Searching for the best WordPress search plugin?
By default, the native WordPress search function is quite limited. It doesn’t search all of your content, the search algorithm itself is pretty weak and doesn’t generate good results, and it doesn’t offer user-friendly front-end features like live Ajax search suggestions that appear as soon as a user starts typing.
On high-traffic sites with lots of content, the default WordPress search feature can also cause performance issues because of its database queries.
WordPress search plugins let you change all of that. You can include a lot more content in your search algorithm, adjust the weighting/algorithm, and, depending on the plugin, offer a much more useful search interface with suggestions, filters, and more. With some solutions, you’ll also be able to offload your search feature to a separate server, which is great for performance on high-traffic sites.
In this post, I will share the six best search plugins for WordPress, most of which have a free version that you can use.
Six Best WordPress Search Plugins
Relevanssi is the most popular free WordPress search plugin at WordPress.org. It’s primarily focused on improving the WordPress search algorithm, not necessarily adding new front-end features.
For example, it lets you include different types of content in your search index including:
- Custom post types (e.g. events, products, jobs, etc)
- Custom fields
- Categories, tags, and custom taxonomies
- User comments
- Attachments such as PDFs, Docs, etc. (with the paid version)
- User profiles (with the paid version)
- The front-end output of shortcodes
You can also change the weighting of the algorithm. For example, you can add more weight if the user’s keyword appears in the category than in the body of the content. It also adds fuzzy matching, which can help turn up more search results.
On the front-end, Relevanssi automatically integrates with the native WordPress search widget, so you don’t need to change anything.
However, it does still add a few front-end changes:
- Sort results by relevance, not by date
- Create custom excerpts that show the content where the search phrase appears
- Highlight search terms when a user clicks through to the content
- Add Google-style “Did you mean?” suggestions
You can get many of the features in the free version at WordPress.org. Or, the premium version costs $99 for use on unlimited sites. Click to see a comparison of the free vs premium features.
SearchWP is a popular premium WordPress search plugin. Like Relevanssi,
This article was written by Harsh Agrawal and originally published on ShoutMeLoud.