Joomla version 3.6.x onward offers two Search options.

  • Basic Search
  • Smart Search

The Basic Search Component provides basic search functionality for the information contained in your core Components.

Many extensions can also be searched by the Search Component.

Here is the basic search component form for

In Joomla, Components such as 'Search' and 'Smart Search' are managed via the Administrator area.

The Smart Search Component offers searching similar to that found in major online search engines.

Smart Search is disabled by default, but is easy for you to enable it if you wish.

If you choose to enable it you will need to take several steps.

  1. First, enable the Smart Search Plugin in the plugin manager.
  2. Then, if you are using the Basic Search Module replace it with the Smart Search Module.
  3. Finally, if you have already created content, go to the Smart Search component in your site administrator and click the Index icon. Once indexing of your content is complete, Smart Search will be ready to use.

Here is an example of Smart Search - type in a word into the box and press "search".


You may have a Linking Small 'Search' Plugin and a 'Smart Search' Plugin which work in conjunction with the corresponding Component - please see the next section of this article (Notes)


Throughout you will see references to 'Search' and 'Smart Search'.

Please let us clarify some things as the difference can be confusing (ambiguous ?) - you may, or may not, have a 'Search' feature / component for the reason(s) given below.

Search provides (provided) a basic, straightforward search feature  - while Smart Search offers indexing and more advanced search capabilities with filtering.

'Smart Search' has been greatly improved in Joomla 4 - more streamlined, greater performance, and is more modern.

'Search' has not been removed on systems which migrated to Joomla 4 from an earlier version of Joomla.

If you had a website using Joomla 3 which has 'Search', it was moved over to your migrated site - when you migrated to Joomal 4 -however, if you do start a new site usingr Joomla 4 the original 'Search Component' is no longer installed - it has been considered outdated and no longer suitable for modern designs.

As 'Search' is beding phased out, moving to 'Smart Search' is simple - however, some websites may require special attention, especially if Plugins have been created specifically for your website, or if third-party Extensions installed their own Search Plugins.

'Search' and 'Smart Search' both rely on Plugins - there is a Plugin for every kind of data that can be searched and indexed - when it comes to core Joomla, you will find plugins for Categories, Content, and Contacts. By enabling or disabling those Plugins, the 'Search' Extensions can provide more or fewer results from different sets of data.


Linking SmallComponents - Search

Linking SmallComponents Search Manager Options
Smart Search Related Help Resources

Menu Item - Search

Linking SmallComponents - Search

Linking SmallSmart Search - Filters

Linking SmallSmart Search - Options

Linking SmallSite Modules - Smart Search

Linking SmallSmart Search - Content Maps

Linking SmallSmart Search - Indexed Content

Linking SmallSmart Search - Quickstart Guide

Linking SmallSmart Search - New or Edit Filter

Linking SmallSmart Search - Search Term Analysis

Linking SmallComponents - Search Manager - Options