You can only perform 4 searches within a minute

Just got this message from stackoverflow. I agree that there must be a limit to prevent abuses, but 4 searches/minute seems way too restrictive, it makes search almost useless when trying to refine (IMHO a common pattern in searching)

  • I hope you don't mind that I changed this into a [feature-request] to increase the searches per minute.
    – user27414
    Mar 22, 2011 at 21:19
  • 4
    If you are forming searches at a rate of one per 15 seconds, you may want to consider thinking a little more about what you're really searching for, and searching less frequently. Alternately, when you find you have to search at this rate, consider using google.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 22, 2011 at 21:23
  • @status-declined: thanks Mar 22, 2011 at 21:47
  • 4
    @Adam: I disagree... searching in SO should be more precise than googling. Lucene is fast, I don't see any reason to limit this to 4 searches per minute. Mar 22, 2011 at 21:50
  • 1
    Don't forget about the Data Explorer - endless flexibility. Oct 29, 2011 at 3:11
  • Meanwhile, the limit is effectively gone altogether.
    – Arjan
    Jan 26, 2013 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


Since the new search was introduced in December 2012, there is no real limit for humans anymore.

March 2011:

In the next build we'll up this to 6 searches/min, but we may tweak it in either direction depending on how usage goes. It's not a super-cheap operation, so we don't want it to be an abuse point in the system.

Remember: paging doesn't count against this limit. But searches that have no result do count.

And for future searches:

You can only perform 6 searches within a minute, please wait a minute then try again.

  • 1
    It seems that sorting counts as a new search too? Like when I know something has been asked recently, and hence I want to sort on "newest", all of my searches count as two...
    – Arjan
    Apr 18, 2011 at 17:38
  • 1
    It seems that searches that have zero results count too? I quite often hit this message. :-(
    – Arjan
    May 8, 2011 at 11:33
  • @Arjan - This is correct, it's a server load being sane issue, we may increase it more later...but no matter how many results come back there's still a fair amount of load involved on the IO side at the moment...we're working on this :) May 8, 2011 at 11:45
  • Thanks, @Nick. As for sorting: I am not sure if clicking "newest" runs a new query? If it does, then maybe it helps if the search remembers the last sort order? Any new search always gets one "relevance" first.
    – Arjan
    May 8, 2011 at 11:49
  • 6
    Could this be increased to 10? I occasionally hit the limit, and it's a tiny bit annoying.
    – Pekka
    May 12, 2011 at 7:13
  • 2
    I don't suppose it would be possible to treat changing through the different tabs or changing pages as part of the original search. Usually the first thing I do when I perform a search is switch to the votes or newest tab. That act alone makes a single search count as two. And more often than not, I will switch to another tab or go to the next page. There goes another set of "searches." May 12, 2011 at 8:01
  • 1
    @Pekka's - Starting in the next build paging will also not count against the throttle, that should reduce the impact quite a bit. Also, it's not sliding. Once we change out some hardware and the IO cost isn't as big of a deal here we may increase it. May 12, 2011 at 12:57
  • @Jeff - In the next build tabs/pages will not count, since that's not where the main (IO) cost is currently I've put a bit more handling in for that. May 12, 2011 at 12:58
  • 9
    It would be REALLY helpful if the limit was relaxed for searches with no hits. Otherwise using standard search term refinement approaches will quickly run afoul of the limit. Jun 9, 2011 at 2:36
  • I knew it was an expensive operation! meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135021/…
    – ajax333221
    Jun 19, 2012 at 23:19

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