Elasticsearch Mapping

By Opster Team

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

| 2 min read

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Before you dig into the details of this guide, have you tried asking OpsGPT? You’ll receive concise answers that will help streamline your Elasticsearch/OpenSearch operations. Try OpsGPT.

To improve your mapping in Elasticsearch, we recommend you run the Template Optimizer. The Template Optimizer will help you optimize your Elasticsearch templates to improve your cluster’s configuration and performance.

You can also try for free AutoOps for Elasticsearch. It diagnoses problems in your deployment by analyzing hundreds of metrics collected by a lightweight agent and offers guidance for resolving them.


What is mapping in Elasticsearch?

Mapping is similar to database schemas that define the properties of each field in the index. These properties may contain the data type of each field and how fields are going to be tokenized and indexed. In addition, the mapping may also contain various advanced level properties for each field to define the options exposed by Lucene and Elasticsearch.

You can create a mapping of an index using the _mappings REST endpoint. The very first time Elasticsearch finds a new field whose mapping is not pre-defined inside the index, it automatically tries to guess the data type and analyzer of that field and set its default value. For example, if you index an integer field without pre-defining the mapping, Elasticsearch sets the mapping of that field as long.


Create an index with predefined mapping:

PUT /my_index?pretty
  "settings": {
    "number_of_shards": 1
  "mappings": {
    "properties": {
      "name": {
        "type": "text"
      "age": {
        "type": "integer"

Create mapping in an existing index:

PUT /my_index/_mapping?pretty
  "properties": {
    "email": {
      "type": "keyword"

View the mapping of an existing index:

GET my_index/_mapping?pretty

View the mapping of an existing field:

GET /my_index/_mapping/field/name?pretty


  • It is not possible to update the mapping of an existing field. If the mapping is set to the wrong type, re-creating the index with updated mapping and re-indexing is the only option available.
  • In version 7.0, Elasticsearch has deprecated the document type and the default document type is set to _doc. In future versions of Elasticsearch, the document type will be removed completely.

How to optimize your Elasticsearch mapping to reduce costs

Watch the video below to learn how to save money on your deployment by optimizing your mapping.

Common problems

  • The most common problem in Elasticsearch is incorrectly defined mapping which limits the functionality of the field. For example, if the data type of a string field is set as text, you cannot use that field for aggregations, sorting or exact match filters. Similarly, if a string field is dynamically indexed without predefined mapping, Elasticsearch automatically creates two fields internally. One as a text type for full-text search and another as keyword type, which in most cases is a waste of space. 
  • Elasticsearch automatically creates an _all field inside the mapping and copies values of each field of a document inside the _all field. This field is used to search text without specifying a field name. Make sure to disable the _all field in production environments to avoid wasting space. Please note that support for the _all field has been removed in version 7.0.
  • In versions lower than 5.0, it was possible to create multiple document types inside an index, similar to creating multiple tables inside a database. In those versions, there were higher chances of getting data types conflicts across different document types if they contained the same field name with different data types. 
  • The mapping of each index is part of the cluster state and is managed by master nodes. If the mapping is too big, meaning there are thousands of fields in the index, the cluster state grows too large to be handled and creates the issue of mapping explosion, resulting in the slowness of the cluster.

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Related log errors to this ES concept

Can t send mapping refresh for no master known
Cannot parse the mapping for index
Failed to update results mapping
The security index mapping is for version but API Key metadata requires
Failed to deduce mapping for fall back to dynamic mapping
Failed to deduce mapping for fall back to keyword
Failed to deduce mapping for targetFieldName fall back to dynamic mapping
Failed to deduce mapping for targetFieldName fall back to keyword
Failed to read parse mapping
Error during mapping check failing recovery
Failed to process mapping updates
Failed to refresh-mapping in cluster state types

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