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10+ Best Search Plugins For WordPress To Make The Most Out Of Search 2018

10+ Best Search Plugins for WordPress To Make The Most Out Of Search 2018

Did you know that the default WordPress search engine isn’t really that efficient (and awesome) like the rest of WordPress?

Although 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 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 compactible! 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!

More info / Download


01 searchwp

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.

01 searchwp-settings-ui.min

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 favourite. 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.

More info / Download

AJAX Search Pro for WordPress – Live Search Plugin

02 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.

The plugin runs on AJAX which is an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Essentially this means that the plugin starts working (i.e. returning search results) as soon as the keywords are typed, without refreshing the page. This is a huge boost in user experience.

02 AJAX Search Pro for WordPress - Live Search Plugin

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.

More info / Download

Smart Ajax Product Search

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.

smart ajax product search plugin settings

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.

More info / Download

Freemium Search Plugins for WordPress

Swiftype Search

04 swiftype search

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).

04 swiftype search search rearrange

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.


05 Relevanssi hero

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

06 better search

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.

06 better search settings

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.

Dave’s WordPress Live Search

07 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.

07 Dave's WordPress Live Search settings

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.

09 category wise search

Plugin’s Settings panel

If you do not wish to spend time configuring other feature-filled plugins, this one might just be the solution.

Simply Exclude

If you ever wanted to exclude or include certain custom post types, posts, pages and content by authors in your WordPress search results, then Simply Exclude would be an awesome plugin for you.

10 simply exclude

Plugin options

Keep in mind that the plugin internally uses the default WordPress search functionality, so that might be a limiting factor.


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 behaviour 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 favourite search plugin? If so, let us know and we’ll add it to our list!

Aigars Silkalns

Frontend web developer and web designer specialized in free and premium WordPress theme development. Started to learn to code 2 years ago and now I am familiar with CSS/HTML/JavaScript (jQuery) and PHP. Obsessed with application performance, user experience and simplicity.

This Post Has 28 Comments
  1. Hi do you know a plugin similar to Category Wise Search but does it for woocommerce products as well?? I’ve been searching something like that fo a month already.

    Thanks and regards,

  2. Hello,
    Thanks for sharing this awesome collection of best search plugins for WordPress. I have installed the free Relevanssi and built the index. But the search is still the default WordPress search. Is there anything else that has to be done?

  3. I recommend Site Search 360 – offering a free plan and starting with a premium version at 9$/month. Next to its easy implementation (1-line JavaScript code) it even supports semantics.

  4. Lift is not compatible with the 2013 API. The developers are unresponsive, I would take this off your list as it is not currently a viable option.

  5. Thanks for sharing top Search Plugins for WordPress. Currently using Reactive Pro WordPress Search Filter plugin. I’ve bought it from CodeCanyon and I’m satisfied with using it. You may add this one to your list.

  6. Be sure to check out CurrySearch as well.
    It supports stemming 16 languages, autocompletion and search result filters.

    You can also index custom post types and it is free. You also don’t have to install anything.

  7. New wordpress theme plugin release! It good for your website and easy optimize your page for SEO. Get it for start business online now!

    1. Paul,

      Maybe it is a great product but behind your hideous demo and website no one will tell if it is a good or a bad product. I strongly recommend you to hire a designer os otherwise your product is destined to fail right away.
      Sorry for so direct feedback but it is better to say it the way it is than hide it in the bushes.

  8. A great post! Very useful information when deciding which plugin is the best to use for WordPress search module according to our needs. I especially like Relevanssi because it’s a free plugin that replaces the default WordPress search module with a better search engine, while offering a plethora of features and configurable options. You’ll get more relevant results and a better presentation of results! We’ve written an article about a similar topic and we would love to have your feedback 😉 Thanks!

  9. Hi, looking to build a search form that will access search results (real estate properties) depending on answers from dropdown search form. Any advice on which of these plugins will work the best for this need? thank you for any help

  10. Relevanssi has not been updated for three years and now only shows one search result even when you have many.

  11. Hi!

    Great writeup! I am the author of Ajax Search Pro, and if I may add, there is a ‘lite’ version of the plugin available for free on plugin repository. Search for ‘Ajax Search Lite’ to find it. It delivers the core features of the paid version, without any limitations. For simple uses it could be sufficient for most users, and it’s completely free 🙂 Thanks!

    Best regards,
    Ernest M.

  12. Can anyone here suggest a plugin if I have 50000 posts database. both “SearchWP” and “Relevanssi” not recommended for such a big database.

  13. I really love the contact form 7 plugin for my website. It’s just so good, because it saves all information to database (with plugin). I made whole booking system with it.

  14. Is there are reason you didn’t include WP Google Search? This looks like a powerful and easy-to-manage plugin.

  15. So I just had the worst experience I have every had with a plugin developer in my life. Patrice from WPSOLR is really not the most friendly person and essentially the plugin itself is poorly coded and prone to issues.

    I got a white screen of death the moment I installed the plugin and when I asked for a refund the Patrice told me that it is not their policy to give refunds. The white screen of death was caused by a conflict with WooCommerce BTW.

    After some back and forth (begging for a refund, trying to plede). I was ignored. $50 buck down the drain. Not worth it, don’t do it

    1. Peter,

      I’m terribly sorry to hear about your experience. I hope your story will encourage others to share their story as well so we can see if it is worth to still recommend this plugin or should it be removed.

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