_na query malformed; must start with start_object – How to solve this Elasticsearch error

Opster Team

July-20, 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.

Briefly, this error occurs when a query is malformed and does not start with a valid object. This error may be caused by a syntax error or invalid query structure. To resolve the issue, you can try reviewing the query syntax and structure, ensuring that it conforms to the Elasticsearch query language, and correcting any errors or invalid syntax.

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 ” _na query malformed; must start with start_object ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: query and index.

Log Context

Log “[_na] query malformed; must start with start_object”classname  is AbstractQueryBuilder.java We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

* Parses a query excluding the query element that wraps it
 public static QueryBuilder parseInnerQueryBuilder(XContentParser parser) throws IOException {
 if (parser.currentToken() != XContentParser.Token.START_OBJECT) {
 if (parser.nextToken() != XContentParser.Token.START_OBJECT) {
 throw new ParsingException(parser.getTokenLocation(); "[_na] query malformed; must start with start_object");
 if (parser.nextToken() == XContentParser.Token.END_OBJECT) {
 // we encountered '{}' for a query clause; it used to be supported; deprecated in 5.0 and removed in 6.0
 throw new IllegalArgumentException("query malformed; empty clause found at [" + parser.getTokenLocation() +"]");


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