Warning: Altis v10 is no longer supported.

CMS Query Integration

The Search module overrides the default search functionality to query the specialized search index in place of a standard MySQL query. This means all default search operations using the CMS search APIs for posts, users and terms such as WP_Query, WP_User_Query, WP_Term_Query and the REST API search endpoints will transparently make use of the search index by default.

It is possible to control this behaviour and thus use the search index for non-search queries. The reason for doing this is to improve performance when running complex queries, such as meta queries, that would otherwise be too slow to do in the database.

Each query class accepts an array of parameters. ElasticPress checks for the value of an ep_integrate parameter. If this is true, the query is performed by Elasticsearch instead of MySQL. If the s (search) parameter is present ep_integrate will be set to true automatically.

The following example sets ep_integrate to true for a non-search query where the s parameter is not used.

$posts = new WP_Query( [
	'ep_integrate' => true, // Use Elasticsearch.
	'post_type' => 'project',
	'meta_query' => [
			'key' => 'color',
			'value' => [ 'blue', 'green' ],
			'compare' => 'IN'
] );

Note that in the above example you would need a PHP Code Sniffer exception for using the meta query to pass Automated Code Review.

You can also circumvent the use of Elasticsearch for searches by explicitly setting ep_integrate to false in the query arguments or by using the pre_get_posts action and checking for certain conditions:

add_action( 'pre_get_posts', function ( WP_Query $query ) {
	// Avoid using Elasticsearch for the 'project' post type.
	if ( ! $query->is_search() || $query->get( 'post_type' ) !== 'project' ) {

	$query->set( 'ep_integrate', false );
}, 20 );

Customising Searched Fields

Altis will search key content fields by default, including those defined in the field boosting config, depending on the type of content.

Using Query Parameters

WP_Query, WP_Term_Query and WP_User_Query support a search_fields parameter. This can be used to override the default searched fields and even to modify how the fields are boosted using the <field>^<boost value> syntax.

$posts = new WP_Query( [
	'ep_integrate' => true, // Use Elasticsearch.
	'post_type' => 'project',
	'search_fields' => [
] );

When using the search_fields parameter, the ep_search_fields filter will be run which can modify the list of searched fields.

Using Filters

As noted above the ep_search_fields filter can be used to further customise queries that use the search_fields parameter:

add_filter( 'ep_search_fields', function ( array $fields ) : array {
	$fields[] = 'alt';
	$fields[] = 'meta.keywords.value';
	return $fields;
} );

To modify the default searchable fields (when the search_fields parameter is not used) you need to use the ep_weighting_default_post_type_weights filter. The filter has 2 parameters, a keyed array of fields including their enabled status and weight, and the post type.

add_filter( 'ep_weighting_default_post_type_weights', function ( array $fields, string $post_type ) : array {
	// Add fields for all post types.
	$fields['meta.keywords.value'] = [
		'enabled' => true,
		'weight' => 1.0,

	// Add fields for specific post types.
	switch ( $post_type ) {
		case 'attachment':
			$fields['alt'] = [
				'enabled' => true,
				'weight' => 1.5,
		case 'project':
			$fields['meta.client.value'] = [
				'enabled' => true,
				'weight' => 1.0,

	return $fields;
}, 10, 2 );


Because of the default way that Elasticsearch analyses text it performs better with complete search terms, as you might expect to be submitted from a search form.

In some cases you might want to provide a dynamic interface where results are fetched as the user types. The standard method of search will not produce good results until a full word has been typed out, so Altis provides a means of analysing and fetching results based on partial search terms.

In the same way as ep_integrate can be passed to any query class, you can pass the parameter autosuggest along with the s parameter (or search for user and term queries):

$posts = new WP_Query( [
	'autosuggest' => true,
	// A partial search term.
	// Setting `s` will cause `ep_integrate` to be added and set to true.
	's' => 'str',
] );

The autosuggest parameter defaults to true in the following circumstances:

  • If the DOING_AJAX constant is defined and true, to allow for search as you type functionality
  • Media library searches
  • User searches
  • Term searches


By default only a subset of fields are analysed for autosuggest searches, but this can be filtered to add additional fields for each indexable object type.

altis.search.autosuggest_post_fields : array defaults to post_title.

altis.search.autosuggest_term_fields : array defaults to name.

altis.search.autosuggest_user_fields : array defaults to user_nicename, display_name, user_login, meta.first_name.value, meta.last_name.value and meta.nickname.value.

Note: if the above filters are used the site content will need to be re-indexed for autosuggestions to work properly.