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Comparing the 5 Best WordPress Search Filter Plugins

Dec 20, 2023 | 2 Comments

Imagine stepping into a library where books are not sorted. You might spend hours searching for a specific title. Similarly, without efficient search filters, a visitor on your WordPress site might feel lost when looking for specific content.

However, the default WordPress search function falls short in efficiency and flexibility. This can frustrate users and hamper the overall effectiveness of your website.

The solution to this all-too-common pain point lies in using dedicated WordPress search filter plugins. They can transform a chaotic search experience into a streamlined and satisfying journey, ensuring visitors find what they’re looking for.

In this article, we’ll delve into the top five WordPress search filter plugins and introduce you to Admin Columns – a standout choice for filtering content directly in the WordPress admin panel!

Understanding the importance of WordPress search filter plugins

WordPress, as a Content Management System (CMS), is inherently designed to handle vast amounts of content. However, as a site grows, finding specific information can become increasingly challenging for both administrators and users. 

This is where WordPress search filter plugins come into play. These plugins add capabilities beyond the basic search functionality of your site, enabling users to narrow down their search results based on various criteria such as colors, price, or other preferences.

For example, if you’re looking for a new theme via the WordPress theme repository, you can narrow down (or filter) the options according to what you are looking for exactly to make the process quicker and more efficient:

example of Filtering with search
An example of search Filtering.

There are several types of WordPress search filter plugins available:

  • Front-end search filter plugins: Whether your website is a blog, news site, or online portfolio, these plugins enhance the search experience for your visitors. They provide visible search and filter options on the website pages that visitors can interact with to easily narrow their search results based on various criteria like categories, tags, custom fields, and more.
  • Back-end search filter plugins: Designed with site administrators in mind, these plugins facilitate the filtering of posts, pages, users, and other aspects right from the WordPress admin area. This significantly assists with efficient data and content management.
  • WooCommerce product filter plugins: Tailored specifically for WooCommerce stores, these plugins function similarly to frontend search filter plugins. They aid customers in segmenting the product catalog, allowing them to effortlessly locate their desired products.

The use of these WordPress search filter plugins offers diverse benefits, such as:

  • Enriched site usability and navigation: By introducing solid search filter functionality, you enrich your site’s usability and navigability. This uplifts the overall user experience, encouraging users to interact more with your website.
  • Improved search relevance: When users are able to navigate content efficiently, they are more likely to stay longer on the site and explore more pages, which leads to increased engagement. They can also help the users uncover hidden or less visible content to increase the visibility of your offerings.
  • Boosted conversions: A streamlined search experience accelerates users’ progression through the purchasing journey, potentially leading to improved conversion rates.

Top 5 WordPress search filter plugins: A comparative analysis

1. Seach & Filter

Search & Filter is a flexible search bar plugin that offers advanced filtering for WordPress websites.

Search & Filter Pro WordPress plugin banner
Search & Filter plugin for WordPress

Key features and benefits

  • Versatile filtering options: Easily refine your searches by category, tag, post type, post date, or any mix of these attributes. You can even get rid of the search box entirely and use this as a pure filtering system
  • Dynamic display fields: This plugin offers a range of display fields like dropdowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, and multi-selects. You can choose a presentation that fits your site’s style and user expectations.
  • AJAX-powered results: With AJAX search, your user’s search results will appear seamlessly without reloading the web page.
  • Intuitive drag & drop editor: No tech skills? No problem. The drag-and-drop editor ensures that tweaking your search settings is as simple as moving things around.

Compatibility & integration: Search & Filter is tested with WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, and Easy Digital Downloads. It even plays well with WPML and Advanced Custom Fields.

2. JetSmartFilters

Known for its simplicity and customization features, the JetSmartFilters plugin takes the standard WordPress search functionality to a whole new level.

JetSmartFilters WordPress plugin banner
JetSmartFilters WordPress filtering plugin

Key features and benefits

  • Effortless to use: JetSmartFilters is all about ease. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to create or tweak a product filter. It’s designed so anyone with even the most basic knowledge of WordPress can get the ball rolling.
  • Fully customizable: You can tailor your filter bar designs and settings to match the exact look and feel of your website, ensuring a consistent style throughout.
  • Multiple filter types: The plugin boasts nine unique filter types, allowing you to layer them in any combination. This flexibility helps you design a search hierarchy that makes sense for your content and users.

Hierarchy select: Organize your search fields efficiently. Combine similar categories to show a clear path, making it super easy for users to navigate through various sections.

3. FacetWP

FacetWP is designed to facilitate product filtering and searching on WooCommerce for users.

FacetWP WordPress plugin banner
FacetWP filtering plugin for WordPress

Key features and benefits

  • AJAX-based filtering: FacetWP utilizes AJAX technology for filtering, allowing for quick and efficient content updates without the need to reload the entire page. This results in a faster and smoother filtering experience for users​​.
  • Wide range of facet types: The plugin supports various facet types, including checkboxes, dropdowns, radio buttons, sliders, search fields, autocomplete, date ranges, number ranges, star ratings, proximity (geolocation), and more. These facets can be used to create highly customized and user-friendly filters on a website​​​​​​.
  • Performance-oriented design: FacetWP is designed for speed and efficiency. It uses an index table for extra speed and is known for its fast performance due to its AJAX-based design. The developers also focus on keeping the codebase clean, well-organized, and bloat-free to ensure optimal performance​​​​.
  • Customization and extensibility: By offering many hooks for developers to modify and extend its functionality, FacetWP is highly customizable, This high degree of customization makes it suitable for various applications and website types​​.
  • Compatibility with other plugins: This plugin is compatible with a range of other popular WordPress plugins, allowing for seamless integration and enhanced functionality.

4. ElasticPress

ElasticPress integrates Elasticsearch, a powerful and fast search and query engine, into WordPress websites. It’s designed to improve the search capabilities of WordPress.

ElasticPress WordPress plugin banner
ElasticPress search and query plugin for WordPress

Key features and benefits

  • Enhanced search performance: ElasticPress provides faster and more relevant search results compared to the default WordPress search. This is especially beneficial for larger websites with lots of content.
  • Advanced query capabilities: This plugin allows complex queries that can include filtering, sorting, and faceting.
  • Scalability: ElasticPress is suitable for high-traffic websites, as Elasticsearch can handle large volumes of data and queries efficiently.
  • Customizable search algorithms: Website administrators can customize how search results are ranked and presented, tailoring the search experience to the needs of their site and audience.
  • Integration with other plugins: ElasticPress integrates well with other WordPress plugins, adding enhanced search capabilities to various types of content like posts, pages, products, and custom post types.
  • Real-time indexing: Changes to content are indexed in real-time, ensuring that search results are always up to date.

Ivory Search is a comprehensive WordPress search plugin that extends its capabilities beyond just posts and pages – it can also search among media files.

Ivory Search WordPress plugin banner
Ivory Search – WordPress search plugin

Key features and benefits 

  • Advanced, speedy search capabilities: Employing an inverted index-based search engine, the plugin swiftly navigates through shortcode contents, WooCommerce products, images, files, and attachments, delivering precise results in record time.
  • Unlimited custom search forms: You can craft an unlimited array of search forms, each with unique configurations. Whether it’s for posts, pages, products, or other content types, these forms can be tailored to specific search requirements, enhancing both site navigation and user experience.
  • Comprehensive customization and integration: Adjust search forms’ colors and text, select styles, and even integrate with popular plugins like WooCommerce, Weglot, and Polylang, among others. 
  • Multilingual search support: Ivory Search broadens its horizon with multilingual search support, catering to a global audience. Integration with top multilingual plugins ensures language is no barrier to providing accurate search results.
  • Search analytics and optimization: Stay informed and optimize with search analytics. Track what your visitors are searching for to improve content strategy, and utilize stop words and word synonyms for more relevant results.

Given the vast offerings in the plugin ecosystem, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your selection of a search filter plugin should align with your specific site requirements and budget. We encourage you to test multiple plugins to ensure your investment yields maximum benefits.

Filtering search results in the WordPress admin dashboard with Admin Columns

While enhancing user experience on the front-end of your website is crucial, optimizing the workflow within your WordPress admin area is equally important. Most plugins focus on front-end functionalities, leaving the backend – where you spend most of your management time – in need of more efficient capabilities for various tasks.

Admin Columns website screenshot
Admin Columns – WordPress backend management plugin

This is where Admin Columns stands out, revolutionizing the way you interact with your admin dashboard. Here’s how:

Effortless data filtering

Forget the standard, cumbersome methods of sifting through data in WordPress. Admin Columns allows you to filter any WordPress admin list table, be it posts, pages, users, taxonomies, custom post types, and so much more. 

Filtering WordPress list tables with Admin Columns
Filtering WordPress admin list tables using Admin Columns.

What’s even more compelling is its ability to filter by custom field data, including those created with Advanced Custom Fields, Pods, Toolset Types, and WooCommerce. This means every piece of content can be accessed and filtered based on your precise criteria, significantly speeding up your administrative tasks.

Saving filters as segments

Admin Columns goes a step further with personalized efficiency by allowing you to save your sophisticated filters as segments. This innovative feature means you can revisit specific sets of data with just a couple of clicks without having to recreate filters each time. 

Whether you’re managing a handful or hundreds of segments, you can switch between them seamlessly, making your workflow smoother than ever. For example, you can go from the site’s copywriter view to the SEO specialist view like this:

Switch between column sets
Switch context with table views using Admin Columns.

Direct data export functionality

Need to analyze your data externally or incorporate it into third-party software? Admin Columns has you covered with its direct export feature. 

You can effortlessly export your filtered results from your WordPress list tables to CSV files. This functionality is invaluable for creating reports, conducting detailed analyses, or integrating data with other systems like CMS or email marketing tools.

Export data to CSV with Admin Columns
Creating custom exports of the WordPress content in a CSV format using Admin Columns.

Admin Columns transforms the WordPress backend experience. By offering smart filtering, segment saving, and data export, it empowers site administrators to manage content and data with ease and precision that traditional methods cannot match. 

To explore even more features and learn how to maximize the efficiency of Admin Columns, check out how it leverages smart filtering features.

Improve the customer experience with the right WordPress search filter plugin

Adding a good WordPress search filter plugin to your website improves user experience. It makes the website easier to navigate and more versatile. 

While adding a frontend search filter plugin to your site is crucial for creating a great user experience on your site, it’s important not to forget about optimizing the search and filter functionality in your website’s backend. 

That’s where Admin Columns comes in!

With its ability to easily filter through posts, pages, custom fields, and more, coupled with the convenience of saving filter segments and exporting data, this plugin is an administrator’s best friend.

Ready to revolutionize your website’s user experience and backend management? Start your journey with Admin Columns today to supercharge your WordPress content and data management tasks!