Run shell commands from your instance

Command line engines are custom engines that run commands in the shell of the host. In this article you can learn how to create a command engine and how to customize the result display.

The command

When specifyng commands, you must make sure the commands are available on the searx host. Searx will not install anything for you. Also, make sure that the searx user on your host is allowed to run the selected command and has access to the required files.

Access control

Be careful when creating command engines if you are running a public instance. Do not expose any sensitive information. You can restrict access by configuring a list of access tokens under tokens in your settings.yml.

Available settings

  • command: A comma separated list of the elements of the command. A special token {{QUERY}} tells searx where to put the search terms of the user. Example: ['ls', '-l', '-h', '{{QUERY}}']

  • query_type: The expected type of user search terms. Possible values: path and enum. path checks if the uesr provided path is inside the working directory. If not the query is not executed. enum is a list of allowed search terms. If the user submits something which is not included in the list, the query returns an error.

  • delimiter: A dict containing a delimiter char and the “titles” of each element in keys.

  • parse_regex: A dict containing the regular expressions for each result key.

  • query_enum: A list containing allowed search terms if query_type is set to enum.

  • working_dir: The directory where the command has to be executed. Default: .

  • result_separator: The character that separates results. Default: \n

Customize the result template

There is a default result template for displaying key-value pairs coming from command engines. If you want something more tailored to your result types, you can design your own template.

Searx relies on Jinja2 for templating. If you are familiar with Jinja, you will not have any issues creating templates. You can access the result attributes with {{ result.attribute_name }}.

In the example below the result has two attributes: header and content. To customize their diplay, you need the following template (you must define these classes yourself):

<div class="result">
    <div class="result-header">
        {{ result.header }}
    <div class="result-content">
        {{ result.content }}

Then put your template under searx/templates/{theme-name}/result_templates named your-template-name.html. You can select your custom template with the option result_template.

- name: your engine name
  engine: command
  result_template: your-template-name.html


Find files by name

The first example is to find files on your searx host. It uses the command find available on most Linux distributions. It expects a path type query. The path in the search request must be inside the working_dir.

The results are displayed with the default key-value.html template. A result is displayed in a single row table with the key “line”.

- name : find
  engine : command
  command : ['find', '.', '-name', '{{QUERY}}']
  query_type : path
  shortcut : fnd
  tokens : []
  disabled : True
  delimiter :
      chars : ' '
      keys : ['line']

Find files by contents

In the second example, we define an engine that searches in the contents of the files under the working_dir. The search type is not defined, so the user can input any string they want. To restrict the input, you can set the query_type to enum and only allow a set of search terms to protect yourself. Alternatively, make the engine private, so no one malevolent accesses the engine.

- name : regex search in files
  engine : command
  command : ['grep', '{{QUERY}}']
  shortcut : gr
  tokens : []
  disabled : True
  delimiter :
      chars : ' '
      keys : ['line']