6 Best WordPress Search Plugins (2020): Most Are Free

Best WordPress Search Plugins

Trying to find one of the best WordPress search plugin?

By default, the native WordPress search perform is kind of restricted. It doesn’t search all your content material, the search algorithm itself is fairly weak and doesn’t generate good outcomes, and it doesn’t supply user-friendly front-end options like stay Ajax search options that seem as quickly as a person begins typing.

On high-traffic websites with plenty of content material, the default WordPress search characteristic can even trigger efficiency points due to its database queries.

WordPress search plugins allow you to change all of that. You possibly can embody much more content material in your search algorithm, alter the weighting/algorithm, and, relying on the plugin, supply a way more helpful search interface with options, filters, and extra. With some options, you’ll additionally be capable of offload your search characteristic to a separate server, which is nice for efficiency on high-traffic websites.

On this put up, I’ll share the six greatest search plugins for WordPress, most of which have a free model that you should use.

Six Finest WordPress Search Plugins

1. Relevanssi

Relevanssi is the preferred free WordPress search plugin at WordPress.org. It’s primarily targeted on enhancing the WordPress search algorithm, not essentially including new front-end options.

For instance, it permits you to embody various kinds of content material in your search index together with:

  • Customized put up varieties (e.g. occasions, merchandise, jobs, and so on)
  • Customized fields
  • Classes, tags, and customized taxonomies
  • Consumer feedback
  • Attachments resembling PDFs, Docs, and so on. (with the paid model)
  • Consumer profiles (with the paid model)
  • The front-end output of shortcodes

You may as well change the weighting of the algorithm. For instance, you’ll be able to add extra weight if the person’s key phrase seems within the class than within the physique of the content material. It additionally provides fuzzy matching, which can assist flip up extra search outcomes.

On the front-end, Relevanssi routinely integrates with the native WordPress search widget, so that you don’t want to alter something.

Nevertheless, it does nonetheless add just a few front-end modifications:

  • Type outcomes by relevance, not by date
  • Create customized excerpts that present the content material the place the search phrase seems
  • Spotlight search phrases when a person clicks by means of to the content material
  • Add Google-style “Did you imply?” options

You may get most of the options within the free model at WordPress.org. Or, the premium model prices $99 to be used on limitless websites. Click on to see a comparability of the free vs premium options.

2. SearchWP

SearchWP is a well-liked premium WordPress search plugin. Like Relevanssi, it integrates with the native WordPress search widget and is generally targeted on serving to you enhance the search outcomes that your web site generates.

Nevertheless, it does embody just a few front-end enhancements, as properly.

The largest characteristic is that it permits you to embody “extra” content material in your search index, together with:

  • Customized put up varieties (e.g. merchandise, jobs, and so on.)
  • Customized fields
  • Entrance-end output of shortcodes
  • Classes, tags, and customized taxonomies
  • Content material in PDFs and different paperwork

You may as well alter the weighting of all these various kinds of content material and SearchWP provides fuzzy matching for improved outcomes.

Another helpful options embody:

  • View search analytics
  • Type outcomes by relevance not by date
  • Use SearchWP to energy associated content material options in your web site
  • Robotically redirect sure queries to a different web page

The identical developer additionally gives a free SearchWP Reside Ajax Search plugin at WordPress.org that provides stay search outcomes to your web site. That’s, search outcomes will seem as quickly as a person begins typing.

SearchWP solely is available in a premium model. Plans begin at $99 to be used on a single web site, however you’ll want the $149 Professional model to entry each single characteristic.

three. Ajax Search Lite/Professional

Ajax Search Lite is a well-liked search plugin that is available in each a free model at WordPress.org in addition to a paid model with extra options.

Because the identify suggests, its main perform is so as to add real-time search outcomes as quickly as customers begin typing. You possibly can even customise the stay search outcomes to incorporate thumbnails and different particulars. For instance, in the event you’re operating a WooCommerce retailer, you’ll be able to embody a product’s value within the stay search outcomes.

You possibly can strive a demo right here to expertise what it’s like.

You may as well add type and filter choices to assist guests additional refine the outcomes and get different user-friendly options resembling:

  • Search time period highlighting
  • Search options

Nevertheless, it’s extra than simply front-end enhancements. You may as well use Ajax Search Lite to manage the backend search perform:

  • Management what content material could be searched. For instance, ought to it search weblog posts or WooCommerce merchandise? Or each?
  • Embrace customized fields and different info in search
  • Embrace person feedback in search

You possibly can strive Ajax Search Lite without spending a dime at WordPress.org. For extra options, you should buy Ajax Search Professional for $36 from CodeCanyon, which incorporates lifetime updates. The premium model is well-rated, with 14,000+ gross sales and a four.82-star score on over 790 evaluations.

four. Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch isn’t a WordPress search plugin itself – it’s an open-source search engine that you may combine into any kind of web site. Nevertheless, there are a number of plugins that allow you to combine Elasticsearch into WordPress to energy your WordPress search.

Elasticsearch makes a extremely good choice for high-traffic, high-content WordPress websites as a result of it separates your search index out of your WordPress web site. This may scale back the variety of database queries that your web site must make, which improves efficiency. This can be a massive a part of why some managed WordPress hosts, like Kinsta, supply Elasticsearch add-ons.

Past that, Elasticsearch additionally helps you generate higher, extra correct search outcomes. It permits you to embody extra content material in your search outcomes and in addition customise the algorithm. You’ll additionally get different helpful options resembling fuzzy matching, faceted search, and real-time automated options.

Sadly, utilizing Elasticsearch could be a little difficult, so it won’t be the best choice for learners.

First, you’ll have to arrange the Elasticsearch software program your self, which is sort of like organising a WordPress set up. You possibly can both self-host it (as a result of it’s open-source) or you’ll be able to pay ElasticPress to host it for you (which could be a little costly). When you’re utilizing Cloudways, Cloudways additionally has a software that can assist you set up Elasticsearch and another WordPress hosts (like Kinsta) supply Elasticsearch choices.

After you have your Elasticsearch set up, you’ll be able to combine it together with your WordPress web site utilizing the free ElasticPress plugin at WordPress.org.

Jetpack Search is a paid WordPress search service from Automattic, the identical group behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and the standalone Jetpack plugin.

One of many greatest benefits of Jetpack Search is that it does all the processing and search indexing on Automattic’s servers. When you have a high traffic web site and/or a web site with plenty of content material, it will enormously scale back the load in your server, which may enhance your efficiency. 

Past that, Jetpack Search fully replaces your web site’s native search characteristic with its personal search overlay that helps numerous user-friendly options:

  • Actual-time search options
  • Search question highlighting in outcomes
  • Type/filter choices within the search outcomes

As for the search algorithm itself, Jetpack Search is definitely based mostly on Elasticsearch (the identical know-how that I shared above). It options numerous enhancements like:

  • Spelling corrections
  • Fuzzy matching
  • Prioritized search outcomes based mostly on web site stats – that’s, it could actually rank extra well-liked content material increased

You possibly can be taught extra concerning the know-how right here. And if you wish to see Jetpack Search in motion, you should use the search perform within the top-right nook at CSS-Tips.

Sadly, Jetpack Search solely is available in a paid model. You’ll pay a month-to-month payment based mostly on how a lot content material your web site has. The plans begin at $5 per 30 days for as much as 100 search data (e.g. 100 weblog posts) and go up from there.

Lastly, there’s Ivory Search, which is one other well-liked search plugin at WordPress.org that is available in each a free and paid model. It was referred to as Add to Search Menu, however the developer modified the identify to Ivory Search.

It shares quite a lot of similarities with SearchWP and Relevanssi. That’s, the primary characteristic is that it permits you to search in “extra” content material together with:

  • Customized put up varieties
  • Customized fields
  • Consumer feedback
  • File attachments
  • Classes, tags, and customized taxonomies

You additionally get extra detailed controls. For instance, you’ll be able to exclude sure content material from search or solely search password-protected posts.

Different helpful options embody:

  • Fuzzy matching (helps generate higher outcomes)
  • Key phrase stemming (additionally helps generate higher outcomes)
  • Totally different choices for sorting the search outcomes

Ivory Search additionally features a few enhancements to the front-end search kind. For instance, you’ll be able to add an Ajax stay search to your kind. It additionally features a search kind customizer that allows you to customise the colours and textual content.

The free model of Ivory Search is accessible at WordPress.org. The paid model begins at simply $20 per 12 months.

Enhance WordPress Search Right now

By default, the WordPress search characteristic may be very restricted. If you wish to make it simpler for folks to look and uncover content material in your web site, you might want to use a WordPress search plugin.

So – which plugin is best for you?

Nicely, in the event you simply need a straightforward option to make your WordPress search extra “full”, I’d advocate beginning with Relevanssi (freemium), SearchWP (paid), or Ivory Search (freemium).

Then again, if you wish to improve your front-end search with real-time Ajax search options, you may wish to begin with Ajax Search Lite/Professional.

Lastly, in case you have a high traffic web site with plenty of content material, Elasticsearch is an effective way to scale back the load in your server whereas additionally serving up higher search outcomes. The best option to profit from Elasticsearch is to make use of Jetpack Search. Or, in the event you’re extra of a technical individual, you can even arrange Elasticsearch your self and use the free ElasticPress plugin.

Do let me know the way you’ve gotten enhanced your WordPress search? Are you additionally monitoring how customers are utilizing search characteristic of your WordPress web site?


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