VIP Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about our platform? Read on for answers to FAQs from customers about technical aspects of WordPress VIP.

WordPress VIP combines the ease and flexibility of WordPress—the CMS that runs 43% of the web—with unmatched scalability and security for the enterprise. 

From supporting SSO and providing data encryption to managing backups and monitoring performance, WordPress VIP offers a secure and reliable environment for your website. With our robust technology stack and global data center presence, you can trust that your site will be running on a stable and scalable platform.

The top WordPress VIP questions we get asked

Hosting

What technologies/stack does VIP run?

WordPress VIP manages and maintains a stack that includes Debian GNU/Linux, PHP, MySQL, NGINX, Memcached, Kubernetes, Docker, Node.js, Redis, and Elasticsearch. These technologies work together to provide a robust and scalable platform.

Can VIP offer dedicated hosting?

WordPress VIP operates on a multi-tenant architecture but doesn’t offer dedicated hosting. This architecture allows for efficient resource allocation and scalability across multiple customers.

Can VIP be hosted on AWS/GCP/Azure?

No. WordPress VIP is a fully hosted solution running on its private cloud infrastructure, which lives in the same data centers and is managed by the same team that runs WordPress.com and Tumblr. This ensures optimal performance, security, and support from the WordPress VIP team.

What elements do the VIP team manage and patch?

The WordPress VIP team manages and patches WordPress Core, the platform’s Must Use (MU) plugins, and the underlying system components. Regular updates and patches are applied according to the release schedule and SLAs, ensuring a secure and stable environment for customers.

What events are logged in the VIP system?

WordPress VIP logs activity at various layers, including the application, web server, load balancer, database, and operating system. This comprehensive logging allows for real-time analysis and investigation of security issues.

How does VIP manage backups?

WordPress VIP performs hourly backups for production databases and daily backups for non-production databases. Backups are stored for 30 days. Customers can use backup shipping to automate sending backups to an AWS S3 bucket of their own.

Security

What SSO does VIP support?

WordPress VIP supports Single Sign-On (SSO) using any identity provider (IdP) that supports Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). This allows for seamless authentication across the VIP Dashboard and customers’ WordPress applications.

Does VIP provide a WAF?

While WordPress VIP doesn’t provide a Web Application Firewall (WAF), we run network and host-based firewalls with real-time notification processes to prevent unauthorized access attempts. We also include built-in DDOS protection. For added protection, customers can also configure a solution like Cloudflare or Akamai to sit in front of VIP.

Can I use FTP to access my site?

For security and scaling purposes, FTP access isn’t allowed on WordPress VIP. GitHub is your application’s single source of truth for code, ensuring a secure and controlled development workflow.

What are the physical locations of VIP data centers?

WordPress VIP uses data center providers such as Coresite, Databank, Equinix, and Interxion. The origin data centers are in Amsterdam, Ashburn VA, Los Angeles, and Richardson TX. This global presence ensures reliable and low-latency access for customers.

How does VIP scan for vulnerabilities?

WordPress VIP conducts credentialed scans against every host on the platform. These scans cover malware, open TCP/UDP ports, and patch auditing. Findings are assessed and remediated based on severity and impact.

How does VIP protect PII (Personal Identifying Information)?

Acting as a data processor, WordPress VIP doesn’t store PII. Customers have control over the personal data uploaded to the platform. This ensures compliance with data protection regulations.

What personal information does VIP Content Analytics capture?

To comply with personal information restrictions, as well as privacy policies of individual publishers, VIP Content Analytics processes a very limited amount of personal information (PII). It also includes a feature to anonymize IP addresses collected from visitors to monitored domains and applications.

VIP Content Analytics collects the following standard web browser information about a reader:

  • IP address: used for bot detection and geographic segments
  • User agent: used for device analytics (mobile vs. desktop)
  • Anonymous identifier: used for loyalty analytics (new vs. returning users)
  • Browsing history: used for content personalization

If you’re curious about the PII of the broader VIP platform, learn more here.

How can I monitor my site’s performance with VIP?

WordPress VIP provides New Relic, an application performance monitoring (APM) tool, to monitor code and browser performance. It offers insights into response times, user happiness, and overall application performance. This helps identify and address performance bottlenecks.

Development

Can I use .net/Java/Python/Ruby to build my site on VIP?

No. WordPress VIP supports WordPress apps, which are written in PHP, and Node.js applications, which are written in JavaScript.

Can I use JavaScript to build my site on VIP?

WordPress VIP supports two types of Node.js applications: decoupled/headless frontends and microservices/APIs. This flexibility allows for building powerful and scalable applications using JavaScript.

What does the deployment process look like on VIP?

The deployment process on WordPress VIP involves a version-controlled GitHub development workflow. Each application has its own GitHub repository, and deployment typically takes just a few minutes. This provides a controlled and efficient deployment process.

What environments come with VIP?

Every application on WordPress VIP comes with a production environment and one non-production environment. Additional non-production environments can be requested, allowing for separate development, staging, and testing environments.

Can I run penetration tests on my applications with VIP?

Yes, you can run penetration tests on your applications hosted on WordPress VIP. However, prior notification and approval from the WordPress VIP team is required. This makes sure proper guidelines and procedures are followed to maintain the security and stability of the platform.

Can I use WordPress to build ___?

Yes, with enough time and expertise, WordPress can power a wide range of applications. Whether you’re building a blog, an ecommerce site, portfolio, or community forum, WordPress provides a flexible and customizable platform to meet your specific needs. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate your project requirements, making sure WordPress aligns with your goals and objectives.

What other features are included with VIP?

Jetpack and Akismet are automatically installed and enabled for all WordPress sites. Parse.ly is a content analytics platform that gives creators, marketers, and developers the tools to understand content performance and prove content value. The Parse.ly Content Helper is available to all VIP customers. The Content Helper is integrated with the WordPress Admin post editor and provides content creators with real-time insights on the post or page they are currently editing. The Parse.ly Content Helper highlights:

  • Past performance for published posts
  • Related Top Posts in the WordPress editor
  • Parse.ly analytics data when viewing posts in a list view
  • Parse.ly analytics data in a WordPress dashboard widget

Analytics

What is VIP Content Analytics by Parse.ly?

VIP Content Analytics by Parse.ly refers to WordPress VIP’s analytics functionality—including the analytics dashboard, Content API, Data Pipeline, and Content Helper. Formerly Parse.ly, VIP Content Analytics is the only analytics platform proven to create a results-driven culture for newsrooms and marketers. 

How is VIP Content Analytics different from Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is great for tracking AdWords spend, and we encourage our customers to use it for that. But it’s not built for measuring content data or serving the needs of content teams. 

VIP Content Analytics is.

Google Analytics requires much training to use effectively—most writers, content marketers, editors, and executives simply don’t have the time. VIP Content Analytics, on the other hand, is much more user-friendly and easier to learn. As a result, we’ve found that content teams using it increase data usage by 581%

The lack of meaningful real-time data in Google Analytics creates a blindspot for many content teams. VIP Content Analytics provides a robust, real-time view of content performance so that you can quickly react to what’s working, understand why, and find tactics to maximize the impact.

It’s possible to look deeper than pageviews with Google Analytics, but its cumbersome interface makes that a real challenge. VIP Content Analytics by Parse.ly makes working with data easy for creators and marketers, giving them the insights they need to focus their content strategy and prove ROI.

Analytics integration

How does VIP Content Analytics integrate with our CMS?

There are three primary ways that companies integrate VIP Content Analytics. Each involve the same basic steps:

Based on your CMS, we use one of three integration approaches to get our solution up and running. The differences come down to how many people need to be involved, and who those people need to be.

  1. WordPress plugin integration—requires minimal coding and developer involvement; in most cases, none at all. A user with WordPress admin access can handle everything. 
  2. Basic integration—requires at least one dedicated developer. 
  3. Tag integration—requires hybrid involvement from a developer and an end-user, e.g., a marketer, editor, or content manager. 

Where does the data in VIP Content Analytics come from?

The data in the analytics dashboard comes from the Parse.ly Tracker—a small piece of tracking code added to your site (during the first integration step). The tracker is a line of JavaScript that monitors user actions and relays them to our analytics servers. 

The easiest way to install the Parse.ly Tracker is with the WordPress Parse.ly Plugin. This plugin installs the tracking code throughout your site and automatically collects metadata (the second integration step).

What’s required for metadata setup in VIP Content Analytics?

Metadata enables deep content analysis. In the analytics dashboard, it allows you to use filters, generate reports, and customize the overview screen

You can set up metadata to flow into the dashboard via JSON-LD, repeated meta tags, or a combination. 

  • JSON-LD—following open standards and schemas, you can also use this script tag for other services (such as Google, for enhanced display in search listings).
  • Repeated meta tags—if your CMS can provide page information as meta tags in the page header, then this might be a better option.

And if you’re using the WordPress Parse.ly Plugin, just enter your Site ID. We’ll automatically pull your metadata straight from WordPress.

What happens when metadata is edited/updated in VIP Content Analytics?

We’ll detect and update it for you.

Alongside the in-app feature that lets you check for metadata updates yourself, VIP Content Analytics offers a backend system for customers that detects metadata changes automatically on your website. If we find data that’s changed, we update the metadata on that page to reflect the changes in your analytics dashboard.

Analytics data

How do UTM parameters work in VIP Content Analytics?

UTM parameters power the campaign tracking feature for measuring and optimizing the performance of digital marketing campaigns (newsletters, content syndication, push notifications, etc.). 

This feature shows you content performance data in five categories that correspond with your campaigns’ UTM parameters: Campaign, Medium, Source, Content, and Term. 

  1. Campaign: Why is traffic going here? 
  2. Medium: How did traffic get here? From which marketing channel?
  3. Source: Where did traffic come from?
  4. Content: What did people click to get here? 
  5. Term: What did people search for to get here?

If you’re consistent with UTM parameters throughout campaigns, you’ll understand how your audience interacts with your campaigns, what content resonates the most, and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Why doesn’t VIP Content Analytics track bounce rate?

Some content is intended for single-page visits: recipes, ‌landing pages, single-page websites, or pages used for informational research. Those will naturally have a high bounce rate, but that doesn’t mean visitors don’t find the content valuable.

What visitors do while on a page is more important. How much time are they spending there? Are they scrolling? Clicking? Is their mouse moving? Are they highlighting text? Those movements offer more insight into the value of your content.

That’s why, instead of bounce rate, VIP Content Analytics measures engaged time and recirculation rate—the aggregate time visitors spend interacting with your content and the percentage of traffic that goes deeper into your site (rather than exit right away).

Does VIP Content Analytics capture sales data?

VIP Content Analytics doesn’t have specific ecommerce features built into the platform, such as the ability to capture purchase revenue. Instead, we focus on content performance and audience engagement. 

However, VIP Content analytics does track conversions and conversion rate, which can be applied to revenue-related events like purchases and subscriptions. These conversion events are the crucial link between content and revenue.

What are conversions in VIP Content Analytics?

A conversion is the completion of a desired action by a customer or visitor on a website—making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form—that aligns with marketing objectives of the business.

How does conversion tracking work in VIP Content Analytics? 

Conversion tracking helps your team see when and where conversions occur throughout your site, tracking the content journey that leads visitors to convert. VIP Content Analytics offers four attribution models for assigning “credit” to conversions: 

  1. First Touch: the page seen first in the 30 days before conversion
  2. Linear: every page that was seen before conversion (including where the conversion occurred)
  3. Last Touch: the page where conversion occurred
  4. Last Post Touched: the last post seen before conversion occurred

Conversion Rate shows what percentage of pageviews convert on a specific page or post for Last-Touch conversion models.

How do I set up conversions in VIP Content Analytics?

There are a few ways to set up conversion tracking—the easiest is using our GTM conversion tracking tag

In all cases, you may either set them up yourself or request Support to do most of the work. Support-managed conversions are easier for teams with few technical resources. Self-managed conversions let you implement conversions the way you want.

Can you calculate your own metrics in the VIP Content Analytics dashboard?

No. But you can create and track your own metrics with the Data Pipeline

Say you have a metric or calculation you want to track alongside the rest of the data that VIP Content Analytics collects. 

Maybe your north star metric isn’t just one metric, but a combination, like this example: [metric = 0.25*scroll_depth + 0.25*engaged_time + 0.25*recirculation_rate + 0.25*conversion].

To track this custom metric, use the Data Pipeline to access a raw feed of your VIP Content Analytics data and route it into a data visualization tool along with that custom metric.

Can we add data to the VIP Content Analytics dashboard?

No. But you can add VIP Content Analytics data to a data visualization tool via the Data Pipeline along with data from another source to create custom aggregate dashboards.

Additional analytics features

What can you do with the Data Pipeline?

The Data Pipeline is a fast and easy way to build in-house analytics atop flexible, clean, accessible, and real-time user interaction data. With it, turn any website or mobile app into a data stream of rich user interaction data—and in minutes, not months.

When users interact with your business online, they generate user interaction data. VIP Content Analytics measures and collects all this data, and you can access and work with it however you want via the Data Pipeline. The Data Pipeline also has a robust infrastructure for instrumenting your own user interactions, otherwise known as custom events.

The data formats developed for the Data Pipeline are especially easy for Python, R, Spark, Redshift, and BigQuery to work with. We also have standard integration schemas and recipes so that the data can be used in ad-hoc querying and dashboarding tools, such as Looker, Periscope, and Tableau.

What can you do with the Content API?

The Content API leverages natural language processing, AI, and all the unique metadata collected to make highly sophisticated and customizable content recommendations that enrich readers’ on-site experience.

It also provides complete access to the real-time data collected through the analytics dashboard, which includes traffic and social data on articles, authors, sections, referral sources, and topics discussed in the content.

Brands and publishers use the Content API to populate personalized content recommendation widgets, newsletters, homepages, infinite scroll features, and more. For WordPress users, a pre-built WordPress block lets you quickly add those personalized content recommendations to any post.

What are the available endpoints of the Content API?

The Content API features multiple endpoints that can be called to retrieve data from the system.

  • Analytics
    Returns a list of posts, authors, sections, tags, or channels depending on query parameters.
  • Conversions (beta)
    Addresses two use cases: First, to download detailed URL-level conversion metrics for ad-hoc analysis. Second, to provide a top-converting content module on your site containing a list of URLs, filtered by metadata, and ranked by conversion metrics.
  • Exclude
    Manages a list of URLs that should be excluded from the results of all other API endpoints.
  • Metadata
    Updates the metadata for a post or video (depending on the specified metadata type) using the received metadata dictionary.
  • Partners
    Provides a means for partners to programmatically create and list Site IDs (apikeys) for their customers.
  • Recommendations
    The endpoints on this page are designed to be used in-browser (called via JavaScript), so no API secret is necessary.
  • Referrers
    Returns a list of the top referrers for a referrer type.
  • Search
    Searches for posts by keyword or query. These can match against full content.
  • Shares
    Retrieves a listing of top posts by social shares across top social networks.
  • Top 10 or Top 25
    Returns today’s top posts or videos. This endpoint was designed to be a lightweight and fast way to access top content lists without exposing your API secret or actual metric values.

How do you set up audience segments in VIP Content Analytics?

VIP Content Analytics offers different ways to segment your audience in the dashboard, so you can focus on a subset of users while also maintaining a view for your entire audience. Set up segments based on geography, user status (e.g., subscriber, anonymous user), campaigns, and more. 

Regardless which option you choose, setting up Audience Segments in VIP Content Analytics starts with understanding your target audience segments and mapping them to your business objectives. 

Geographical audience segments can be set up immediately, without development work simply by specifying the desired geographic areas to be tracked. To set up other types of audience segments, follow the custom setup process laid out in our documentation. These are the basic steps:

  1. Select your segments of interest
  2. Email them to Support with basic information
  3. We update your dashboard(s) per your specification
  4. Your developers do final setup and testing

Still have questions? 

Don’t hesitate to check out our documentation or reach out to learn more about our enterprise-grade WordPress VIP platform.

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