Accessing VIP support

Your support team is here to help, every step of the way.

Zendesk

VIP uses the Zendesk ticketing system for helping support clients with technical issues and launch planning.

Support tickets can be opened in one of these ways:

  • Log in to the Zendesk portal (access provided after kickoff call)
  • Submit tickets from “VIP” portal in the wp-admin of your site
  • Use the ? Support button in the lower left-hand corner of the VIP Dashboard
  • Email our support address

Tips for using Zendesk:

  • Keep each issue in its own ticket. This allows our team to effectively route your questions and can help avoid confusion where multiple issues and resolutions are being discussed in one ticket.
  • When you create a ticket, you’ll have the option of four different priority levels: low, normal, high, and urgent. Urgent tickets page the entire support team, so we appreciate that you use them sparingly for true emergencies like outages, time-sensitive security concerns, and workflow-blocking situations where the site isn’t functioning at all.
  • Access your existing tickets in the Zendesk portal.
  • Add additional stakeholders using cc field in the original email, or any subsequent responses.
  • Please follow our guidelines for opening a ticket, to help us reach a timely resolution.

The VIP Lobby

  • The VIP Lobby is the first place we share information with VIP clients from outages to event announcements.
  • To ensure you receive the latest updates, you’ll want to subscribe to new posts. When logged in, you can do this by clicking “Subscribe to Email Updates” or the “Follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner.

 

Follow posts from the VIP Lobby
Follow posts from the VIP Lobby

Twitter

Updates about VIP service issues and maintenance are posted on @WPVIPStatus on Twitter.

Further reading

Welcome to VIP development

Hello there! We’re excited to work with you on developing your VIP site.

The VIP team

This series is an overview of the processes, workflows, and tools for developing a site on VIP. We’ll guide you through the development process, and link to important resources along the way.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • An overview of the VIP platform
  • How code is deployed on VIP
  • How to set up a local development environment
  • How and why we review code
  • How to set up PHP_CodeSniffer
  • How to use our platform’s development tools
  • How to contact VIP Support

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

What’s next?

Now that you have an overview of how to achieve a smooth launch on the VIP platform, you’re ready to get started!

Don’t forget that you can review our documentation at any time, and reach out to our team via Zendesk if you need help. We can’t wait to help you launch!

Further reading

Your VIP team

A Technical Account Manager, or TAM, will serve as your main point of contact from onboarding up to your time of launch. The first time you’ll meet a TAM will likely be on the project kickoff call, where you will establish your launch timeline and get access to VIP Support.

In addition to the TAM, at different points of your onboarding process, you’ll also engage with VIP Engineers and Relationship Managers:

 

Further reading

The VIP platform

The VIP platform (also referred to in our documentation as VIP Go) has container-based infrastructure that allows clients to run core WordPress with custom themes and plugins on Automattic’s world-class hardware and network infrastructure.

On our platform, the codebase consists of core WordPress, a handful of platform-specific mu-plugins, and the client’s custom code. Media is served from the VIP Files Service, a globally distributed object store, and sites are cached on the edge with Varnish. VIP looks after hourly platform backups and 24/7 monitoring.

VIP infrastructure diagram
An overview of the VIP infrastructure (click to enlarge)

While your site is in development, it will use a convenience URL ending in .go-vip.net. The production environment tracks the master branch of the connected GitHub repository, which auto-deploys. VIP can also set up child environments for development purposes, which will track a specific branch in the same repo. We also encourage developing locally.

The VIP platform supports both single-site and multisite installations of WordPress.

Tools

VIP clients are offered a variety of tools:

  • Jetpack, VaultPress, and Akismet are connected by default to each VIP Go application.
  • Sites are connected to New Relic for application monitoring.
  • VIP clients can take advantage of supercharged search via Jetpack Search, powered by Elasticsearch.
  • Scanning for coding issues on each PR.

Further Reading

Steps to launch

Once your site is ready, your TAM will guide you through the launch process. This will include scheduling a date and time for the launch when VIP can be on-hand to assist.

A sample launch timeline

Typically, the launch steps will be something like:

12 hours before launch:

  • Code freeze
  • Editorial freeze
  • Final SQL import
  • Delta media import

At the time of launch:

  • Everybody joins a StormChat, which is a unique chat room for your launch
  • VIP changes the site to use the production domain
  • Before the DNS switch, the client is welcome to QA their site by changing their local hosts file
  • DNS is switched to point to VIP
  • VIP installs an SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt
  • Congratulations! Your site is launched! 🎉

Keep in mind that the steps to launch each site may differ. Your TAM will be able to provide you with the exact steps, tailored to the needs of your site.

Further reading

Welcome to your VIP launch

Hello there! We’re excited to launch your site on VIP.

The VIP team

This series is an overview of what you can expect when launching with VIP. We’ll guide you through the launch process, and link to important resources along the way.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • The VIP team members you’ll have contact with
  • How to contact VIP Support
  • An overview of the VIP platform
  • How we review code
  • What you can expect if you’re migrating your site to VIP
  • The typical steps to launch your site
  • How to find further resources and help

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Domains and SSL

DNS

If you plan on hosting your DNS with us, contact us via support ticket and we will set up domain management for you, where you can self-service create DNS entries to mirror your current setup. Once setup is complete, you can verify and switch to our nameservers. This should be done at least a week before launch.

If you plan on hosting your own DNS, we’ll ask you to point the domain to us.

When your site is set up, it will be using a “convenience” domain like example-com.go-vip.net. At launch, we’ll change the site to using the production domain.

Once the DNS for a domain points to VIP, and the domain is mapped to an application, visiting the mapped domain will direct visitors to the example-com.go-vip.net domain. If there is content on the site that should not be discoverable before launch, you may want to enable Maintenance Mode until the official launch.

TTL

When migrating a site from another platform, you may want to time the DNS switch with launch, to minimise downtime. In this case, the TTL (Time To Live) on the domain should be lowered as far as possible before the launch. Your TAM will work with you on the launch steps.

SSL

VIP provides an SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt. There is no additional charge for this, and we’ll handle the renewals. If you prefer to provide your own cert, you can contact us for a CSR.

Further reading

Content migration

When you are ready to import content into your VIP site, we’ll need two things:

  1. A SQL dump of your site’s WordPress database
  2. A compressed archive of the uploads directory.

Most clients will want VIP to import content into their environment early in the development process, so they can ensure that everything looks great on the platform. Then, at the time of launch, we can update the content on your site with the most up-to-date content you’ve been creating.

If your content files are too large to attach to a Zendesk ticket, you can provide a link to Dropbox or a similar cloud storage service. VIP can also import content from an S3 bucket.

Further reading

Code review

VIP’s priority is to ensure that your site is there when you need it, which means we care about its performance and security. Code review is a key component of ensuring your site is secure and performance. We offer both automated checks and manual reviews to clients.

VIP’s code review focuses on the performance and security considerations in PHP, custom JavaScript, and SVG files. We do not review HTML, CSS, SASS, many popular third-party JavaScript libraries, or built JavaScript files.

We’ll schedule an initial code review of the entire code base. You will continue receiving this feedback automatically on all pull requests to your GitHub repository.

We offer two levels of manual code review:

  • Full: A developer will read every line of your code, including themes and custom plugins.
  • Enhanced: Your theme and custom plugins are reviewed line-by-line. Third-party plugins will go through an automated scan.

Automated scan: Even if you don’t receive manual review, your entire code base will be automatically scanned with VIP’s PHP CodeSniffer (PHPCS) standard with an initial report sent to your developers. VIP will answer any questions about specific errors or warnings if the client wishes to refactor the code.

Initial review

For clients on the Full or Enhanced levels of review, please allow for 10-15 business days in your project timeline to complete the first and subsequent review cycles. Please note, exact timeframes can vary depending on various factors – ask your TAM for more details. Before you submit your code for review, ensure it’s been thoroughly tested, scanned using PHPCS with the WordPress-VIP-Go ruleset, and as many errors and warnings as possible have been addressed.

Ongoing review

After the initial review, clients with Full and Enhanced reviews will have a GitHub pull request workflow enabled. This protects the master branch from merges without our review. For clients without manual review, we recommend following a similar workflow to enable the VIP code analysis bot to provide automated feedback.

We take code review seriously and understand that there may be many questions along the way. If you need assistance, please open a ticket and we’d be happy to provide guidance.

Further reading

Accessing VIP support

Your support team is here to help, every step of the way.

Zendesk

VIP uses the Zendesk ticketing system for helping support clients with technical issues and launch planning.

Support tickets can be opened in one of these ways:

  • Log in to the Zendesk portal (access provided after kickoff call)
  • Submit tickets from “VIP” portal in the wp-admin of your site
  • Use the ? Support button in the lower left-hand corner of the VIP Dashboard
  • Email our support address

Tips for using Zendesk:

  • Keep each issue in its own ticket. This allows our team to effectively route your questions and can help avoid confusion where multiple issues and resolutions are being discussed in one ticket.
  • When you create a ticket, you’ll have the option of four different priority levels: low, normal, high, and urgent. Urgent tickets page the entire support team, so we appreciate that you use them sparingly for true emergencies like outages, time-sensitive security concerns, and workflow-blocking situations where the site isn’t functioning at all.
  • Access your existing tickets in the Zendesk portal.
  • Add additional stakeholders using cc field in the original email, or any subsequent responses.
  • Please follow our guidelines for opening a ticket, to help us reach a timely resolution.

The VIP Lobby

  • The VIP Lobby is the first place we share information with VIP clients from outages to event announcements.
  • Invitations to the VIP Lobby are sent to WordPress.com usernames or email addresses.
  • To ensure you receive the latest updates, you’ll want to subscribe to new posts. When logged in, you can do this by clicking “Subscribe to Email Updates” or the “Follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner.

 

Follow posts from the VIP Lobby
Follow posts from the VIP Lobby

Twitter

Updates about VIP service issues and maintenance are posted on @WPVIPStatus on Twitter.

Further reading

What’s next?

Now that you have an overview of the VIP development workflow, you’re ready to get started!

Don’t forget that you can review our documentation at any time, and reach out to our team via Zendesk if you need help. Speak to you soon!

Further reading

Ready to get started?

Drop us a note.

No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.