WordPress is a powerful content management system and one of the most popular website platforms out there. However, that doesn’t mean WordPress is completely perfect. It has its own shortcomings and one of the areas where WordPress is severly lacking is the search functionality.
The problem with the search functionality in WordPress is that it won’t search custom post types. The search will also ignore shortcodes, custom fields, and taxonomies.
Luckily, there are a number of free and paid plugins that will improve the default search functionality in WordPress and in this post, I’ll share the best search plugins for WordPress.
The plugins on this list range from free to paid and some of them even offer the ability not only to search taxonomies and shortcodes but also the contents inside PDF files on your website.
Better Search starts off our list with more than 8000 live installs and a solid 4,5-star rating. The plugin offers a more powerful search engine that gives search results relevant to the title and content of the post. It can search through posts, pages, and other custom post types. You will also find plenty of customization options on the backend and allows you to see a list of popular search terms (daily and overall) on your blog in the form of a heatmap.
Other notable features include integration with caching plugins which means plugins like W3 Total Cache won’t affect the search results. The Better Search plugin also comes with a profanity filter to remove certain words and phrases from search queries.
The Better Search plugin is completely free to download and use from the official repository.
The Ivory Search Plugin features 5-star rating and has more than 10000 active installs. The plugin offers advanced search functionality that allows your visitors to search not only posts and pages but also post or page titles, WooCommerce products, categories, custom post types, and other taxonomies, comments, various file types, and more. The plugin has an easy to use interface and you can also exclude certain content from search results.
What’s more, you can create unlimited search forms and display them in various locations on your site. You can add the search form to your menu, use a shortcode to embed it in a specific page or post or add the search form to your sidebar or footer widgets.
The Ivory Search Plugin can be downloaded for free from the official repository but keep in mind that some of the more advanced features such as the ability to search through file types and WooCommerce products, are offered with the premium version of the plugin. The Premium version is available in two tiers and you can choose between an annual or lifetime license. Annual pricing starts at $19.99 for one site-license and lifetime pricing starts at $99.99.
The Relevanssi plugin is one of the oldest and most popular search plugins for WordPress. It has more than 100000 live installs and features a 4,5-star rating. The plugin allows your visitors to search through your posts and pages as well as comments, tags, categories, and custom fields.
The plugin also highlights search terms in documents and allows for both fuzzy matching searches as well as quotes search for more accurate results.
You can download Relevanssi for free from the official repository. There is also a premium version of the plugin that offers advanced functionality such as indexing post attachments, improved search suggestions, and more. Premium pricing starts at 111 Euros for a single site license.
The WPSOLR plugin is a premium search plugin that offers a lot in terms of features. First off, the plugin makes it possible for your visitors to search not only your posts and pages but also shortcodes, WooCommerce products, custom taxonomies and fields, and more. It integrates with plugins such as WPML, TablePress, Yoast, S2Member, bbPress, and others.
The plugin also integrates with some of the most popular WordPress themes such as Directory and Jobify and works seamlessly with Amazon’s Elasticsearch service.
You can try the plugin before purchasing it as it offers a fully-functional demo. The plugin is available for a one-time fee of $49 which includes lifetime updates and support for one site.
SearchWP is another premium plugin that was designed to improve the default search functionality in WordPress. The plugin comes with features that are on par with the plugins above. You can search regular content as well as WooCommerce products, bbPress posts, shortcodes, custom fields, and more.
The SearchWP comes with the ability to exclude content from search results and advanced search analytics that allows you to see what people are searching for on your site. A notable feature is the use of keyword stems instead of exact term matches to show more relevant results.
On top of that, there are a number of extensions that make SearchWP even more powerful when it comes to search functionality. For example, you can use the WP Job Manager extension to enhance the job search functionality of the WP Job Manager plugin.
The SearchWP plugin is available in three pricing tiers and the pricing starts at $99/year for one-site license.
The Ajax Search Pro plugin includes not only the search functionality but also a filtering option so your visitors can filter the results they get. The plugin is highly customizable and works with some of the most popular page builder plugins such as WP Bakery, Elementor, and others which means you can easily integrate it into your site.
The plugin takes into account the usual content as well as any custom post types (like WooCommerce products, BBPress forums, topics, replies), categories, custom taxonomy terms, attachments, users, BuddyPress groups, and BuddyPress activities. On top of that, the plugin is multisite compatible.
The plugin also comes with pre-made themes for the search widget but you can easily customize it to match the rest of your site.
This is one of the more affordable premium search plugins as it offers quite a lot of features for only $36. This plugin is available from CodeCanyon which means it comes with 6 months of support and updates and can be used on a single website.
The last plugin on the list is a part of Jetpack’s premium plan so if you’re already using Jetpack on your site and want to improve the search functionality it might be worth upgrading your account.
The plugin uses Elasticsearch to add extra features to your site’s search functionality. These extra features include real time indexing of content changes, the ability to filter searches by tags, categories, custom taxonomies, authors, dates, and post types, sort search results by date or relevance, and more.
The Search feature is available on Jetpack’s Professional plan which costs $29/month. This makes Jetpack Search the most affordable premium search plugin on this list so it’s a good choice if budget is tight.
The default search functionality on WordPress is one area where WordPress falls short. But with the right plugin, you can significantly improve it. Check out the plugins on this list and use them to offer your visitors more accurate search results.
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