Relevanssi – A Better Search


Relevanssi replaces the standard WordPress search with a better search engine, with lots of features and configurable options. You’ll get better results, better presentation of results – your users will thank you.

This is the free version of Relevanssi. There’s also Relevanssi Premium, which has added features. For more information about Premium, see

Do note that using Relevanssi may require large amounts (hundreds of megabytes) of database space (for a reasonable estimate, multiply the size of your wp_posts database table by three). If your hosting setup has a limited amount of space for database tables, using Relevanssi may cause problems. In those cases use of Relevanssi cannot be recommended.

Key features

  • Search results sorted in the order of relevance, not by date.
  • Fuzzy matching: match partial words, if complete words don’t match.
  • Find documents matching either just one search term (OR query) or require all words to appear (AND query).
  • Search for phrases with quotes, for example “search phrase”.
  • Create custom excerpts that show where the hit was made, with the search terms highlighted.
  • Highlight search terms in the documents when user clicks through search results.
  • Search comments, tags, categories and custom fields.
  • Multisite friendly.
  • bbPress support.
  • Gutenberg friendly.

Advanced features

  • Adjust the weighting for titles, tags and comments.
  • Log queries, show most popular queries and recent queries with no hits.
  • Restrict searches to categories and tags using a hidden variable or plugin settings.
  • Index custom post types and custom taxonomies.
  • Index the contents of shortcodes.
  • Google-style “Did you mean?” suggestions based on successful user searches.
  • Support for WPML multi-language plugin and Polylang.
  • Support for s2member membership plugin, Members, Groups, Simple Membership and other membership plugins.
  • Advanced filtering to help hacking the search results the way you want.
  • Search result throttling to improve performance on large databases.
  • Disable indexing of post content and post titles with a simple filter hook.

Premium features (only in Relevanssi Premium)

  • Indexing attachment content (PDF, Office, Open Office).
  • Improved spelling correction in “Did you mean?” suggestions.
  • Searching across multiple sites in the same multisite installation.
  • Search and index user profiles.
  • Search and index taxonomy term pages (categories, tags, custom taxonomies).
  • Search and index arbitrary columns in wp_posts MySQL table.
  • Assign weights to any post types and taxonomies.
  • Assign extra weight to new posts.
  • Let the user choose between AND and OR searches, use + and – operator (AND and NOT).
  • Export and import settings.
  • WP CLI commands.
  • Related posts.
  • Redirects for searches.


  • Cristian Damm for tag indexing, comment indexing, post/page exclusion and general helpfulness.
  • Marcus Dalgren for UTF-8 fixing.
  • Warren Tape for 2.5.5 fixes.
  • Mohib Ebrahim for relentless bug hunting.
  • John Calahan for extensive 4.0 beta testing.


  • Overview page
  • Indexing settings
  • Searching settings
  • Logging settings
  • Excerpts and highlights
  • Synonym settings
  • Stopword settings


  1. Install the plugin from the WordPress plugin screen.
  2. Activate the plugin.
  3. Go to the plugin settings page and build the index following the instructions there.
  4. That’s it!

Relevanssi uses the standard search form and doesn’t usually need any changes in the search results template.

If the search does not bring any results, your theme probably has a query_posts() call in the search results template. That throws Relevanssi off. For more information, see The most important Relevanssi debugging trick.


To uninstall the plugin remove the plugin using the normal WordPress plugin management tools (from the Plugins page, first Deactivate, then Delete). If you remove the plugin files manually, the database tables and options will remain.


Knowledge Base

You can find solutions and answers at the Relevanssi Knowledge Base.

Contextual help

Answers to many common problems can be found from the contextual menu. Just click “Help” in the top right corner of your WordPress admin dashboard on the Relevanssi settings page.

Relevanssi doesn’t work

If you the results don’t change after installing and activating Relevanssi, the most likely reason is that you have a call to query_posts() on your search results template. This confuses Relevanssi. Try removing the query_posts() call and see what happens.

Searching for words with ampersands or hyphens doesn’t work

Please read Words with punctuation can’t be found. This is a Relevanssi feature, but you can fix it from Relevanssi indexing settings.

Where are the user search logs?

See the top of the admin menu. There’s ‘User searches’.

Displaying the relevance score

Relevanssi stores the relevance score it uses to sort results in the $post variable. Just add something like

echo $post->relevance_score

to your search results template inside a PHP code block to display the relevance score.

Did you mean? suggestions

Relevanssi offers Google-style “Did you mean?” suggestions. See “Did you mean” suggestions in the Knowledge Base for more details.

What is tf * idf weighing?

It’s the basic weighing scheme used in information retrieval. Tf stands for term frequency while idf is inverted document frequency. Term frequency is simply the number of times the term appears in a document, while document frequency is the number of documents in the database where the term appears.

Thus, the weight of the word for a document increases the more often it appears in the document and the less often it appears in other documents.

What are stop words?

Each document database is full of useless words. All the little words that appear in just about every document are completely useless for information retrieval purposes. Basically, their inverted document frequency is really low, so they never have much power in matching. Also, removing those words helps to make the index smaller and searching faster.


മാർച്ച്‌ 4, 2023
Best search engine for wordpress.
ഫെബ്രുവരി 18, 2023 3 replies
Edited:Well, despite some limitations, it does its job. I'm still trying out to find the best setup. It's a lot better than native wordpress search, but you have to experiment the config options to find out what is the best for your site and how to work around the limitations due to each language (mine is portuguese). It's worth trying. Hope I'll come back soon with a 5 star I was trying out this plugin and it does has some intelligence, like finding a product in woocommerce even if the user misspell one of the terms in search. But it has huge limitations, like not finding all products with terms in plural. For example, if user searchs for "horse", all the products which has "horses" in the title and description won't show up in results. How come the plugin will miss such a simple thing? This is why I don't recommend it at all for e-commerce sites
ഫെബ്രുവരി 10, 2023
Very pleased, easy integration, very easy set up, works well to significantly improve the native wordpress search block 🙂
ജനുവരി 27, 2023
Easy to install and configure, nstantly better and faster results, great docs and knowledge base. Love it.
ഡിസംബർ 23, 2022
At first I was sceptic because it just looked too good to be true. We bought the pro version for a client and we are thrilled. Also, we were unsure how to configure certain search settings (searching through ACF) so we contacted the support. They replied superfast and helpful. 10/10!
Read all 361 reviews

Contributors & Developers

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


“Relevanssi – A Better Search” has been translated into 12 locales. Thank you to the translators for their contributions.

Translate “Relevanssi – A Better Search” into your language.

Interested in development?

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



  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_highlight_query lets you modify the search query for highlighting.
  • Changed behavior: Relevanssi no longer searches in feed searches by default.


  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_blocked_field_types can be used to control which ACF field types are excluded from the index. By default, this includes ‘repeater’, ‘flexible_content’, and ‘group’.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_acf_field_object can be used to filter the ACF field object before Relevanssi indexes it. Return false to have Relevanssi ignore the field type.
  • New feature: Relevanssi debug mode has more features now.
  • Minor fix: ACF field exclusion is now recursive. If a parent field is excluded, all sub fields will also be excluded.
  • Minor fix: Handling of data attributes in in-document highlighting had a bug that caused problems with third-party plugins.
  • Minor fix: The indexing settings tab now checks if the wp_relevanssi database table exists and will create the table if it doesn’t.


  • New feature: Relevanssi now has a debug mode that will help troubleshooting and support.
  • Minor fix: Using the_permalink() caused problems with search result links. That is now fixed. Relevanssi no longer hooks onto the_permalink hook and instead uses post_link and other similar hooks.


  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_add_highlight_and_tracking can be used to force Relevanssi to add the highlight and tracking parameters to permalinks.
  • Changed behaviour: The ‘relevanssi_wpml_filter’ filter function now runs on priority 9 instead of 10 to avoid problems with custom filters on relevanssi_hits_filter.
  • Minor fix: Handle cases of missing posts better; relevanssi_get_post() now returns a WP_Error if no post is found.
  • Minor fix: Search queries that contain apostrophes and quotes can now be deleted from the log.
  • Minor fix: Avoid a slow query on the searching tab when the throttle is not enabled.


  • New feature: Relevanssi now shows the MySQL max_allowed_packet size on the debug tab.
  • New feature: Relevanssi now shows the indexing query on the debug tab.
  • New feature: ACF field settings now include a ‘Exclude from Relevanssi index’ setting. You can use that to exclude ACF fields from the Relevanssi index.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi was adding extra quotes around search terms in the highlight parameter.
  • Minor fix: Yet another update to data attributes in highlighting. Thanks to Faeddur.
  • Minor fix: Taxonomy query handling was improved. This should help in particular Polylang users who’ve had problems with Relevanssi ignoring Polylang language restrictions.


  • Minor fix: WooCommerce layered navigation compatibility caused enough problems that I’ve disabled it by default. You can enable it with add_filter( 'woocommerce_get_filtered_term_product_counts_query', 'relevanssi_filtered_term_product_counts_query' );.
  • Minor fix: Data attribute handling for in-document highlighting is now better.


  • New feature: You can now look at how the posts appear in the database from the Debugging tab.
  • New feature: Relevanssi now works with WooCommerce layered navigation filters. The filter post counts should now match the Relevanssi search results.
  • New feature: New function relevanssi_count_term_occurrances() can be used to display how many times search terms appear in the database.
  • Changed behaviour: Relevanssi post update trigger is now on wp_after_insert_post instead of wp_insert_post. This makes the indexing more reliable and better compatible with other plugins.
  • Changed behaviour: Previously, throttling searches has been impossible when results are sorted by date. Now if you set Relevanssi to sort by post date from the searching settings, you can enable the throttle and the throttling will make sure to keep the most recent posts. This does not work if you set the orderby to post_date elsewhere.
  • Minor fix: Prevents Relevanssi from interfering in fringe cases (including The Event Calendar event search).
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi added the highlight parameter to home page URLs, even though it shouldn’t.
  • Minor fix: Indexing nav_menu_item posts is stopped earlier in the process to avoid problems with big menus.
  • Minor fix: If the sentence query variable is used to enable phrase searching, Relevanssi now adds quotes to the highlight parameter.
  • Minor fix: Add support for JetSmartFilters.
  • Minor fix: Add support for WooCommerce products attribute lookup table filtering.
  • Minor fix: Improve excerpts to avoid breaking HTML tags when tags are allowed.
  • Minor fix: Fix broken tag and category weight settings.
  • Minor fix: Improve Polylang language detection.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi now hyphenates long search terms in the User searches page. This prevents long search terms from messing up the display.
  • Minor fix: Improve WPFD file content indexing support. Relevanssi indexing now happens after the WPFD indexing is done.
  • Minor fix: Add support for TablePress table_filter shortcodes.
  • Minor fix: Stopped some problems with Did you mean suggestions suggesting the same word if a hyphen was included.
  • Minor fix: Paging didn’t work in admin searches for hierarchical post types (like pages).
  • Minor fix: In-document highlighting could break certain elements thanks to Relevanssi messing up data attributes.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi now recursively runs relevanssi_block_to_render and the CSS relevanssi_noindex filtering for inner blocks.


  • New feature: Oxygen compatibility has been upgraded to support JSON data from Oxygen 4. This is still in early stages, so feedback from Oxygen users is welcome.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_oxygen_element is used to filter Oxygen JSON elements. The earlier relevanssi_oxygen_section_filters and relevanssi_oxygen_section_content filters are no longer used with Oxygen 4; this hook is the only way to filter Oxygen elements.
  • Changed behaviour: Relevanssi now applies remove_accents() to all strings. This is because default database collations do not care for accents and having accents may cause missing information in indexing. If you use a database collation that doesn’t ignore accents, make sure you disable this filter.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi used the_category filter with too few parameters. The missing parameters have been added.
  • Minor fix: Stops drafts and pending posts from showing up in Relevanssi Live Ajax Searches.
  • Minor fix: Phrases weren’t used in some cases where a multiple-word phrase looked like a single-word phrase.
  • Minor fix: Prevents fatal errors from relevanssi_strip_all_tags().