Looking for the most effective 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 solutions that seem as quickly as a person begins typing.
On high-traffic websites with a number of content material, the default WordPress search function also can 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, regulate the weighting/algorithm, and, relying on the plugin, supply a way more helpful search interface with solutions, filters, and extra. With some options, you’ll additionally be capable of offload your search function to a separate server, which is nice for efficiency on high-traffic websites.
On this submit, I’ll share the six finest search plugins for WordPress, most of which have a free model that you should use.

Six Best 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 enables you to embody several types of content material in your search index together with:

Customized submit varieties (e.g. occasions, merchandise, jobs, and so forth)Customized fieldsCategories, tags, and customized taxonomiesUser commentsAttachments corresponding to PDFs, Docs, and so forth. (with the paid model)Consumer profiles (with the paid model)The front-end output of shortcodesYou also can change the weighting of the algorithm. For instance, you possibly can 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 may also help 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 vary something.
Nevertheless, it does nonetheless add a number of front-end adjustments:
Kind outcomes by relevance, not by dateCreate customized excerpts that present the content material the place the search phrase appearsHighlight search phrases when a person clicks via to the contentAdd Google-style “Did you imply?” suggestionsYou can get lots 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 a number of front-end enhancements, as properly.
The largest function is that it enables you to embody “extra” content material in your search index, together with:
Customized submit varieties (e.g. merchandise, jobs, and so forth.)Customized fieldsFront-end output of shortcodesCategories, tags, and customized taxonomiesContent in PDFs and different documentsYou also can regulate the weighting of all these several types of content material and SearchWP provides fuzzy matching for improved outcomes.
Another helpful options embody:
View search analyticsSort outcomes by relevance not by dateUse SearchWP to energy associated content material solutions in your siteAutomatically redirect sure queries to a different pageThe similar developer additionally gives a free SearchWP Dwell 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 function.
3. 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, for those who’re working a WooCommerce retailer, you possibly can embody a product’s worth within the stay search outcomes.
You possibly can strive a demo right here to expertise what it’s like.
You too can add kind and filter choices to assist guests additional refine the outcomes and get different user-friendly options corresponding to:
Search time period highlightingSearch suggestionsHowever, it’s extra than simply front-end enhancements. You too can use Ajax Search Lite to manage the backend search perform:
Management what content material might be searched. For instance, ought to it search weblog posts or WooCommerce merchandise? Or each?Embrace customized fields and different info in searchInclude person feedback in searchYou can strive Ajax Search Lite totally free at WordPress.org. For extra options, you should purchase Ajax Search Professional for $36 from CodeCanyon, which incorporates lifetime updates. The premium model is well-rated, with 14,000+ gross sales and a 4.82-star ranking on over 790 opinions.
4. Elasticsearch
Elasticsearch isn’t a WordPress search plugin itself – it’s an open-source search engine you could combine into any sort of web site. Nevertheless, there are a number of plugins that assist you combine Elasticsearch into WordPress to energy your WordPress search.
Elasticsearch makes a very good possibility 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. It is a large 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 enables you to embody extra content material in your search outcomes and likewise customise the algorithm. You’ll additionally get different helpful options corresponding to fuzzy matching, faceted search, and real-time automated solutions.
Sadly, utilizing Elasticsearch could be a little difficult, so it may not be the most suitable choice for novices.
First, you’ll must arrange the Elasticsearch software program your self, which is form of like establishing a WordPress set up. You possibly can both self-host it (as a result of it’s open-source) or you possibly can pay ElasticPress to host it for you (which could be a little costly). If you happen to’re utilizing Cloudways, Cloudways additionally has a device that will help you set up Elasticsearch and another WordPress hosts (like Kinsta) supply Elasticsearch choices.
After you have your Elasticsearch set up, you possibly can combine it along with your WordPress web site utilizing the free ElasticPress plugin at WordPress.org.
5. Jetpack Search
Jetpack Search is a paid WordPress search service from Automattic, the identical workforce 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. If in case you have a heavy-traffic web site and/or a web site with a number of content material, this may 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 function with its personal search overlay that helps numerous user-friendly options:
Actual-time search suggestionsSearch question highlighting in resultsSort/filter choices within the search resultsAs for the search algorithm itself, Jetpack Search is definitely primarily based on Elasticsearch (the identical know-how that I shared above). It options numerous enhancements like:
Spelling correctionsFuzzy matchingPrioritized search outcomes primarily based on web site stats – that’s, it may possibly rank extra in style content material higherYou can study extra in regards to 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 primarily based on how a lot content material your web site has. The plans begin at $5 monthly for as much as 100 search data (e.g. 100 weblog posts) and go up from there.
6. Ivory Search
Lastly, there’s Ivory Search, which is one other in style search plugin at WordPress.org that is available in each a free and paid model. It was once 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 principle function is that it enables you to search in “extra” content material together with:
Customized submit typesCustom fieldsUser commentsFile attachmentsCategories, tags, and customized taxonomiesYou additionally get extra detailed controls. For instance, you possibly can 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)Completely different choices for sorting the search resultsIvory Search additionally features a few enhancements to the front-end search kind. For instance, you possibly can add an Ajax stay search to your kind. It additionally features a search kind customizer that permits you to customise the colours and textual content.
The free model of Ivory Search is offered at WordPress.org. The paid model begins at simply $20 per 12 months.
Enhance WordPress Search Right this moment
By default, the WordPress search function may be very restricted. If you wish to make it simpler for folks to look and uncover content material in your web site, it’s essential use a WordPress search plugin.
So – which plugin is best for you?
Nicely, for those who simply need a simple strategy to make your WordPress search extra “full”, I might advocate beginning with Relevanssi (freemium), SearchWP (paid), or Ivory Search (freemium).
However, if you wish to improve your front-end search with real-time Ajax search solutions, you may wish to begin with Ajax Search Lite/Professional.
Lastly, when you’ve got a heavy-traffic web site with a number of content material, Elasticsearch is an effective way to cut back the load in your server whereas additionally serving up higher search outcomes. The simplest strategy to profit from Elasticsearch is to make use of Jetpack Search. Or, for those who’re extra of a technical particular person, you may as well arrange Elasticsearch your self and use the free ElasticPress plugin.
Do let me know the way you will have enhanced your WordPress search? Are you additionally monitoring how customers are utilizing search function of your WordPress web site?