Elasticsearch Elasticsearch License Expired – How to Handle Expired Elasticsearch Licenses

By Opster Expert Team - April 2023

Updated: Apr 4, 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.

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

Aside from learning about Elasticsearch data frame analytics, we recommend you try AutoOps for Elasticsearch. AutoOps prevents & resolves issues in your deployment, cuts-down administration time and reduces hardware costs.

Quick links

Elasticsearch License Introduction

When using Elasticsearch, a popular search and analytics engine, one of the key issues to consider is its license. Elasticsearch is available under two types of license: an open-source Apache 2.0 license and a commercial license with additional features, known as X-Pack. 

While the Apache 2.0 license is free and open-source, the commercial license comes with a cost, which allows users to access advanced features such as alerting, machine learning, security, and much more.

After version 7.10.2, Elasticsearch moved from Apache 2.0 license to Elastic license 2.0.

How to handle expired licenses

But what happens when your Elasticsearch license expires? The answer to this question depends on the type of license you are using. 

If you are using the open-source Apache 2.0 license (i.e., you are using version 7.10.2 or earlier), then you don’t have to worry about expiration. This license does not expire and can be used indefinitely. However, if you are using the Elasticsearch commercial license, then there are some things that you need to be aware of.

Firstly, it is important to note that Elasticsearch will not stop working if your license expires. You will still be able to perform all data operations such as read and write. However, the paid feature operations will be blocked, which means you won’t be able to access the advanced features that come with the commercial license.

You can use the following API to see the information about your license:

GET /_license

The output will be like the following:

  "license" : {
    "status" : "active",
    "uid" : "cbff45e7-c553-41f7-ae4f-9205eabd80xx",
    "type" : "trial",
    "issue_date" : "2025-10-20T22:05:12.332Z",
    "issue_date_in_millis" : 1540073112332,
    "expiry_date" : "2025-11-19T22:05:12.332Z",
    "expiry_date_in_millis" : 1542665112332,
    "max_nodes" : 1000,
    "max_resource_units" : null,
    "issued_to" : "test",
    "issuer" : "elasticsearch",
    "Start_date_in_millis" : -1

You can check the license type at the following link: https://www.elastic.co/subscriptions

If your license expired and you don’t plan to continue using the paid features, you can remove/update the old license using the following API calls:

curl -u elastic -XPOST "http://localhost:9200/_xpack/license/start_basic"
curl -u elastic -XDELETE "http://localhost:9200/_license"

If you don’t renew the commercial Elasticsearch license, here are some of the features that you will lose:

  • Watcher: PUT/GET watch APIs will be disabled but the DELETE watch API will continue to work. Watcher will continue to execute and write the history, but the actions of the watches will not execute.
  • Graph: Graph explore APIs will be disabled.
  • Searchable snapshots will be disabled.
  • Machine learning features will be disabled.

You can check and compare the differences between the basic and the paid features.

If you attempt to access a feature that is blocked because your license expired, you will receive an error message that looks like this:

  "error": {
    "root_cause": [
        "type": "security_exception",
        "reason": "current license is non-compliant for [security]",
        "license.expired.feature": "security"
    "type": "security_exception",
    "reason": "current license is non-compliant for [security]",
    "license.expired.feature": "security"
  "status": 403


In conclusion, Elasticsearch will continue to work even if your license expires, but the paid features will be blocked. 

If you want to continue using the paid features, you can buy a new license and update it using the API calls:

PUT _license

Or you can use Stack Management > License Management in Kibana UI. 

If you don’t want to continue using the paid features, you don’t need to do anything. But you can move to the basic license by deleting the old license. That will also help you to get rid of alerts about license expiration.

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