If you’re in the real estate industry, you’ve likely heard of the Internet Data Exchange or IDX for short. The IDX is the system that houses and powers real estate listings on a variety of websites. From large-scale sites like Zillow and Redfin to small independently managed real estate websites, all are powered with IDX.

What Does IDX Mean?

This is the system that provides listings from local MLS databases. When a real estate agent plugs in data to the MLS, other websites can obtain this information to display on their own websites through an IDX provider. Without an IDX provider, real estate sites are not able to display updated real estate information.

IDX Providers

A number of companies exist to provide real estate data for a website. Some are regional and some are nationwide providers.

  • Diverse Solutions IDX
  • IDX Broker
  • IDX Boost
  • iHome Finder

This options will work with WordPress and are mostly DIY. You purchase the license to a local real estate database, then call in the listings to your WordPress site. The listing data can be refined and filtered by city like major metropolitan areas and smaller townships, zip code, property type (condos, townhouses and single-family homes), 55+ retirement communities like Starhaven Villas, homes with pools, homes with large square footage, etc.

Premium IDX Options

If you’re looking for something outside of WordPress, there are a few more expensive options:

  • Chime IDX
  • Real Estate Webmasters

Although they are expensive platforms to subscribe to, you’ll quickly notice they are packed with features.

How Does IDX Update?

One question I hear regularly is, “how often does the IDX / MLS information update?”

Every day real estate agents enter their property listing data into their regional MLS. IDX plugins retrieve this data through API calls to MLS databases, and they try to pull the data every ~12 hours (for most plugins). If you’re an agent and you don’t see your data showing on your website, you probably just need to wait a few more hours before the listing shows up.

Can You Force Update the MLS Data?

If you’re wondering if you can force an update to occur throughout the day, unfortunately, you can’t. This refresh is up to the plugin itself and you won’t be able to adjust it on the fly. Wait for the data to show up and if it doesn’t, be sure to reach out to the plugin’s support.

Where To Start

First thing is first – you need a real estate license before you can get into showing real estate listings either in person or on a website. With a state-issued license in hand, the next step is find your IDX provider. Find which plugin will work best with your website and then fill out the application to be able to retrieve data from your local MLS. Keep in mind that MLS data can be a lot – you’ll want to refine the data and filter it to your liking. For instance, if you’re a luxury real estate agent, you’ll likely want to filter all the incoming listings by properties that are priced at $1,000,000+.


If you have any questions about your real estate site, please reach out to me at jeff@octivdigital.com.