParser parser) throws IOException {
 XContentParser.Token token;// only check for end of tokens if we created the parser here
 // try to parse the next token; this should be null if the object is ended properly


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