What You Should Know Before Developing for the WordPress VIP Platform

Among many other WordPress myths lies the idea that WordPress is not performant at scale. In reality, WordPress VIP was built specifically for that reason: to handle high-traffic and high-security websites with ease.

Other WordPress hosting platforms—like WP Engine—are not equipped to address the pain points often experienced by enterprise-grade websites. Here’s how and why WordPress VIP looks different from other hosts you may be familiar with.

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WordPress VIP versus other WordPress hosting platforms

Before we jump into the development environments of WordPress VIP and other WordPress hosting platforms, it’s important to know the main functional and operational differences so you understand the why behind the development process. 

Most importantly, WordPress VIP is purpose-built to support and scale enterprise-grade websites and all they entail. What does this look like?

  • A comprehensive network management tool that allows you to assign user access, monitor site health, publish content, access data, and so much more.
  • An emphasis on global security as the only enterprise WordPress provider with FedRAMP authorization and SSAE SOC 2 compliance.
  • World-class support from our expert team with a variety of hands-on partnership levels to meet your unique needs.
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Additionally, WordPress VIP relies only on its own hardware rather than using third-party platforms. Because we’re fully in control of the hardware, we can fine-tune application performance needs for WordPress or Node.js rather than using a generalized setup. 

For example, self-hosting can expose your business to risk and make it difficult to handle emergency system issues, manage security, optimize your platform performance, etc. It also requires more time and effort from your team, which distracts from the real goal: strategy and execution.

And because WordPress VIP knows you want the best for your website, we recommend strict coding standards and the use of PHP_CodeSniffer, and provide automated code scans when necessary so you can be confident in your site performance.

With that being said, in order to uphold the strongest security and performance standards, there are a few key differences between developing for WordPress VIP and other WordPress hosts.

How is developing for WordPress VIP different?

WordPress VIP is sort of like working with the WordPress you’re used to with a photo enhancement filter. You can tell it’s still the WordPress the world knows and loves, it’s just…better. 

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What do we mean by that? WordPress VIP is the expert at running WordPress at scale, and that’s why it looks a little different than you’re used to (for good reason).

Let’s break down the three key differences: improved developer workflows, an auto-scaling platform, and easy content creation.

Technical differences

All deployment of code happens strictly through GitHub using our Codebase Manager. This means no File Transfer Protocol (FTP), ssh, or direct database access. Why do we do it this way? The WordPress VIP development workflow prioritizes speed and safety. The built-in dashboard and command-line interface (CLI) helps you efficiently manage your application. 

We also limit the ability to add or customize many configuration details like web server, database software, versioning, etc. 

Through our extensive enterprise WordPress experience, we know WordPress scales more effectively with a different approach and a little stricter guidelines. It’s the same reason why we can power some of the highest-traffic moments in the world (like 132,000 requests per second for a single application on a U.S. election night).

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These workflows make business-critical websites faster and more secure and also make the development process more streamlined. It’s a win-win-win situation.


As we mentioned earlier, WordPress VIP was designed to run WordPress at scale. This is achieved by each application having its own NGINX containers, Memcached cluster, primary and multiple replica database containers, and batch (CLI) containers. 

Additionally, media files are stored, managed, and globally distributed in a read-only format through the VIP File System, a built-in file service that provides CDN-style optimization. This system ensures your files are available and your content is delivered smoothly no matter where in the world your audience may be, or how much traffic you receive.

Content creation and user experience

With full-site block editing from the Gutenberg plugin and sparkly content creation tools, your marketing team can be (pretty much) self-sufficient. And with our agile CMS platform, anyone working on the site can easily manage workflows and make updates. 

So instead of relying on developers to publish content and push site updates, they can spend their time making awesome customer experiences and building exciting things that move the needle for your business.

“An entirely new design, a much easier site to navigate, a much better reading experience with performance that was mindbogglingly fantastic.”

—Remy Stern, Chief Digital Officer, New York Post

Why the differences matter

If you’re a little nervous about adopting WordPress VIP, it’s okay. Here’s the thing: all good things take time and consistency. Once teams learn how to use our tools, they are so happy they did. WordPress VIP takes the platform you know and sets you up for success at scale, and our team is here to help you along the way.

If you’ve made it to this point thinking “I just need to know who to hire” then you’ve started at the right place. Hiring an enterprise-focused WordPress developer to grow your internal WordPress team is a crucial part of a successful WordPress VIP development process.

But, if you’re thinking “this is over my head,” you may want to consider working with an approved WordPress VIP agency partner to help with your site development. Having a development team familiar with the WordPress VIP Platform will ensure a smooth and seamless site launch and implementation.

“Making the decision to move forward with decoupled WordPress, and with WordPress VIP, was really a very smart decision that I am extremely proud of for our respective teams.”

—David Hostetter, Digital Chief Technology Officer, Al Jazeera

Ready to start developing on WordPress VIP? Learn more about our development workflows.

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