I would like to establish a minimum number of characters in the search. On sites that have many entries, spammers tend to type very short terms as "a" or "of", and the server collapses while trying to return the results. Therefore, I would like to establish the minimum number of characters for the search to be made​​, for example, three characters.

Relevanssi plugin seems to do this. But I would do without using any plugins.

Thanks in advance.

  • Why would spammers search in the first place? You meant to take your site down (like DDOS)?
    – its_me
    Jun 23, 2012 at 10:25
  • Sorry @Krish Aahan, this is not DDOS. Actually the server does not fall, just takes longer to return results or gives error.
    – BobGCA2
    Jun 23, 2012 at 10:34
  • This is impossible without using the plugin API. Relevanssi is probably the best solution for your problem. Your question doesn’t make much sense in its current form. Please improve it.
    – fuxia
    Jun 23, 2012 at 15:32
  • Relevanssi is the worst you can use on a busy site, the queries are slow. Even the creator of relevanssi advices not to use it on big sites. the ideal would be 3rd party search like Algolia but it's very expensive. Google custom search is an option, wordpress.org uses it but it's limited. Mar 31, 2017 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


Quick and dirty, put this before your get_header() in your search.php

// Get the query string
$query = get_search_query();
// if the first & last char is space, rip them
$query = trim($query);
// if there are more than one space, rip to one space
$query = preg_replace('/\s\s+/', ' ',$query);
// if chars count is less than  3, redirect them to homepage
if (strlen($query)<3){
wp_redirect( home_url() ); 
  • Thanks, @Gembel Intelek. Your code Quick and dirty work. Just is not working in some words that have accent. Ex: "fe" (faith in English), no redirects. Faith (with accent on "e"), redirects correctly. "fé" would be the correct way to write the word in Portuguese, although many write without an accent.
    – BobGCA2
    Jun 24, 2012 at 5:23
  • How about displaying an error explaining what happened preferably on search.php. Else people will not know what happened if you redirect them like that. Mar 22, 2017 at 21:40

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