Fast trigram based code search

Clone this repo:


  1. 12718f1 Support for --_interactive mode of universal-ctags. by Han-Wen Nienhuys · 4 days ago master
  2. 35edf40 Apply 7fc542ed2590942edf757dfcc34a8a9aa926a258 across revert. by Han-Wen Nienhuys · 5 days ago
  3. e3ca9a2 Split off shard watching into separate source file. by Han-Wen Nienhuys · 5 days ago
  4. e20e719 Revert "Load shards as fast as we can" by Han-Wen Nienhuys · 5 days ago
  5. 7fc542e Close file if fstat fails. by Han-Wen Nienhuys · 12 days ago
"Zoekt, en gij zult spinazie eten" - Jan Eertink

("seek, and ye shall eat spinach" - My primary school teacher)

This is a fast text search engine, intended for use with source code. (Pronunciation: roughly as you would pronounce “zooked” in English)



go get


go install
$GOPATH/bin/zoekt-index .


go install
$GOPATH/bin/zoekt 'ngram f:READ'

Indexing git repositories (requires libgit2 + git2go):

go install
$GOPATH/bin/zoekt-git-index -branches master,stable-1.4 -prefix origin/ .

Indexing repo repositories (requires libgit2 + git2go):

go install{repo-index,mirror-gitiles}
zoekt-mirror-gitiles -dest ~/repos/
zoekt-repo-index \
   -name gfiber \
   -base_url \
   -manifest_repo ~/repos/ \
   -repo_cache ~/repos \
   -manifest_rev_prefix=refs/heads/ --rev_prefix= \

Starting the web interface

go install
$GOPATH/bin/zoekt-webserver -listen :6070

A more organized installation on a Linux server should use a systemd unit file, eg.

Description=zoekt webserver

ExecStart=/zoekt/bin/zoekt-webserver -index /zoekt/index -listen :443  --ssl_cert /zoekt/etc/cert.pem   --ssl_key /zoekt/etc/key.pem



Zoekt comes with a small service management program:

go install

cat << EOF > config.json
[{"GithubUser": "username"},
 {"GitilesURL": "", Name: "zoekt" }

$GOPATH/bin/zoekt-server -mirror_config config.json

This will mirror all repos under ‘’ as well as the ‘zoekt’ repository. It will index the repositories.

It takes care of fetching and indexing new data and cleaning up logfiles.

The webserver can be started from a standard service management framework, such as systemd.


It is recommended to install CTags to improve ranking:

  • Universal ctags is more up to date, but not commonly packaged for distributions. It must be compiled from source.
  • Exuberant ctags is a languishing, but commonly available through Linux distributions. It has several known vulnerabilities.

If you index untrusted code, it is strongly recommended to also install Bazel's sandbox, to avoid vulnerabilities of ctags opening up access to the indexing machine. A blessed version of the sandbox is under cmd/zoek-sandbox. It can be compiled with a simple make call.


Thanks to Alexander Neubeck for coming up with this idea, and helping me flesh it out.


This is not an official Google product