Requests: WordPress VIP’s Unit for Traffic and Platform Utilization Measurement

WordPress VIP tracks a single metric in order to track usage of our platform across all site architectures, from a plain vanilla WordPress single site, to n-tier architectures, or single page applications: Requests. We define a Request technically as an HTTP Request and any associated response. 

Why WordPress VIP Uses Requests as Its Key Metric

Requests is the most meaningful way to measure the modern digital customer experience. The number of different types of digital interactions that now exist is dizzying — web pages, email, mobile apps, mobile messaging, social media, gaming platforms, in-store kiosks, content aggregators, and more. The most effective customer experience strategies drive content from a central platform into all those points of interaction. 

These touchpoints are so diverse that about the only thing they all have in common is that each one makes “requests” for the right content to display to each customer. A request is the closest thing to a universal metric that applies to all interaction points in the digital experience. In contrast, the age-old “page view” is a dated concept from the days when a web page was the main point of digital interaction. Focussing on requests allows us to capture all the opportunities for engagement in a modern digital experience.

The more requests for content made, the more customers and prospects a company is interacting with and engaging — and the more value is being created. So, by using requests as a key metric, WordPress VIP is aligning its value measures with what drives success for its customers. WordPress VIP customers should want to generate more requests for content, and the WordPress VIP platform will be ready to serve that content.

How WordPress VIP Calculates Requests

We define a Request technically as an HTTP Request and any associated response. 

We use the HTTP content type of the response to categorize the Request. The HTTP content type is a technical detail of HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) that underlies all web communication, we use it to classify Requests into the following categories:

  • App Requests: Requests with a response content type of text/html or application/xhtml; these will be “web pages” (albeit just the HTML), redirection responses, “page not found” responses, etc.
  • API Requests: Requests with a response content type of application/json; these will mainly, perhaps exclusively, be REST API responses, GraphQL API responses, etc.
  • Static Requests: everything else

We further subdivide all Requests into originating on Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure, or not. This gives us the following final six categories:

  • Requests from inside Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure:
    • App Requests
    • API Requests
    • Static Requests
  • Requests from outside Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure:
    • App Requests
    • API Requests
    • Static Requests

We charge for App and API requests from outside Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure.

We do not charge for App and API requests from inside Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure.

We do not differentiate between HTTP Response Status Codes, i.e. all App and API requests from outside Automattic or WordPress VIP infrastructure count towards your utilization, regardless of the response status code.

Forecasting your Request volume

What volume of requests is likely for a given client? There’s no simple rule-of-thumb. But WordPress VIP works closely with each prospective customer to understand the digital experiences that drive their business, and other factors that might impact request volume, such as seasonality. Together, WordPress VIP and the customer can quickly arrive at a forecasted volume of requests, and agree to a contract under which WordPress VIP will support that volume.

Once agreed upon, WordPress VIP rarely charges overages in cases where unexpected business circumstances boosts request volume — such as a major news event increasing readership,  unexpected popularity of a new product or offering, or some other viral sensation. If a customer undertakes a deliberate change in business strategy, such as launching a new business or entering a new geography, WordPress VIP will work with the customer to adjust the contract as necessary.

Overages

We understand your need for stable costs during the period of a contract with WordPress VIP, so for the vast majority of our customers we do not charge overages or adjust pricing in mid-contract. Over the course of each contract your WordPress VIP Relationship Manager will work with you to understand your usage of our platform, and agree any adjustments required at renewal. Only for the situation that a customer’s overages are egregious and sustained does WordPress VIP reserves the right to invoke the Resources clause in the WordPress VIP Master Services Agreement (section 2c).

Questions

Do you count requests from machine traffic, e.g. load tests, penetration tests, spiders, crawlers, bots, etc?

Bots and other machine traffic interact with your site and your organization in different ways than your native apps, or your human readers, but WordPress VIP considers that they still add value: Google Bot crawls your site to index it for search, Load and Penetration Tests allow you to validate performance and security of your codebase, and so on. On this basis, we count machine traffic towards your utilization of the WordPress VIP platform.

Will a Denial of Service Attack attempt affect my tier at contract renewal?

WordPress VIP recognizes that Denial of Service Attacks can result in very significant volumes of traffic against your applications on the WordPress VIP Platform. We recognize that this activity is malicious and that one key reason for many people working with WordPress VIP is our ability to mitigate even extremely significant denial of service attempts, we do record the traffic caused by an attack but we will not take this traffic into account when considering tier changes at contract renewal.

How do Requests compare to Pageviews?

Pageviews are a subset of App Requests (see definitions above). Request volume will always be much higher than Pageview volume. Our WordPress VIP team will be able to give you guidance on likely Request volume, and therefore tier, if you can provide your Pageview metrics.

Why don’t you use Pageviews?

Pageviews is a metric that has been with us for a very long time, and reflects a web that is no longer universally applicable. Pageviews does not allow for n-tier decoupled architectures. Pageviews does not allow for the use of WordPress to power mobile applications. Pageviews does not allow for using WordPress to power digital signage.

We believe that Requests allows us to measure the value and opportunity we see in the range of uses our innovative clients create on the WordPress VIP platform.

Can I validate my Request totals?

We can provide you with your HTTP Request logs using our Log Shipping feature, and our logs include the response content type field. We provide a feed of our IP Ranges at http://go-vip.net/ip-ranges.json. Using these data and the definitions for Request categories above, you should be able to calculate the metrics.

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