Elasticsearch Elasticsearch Copy Index: A Comprehensive Guide

By Opster Team

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

| 2 min read


When working with Elasticsearch, there are situations where you may need to copy an index, such as creating a backup, migrating data, or testing changes in a separate environment. In this article, we will discuss different methods to copy an index in Elasticsearch, along with their advantages and potential pitfalls.

Method 1: Reindex API

The Reindex API is a powerful tool that allows you to copy documents from one index to another. It can also be used to modify the documents during the copy process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the Reindex API:

1. Prepare the destination index: Before copying the data, you need to create the destination index with the desired settings and mappings. You can use the Create Index API for this purpose. If you want to use the same settings and mappings as the source index, you can retrieve them using the Get Index API and then apply them to the new index.

2. Use the Reindex API: To copy the data from the source index to the destination index, use the following Reindex API request:

POST /_reindex?wait_for_completion=false
  "source": {
    "index": "source_index"
  "dest": {
    "index": "destination_index"

Replace `source_index` and `destination_index` with the appropriate index names.

3. Monitor the progress: The Reindex API is an asynchronous operation, and you can monitor its progress using the Task Management API. When specifying `wait_for_completion=false`, the Reindex API call will return immediately and the response will include a task ID, which you can use to check the status of the operation:

GET /_tasks/<task_id>

Replace `<task_id>` with the actual task ID from the Reindex API response.

Method 2: Snapshot and Restore

Another method to copy an index in Elasticsearch is by using the Snapshot and Restore functionality. This method is particularly useful when you need to copy an index across clusters or create a backup. Here’s how to use the Snapshot and Restore method:

1. Register a repository: First, you need to register a shared file system repository where the snapshots will be stored. Use the following request to create a repository:

PUT /_snapshot/my_repository
  "type": "fs",
  "settings": {
    "location": "/path/to/shared/directory"

Replace `/path/to/shared/directory` with the actual path to the shared directory. Note that you also need to configure the `path.repo` setting in the `elasticsearch.yml` configuration file with the same value:

path.repo: "/path/to/shared/directory"

2. Create a snapshot: To create a snapshot of the source index, use the following request:

PUT /_snapshot/my_repository/my_snapshot
  "indices": "source_index"

Replace `source_index` with the name of the index you want to copy.

3. Restore the snapshot: To restore the snapshot to a new index, use the following request:

POST /_snapshot/my_repository/my_snapshot/_restore
  "indices": "source_index",
  "rename_pattern": "source_index",
  "rename_replacement": "destination_index"

Replace `source_index` and `destination_index` with the appropriate index names.

4. Monitor the progress: Similar to the Reindex API, the restore operation is asynchronous, and you can monitor its progress using the Task Management API.

Potential Pitfalls and Considerations

When copying an index in Elasticsearch, keep the following points in mind:

1. Data consistency: Ensure that no ongoing write operations are happening on the source index during the copy process. Otherwise, you may end up with inconsistent data in the destination index.

2. Performance impact: Both Reindex and Snapshot/Restore operations can be resource-intensive. Monitor your cluster’s performance during the process and consider throttling the operations if necessary.

3. Aliases and templates: When copying an index, remember that index aliases and index templates are not automatically copied. You may need to recreate them manually for the destination index.

4. Security considerations: If you’re using Elasticsearch security features, ensure that you have the necessary permissions to perform the copy operations, i.e. that the user performing the operations has the right to read from the source index and write to the destination index.


In conclusion, Elasticsearch provides multiple methods to copy an index, each with its own advantages and use cases. By understanding the Reindex API and Snapshot and Restore functionality, you can choose the most suitable method for your specific requirements and ensure a smooth and efficient index copying process.