Search Regex Plugin


Download: Search Regex
Version: 1.4.11
Supports: WordPress 2.9.2 – 3.1.1
Other: | SVN
Support: Forum

Search Regex adds a powerful set of search and replace functions to WordPress. These go beyond the standard searching capabilities, and allow you to search and replace almost any data stored on your site. In addition to simple searches you have the full power of PHP’s regular expressions at your disposal.

The driving force behind this plugin is to aid in website migration and upgrading. If you’ve ever done either of these then you know the pain of having to go back through all your data, changing URL paths and fixing things. With this plugin you can reduce this work to a search and replace pattern and the job is finished in seconds.

Why would you want this? The primary reason for the plugin was to aid in relocating directories. It’s a real pain to manually go through every post and change image directory names. With this plugin all that was required was a simple search and replace pattern, and the job was finished in a few seconds.

Features include:

  • Simple search and replace
  • Advanced regular expression search and replaces, including back references and capture groups
  • Search previews with inline replacing
  • Perform searches in post & page content, excerpt, titles, URL, and meta-data, as well as comment content and author data
  • Full support for WordPress roles. You can only search and replace in posts you have access to
  • Fully localized

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Installation is just like any WordPress plugin:

  • Download Search Regex
  • Unzip
  • Upload directory to /wp-content/plugins on your server
  • Activate the plugin
  • Use Search Regex from the Manage/Search Regex menu

You can find full details of installing a plugin on the plugin installation page.


Searches can be performed from the Search Regex submenu, contained within the main Manage menu of the administration interface. Once there you will be presented with the following interface:

Search Regex interface

The search and replace patterns are, as you would expect, where you enter what you want to search for and what you want to replace it with. Several options exist to refine the searching capabilities, which will be explained later. You can also chose the data source.

When you have entered your patterns you need to press one of the search buttons:

  • Search – Just do a search and show the results
  • Replace – Perform a search and replace, but only show the results. The database is not changed.
  • Replace & Save – As Replace, but the replacements are saved back into the database.

It should be noted that while you can enter any search pattern in a simple search, you must adhere to regular expression syntax when the regular expression mode is enabled. The plugin will detect any regular expression errors and warn you.

If you wish to remove a search pattern (i.e. search for ‘cheese’ and delete the any occurrences) then you can leave the replacement pattern empty.

Search Options

The following options modify the search:

  • Regex – Enable regular expressions. Note that the search pattern can now only contained properly escaped characters. The @ character is used as a delimiter and also needs escaping.
  • Case-less – Case insensitive search
  • Multi-line – Enables multi-line mode (see PHP’s pattern modifiers page)
  • Dot-all – Enables the dot-all mode (see PHP’s pattern modifiers page)


Search results as presented as a list of found occurrences. Each result is shown in context with the surrounding data and, if enabled, the replacement context is also shown.


Depending upon the data source you have options to view, edit, or replace the data. Additionally, if you double-click on the highlighted search or replace patterns then an inline edit box will appear allowing you to directly edit the data.

Inline Replace


The simplest case is changing paths:




A more complicated regular expression version to only move PNG images:





You should always use the Search & Replace preview before saving to the database. I will accept no responsibility for any damage caused to your data. If you are in any doubt then backup your database first.

Support & Bugs

Support and feature requests should be made through the Search Regex support forum. You can contact me directly but I spend a very limited amount of time on direct support and you stand a better chance of being answered through the forum.

If you find the plugin useful then please do consider making a donation – it is appreciated and helps towards the maintenance of the plugin.


261 Responses to Search Regex Plugin

  1. What I cannot understand – is why now working examples?
    Regex isn’t actually “a walk in the park”…

    Thanks anyway.

  2. This may be what I’m looking for (haven’t tried it yet) but I build many WordPress pages for clients. I usually start locally on my box using a localhost, then transfer all the data to an online host. This causes headaches primarily with the images uploaded via the WordPress media uploader.

    Looks like an awesome tool to combat that problem quickly! Cheers!

  3. your notes say, “Perform searches in post & page content, excerpt, titles, URL, and meta-data, as well as comment content and author data.”

    how do i do a search and replace on a “page,” not just a post?



  4. Hi. After reading the doc and the comments on this plugin I’ve just downloaded it as I’m getting ready to migrate my dev site to a production host. This plugin should save a LOT of time.

    Being a bit rusty on Regex (its been a while since I’ve done full bore UNIX) I did a Google search and came across a ref that others might find handy:

    If you’re new to regex, study it carefully and it will make sense. There are examples given.

    Hope this helps.