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is elasticsearch required for magento newest versions to work. I am having a hard time finding the answer and hosting sites do not support it for shared plans. I am trying to do an eCommerce store so IDK if I even need it, plus know nothing about web development. I just spoke to support at A2 Hosting and shared cloud plans I can use up to latest version of magento, IF I don't need elastic search. I am complete newb to all this with website creation. Just trying to learn myself how to do it. Thank you for your time!

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Yes and no ;)

Since Magento 2.4, Elasticsearch is a key requirement, similar to a MySQL database. You got 3 options:

  • either your hosting company provides support for Elasticsearch and you just rent an instance there (or you set it up yourself by just renting a VM instance)
  • you can rent Elasticsearch by the Elastic people (the company developing Elasticsearch) https://www.elastic.co/pricing/
  • you can use a Magento 2 module that backports the "old" legacy MySQL search to Magento 2.4 https://github.com/swissup/module-search-mysql-legacy

Technically, you could also downgrade to the latest 2.3 version but at some point, you won't get any security updates anymore, and then you would be forced to upgrade to Magento 2.4. So I would not consider this as a viable option but you might see this differently.

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