Are you looking for the best WordPress search plugin to improve your site search?
The default WordPress search feature is quite limited and ignores a lot of the content on your website. Thankfully, there are several WordPress plugins that can help you improve the default search experience.
In this article, we will highlight the best WordPress search plugins to improve your site search.
Why Use a WordPress Search Plugin?
WordPress comes with a built-in search feature that can help visitors easily find what they are looking for.
However, it is quite basic and doesn’t search all your site’s content, including comments, files, and products.
The good news is that there are several search plugins that can help you improve the built-in WordPress search feature. Some of these plugins are built for specific purposes, like searching WooCommerce products, while others improve the search experience across your entire WordPress blog or website.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best WordPress search plugins. Simply use the quick links below to jump straight to the plugin you want to learn more about:
SearchWP is one of the best search plugins for WordPress. It is very easy to use and provides much more accurate search results compared to the built-in WordPress search.
SearchWP can search content that WordPress ignores by default, including custom post types, WooCommerce products, comments, PDFs, and more.
You can create a completely custom search algorithm, similar to the algorithms used by search engines such as Google. This allows you to assign a weight (importance) to each attribute.
Content that matches an attribute with high relevancy will appear higher in the search results. By contrast, content with an attribute that has less relevancy will appear lower in the user’s search results.
For example, if you have uploaded your menu as a PDF on your restaurant website, then this is important content, and you will typically want to show it high in the search results.
With that in mind, you can simply assign this content a higher attribute relevance so that matches appear high in the search results.
You can even include product attributes, tags, reviews, and custom fields and taxonomies in the WooCommerce search results.
After creating a custom search algorithm, you can then create an unlimited number of custom search forms.
For example, if you sell digital downloads like eBooks, then you might make a search form that searches content with the ‘ebook’ tag. In this way, you can help shoppers find new books that they may want to buy.
For step-by-step instructions on how to set up this plugin, please see our guide on how to improve WordPress search with SearchWP.
- Automatically integrates with the built-in WordPress search.
- Looks great with any WordPress theme.
- Built-in search statistics.
- Integrates with many popular WordPress plugins, including WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and bbPress.
- Doesn’t include live Ajax search. However, you can add this missing feature by installing the free SearchWP Live Ajax Search plugin.
- No free plugin, so you’ll need to purchase a license to try SearchWP.
Why we chose SearchWP: SearchWP is a complete search toolkit that integrates perfectly with the native WordPress search. Simply create a search algorithm, and all the search fields and forms across your website will use SearchWP automatically.
Pricing: Licenses start from $199 per year.
ElasticPress is a hosted WordPress search service built on ElasticSearch.
Instead of running on your WordPress site, it runs the search queries in the cloud and shows results at lightning speed. It is extremely easy to integrate on any WordPress site and works with all the best WordPress hosting providers.
ElasticPress can search content that the default WordPress search ignores, including custom fields, tags, PDF files, Microsoft Office documents, metadata, and more.
ElasticPress has built-in live Ajax search, so you can show instant results as the user is typing. It also works well with WooCommerce, so shoppers can quickly find products they are interested in buying.
You can create your own search algorithm using the Weighting dashboard and can even customize the top search terms to display your most popular WooCommerce products or top-performing content first.
- Built-in autosuggest.
- An advanced connector that can handle almost any search query.
- Shows related posts and document content in the search results.
- A hosted service, so ElasticPress won’t slow down your WordPress website.
- ElasticPress is a hosted service and is a lot more expensive than any other search solution on this list. This means it may not be the best choice for beginners, personal blogs, or anyone who is working with a smaller budget.
Why we chose ElasticPress: By offloading search to an external server, you can improve your WordPress search without slowing down your website. This may not be the cheapest search plugin on our list, but it’s a great choice for business websites or enterprise sites that need lightning-fast search.
Pricing: Licenses start at $79 per month.
Ivory Search is another excellent WordPress search plugin that replaces the default WordPress search.
To improve search results, Ivory Search looks at post types, image metadata, custom fields, shortcodes, attachments, and more.
You can also use Ajax to show live search results without reloading the page.
The plugin also integrates with the WordPress theme customizer, so you can change how the search form looks using the tools you are already familiar with.
With Ivory Search, you can create an unlimited number of forms with unique settings.
You can then add these forms to different areas of your site using a shortcode that the plugin creates automatically.
You can also add an advanced search form to any widget-ready area, such as the sidebar, using the Ivory Search block. This makes it easy to show the same form across your entire WordPress website.
Another option is to add the search bar to any navigation menu. In the Ivory Search settings, you can simply enable the toggle for the menu where you want to show the search field.
Studying the way that people use your website’s search can also help you learn more about your users. This includes finding any content gaps where visitors are searching for content that you don’t already have on your website.
To provide this data, Ivory Search integrates with Google Analytics. However, before you can use this feature, you will need to install Google Analytics in WordPress.
- Live Ajax search.
- Easily change search form colors and messaging using the WordPress Customizer.
- Add an advanced search field to any WordPress menu with the click of a button.
- Supports multilingual search.
- Integrates with popular plugins, including WooCommerce, Weglot, Polylang, and WPML.
- Ivory Search’s interface can be overwhelming and confusing to navigate, particularly for first-time users.
Why we chose Ivory Search: Although there’s a premium version, the free version is where Ivory Search really shines. If you are looking for a free WordPress search plugin that has everything you need to improve the default search, then the free download is a great option.
Pricing: The base plugin is free, while Ivory Search premium starts at $19.99 per year.
The free Advanced Woo Search plugin can look for matches in the product title, content, excerpt, categories, tags, ID, and SKU.
This can help shoppers find what they are looking for, including products they may not have found using the built-in WordPress search.
Advanced Woo Search has a straightforward settings page where you can toggle the different settings on and off, often with the click of a button. This makes the plugin very easy to set up and use.
Advanced Woo Search also shows some useful extra information inside the search results, including the product image and price. It also integrates the results into your current layout, so it will look great with any WordPress theme.
Once you have set up the plugin, it will synchronize the product data automatically. This means you won’t need to spend time manually re-indexing every time you update the product catalog. You can also add the search form to any page, post, or widget-ready area using a shortcode or widget.
- Supports stop words, synonyms, and plurals.
- Supports multiple currencies and variable products.
- Orders search results based on where they were found.
- Easy-to-understand settings.
- The free plugin is missing some of the more advanced search features, including the ability to search product attributes and custom taxonomies.
Why we chose Advanced Woo Search: If you are looking to improve the default WooCommerce search but don’t have the budget for a premium plugin, then this is a great option. It also supports live Ajax search out of the box, so shoppers can see relevant results without waiting for the page to reload.
Pricing: You can download Advanced Woo Search for free from the official WordPress repository.
This addon enhances your existing WordPress search with live Ajax search results that show up as soon as the user starts typing. This provides a better user experience and can return accurate results without even reloading the page.
Live Ajax search can improve the search experience for all visitors, but it’s particularly useful if you are selling online courses, membership subscriptions, and other digital products. By helping visitors find relevant content faster, you can often get more sales.
After activating the plugin, every search bar on your site will use live Ajax search automatically. You can also add a live Ajax search bar to any page, post, or widget-ready area using a block provided by the plugin.
This includes areas you can’t edit using the standard WordPress content editor, like your site’s 404 page template.
- Works out of the box with minimal settings to configure.
- Adds live Ajax search to your WordPress blog, website, or online store, similar to the live search feature used by search engines like Google.
- Works perfectly with the default WordPress search or the SearchWP plugin.
- This plugin works out of the box with very few settings. While this makes the plugin easy to set up, it may feel limiting if you want more advanced customization options.
Why we chose SearchWP Ajax Lite: Live search can help visitors find what they are looking for, fast. This free plugin works out of the box and automatically adds live Ajax search to all your search fields without you having to configure any complicated settings.
Pricing: Free to download from the official WordPress repository.
YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search is a great WooCommerce product search plugin that helps customers quickly find products in your store.
It allows customers to search products by SKU, search within specific categories, and filter the results without reloading the page.
This plugin can also search content that WordPress ignores by default, including the product excerpt, product categories and tags, and variable products.
YITH WooCommerce Ajax search is highly customizable. You can include thumbnails, badges, prices, and promotions in the live search results. This can provide shoppers with useful information, which will help them decide which product pages they want to visit.
Both the free and premium versions of the plugin also allow you to customize how the search bar looks to better suit your online store.
The plugin works with WooCommerce stores in any language and is fully compatible with multilingual WordPress sites and stores.
- Shows results in real time.
- Filter the results using categories and tags.
- Search by SKU, which is perfect for stores with big product catalogs.
- Highlight sales and promotions inside the search results.
- Although there is a free version of the plugin, it’s quite limited compared to other live Ajax plugins. For example, the free version doesn’t look for matches within product tags and categories.
Why we chose YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search: If you run a WooCommerce store, then live search can help customers find interesting products faster. With that being said, a live Ajax search plugin is a must-have, and this plugin integrates perfectly with WooCommerce. It’s also fully compatible with multilingual websites, which is perfect if you sell to an international audience.
Pricing: Starting from $79.99 per year.
FiboSearch is another excellent WooCommerce search plugin. It allows you to instantly fetch search results using Ajax without reloading the page.
FiboSearch can search for matches in the product description, short description, SKU, attributes, custom fields, product categories and tags, and more.
You can also exclude out-of-stock products from the search results. This can get you more sales since you are not distracting shoppers with products they can’t currently purchase.
You can also show more content as part of the live Ajax search. For example, you might add the product image, description, and pricing to provide shoppers with detailed product information without them even having to reload the page.
When the visitor hovers over an item in the live Ajax search, you can show an add to cart button along with a quantity field and extended product description. In this way, visitors can start the purchasing process without even visiting the product’s page.
The live Ajax search bar is also fully customizable, so you can add your own messaging, change the submit button, and choose different search bar layouts.
As you make changes, the plugin will show a preview of how the search bar will look on your online marketplace or store. In this way, you can easily try different settings to see what looks the best.
When you are happy with how the search bar is set up, you can add it to any page, post, or widget-ready area using either a shortcode or block.
Another option is adding the search bar to any menu in your WordPress theme. Simply go to Appearance » Menus and then add the new ‘FiboSearch bar’ item to any navigation menu.
- Integrates with the default WooCommerce search results page. This means that shoppers will see exactly the same results in both the live Ajax search and the standard search results page.
- Support for many popular multilingual plugins, including WPML, Polylang, and qTranslate-XT.
- Support for Google Analytics.
- Advanced search settings, including synonyms and fuzzy search.
- Even if you upgrade to pro, FiboSearch doesn’t offer live chat or telephone support.
Why we chose FiboSearch: This plugin allows you to show detailed information in the live Ajax search results and even include an ‘Add to Cart’ button. In this way, you can show helpful, informative results to shoppers without them ever having to reload the page.
Pricing: The base plugin is free. The premium version starts at $49 per year.
Husky Products Filter for WooCommerce is a very useful search plugin designed exclusively for WooCommerce stores.
It allows your customers to filter products by category, attributes, tags, taxonomies, meta fields, and price.
The Husky search form is fully customizable, so you can display the different options as radio buttons, checkboxes, multi-dropdown menus, and more.
You can add search and filtering options to any page, post, or widget-ready area using a shortcode that the plugin creates automatically. Even better, Husky supports live Ajax search, so you can show live results anywhere on your online store.
Husky is easy for beginners to set up but also offers tons of customization options for developers who want to use the plugin in custom product templates. For example, you can create a custom woo-products loop template and html-items for the search form.
- Advanced WooCommerce search.
- Built-in live Ajax support.
- See the products your customers are looking for with built-in search statistics.
- Support for infinite scrolling.
- The option for more advanced users to create custom layout templates.
- Although the plugin offers live Ajax search, according to the WordPress.org listing, this feature isn’t guaranteed to work with all WordPress themes.
Why we chose Husky Products Filter for WooCommerce: This plugin allows you to replace the limited built-in WooCommerce search, no matter what your budget is. Although the live Ajax search isn’t guaranteed to work with all WooCommerce themes, this is still a generous feature to include in a free plugin.
Relevanssi is another popular WordPress search plugin that improves WordPress search by fetching more relevant results.
Relevanssi adds PDF indexing and searching in WordPress, so visitors can search the contents of your site’s PDF files. Relevanssi can also search shortcode outputs, custom fields, user profiles, categories and tags, WooCommerce products, and more.
Relavanssi also supports fuzzy matching and exact matches and can highlight the search terms in the results page.
All of this can help visitors find what they are looking for, faster.
- Search blog post comments, tags, categories, and custom fields.
- Compatible with WordPress multisite.
- Useful search analytics, including most popular queries and recent queries with no hits.
- Google-style “Did you mean?” suggestions.
- Support for several popular membership plugins.
- Relevanssi has compatibility issues with some page builder plugins, BuddyPress, NextGen Gallery, and a few more. If you do run into problems, then you can see our step-by-step guide on how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.
- Relevanssi may take up lots of database space. With that in mind, it’s not recommended if your WordPress hosting has limited space for database tables.
Why we chose Relevanssi: Many of the free search plugins on this list are designed for use with online WooCommerce stores. However, Relevanssi is a free plugin that’s a great fit for all kinds of WordPress blogs and websites. If you run a membership website, then Relevanssi also integrates with many of the top membership plugins.
Pricing: The base plugin is free. You can upgrade to the premium version for $109 per year.
WP Extended Search is a lightweight and simple WordPress search plugin that allows you to easily extend the default WordPress search.
You can just go to the plugin settings and select the options you want to include in the search results. For example, you can search in the author name, taxonomies, post types, meta data, and more.
The plugin extends the default WordPress search, so you don’t need to add any shortcodes or widgets. As long as you are using the built-in WordPress search, you simply need to install and activate the plugin, and you are good to go.
If you want to offer a more advanced search, then you can create multiple custom search forms with unique settings. You can then add these search forms to any part of your site using a widget, shortcode, PHP function, or HTML.
- Automatically improves the default WordPress search.
- Create an unlimited number of custom forms.
- Optionally exclude old content from search results.
- Show partial matches or exact matches only.
- Compatible with WooCommerce.
- Missing some more advanced features, particularly live Ajax search.
Why we chose WP Extended Search: If you are looking for a quick and easy way to enhance the standard WordPress search, then this plugin works out of the box. Although there are some more advanced settings you can explore, this is a very lightweight plugin that’s easy to set up.
Better Search is another free WordPress plugin that automatically replaces the default WordPress search.
This plugin allows you to search across all post types, including custom post types. It will also look for matches in the title, post content, excerpt, meta fields, authors, tags, and comments.
You can also change the weight of either the title or the content based on what better suits your website.
This plugin has a unique search heatmap feature that shows the most popular searches. You can add this widget to an area, such as the sidebar or footer, to encourage visitors to explore your site’s most popular search terms and content.
- Automatically integrates with the default WordPress search. If your WordPress theme doesn’t have a built-in search form, then you can add one by using widgets in WordPress.
- The option to use your own template file or custom CSS.
- Works with caching plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache
- Create a list of stop words that Better Search will filter out of search queries.
- No option to search based on category or product attribute.
- Doesn’t support live Ajax search.
Why we chose Better Search: Better Search provides a good range of features for a free plugin, plus some unique functionality. In particular, their heatmap is an innovative way to encourage visitors to explore more search terms and content and may make this a stand-out plugin for some website owners.
Sometimes, you don’t want to include all your content in the search results. For example, if you are running an online store, then you may want to hide pages like your account page, custom checkout page, thank you page, and more.
Search Exclude allows you to exclude content that you don’t want to show in the WordPress search results. You can simply check a box to exclude pages, posts, WooCommerce products, and more.
Even better, this plugin doesn’t hide your content from search engine crawlers. This means the hidden content will still show up in search engines like Google.
If you want to hide lots of different pages, posts, and other content, then this plugin also integrates with the bulk edit feature.
You can go to the plugin’s settings at any point to see all the items that you have excluded from the search.
- A simple plugin that allows you to exclude content from the search results.
- Doesn’t affect your WordPress SEO.
- This plugin simply hides items from the search results. This means you will likely still need to install extra search plugins.
Why we chose Better Search: This plugin does one task, and does it well. If you are happy with the default WordPress search, but simply want to hide a few pages, then this plugin is the perfect solution.
Which Is the Best WordPress Search Plugin?
We believe that SearchWP is the best WordPress search plugin for most websites. It allows you to search all the content types that the built-in WordPress search ignores by default and makes it easy to create a custom search algorithm.
After that, you can create an unlimited number of unique search forms and add them to any page, post, or widget-ready area.
Although the core SearchWP plugin doesn’t offer live Ajax search, you can easily add this feature using the SearchWP Live Ajax Search.
FAQs About WordPress Search Plugins
In this guide, we have covered all of the best WordPress search plugins. If you still have questions, then here are our FAQs about improving the built-in WordPress search.
Does WordPress have a search feature?
Most WordPress themes have a built-in search feature. However, the default search is typically quite limited and doesn’t provide accurate search results.
For that reason, we recommend installing an advanced search plugin like SearchWP.
Is the default WordPress search good enough for my website?
Although WordPress has a basic built-in search, we don’t recommend relying on it. By default, WordPress doesn’t search widgets, user comments, categories, tags, WooCommerce products, or PDF documents. It also doesn’t search image gallery titles, captions, or alt text.
When creating the search results page, WordPress will start by displaying any posts that have the search term in the post title, arranged in reverse-chronological order, meaning that the newest entries will be displayed at the top of the results.
After that, it will show any posts that have the matching term in the post content.
This may not be a problem for blogs that only have small amounts of content. However, this ordering logic can often show inaccurate or confusing results when you have lots of content.
For more on this topic, please see our look at how WordPress search works.
How do I make my WordPress search better?
The best way to improve the default WordPress search is by using an advanced search plugin like SearchWP. These plugins allow you to search content types that WordPress ignores by default and may even add useful features such as live Ajax search.
How do I add live search to my WordPress website?
The best way to add live search to your website is by using SearchWP Live Ajax Search. This free plugin instantly adds live search to all the forms and search bars across your entire WordPress website.
For more information, please see our guide on how to add live Ajax search.
How do I make my WordPress website a search engine like Google?
You can create your own custom search algorithm using SearchWP. This allows you to assign weights to different attributes, such as the post’s title or its tags. In this way, you can control exactly where your content appears in the WordPress search results.
After that, you can add live search to your site using SearchWP Live Ajax Search. This plugin suggests results as the visitor is typing, just like search engines such as Google.
For more information, please see our guide on how to improve WordPress search.
We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress search plugin for your website. You may also want to see our guide on how to create an advanced search form for custom post types and our expert list of the must-have WordPress plugins for small businesses.
The post 12 WordPress Search Plugins to Improve Your Site Search (2023) first appeared on WPBeginner.