Elasticsearch Elasticsearch Curl Delete

By Opster Team

Updated: May 23, 2023

| 2 min read

In addition to reading this guide, we recommend you run the Elasticsearch Health Check-Up. It will detect issues and improve your Elasticsearch performance by analyzing your shard sizes, threadpools, memory, snapshots, disk watermarks and more.

The Elasticsearch Check-Up is free and requires no installation.

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Elasticsearch cURL Delete: Best Practices and Examples


Deleting documents and indices in Elasticsearch is an essential part of managing your data. This article will focus on using cURL, a command-line tool, to perform delete operations in Elasticsearch. We will discuss best practices, provide examples, and cover potential issues that may arise during the process.

1. Deleting a Document

To delete a specific document, use the DELETE request followed by the index, type (if using Elasticsearch 6.x or earlier), and document ID. Here’s an example:

curl -X DELETE "http://localhost:9200/my_index/_doc/1"

Replace `my_index` with the name of your index and `1` with the document ID you want to delete.

2. Deleting Multiple Documents

To delete multiple documents that match a specific query, use the Delete By Query API. Here’s an example:

curl -X POST "http://localhost:9200/my_index/_delete_by_query" -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d'
"query": {
"match": {
"field_name": "value"

Replace `my_index` with the name of your index, `field_name` with the field you want to match, and `value` with the value you want to filter by.

3. Deleting an Index

To delete an entire index, use the DELETE request followed by the index name. Here’s an example:

curl -X DELETE "http://localhost:9200/my_index"

Replace `my_index` with the name of the index you want to delete.

4. Deleting All Indices

To delete all indices, use the DELETE request followed by a wildcard `_all`. Here’s an example:

curl -X DELETE "http://localhost:9200/_all"

Warning: This operation will delete all indices in your Elasticsearch cluster. Use with caution.

5. Best Practices

  • Always backup your data before performing delete operations.
  • Use aliases to switch between indices when performing delete operations to minimize downtime.
  • Monitor the progress of delete operations using the Task Management API.
  • Consider using the Delete By Query API with a timeout parameter to avoid long-running delete operations.

6. Potential Issues

  • Deleted documents are not immediately removed from disk. Elasticsearch marks them as deleted and removes them during the next segment merge.
  • Deleting large numbers of documents can cause performance issues. Consider using the Delete By Query API with a smaller batch size and the `wait_for_completion` parameter set to `false` to mitigate this issue.
  • Be cautious when using wildcards in delete operations, as they can unintentionally delete important data.


In conclusion, using cURL to perform delete operations in Elasticsearch is a powerful method to manage your data. By following best practices and being aware of potential issues, you can ensure that your delete operations are efficient and safe.

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