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!This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Spectacu.la Advanced Search

Changes the WordPress search queries to provide more relevant results more efficiently and with options to influence the results.

The install

  1. Upload spec-adv-search folder to /wp-content/plugins/spec-adv-search/ or the content of the folder to /wp-content/mu-plugins/. If the directory doesn't exist then create it.
  2. Activate the plugin through the 'Plugins' menu in WordPress.
  3. You should now see an extra menu Advanced search show up under the settings menu in the main admin sidebar.
  4. Go to the new page and hit the "Create Index" button. Once the index has been created you'll then be able to tick the enable box at the top of the page.

The config

  1. For these search methods to work you'll need a FULLTEXT index on your post_content and post_title in the wp_posts table. This can be done by using the "create index" button. There are some things to be aware of before you proceed.

    1. Firstly adding the index will likely double the size of your wp_posts table, this in and of itself isn’t a problem however if you’re running up against the upper limits of your hosts allowed size then creating an index may push you over that limit. If you do hit your size limit nothing bad should happen but it would be best if you backed up your database first just in case. Always a good idea to run a backup before anything is done to change the db.
    2. Second thing you should know is that the index creation is handled by a Wordpress cron job. Some hosts have problems with wp_cron and if your host is one of those then you will see this “The index creation/deletion is scheduled to start after {date and time}” below the button for a long time after the job was supposed to run. Don’t worry if it’s only a few mins as that is quite normal. If you do have a problem with wp_cron on your server you may find future dated posts don’t become live when you hoped. We can, if you have something like PHPMyAdmin, create the indexes manually by running these commands against your WordPress db:

    CREATE FULLTEXT INDEX spec_post_content_fulltext ON wp_posts (post_content);

    CREATE FULLTEXT INDEX spec_post_content_fulltext_title ON wp_posts (post_title);

    1. Thirdly creating the indexes could take quite some time depending upon your server set up. Once the index creation kicks in, unless your server creates the index so quickly that it completes the creation before the command to collect the status has run, you should see “Creating index on post_-----. MySQL is returning the following message:” Don’t panic if you see something like “repair by sorting” or “copy to tmp table” as these are expected messages but if you get “Repair with keycache” still don’t panic just be prepared to wait a long while for the index to complete its creation.
  2. Once the index is live you should be able to tick the enable button. Now we get to choose from up to 5 different modes of search:
    1. Default mode: This will find posts containing any of the term, the more of the terms there are in a post the higher relevance score it receives and thus the higher in the results it will appear (presuming sorting by rank). If two or more terms are searched for but only one can be found then posts matching that one will be returned. Terms matched in titles count as one and a half as much as those in the content.
    2. Boolean mode: Very much the same as default mode but you get several extra operators that can alter a query. Adding + or – to the head of a term will either make it so that you return posts that must have the term or must not have the term. > or < will increase or decrease the importance of a word. So for example (phone >droid) would find all phone post and droid post but droid posts would be considered more important. A full explanation of the operators can be found here.
    3. With query expansion: This kind of search can find posts related to your search terms but don’t necessarily contain any of the terms entered. So search for “android” for example and it will use posts that contain the word android to find words that are related to it. So it may deem that you want posts about robots too or it may also figure you want post relating to Google’s phone OS it really depends upon your sites content. For this mode you’ll need to tweak the relevance limit bases on what has been returned for your content otherwise it can end up returning all posts on your site. Not too big a problem if ordered by relevance but if ordered by date your results will make no sense at all.
    4. In natural language mode: If you have MySQL 5.1 or better you will have two more modes available to you. First is In natural language mode which is mostly the same as default mode and in natural language more with query expansion which is functionally the same as the with query expansion.
  3. If your server works with wp_cron then you can set up a periodic table optimise that will help keep your table index in order. If your site changes rarely then you can set it to run infrequently or not at all and just use the “optimise table” button to do it as and when you want/need to. The more accurate your index is the better your search results will be and the lower the load on the db. All good basically. The optimise will kick in after the time it is set to run but wp-cron requires a visitor to kick off the job. So if you set it to start at 3:00am and you don’t get an activity on your site until 10am the next day the job won’t start until 10am. This shouldn’t be a problem as most optimisations apply very little load and take only a few second to run.

Requires: 2.7.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 2.9.2
Last Updated: 6 years ago
Active Installs: 40+


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