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Adding a Search Box to your MIT website

Google Search Appliance discontinued
Google has discontinued their enterprise Google Search Appliance (GSA) product and will not be renewing MIT’s license for our on-campus appliance. As of the end of June 2018, the Google Search Appliance will no longer be available to MIT web site owners for custom search. In its place, we recommend web site owners use the MIT Search Box ( for basic MIT-branded search, or a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) if a more integrated experience is needed.


There are three MIT-specific ways to add search functionality to your MIT website. They are:

  1. Add the MIT Search Box to your site; results will be displayed on an MIT-branded page hosted on and can include results from all web sites, or just the one you specify.
  2. Use the MIT Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) to embed search on your site, with a centrally administered Google CSE, to get embedded search boxes and search results on your web site using Google's CSE tags, and style those results to match your brand.
  3. Set up your own Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) and embed it on your web site; you can style the results to match your site's brand, administer and customize your own search collection and features.

More details and pros and cons of each method

Summary table MIT Google CSE Your own Google CSE
Limit search to my site
MIT specific results branding
No advertisements
No administration required
Custom theme/style for the results page
Administer own search synonyms and collections
Connect search to your Google Analytics


Add the MIT Search Box to your site

This is the simplest of the three options. You will need to add a basic web form to produce the search box on your web site, but searching and displaying of search results will be handled by the MIT Search Box script running on Search results will be MIT-branded, but cannot be customized to your department or team brand. You will be able to limit results to a single web site or web folder, or you can search across all MIT web properties.

Instructions on how to add the MIT Search Box to your site:

The MIT Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)

MIT maintains a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) configured to index all MIT web sites within the domain. You can embed this search engine on your site using Google's Javascript embed code and HTML tags. This will allow you to include your own headers and footers on the results page, as well as your own CSS styles to match your site styles. You can limit search results to a single web site or folder, or you can search across all sites.

Instructions on how to use the MIT CSE:

Your own Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)

You can create and administer your own Google Custom Search Engine. This will give you a lot of control over which sites to index, allow you to create your own collections, customize your search results, and add category and other filters. You will be responsible for administering and maintaining your CSE. CSEs used for academic and research sites can be included under MIT's education/non-profit status to turn off advertising.

Instructions for setting up your own Google CSE:

A special note to Drupal and DrupalCloud users

If you use Drupal as your content management system, and you decide you'd like to use a Google CSE for searching (or are currently using the MIT GSA Module) there is a CSE module that you can activate to enable CSE search. If you use DrupalCloud, the CSE module will automatically be deployed for you on June 21st, and all you need to do is activate it. Here are two articles specific to Drupal and DrupalCloud that explain how to enable the CSE search module:

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

June 15, 2018

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