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.

Relevanssi in Facebook

You can find Relevanssi in Facebook.


  • 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.



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.


16 januari 2020
works but woo commerce gives this error in the status check page. "Not tested with the active version of WooCommerce" in bright red. I wish they would fix that. Then I would give 5 stars.
3 december 2019
This Plugin is incredible! In combination with SearchWP Live Ajax Search even more so. Life long and prosper, dear plugin delevoper! 🙂
17 november 2019
Only 4 stars because - There should be more action/filter hooks to control it (see how WooCommerce is profligate with these); - There are issues with custom fields - it seems impossible to weight certain custom fields differently to others (some of which may be irrelevanssi); - I am yet to be convinced that it plays ball with plugins like [Custom Product Tabs for WooCommerce]( - I think some tab content may be omitted from the indexing; - I've looked at the code and it could do with a bit of a tidy-up. But it works really well and I am impressed. Infinitely better than the WordPress default search, or Google Custom Search, or probably any other plugin you might consider for your site. This is the one to go for. After resolving the above issues, perhaps the authors could consider providing a search engine for the internet? Let's face it, Google is rubbish and there is a gap in the market. You would have to ascribe downvotes to sites that carry adverts. Like all those blog sites that waffle on because Google liked 'quality content' but didn't actually know what it was even if slapped across the face with it by a wet kipper. There could of course be a conflict of interest if you are also trying to sell to blog sites. But this is not You know what you need to do 🙂
31 oktober 2019
After installing I had some initial problems getting the correct results to show. Mikko went way beyond the call of duty to help me resolve the issue and got me up and running with this great search tool! Thank you for a great product and service to go with it.
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Bijdragers & ontwikkelaars

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  • Major fix: Returns the missing stopwords.


  • New feature: It’s now possible to exclude image attachments from the index with a simple setting on the indexing settings page.
  • New feature: Page builder short codes are now removed in Relevanssi indexing. This should reduce the amount of garbage data indexed for posts in Divi, Avada and other page builder themes.
  • Changed behaviour: The relevanssi_page_builder_shortcodes filter hook is now applied both in indexing and excerpts, and has a second parameter that will inform you of the current context.
  • Minor fix: Stopwords weren’t case insensitive like they should. They are now. Also, stopwords are no longer stored in the wp_relevanssi_stopwords database table, but are now stored in the relevanssi_stopwords option.
  • Minor fix: A comma at the end of the custom field indexing setting made Relevanssi index all custom fields. This doesn’t happen anymore and trailing commas are automatically removed, too.
  • Minor fix: Accessibility improvements all around the admin interface. Screen reader support should be better, feel free to report any further ways to make this better.
  • Minor fix: Doing searches without search terms and with the throttle disabled could cause problems. Relevanssi now makes sure throttle is always on when doing termless searches.
  • Minor fix: Untokenized search terms are used for building excerpts, which makes highlighting in excerpts work better.
  • Minor fix: Indexing did not adjust the number of posts indexed at one go like it should.


  • New feature: You can now give Gutenberg blocks a CSS class relevanssi_noindex to exclude them from being indexed. Relevanssi will not index Gutenberg blocks that have the class.
  • New feature: Relevanssi automatically skips some custom fields from common plugins that only contain unnecessary metadata.
  • New feature: The search results breakdown is added to the post objects and can be found in $post->relevanssi_hits. The data also includes new fields and the breakdown from the excerpt settings page can now show author, excerpt, custom field and MySQL column hits.
  • New feature: Relevanssi can now index Ninja Tables table content. This is something of an experimental feature right now, feedback is welcome.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_indexing_query filters the indexing query and is mostly interesting for debugging reasons.
  • Minor fix: Deleted and trashed comment contents were not deindexed when the comment was removed. That has been corrected now.
  • Minor fix: Phrase matching is now applied to attachments as well, including the attachments indexed for parent post.
  • Minor fix: Phrase matching only looks at custom fields that are indexed by Relevanssi.
  • Minor fix: Exact match bonus now uses the original query without synonyms added for the exact match check.
  • Minor fix: Paid Membership Pro filtering is only applied to published posts to prevent drafts from showing up in the search results.


  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_indexing_adjust can be used to stop Relevanssi from adjusting the number of posts indexed at once during the indexing.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_acf_field_value filters ACF field values before they are indexed.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_disabled_shortcodes filters the array containing shortcodes that are disabled when indexing.
  • Removed feature: The relevanssi_indexing_limit option wasn’t really used anymore, so it has been removed.
  • Changed behaviour: Indexing exclusions from Yoast SEO and SEOPress are applied in a different way in the indexing, making for a smoother indexing process.
  • Changed behaviour: WP Table Reloaded support has been removed; you really shouldn’t be using WP Table Reloaded anymore.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi won’t choke on ACF fields with array or object values anymore.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi uninstall process left couple of Relevanssi options in the database.
  • Minor fix: WPML language filter didn’t work when fields was set to ids or id=>parent.


  • New feature: SEOPress support, posts marked “noindex” in SEOPress are no longer indexed by Relevanssi by default.
  • Changed behaviour: Membership plugin compatibility is removed from relevanssi_default_post_ok function and has been moved to individual compatibility functions for each supported membership plugin. This makes it much easier to for example disable the membership plugin features if required.
  • Minor fix: The searchform shortcode now works better with different kinds of search forms.
  • Minor fix: Yoast SEO compatibility won’t block indexing of posts with explicitly allowed indexing.
  • Minor fix: The relevanssi_the_tags() function printed out plain text, not HTML code like it should. The function now also accepts the post ID as a parameter.
  • Minor fix: Excerpt creation and highlighting have been improved a little.

  • Remove notice about undefined index.


  • Adding a missing file.


  • New feature: Multi-phrase searches now respect AND and OR operators. If multiple phrases are included in an OR search, any posts with at least one phrase will be included. In AND search, all phrases must be included.
  • New feature: Admin search has been improved: there’s a post type dropdown and the search is triggered when you press enter. The debug information has a div tag around it with the id debugging, so you can hide them with CSS if you want to. The numbering of results also makes more sense.
  • New feature: The date parameters (year, monthnum, w, day, hour, minute, second, m) are now supported.
  • New feature: New filter hook relevanssi_indexing_limit filters the default number of posts to index (10). If you have issues with indexing timing out, you can try adjusting this to a smaller number like 5 or 1.
  • New feature: Support for Paid Membership Pro added.
  • New feature: WordPress SEO support, posts marked “noindex” in WordPress SEO are no longer indexed by Relevanssi by default.
  • Removed feature: qTranslate is no longer supported.
  • Major fix: Tax query searching had some bugs in it, manifesting especially into Polylang not limiting the languages correctly. Some problems with the test suites were found and fixed, and similar problems won’t happen again.
  • Minor fix: Admin search only shows editing options to users with enough capabilities to use them.
  • Minor fix: Phrase searching now uses filterable post statuses instead of a hard-coded set of post statuses.
  • Minor fix: The plugin action links were missing on the Plugins page list, they’re back now.
  • Minor fix: Search terms with slashes won’t cause errors anymore.
  • Minor fix: Relevanssi admin pages have been examined for accessibility and form labels have been improved in many places.
  • Deprecated: relevanssi_get_term_taxonomy() function is deprecated and will be removed at some point in the future.