Max_children is only supported on top level of nested sort – How to solve this Elasticsearch error

Opster Team

March-22, Version: 1.7-8.0

Before you begin reading this guide, we recommend you try running the Elasticsearch Error Check-Up which analyzes 2 JSON files to detect many configuration errors.

To easily locate the root cause and resolve this issue try AutoOps for Elasticsearch & OpenSearch. It diagnoses problems by analyzing hundreds of metrics collected by a lightweight agent and offers guidance for resolving them.

This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” max_children is only supported on top level of nested sort ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: search, sort.

Log Context

Log “max_children is only supported on top level of nested sort”classname  is We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

* Throws an exception if max children is not located at top level nested sort.
 static void validateMaxChildrenExistOnlyInTopLevelNestedSort(SearchExecutionContext context; NestedSortBuilder nestedSort) {
 for (NestedSortBuilder child = nestedSort.getNestedSort(); child != null; child = child.getNestedSort()) {
 if (child.getMaxChildren() != Integer.MAX_VALUE) {
 throw new QueryShardException(context; "max_children is only supported on top level of nested sort");


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