ElasticSearch free admin GUI solutions

ElasticSearch is basically not a GUI platform and all communication with the cluster is done using JSON over HTTP. This is not very convenient in everyday use, since JSON tends to be hard to read and write in larger documents.

ElasticSearch itself provides Kibana as a visualization tool that can provide administration, monitoring and ad-hoc querying through the use of its different plugins such as Marvel and sense. However, Kibana is a commercial tool with a limited trial period. If you run a large production cluster and you can afford it, Kibana is a good choice. It is also unique by its visualization capabilities.

But if you want a free alternative there are few nice choices. All of them come in several forms like a plugin, a standalone installation and a hosted service. I prefer the plugin option so that’s the type of installation I described here. Let’s start:

Elastic HQ: This my favorite web UI for Elastic search. With elastic HQ you can see your cluster status, browse indices, run queries, graphically view cluster and node metrics and more. I really like its look and think it’s more mature, sleek and polished then the others in this list.

To install it as a plugin, just add the ElasticSearch bin directory to PATH and run this:

plugin install royrusso/elasticsearch-HQ

After that, you can access it at


Here are some screenshots:

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View full size image

Elasticsearch GUI: This is also a very good and powerful frontend for Elasticsearch. It is a little less graphically polished then HQ, but offers many options that cover most of the cluster administration and usage.

To install it, first add the Elasticsearch bin directory to your PATH, then run

plugin install jettro/elasticsearch-gui

Access it at

http://<your host>:9200/_plugin/gui

Here is a screenshot:

View full size image

Head : Head is also a nice graphic frontend for ElasticSearch. Here you can run queries, watch cluster, node and index status and more. However, its look and feel is basic and most of the monitoring information is not really visualized but just shows the original JSON response.

To install it make sure first that the ElasticSearch bin path is included in your PATH, then run

plugin install mobz/elasticsearch-head

Then you can access it at

http://<your host>:9200/_plugin/head

Here is a screenshot:

View full size image

Kopf: This is another web UI for ElasticSearch. It is good-looking and gives an overview of the cluster, along with the ability to do some actions in the cluster, node and index levels. It lacks the ability to run queries and the monitoring data isn’t shown as graphs or other sophisticated visualization but as plain JSON.

Install it with this statement:

plugin install lmenezes/elasticsearch-kopf

And access it at

http://<your host>:9200/_plugin/kopf

This is how it looks like:

View full size image

Those screenshots are just for general impression, you should install those plugins, wonder around in them and experiment in order to see their full capabilities.

There are other tools like BigDesk, SegmentSpy and Whatson but I could not get them to work properly. Some did not install properly, some had errors, some looked really messed in my browser. I do not know if they are broken or if it’s a problem with my browser or computer, but I could not see them in action. You can try them and maybe you will be more lucky.

— Added on 23-Jan-2017 —

This post was correct at the time of writing, when latest Elasticseacrh version was 2.4.

All the mentioned plugins were deployed inside Elasticsearch and used it as a web server to display their user interface. Unfortunately, this feature was removed from the new Elasticsearch 5.0 so this kind of installation no longer works in the latest versions.

Some plugins, like Elastichq, suggests also a standalone installation, which should work also with Elastiscearch 5.0 (look at the plugin site for instructions).


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