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How to Delete Elasticsearch Indices: An In-Depth Tutorial

A crucial aspect of managing Elasticsearch effectively is understanding how to delete Elasticsearch indices. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the process of deleting Elasticsearch indices or databases, offers examples, and highlights common mistakes and tips.

Tools used in this tutorial

DbVisualizer, top rated database management tool and SQL client

Elasticsearch is a versatile, open-source, distributed, real-time search and analytics engine. It enables for storing, searching, and analyzing vast volumes of data swiftly and in near real-time. As it employs a structure based on documents rather than tables and schemas, it can search and index many types of content.

Understanding Elasticsearch Indices

An index in Elasticsearch is akin to a 'database' in relational databases. It is a collection of documents with similar characteristics - for example, customer data, product listings, or log and event data. Over time, Elasticsearch indices can become enormous and affect system performance. Therefore, maintaining and deleting Elasticsearch indices now and then is crucial to maintain a healthy system.

How to Delete Elasticsearch Indices

Deleting Elasticsearch indices is a simple operation that you can perform using a DELETE request via Elasticsearch's RESTful API. Here's a basic example using a curl command:

$ curl -X DELETE "localhost:9200/index_name"

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Replace index_name with the name of the index you wish to delete. If the operation is successful, Elasticsearch will return a JSON response:

1 { "acknowledged": true }

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Deleting Multiple Indices

Elasticsearch also allows you to delete multiple indices simultaneously. This is achieved by separating the indices' names with a comma:

$ curl -X DELETE "localhost:9200/index_one,index_two,index_three"
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Moreover, you can use a wildcard (*) if you want to delete indices that match a specific pattern:

$ curl -X DELETE "localhost:9200/_all"

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We advise you to be extremely cautious when using this command though, as it will erase all your data stored in Elasticsearch indices.

Common Mistakes When Deleting Elasticsearch Indices

While the process of deleting Elasticsearch indices is straightforward, there are a few common pitfalls:

  1. Deleting the Wrong Index: Always double-check the index name before running the delete command to avoid accidental deletion.
  2. Using Wildcards Inappropriately: Wildcards can be highly efficient, but they can also cause unintentional deletions if not used carefully.
  3. Forgetting to Confirm Deletion: After deleting an index, it's important to check whether the operation was successful to ensure data integrity.

ElasticSearch and DbVisualizer

The DbVisualizer's dedicated Elasticsearch driver lets you conveniently manage Elasticsearch data. Simply connect to your Elasticsearch instance, and utilize SQL statements like SELECT, WHERE, and ORDER BY directly through DbVisualizer's SQL Commander.

DbVisualizer provides an intuitive GUI that allows you to inspect the structure of your indices, execute and review query results, and even export data. This tool is particularly handy for advanced DBAs knowing their way around SQL and those who prefer visual database management.

Bear in mind that not all SQL operations are available in Elasticsearch - some intricate queries may still necessitate some work via ElasticSearch itself. Always consult the official Elasticsearch documentation for the latest and most accurate information.


Understanding how to delete Elasticsearch indices is fundamental to managing your Elasticsearch environment effectively. Follow this guide and you should be able to perform this task while avoiding common mistakes. Remember, always back up your data, double-check your commands, and consider automating maintenance tasks for smooth and efficient work with any software, including Elasticsearch.

About the author

The Table by DbVisualizer is where we gather together to learn about and simplify the complexity of working with database technologies.

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