Better Search


Better Search replaces the default WordPress search engine with a more powerful search engine that gives search results relevant to the title and content of the post. This means that visitors to your blog will find what they are looking for quicker than if you didn’t have Better Search installed.

Better Search can search through not just posts, but also pages and other custom post types. Let your visitors find what they are looking for.

The plugin is packed with options to allow you to easily customise the output. You can also fine tune the results by assigning a greater weight to either the title or the content. The default mode is a seamless integration with your WordPress theme. And, for power users, Better Search supports templates for that extra something.

And for even more advanced users, Better Search is packed with filters and actions that allow you to easily extend the plugin’s feature set.

Additionally, the plugin also tracks the searches and you to display a “search heatmap” of the most popular searches. Support for WordPress widgets will allow you to easily add this heatmap to your theme’s sidebar or footer.


  • Automatic: Once activated, Better Search will automatically replace your default WordPress search with more relevant search results
  • Seamless integration: Search results are perfectly integrated into your theme without the need for custom search templates
  • Relevance: Search results are automatically sorted by relevance. You can also turn off relevancy based searching, in which case, results are sorted by date
  • Control the results: Fine tune the results by changing the weighting of post title and post content. Turn on BOOLEAN search to override the default NATURAL LANGUAGE search of mySQL
  • Popular searches: Find out what visitors are searching for on your blog. Display a list of popular search terms (daily and overall) on your blog in the form of a heatmap. Widget support for easy integration in your theme as well as a shortcode [[bsearch_heatmap]]
  • Customisation: Support for a template file for perfect integration into your blog template. Alternatively, just input your own CSS styles in the Custom Styles tab in the Settings Page. Check the FAQ for more information
  • Supports cache plugins: Works with caching plugins like WP-Super-Cache and W3 Total Cache
  • Profanity filter: Customise the list of stop words that will automatically be filtered out of search queries
  • Translation ready: Better Search is translation ready


Better Search is also available on Github
So, if you’ve got some cool feature that you’d like to implement into the plugin or a bug you’ve been able to fix, consider forking the project and sending me a pull request.


  • Options in WP-Admin - General options
  • Options in WP-Admin - Search results options
  • Options in WP-Admin - Heatmap options
  • Options in WP-Admin - Custom styles
  • Options in WP-Admin - Tools
  • Better Search widget
  • Better Search Popular Searches table in Admin


WordPress install

  1. Navigate to Plugins within your WordPress Admin Area

  2. Click “Add new” and in the search box enter “Better Search”

  3. Find the plugin in the list (usually the first result) and click “Install Now”

Manual install

  1. Download the plugin

  2. Extract the contents of to wp-content/plugins/ folder. You should get a folder called better-search.

  3. Activate the Plugin in WP-Admin.

  4. Goto Settings > Better Search to configure

  5. Goto Appearance > Widgets to add the Popular Searches sidebar widgets to your theme

  6. Optionally visit the Custom Styles tab to add any custom CSS styles. These are added to wp_head on the pages where the posts are displayed


If your question isn’t listed there, please create a new post in the support forum. I monitor the forums regularly. If you’re looking for more advanced paid support, please see details here.

Can I customize the output?

Better Search has a huge set of options that help you customise the output or fine tune the results without leaving the comfort of your WordPress site. Goto Settings > Better Search to configure.

The plugin also supports the use of template files within your theme. You can create a file called better-search-template.php in your theme’s directory and the plugin will use it to display the results.

My search words are getting filtered or *How does the profanity filter work*

Better Search includes a very cool profanity filter using the script from Banbuilder. You can customise which list of words you want to filter out from the Better Search settings page. Find the setting called “Filter these words:”. The plugin will automatically strip out both partial and complete references of these words.
You can turn the filter off by emptying the list.

Know of a better profanity filter? Suggest one in the forums.


February 12, 2021
I like the functionality of the search field a lot, but the actual search results are not fantastic. It brings up reasonably similar content, but the posts I would want it to show at the top are way down, and I found no way to finetune it to get better results. It’s that I like the functionality of the search field so much that I haven’t switched to Ivory Search yet, which yields far superior search results. But as a search plugin, it’s honestly not the best. I think it would have to assess the content of the posts to get better results. I do hope you will consider adding that.
September 30, 2020
I created this wordpress account just to rate 5 star for this and this is my first ever rating in wordpress.I tried many plugin ,none fulfilled my needs except this .Huge thanks to you
July 12, 2020
Overall, nicely done, but returns too many results with low relevancy, and no apparent way to control that.
Read all 45 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Better Search” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


“Better Search” has been translated into 1 locale. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “Better Search” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



Release post:

  • Bug fixes:
    • Security fix
    • Variable fix for LIMIT clause


  • Bug fixes:
    • Password protected posts will no longer show the excerpt but a default message


  • Bug fixes:
    • Custom CSS box would not save


  • Features:

    • New section under Better Search » Tools to export and import settings. Best option if you’d like the same configuration across multiple WordPress sites
  • Enhancements:

    • If thumbnails are enabled on search results page with seamless mode off, the plugin will search for multiple option in addition to the post thumbnail
    • Admin scripts are no longer loaded into the head – but using a separate JavaScript file
    • Implemented CodeMirror to format custom styles box
    • Replaced jscolor with WordPress color picker
    • New filters to modify the style, class, title
  • Bug fixes:

    • Fixed notices in PHP 7.4 when viewing popular searches listings
    • Link to Better Search plugin page was not nofollow


Release post:

  • Features:

    • New interface in the admin area to view popular searches. You can also delete the search results from this page
    • New setting Number format count under General to turn on/off the number formating of the search count
    • New setting Exclude Categories under Search to exclude posts that belong to certain categories
    • New setting Stop query on banned words filter under Search to stop searching if the search query contains any word from the banned list i.e. “Filter these words” setting. If you have seamless mode off, Better Search will display an error message. With seamless mode on, this will give a Nothing found message. You can customize it by editing your theme
    • New setting Filter whole words only to only filter the full words from the banned list. When activated, partial words will no longer be blocked. You will need to update your banned words list to record more words that you would like filtered
  • Bug fixes:

    • Options with checkboxes that haven’t been saved in the database should display correctly
    • Fixed bsearch_read_options is deprecated message on activation


Release post:

  • Features:

    • New option to disable aggressive searching when no results are found
  • Enhancements:

    • HTML markup for the search results page when seamless mode is OFF has been rewritten with several new classes. View example markup
  • Bug fixes:

    • WHERE clause will be the same with Seamless mode ON or OFF
    • The plugin will only force BOOLEAN mode if no results are found and this wasn’t already enabled

For previous changelog entries, please refer to the separate changelog.txt file