6 Search Plugins to Replace WordPress’ Default Search

best wordpress search plugins

Integrating a powerful search module into your WordPress site is one of the best things you can offer your viewership.

WordPress’ default search is far from perfect and doesn’t offer the basic functionality most users expect. Once you have a few hundred posts published on your blog, you’ll need a decent searching solution that provides improves your readers’ user experience and enables them to find what they’re looking for without any hassle.

In this article, we’ll run the rule over some of the best free and premium search plugins to replace WordPress’ default search module.

AJAX Search Pro

ajax search pro

AJAX Search Pro is a premium WordPress search plugin that features a powerful search experience based on (you guessed it!) AJAX technology. When your site’s viewers perform a search, your site’s archives will be searched and the results will be displayed dynamically.

One of the standout features on offer with AJAX Search Pro is that it comes with both relevance search and caching functionality for sites that receive a lot of traffic. The plugin’s customizability options range from the four built-in layouts for displaying search results to its administration panel that’s loaded with over 300 options.

WordPress Search by Swiftype


Swiftype’s WordPress Search plugin is one of the few plugins out there that offers advanced searching functionality such as automatic, real-time post indexing to ensure your viewer’s search results are always up-to-date. The plugin’s search module features custom result ranking, autocomplete, and synonyms – the works.

WordPress Search has become massively popular with WordPress users due to its real-time analytics functionality through which webmasters can get feedback, user insight, and predict their viewers’ search trends. If you’re a bit technically minded, you can customize its core files and extend them to build the custom search engine you want.

For $249 per month, this premium plugin is on the pricier end of the scale and suitable for large-scale websites with thousands of posts.

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The SearchWP plugin builds on the functionality offered by WordPress’ default search by adding advanced features such as searching e-commerce product details, custom fields, related post data, and PDF and document content. In addition to this, SearchWP also searches content generated by shortcodes for the queried term – which the default search ignores. The plugin’s flexibility makes it a popular choice among webmasters. With each license, users can choose to add on as many extensions they’d like to enhance the core search functionality.

The plugin also provides insight into your visitors’ search queries which you can leverage to your maximum benefit by giving the viewers what they want whether it’s a post about a particular topic or a product you could sell.

The SearchWP license starts at $49 for use on one site inclusive of the additional extensions you might want to tack on later.



Relevanssi is considered a go-to option for webmasters who want a premium-quality plugin without emptying out their wallet. With Relevanssi, you’ll get a search module that performs searches based on partial matching and then sorts them by relevance.

The plugin runs on a fuzzy search algorithm that differentiates it from other search plugins in the WordPress market. It enables users to search for exact phrases enclosed in quotes in addition to Boolean search and searches in the shortcode generated content.

The free version is available on WordPress.org and when you’re ready to take things further, you can upgrade to its $49.95 premium version for additional features, support, and future development.


elastic press

ElasticPress is an integration of the popular Elasticsearch plugin for WordPress. Instead of retrieving search results from the default MySQL database, it queries the Elasticsearch server. If you’re running WordPress multisite, you’ll find this plugin to your maximum benefit because of the support it offers for cross-site search.

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The plugin improves on WordPress’ default search by introducing autosuggest, fuzzy matching, proximity and geographic queries as well as the ability to search metadata and taxonomies.

The ElasticPress plugin is available for free on the WordPress repository but it requires Elasticsearch and WP-CLI to work as it is designed to be managed via the command line.

Better Search

better search

Better Search is a powerful search plugin for WordPress sites that looks into pages, posts, and custom post types for the queried term and displays the search results in order of relevance. One of the notable features on offer here is its ability to allot different weights to the title or content to improve search results.

The plugin allows webmasters to customize the output based on their preferences and select from its wide range of templates to add a little zing to their site. Better Search’s search heat map functionality helps webmasters gain insight into the most popular searches over a given time period which can be used for business growth or boosting traffic.

Better Search is a free plugin that has all the basic functionality in place along with shortcodes integration and a profanity filter.

Wrapping It Up

An improved search module can do wonders for your site by enhancing user experience while making your site significantly more useful to your viewership. Each one of the plugins on our list has some features that make it stand out in the crowd and we hope that you’re able to make an informed decision now in selecting a suitable search plugin for your website.

Which search plugins have you used on your WordPress site? Which search functionality is most important to you when performing a search? Let us know in the comments section below!

Charlie has been building WordPress themes, reviewing web hosts and utilizing social media since their respective inceptions.

7 thoughts on “6 Search Plugins to Replace WordPress’ Default Search

  1. Gustavo says:

    Anyone knows a plugin that allows searching by authors/users? I can’t find any.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi Gustavo, have you looked at SearchWP? I think it would probably do the job.

  2. Sara Leonard says:

    Another great site search plugin to implement search functionality on a WordPress website is searchIQ (www.searchiq.xyz). It is easy to install, highly customizable and free to use. The plugin supports real-time indexing of website pages to deliver fast and accurate search results.

    Key Features:

    Phrase matching for highly relevant results
    Real-time Indexing
    Auto-complete results with toggle image option
    Custom Fields Search
    Synonym aliasing to handle inexact searches
    Weight assignment on title, content, category, tags to prioritize the search results
    Cross Domain Search functionality
    Responsive search results across all devices
    Real-time Analytics
    View & download Weekly/Monthly reports

  3. Augustin says:

    I want to have a plugin that it’s only search in one post similar to search feature on google chrome when press ctrl+F. Some people don’t know this function on google chrome. So, I want have one plugin similar to search feature on google chrome sothat I can put it on my post, only one post, don’t all post. Can you help me?

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi Augustin, I’m not aware of any plugins that enable this functionality specifically.

  4. Ni Ky says:

    Thank you for this post!

    On many big sites, especially on ecommerce ones, tracking search is a big deal. So we created a plugin for this – http://searchmanagerwp.com/

    1. charles Charles says:

      Thanks, looks interesting. I see the plugin is for sale on Codecanyon.

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