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The Best WordPress Search Plugins in 2022

Are you searching for the best WordPress search plugins to power up your blog? We reviewed a lot of them! And, here are the best WordPress Search plugins we think would suit bloggers best. 

You might be wondering, why use a third-party WordPress search form when the default engine can get the job done? You see, the problem lies in the standard engine’s simplicity. If you’re searching for “best freelance job websites” as an example, you will likely see results that have nothing to do with your job search.

So, in addition to providing more accurate searches, a third-party plugin gives you the following advantages:

Main Benefits

  • Give users the ability to search only within specific categories
  • Keep your website compartmentalized (a search field for blog entries, and another for product results)
  • Customize search settings to allow for partial searches and loosely-related terms
  • Users and admins can perform advanced searches by tags, image descriptions, and other unusual entries such as embedded documents

That being said, let’s look at the best search plugins available for WordPress.

Relevanssi

As the name implies, this plugin delivers results in order of relevance as opposed to the published date. It also provides the following powerful benefits:

  • Search within categories, tags, custom fields, and even through user comments
  • Ability to deliver results based on partial terms
  • Use “AND/OR” operators (for example, writer OR editor; house AND apartment)
  • Search for exact-match phrases
  • The plugin highlights keywords when browsing search results
  • Has Google-style search suggestions (e.g. “Did you mean..”)
  • Place more emphasis (or weight) on different assets such as titles or tags
  • Multi-site ready
  • Search within user profiles (premium feature, and many more)
  • Compatible with Gutenberg block editor

The plugin is packed with plenty of free and premium options; useful if you’re running a relatively complex website.

Jetpack Search

The most important benefit you could get from this WordPress search plugin would be its compatibility. The Jetpack Search plugin is created by the same team behind WooCommerce, WordPress.com, and Jetpack. This means that it specifically serves websites created from these CMS.

Not only that, but Jetpack Search also has these incredible features:

  • Processes occur on WordPress.com’s servers
  • Puts very minimal strain on your WordPress site due to the lack of database queries
  • Search results are based on your site’s statistics – Most popular first
  • Also searches comments for highlighted search terms
  • Spelling correction

If you are looking for a hassle-free plugin, this might be the best one for you.

Elastic Press

Although it is a bit more technical and advanced than other plugins, the ElasticPress search plugin is a great option. It is fast, super flexible, and highly customizable.

  • Builds its own indexes to turn up better results, instead of using your WordPress site’s indexes
  • More performance-friendly
  • Open-source, so it is definitely free to use
  • Indexes all your content, including unpublished ones
  • Uses ElasticSearch for faster results
  • Has autosuggest features which suggest relevant content as you type into the search field
  • Boasts of instant searches
  • also indexes comments

So, if you like the challenge and enjoy doing the more technical stuff, ElasticPress might be the best one for you.

Reactive Search Pro

A powerful search and filter plugin, the Reactive Search Pro makes sure to transform your website into a user-friendly haven.

  • Boasts of a Drag and Drop search page builder
  • Allows for map-based search
  • Provides 15+ search attributes (text box, select box, radio box, checkbox, etc)
  • Search within location, categories, products, users, media, comments, tags, meta, and posts
  • Has a top bar search option, making it highly accessible for users
  • Also provides a home page banner search option
  • WooCommerce and WPML compatible

Although it does come with a price tag, Reactive Search Pro gives you the best performance at all times.

Ivory Search

The best thing about Ivory Search is that it does NOT necessarily replace the standard WP search, but rather enhances it. However, the plugin also allows you to create separate search forms as well.

  • Supports an unlimited amount of search forms
  • Search within posts, pages, excerpts, images, files, and virtually any post type
  • Ability to search only from specific authors
  • Search for posts with various publishing statuses (draft, private, pending, etc)
  • Useful for searching specific areas of your site (such as WooCommerce products versus standard blog posts)
  • Uses Ajax to display results
  • Customize form color, text, and the overall style of your search form
  • Exclude specific content from results

All in all, it’s a relatively advanced plugin you can use to replace or improve the standard WP search form.

WP Extended Search

Yet another great search plugin for both personal and commercial blogs. WP Extended Search boasts of its lightweight, but powerful plugin.

Here are its best features:

  • Search within standard posts, categories, tags, and custom taxonomies
  • Users have an option to customize search settings and assign these to multiple custom search forms
  • Create multiple search forms and place them anywhere on your blog
  • Include / exclude specific post types
  • Configure the plugin to search only post titles, excerpt, body, or everything
  • Extensive WooCommerce compatibility (search by SKU and other product-related attributes)
  • Exclude older content (admin specifies the dates to ignore)
  • Deliver results from exact or partial search terms

This plugin’s lightweight design means that your blog won’t suffer from performance issues while delivering laser-focused results.

WP Solr

WP Solr is a highly intelligent plugin. In addition to performing most features from the aforementioned plugins, other benefits include:

  • Over 50 languages come pre-configured
  • Relaxed typo tolerance (always get relevant results from vague searches)
  • Get instant suggestions as you type
  • Supports synonyms to further improve your search results
  • Search analytics included
  • Works seamlessly with bbPress, WooCommerce, WPML, and more
  • Integrated with search engines such as Elasticsearch, OpenSearch, and Algolia

This is the recommended choice for professional websites, startups, and online businesses in general.

FacetWP

FacetWP is extremely versatile thanks to its varied configuration and ease of use.

  • Let users set checkboxes, dropdowns, date range, geolocation settings, and more. Mix and match!
  • Support for virtually all custom post types and taxonomies to compartmentalize your blog
  • Lightweight plugin means faster results and greater blog engagement
  • Boasts of its up-to-date documentation and support (which is directly built-in to the plugin)
  • Optional integration with popular plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, and more

FacetWP is ideal for those running classified websites and those offering multiple products across many categories.

Lastly, the following plugins don’t bring much new to the table (compared to the above offerings). Needless to say, they’re still great alternatives to consider for your personal or professional blog…

SearchWP Live Ajax Search

Swiftype Site Search

Better Search

Search-related Tips

  • Use common words in article titles to help search plugins find more accurate results.
  • Avoid cutesy terms that hardly anyone would realistically search for.
  • Take advantage of tags as well as alt-text image descriptions. This is useful if your website is heavily dependent on images
  • Categorize posts properly and keep your overall blog design clean and simple to navigate (as this reduces the need to use the search form so extensively)

Conclusion

The above search plugins are useful even if your blog is relatively straightforward in nature. As the amount of published content grows, so will the need for more accurate results.

Do you have other plugin suggestions? Be sure to let us know on our official Twitter page. Best of luck!

First published in April 2021; updated January 2022