Elasticsearch Understanding the Process and Implications of Closing an Index in Elasticsearch

By Opster Team

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

| 2 min read


In the world of Elasticsearch, managing indices is a crucial aspect of maintaining optimal performance and resource utilization. One such management operation is the closing of an index. This article delves into the process of closing an index, its implications, and the scenarios where it might be beneficial. If you want to learn about closing indices – how to solve related issues, check out this guide. 

The Process of Closing an Index

Closing an index in Elasticsearch is a straightforward process. It involves using the Close Index API, which allows you to close one or more indices through a single API call. Here’s a simple example:

POST /my_index/_close

In this example, `my_index` is the name of the index you want to close. The POST request will initiate the process of closing the index.

Implications of Closing an Index

When an index is closed, it essentially becomes dormant. It’s still present in the cluster state, but it doesn’t consume significant resources. Here are some key points to understand about closed indices:

  1. Resource Utilization: A closed index does not consume computing resources, such as CPU and memory. However, it still occupies disk space as the data within the index remains intact.
  1. Data Accessibility: Data within a closed index is not accessible for read or write operations. Any attempt to query or modify the data will result in an error.
  1. State Preservation: The settings, mappings, and other configurations of a closed index are preserved. When the index is reopened, it retains its previous state.
  1. Cluster State Size: While a closed index reduces resource utilization, it still contributes to the cluster state size. If you have a large number of closed indices, it can lead to a large cluster state, which may impact the performance of the cluster.
  2. Operational Requirement: Some features require an index to be closed in order to be carried out. For instance, adding or modifying text analyzers can only be done on a closed index.

When to Close an Index

Closing an index can be beneficial in certain scenarios:

  1. Resource Optimization: If an index is not actively being used but might be needed in the future, closing it can help optimize resource usage.
  1. Data Archival: For indices that contain historical data not frequently accessed, closing them can be a good strategy. They can be reopened when the data is needed.
  1. Temporary Suspension: If an index is causing issues, such as performance degradation, it can be temporarily closed for troubleshooting.

Reopening a Closed Index

A closed index can be reopened using the Open Index API. Here’s an example:

POST /my_index/_open

In this example, `my_index` is the name of the index you want to reopen. The POST request will initiate the process of reopening the index.


Closing an index in Elasticsearch is a powerful tool for managing resources and optimizing cluster performance. However, it’s essential to understand its implications and use it judiciously. Always ensure that the data within the index is not needed for immediate access before deciding to close it.

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