Creating a WordPress Search Form

Complexity Medium
Compatibility WordPress 5.4, 5.5+


WordPress provides a very basic search experience that users can use to find posts within your site, blog, store, etc. In this recipe, we will use the basic functionality to build a simple form into our theme and display the results in the search.php template. I consider this a "theme" recipe instead of a "plugin" recipe since most of the functionality is baked into theme templates.

There are 2 different templates that are affected by this recipe. First is the search.php page. This will display the search results and you can customize that display in the template. Second, there is a searchform.php template that actually displays the search form (Source: We will be working in the search.php to show the results and providing code that you can either put in the searchform.php (the preferred method) or in any part of your theme if you want to break up search forms into different levels of complexity.

Step 1: Add searchform.php to Your Theme

<form method="GET" action="/">
    <input placeholder="Search" name="s" type="text"/>
    <input type="submit" value="Search"/>

You can also add that code to any part of your template. As long as the action is / and the search input has a name of s.

Step 2: Display Search Results in search.php Template

The results will now be a part of the main WordPress query. So to display the basic results, add the following to search.php:

while ( have_posts() ) :

    get_template_part( 'template-parts/content', 'search-result' );


You can modify the display of the search result with the template-parts/content-search-result.php file.

Usage Ideas

  • Basic search for content on your site.