On-site search and relevant results are very important for many sites. There are a few plugins which improve the standard WordPress search, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Common reasons could be:
- Too many posts, slowing down the search
- Relevance of results is not satisfying
- Search-index database tables are getting to big, making indexing and querying slow
- Search is slowing down the overall performance of the server
There is (at least) one solution to all these problems and it’s called Elastic Search. Unfortunately it is not pure WordPress and, dependent of your server skills, not free. But we are sure you will love it, if you have tested it once.
Elastic Search in a Nutshell
Elastic Search is an Open Source search server, which is build for one purpose only: search. It makes it possible to send all your search queries to another server, so your own server won’t be affected by them. Elastic Search is not only very effective and fast with search queries, it’s even quite smart. Relevance is based on the following rules (read more here):
- Term frequency How often a term appears in a text
- Inverse document frequency How often the term appears in the index, more often makes it less relevant
- Field-length norm How long is the field the term is found in, a longer field making the term less relevant
Elastic Search + WordPress = ElasticPress
To link your WordPress Site to an Elastic Search server, just install the plugin, add your server url in the settings and the index starts building. The elastic search should integrate in your common WordPress search automatically and fall back to it, if the server is not available. As extra you can even activate modules to speed up your admin panel or WooCommerce Shop with the help of your new search index.
Get a Server
There is always the possibility to set up an own server, or manage a server by your self in the AWS Cloud. The best option in our eyes is a scalable, managed server from the Elastic Cloud, though. It is the most hassle free solution out there, directly from the makers.