Although usually you can get it to work somehow, Ferret's always been a pain to use. It also feels very slow on a shared host, much faster on slicehost though. However, I've ran into the problem recently of it crashing on trying to index some Chinese characters. I guess this was as good a time as any to ditch it. I knew mysql had very simple to use fulltext search capabilities, but I did look into sphinx first, which, to my dissappointment, I couldn't get working on my windows development laptop at all. So I fellback to mysql fulltext indexing, which worked great. It was super easy to implement, and the performance is good so far. I guess only time will tell if it can scale to larger datasets. For now, I am very happy with it: no hassel, no fuss.