Did you know that the default WordPress search engine isn’t really that efficient (and awesome) like the rest of WordPress?
Although the search is available as a function in WordPress, it does not search custom post types and taxonomies.
This means that if you have a custom post type like “Book” for a book review website, then the default search isn’t going to look there.
Thankfully there are a host of awesome plugins that help you implement a powerful search solution in your WordPress site, with varying degrees of specificity.
For example, some plugins help you to select search categories, whereas advanced ones enable you to search for content inside PDF files!
We’ve divided this list into 3 categories – premium, free and freemium. The freemium ones are the most popular since they offer amazing functionality with zero cost. Let’s get started!
Premium Search Plugins for WordPress
WPSolr – Amazon & Ebay Like WordPress search plugin with Elasticsearch and Apache Solr. Why is it so good?
Because it rocks your search completely – boosting your search with new never seen before functionality.
Firstly –WPSolr is a plugin for big websites. It’s main purpose is to optimize the speed of a search query. It is designed for WordPress or WooCommerce sites that run a big number of pages or products. So why is it the best? – Because a search in a WordPress website with a million pages and a million products will run amazingly fast!
Secondly –It is built to remove the headache for your users. It has the search functionality, similar to Amazon or eBay. Facets are used to filter your search results.
Sorting functionality is implemented, which is easily configured in the admin panel. It is easy to style and works with AJAX (which means, that your search will not reload the page, but will update with new products –smooth!).
Thirdly – It is plugin compatible! It works as mentioned with: Woocommerce, Advanced custom fields, WPML and Polylang, TablePress, bbPress, PDF Embedder, Google doc Embedder and many more! Basically, it supports most of all WordPress projects and replaces the WordPress search with a much faster search with no headache.
Lastly and most amazingly! –It has super SEO functionality.
If you will read blogs about SEO –most of them will say, do not let your search results page to be indexed! Well, this is because it is quite difficult to solve all the technical problems and to avoid duplicate content with search results, however, WPSolr solves it all! It has massive SEO infrastructure designed specifically to make search result crawling for Google available and amazing!
Site Search 360
Ensuring your user experience is top-notch is vital in today’s world, where visitors will swiftly scarper if they have any difficulty finding what they need.
So, if you want to offer users a site search experience that’s fast, seamless, and looks great while doing it, install Site Search 360. It’s an easy-to-use tool that takes just moments to implement and instantly improves your user-experience and article/product findability.
Site Search 360 also delivers on the analytics front, providing your business with reams of useful user data to help you understand what your audience wants. Not only great on desktop, Site Search 360 works wonders on mobile devices too.
A unique characteristic of this solution is its deep customization options. It looks great out the box, but it’s super simple to configure Site Search 360 to match your pre-existing brand identity. There’s even CSS customization if you want to take it further.
The best thing about Site Search 360? You can install it today for free. Click the button below to see for yourself how easy it is to take your site search experience from zero to hero.
SearchWP is currently one of the best premium search plugins in the market with a ton of features. The plugin scans all your existing posts, pages and other custom post types – basically every bit of (index-able) content in your WordPress site and builds a giant index which is updated periodically.
You can manually select the custom post types and categories you want to include in your search results. This feature is very useful for people looking for granular search parameters.
Search settings offered by SearchWP
You can also reorder individual search elements in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) by assigning “weights” to your posts and pages.
Another feature this plugin is called “fuzzy match” which is my personal favorite. What this does is matches partial keywords supplied in the search query. For example, if you can’t remember the exact name of a particular plugin, say “Relevanssi” you can simply type “relevan” and SearchWP would return the partially matches posts.
SearchWP also includes PDF search module, i.e. it indexes content within (unlocked) PDF files. This means that your search results could also include results from within PDF files. Of course this feature is configurable.
SearchWP starts at $49 a year including updates and supports bbPress and WPML integration.
AJAX Search Pro for WordPress – Live Search Plugin
This plugin from developer wpdreams has clocked over 2,800+ sales making it one of the highest selling WordPress search plugins on CodeCanyon.
A host of settings offered by AJAX Search Pro
Imagine you wanted to search something whose name you couldn’t remember. As you keep typing the keywords, the results are generated. This is immensely helpful in finding the correct (or relevant) result in the shortest amount of time.
The plugin features over 60 customizable themes, retina ready graphics, multiple search result layouts and a host of other customization options. It also supports custom post types and taxonomies.
The plugin is compatible with Visual Composer, and multilingual plugins such as qTranslate and WPML and costs $26 USD.
Smart Ajax Product Search
To truly step up the search function of your WordPress site, you should better look into Smart Ajax Product Search plugin. By now you know that you could use something extra to offer your visitors to find exactly what they are after in a more efficient way. Smart Ajax Product Search is a powerful and convenient search plugin for WordPress with a solid stability and compatibility. Speaking of which, it smoothly integrates into the default search function, as well as WooCommerce and even other custom widgets you sport on your site.
With Smart Ajax Product Search, you can allow your guests to search by all sorts of different aspects, like SKU, product variations, custom fields, product attributes and more. In search results, you can also exclusively showcase products with “sale” label, as well as those items that are marked as “featured.”
Styling and customizing Smart Ajax Product Search is effortless, so make sure you tailor it exactly how you want. In other words, make it follow your branding so it will feel like the plugin is part of your web space since the very beginning.
Freemium Search Plugins for WordPress
Swiftype is a WordPress VIP approved advanced search plugin, with a host of amazing features such as search query autocomplete drop-down menu, drag-and-drop interface for reordering the search results in the SERP and powerful search analytics. It is built for large scale WordPress sites with 10,000+ posts (think TechCrunch).
You can re-order search results to promote your posts
The free version of the plugin supports a max of 50 search result customizations, a single website installation and contains the Swiftype branding. Paid plans start at $19/month.
Relevanssi is one of the most popular search plugins in the WordPress repository. By that we mean it has over 90,000+ active installations.
Now since Relevanssi is a freemium plugin, you would expect the good features to be locked behind a subscription. On the contrary, the free version of the plugin provides this amazing features:
- Exact phrase match: If you surround your query with a quote, Relevanssi will only return those results that match the exact phrase.
- Fuzzy search: Similar to SearchWP, Relevanssi offers fuzzy logic search in the free version of the plugin.
Relevanssi sorts the search results based on relevancy rather than the published date. It also offers other features like excerpt displays in SERP, highlighted search words, typo suggestions similar to Google’s “Did you mean?” feature and a whole lot more.
The premium version of Relevanssi includes some technically advanced features which we’re not going to discuss here.
Free WordPress Search Plugins
Better Search is a completely free WordPress search plugin which indexes posts, pages and custom post types. You can assign weights to individual elements, such as post title, excerpt, body, etc. which enables you to customize the search results.
Better Search settings panel
Better Search also has a search heatmap, which displays the most popular searches in your site. You could also use it your theme’s footer or sidebar.
When you would like to take the experience of your website to another level, Ivory Search is a tool to consider. After all, if you offer your visitors to find what they are in need of as quickly as possible, they will surely return and recommend. That said, boost WordPress’s default search function with the amazing and easy to employ tool that goes by the name Ivory Search. You can also create customized search forms, such that are exclusive to your online presence.
With Ivory Search, you can create unlimited search forms and have the ability to showcase them pretty much anywhere on your page. From headers and footers to sidebars, navigation and widget’s area, even posts, Ivory Search works everywhere. Additionally, you can also exclude specific content from search results and have complete control over the search function on your website.
Ajax Search Lite
Ajax Search Lite is a – hence the name – live search plugin for WordPress powered by Ajax. It seamlessly integrates into any theme, unlocking an extra layer of professionalism. With a solid search features, you can also elevate your page’s user experience, making it more comfortable to skim through. This search plugin for WordPress has loads of different features you can take to your advantage and create the most sophisticated live search function out there.
Ajax Search Lite also ensures responsiveness and cross-browser compatibility. Also, you can use the tool out of the box or you can improve it further; whatever option you choose, the outcome will benefit your website considerably. Some of the features of Ajax Search Lite are eight ready-made templates, WPML compatibility, over forty options in the back-end and integration with Google Analytics.
Advanced Woo Search
Advanced Woo Search is a powerful and practical search plugin for WordPress that specializes in WooCommerce. That said, regardless of the eCommerce website you operate, you can now take it to new heights with a proper search function. As soon as your shopper starts to type in his or her search query, the items start appearing automatically. They can find the product they are interested in much quicker when you have Advanced Woo Search rocking your online store.
There are numerous different amenities that you get access to when working with Advanced Woo Search. From powerful settings page and both shortcode and widget to smart ordering and lightning-fast experience, Advanced Woo Search has it all and then some. Each search result also includes product image and price for their convenience.
YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search
If you are already getting somewhere with your online store, it is time to start improving its performance and taking it to a new degree. One simple, yet sophisticated, approach is to introduce top-notch search feature. And you can make it happen without hassle by employing the outstanding YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search plugin for WordPress. To see it in action, all you need to do it is to install and active it and the magic happens right away.
What YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search does, it creates instant search results, suggesting your WooCommerce products based on the searching criteria. And if you run a store with hundreds if not thousands of products, you can also help yourself find the product that you have available with the handy YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search. Just start typing and it will emerge from the masses.
ACF: Better Search
When you find WordPress’s default search function not doing a good job, we have many search plugins for WordPress that you can implement into your websites’ designs. With ACF, the process of adding an advanced search feature to your page is quick and straightforward. ACF stands for Advanced Custom Fields, meaning, it offers your visitors to search for different content based on the fields they select.
In short, you install it and it is already making moves. Of course, you can also configure settings and alter it according to your needs and regulations. Besides, you do not really need to play with the code if you would like to perform any improvements. ACF is as user-friendly as it could be. It is also super fast performing, ensuring the first-grade experience at all times.
Dave’s WordPress Live Search
This plugin, as the name suggests, uses AJAX to query the WordPress database in real time and return results as the query is typed.
Settings page of the plugin
It also integrates with Relevanssi to give it that “live search” feature.
Category Wise Search
Category Wise Search is a dead drop simple plugin that lets you accomplish a single, simple task – search based on categories.
Plugin’s Settings panel
If you do not wish to spend time configuring other feature-filled plugins, this one might just be the solution.
Deciding which search plugin is the best choice for you will depend on the size of your site, the functionality that’s most important to you, and how much you’re willing to spend to get it.
Search should be an intuitive process. You need to study your visitor’s behavior first – do they use the search function? If so, how often? Once you resolve that your search is being utilized a significant amount, then you can go for a free or freemium search plugin like Relevanssi.
Have we missed out your favorite search plugin? If so, let us know and we’ll add it to our list!