Tips On How to Search By Category in WordPress

When you have plenty of content on your WordPress website, it may be difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for. Fortunately, you can implement advanced search functionality and allow visitors to search by category in WordPress. And in some cases, filter the results by other relevant criteria as well. You can add a search feature to provide an overall better user experience, at the same time improving your SEO. In general, users will be able to easily navigate your website, find archived pieces of articles, or browse through different categories of products.

Best ways to set up search by category in WordPress

Normally, before implementing search by category, you will have to use category tags on your content. This will help you sort your content better and allow you to fully benefit from the search option. After that, you are ready to use WordPress plugins, because they are the easiest options to configure search by category. While most WordPress professionals may use coding methods to customize this advanced feature, plugins are probably the most beginner-friendly option.

A block of code for widget area in WordPress.
Plugins are the easiest way to set a proper search by category in WordPress without any coding experience.

That’s why below you will find the list of some of the best plugins used to enable the search by category in WordPress.

  • WP Extended Search plugin
  • SearchWP plugin
  • WP Admin Category Search
  • Ajax Search Lite
  • Ivory Search plugin
  • FiboSearch – Ajax Search for WooCommerce
  • Search & Filter
  • Jetpack

WP Extended Search plugin

Even though WP Extended Search is lightweight, it’s a very powerful search plugin that can help you increase your website page views. You can use it to customize WordPress search by different criteria, everything from metadata to simple category tags. In general, it allows you to configure your search to look for results anywhere within titles, content, and excerpts. After installation, you will be able to configure multiple search settings and assign them to custom search forms. All of which can be implemented by a widget, shortcode, HTML, or PHP code.

SearchWP plugin

Probably among the best, SearchWP is one of the most popular search plugins for WordPress. It does come with exceptional complexity and features but is quite convenient and easy to use for end-users. While most of the hard work is completed behind the scenes, it gives visitors complete control over search queries. In general, one of the best aspects of this plugin is that it allows you to include content from anywhere on your WordPress website. In most cases, this includes:

  • Categories and tags
  • Custom fields and taxonomies
  • Custom post types
  • Product details and variations for WooCommerce
  • Custom database tables
  • and more

In addition, its high flexibility reflects in the ability to adjust the weight multiplier to change the “value” of the content. With its free SearchWP Live Ajax Search addon, you can also enable live Ajax search.

WP Admin Category Search

A more universal plugin with out-of-the-box solutions is the WP Admin Category Search. Right after installation, you get three different tabs to pick from:

  • keyword tab
  • category tab
  • the most used options tab

However, if you require an advanced auto-complete option for your keyword tab, you will have to go for a pro version.

Ajax Search Lite

Another search plugin that comes with an integrated auto-complete option is the Ajax Search Lite plugin. What makes this responsive live search engine different from others is its default appearance customization. This plugin will generally allow you to search by category or keywords and will easily integrate into your frontend. Especially on mobile devices thanks to its fluid animations.

Ivory Search plugin

Ivory Search is quite a popular and easy-to-use search plugin for WordPress. By default, it upgrades the original WordPress search and further expands its functionality. This plugin makes it simple to control search categories by allowing you to create multiple search forms, each with its own configuration. In other words, you can have one type of search in the footer and a completely different type of search in the header. All you need to do is to add shortcodes to any post, page, or widget area. Even though it’s free, you will need a premium version for more advanced features.

A man in a suit pointing at three different search bars.
You can implement multiple search forms on your website.

FiboSearch – Ajax Search for WooCommerce

Those who are looking for a way to improve their online business and increase conversions rate may find that the FiboSearch plugin matches their WooCommerce needs. When you need a smart search by category option, this search plugin offers live suggestions, search autocomplete, and instant search. Basically, this is a must-have plugin for any serious online business that sells products. When you want to help your visitors save time and shop easier, use FiboSearch plugin by all means.

Several purchased online products around the monitor with a full shopping cart in the picture.
Give your visitors options to easily find your products.

Search & Filter

A simple, yet quite effective plugin with a drag & drop editor is Search & Filter WordPress plugin. It enhances the basic functionality of the WordPress search box and allows you to refine your results with different filters. In essence, you can search by tag, category, post date, post type, or any custom taxonomy. On top of it, each field can be shown as either checkbox, dropdowns, multi selections, or radio buttons. Overall, this plugin finds its use everywhere from more textual blogs to more product-oriented online shops.


More than a simple search plugin for WordPress, Jetpack is one of the most comprehensive available solutions you can find. Basically, it’s a set of marketing, design, security, and performance tools for WordPress. What makes it different from most of the other solutions is that Jetpack does all the indexing and query handling on Jetpack servers in real-time. But, despite its comprehensiveness and complexity, this plugin is very user-friendly. You don’t have to be particularly skilled in technicalities to set it up in no time.

There are numerous useful plugins that allow you to set search by category in WordPress. They enable you to help your visitor easily search through and access your content. This will instantly improve the user experience your website provides. And, will also benefit your overall SEO in the long run.


404 error404 pageabove the foldadvanced cssAIDA modelakismet pluginbacklinks auditbehavior patternbounce ratebrowser compatibilitybulk deletecaching pluginscall-to-actionchild themecode snippetcolor schemecomment sectioncompetitors' backlinkscontact formconversion ratecreate child themeCTA buttoncustom pagecustom themedead linksdefault configurationdigital marketingdomain authorityeasy manageedit main pageediting toolsemail marketingengaging contentFAQ pluginsfilter spamfix site errorfolder structurefree pluginsfriendly toneGoogle analyticsgoogle rankingsGravity Forms pluginguest postingHeadless WordPressHow toimage optimizationincrease readabilityindex errorsinfluencer marketingkeyword researchlibrary assistantlink managementlink trackingloading speedlocal businesseslong-tail keywordsmedia replacemedia restrictionmobile optimizationmoney onlinemulti currency pluginsmysql queryonline presenceonline validatorpage builderpage creationpopup pluginproducts and servicesquality imagesquality serviceReact JSreaction buttonsredirect chainsresponsive designschema markupsearch rankingsearch termsSEO for bloggersSEO optimizationSEO professionalsSEO tipsSEO toolsshort linkssocial mediasocial media plugins for WordPressssh commandsstatic pagetargeted audiencetechnical performancetest metrictext formattheme setting uptime utilizationtips and trickstraffic increaseunique visitorsuser accessuser engagementuser experiencevisual designvisual elementsvisual reportweb crawlersweb hostingwebsite architecturewebsite auditwebsite designwebsite elementswebsite maintenancewebsite optimizationWebsite problemswebsite securitywebsite structureWhat’s new in WordPresswhite spacewoocommercewordpressWordPress admin email verification noticeWordPress debug modeWordPress functionalityWordPress pluginWordPress pluginsWordPress recovery modeWordPress responsive designwordpress securitywordpress themewordpress theme editwordpress tipsWordPress tips and tricksWordPress web hostingwp security