WordPress.com VIP is working hard on launching new infrastructure that allows for a more traditional WordPress setup for VIP clients, and makes a variety of improvements that their service partners will enjoy.
Called VIP Go, it's basically a VIP 2.0. Many parts of VIP will stay the same: every commit will be code reviewed by the VIP team, and it will utilize WordPress.com's data centers to enable significant scaling potential.
But a few key changes will make VIP Go more attractive for more customers than it was before.
- The new setup is on Git, rather than SVN like current VIP. Previously, developers had to use some form of SVN to Git bridge. Now common workflows most agencies are accustomed to can be followed.
- VIP Go sites can now have plugins that add tables and do other things folks do on other managed hosts, but has historically been a problem for VIP. Plugins will still need to be whitelisted by VIP — whereas most managed hosts maintain a blacklist — but custom tables opens up a number of opportunities.
Initial plugins that add tables and will be whitelisted are bbPress and BuddyPress.
Over time, they'll iterate what plugins are allowed, and it seems inevitable to me that some VIP-whitelisted eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads are just a matter of time.
There are already some service partners and clients testing VIP Go, both in development and production.
And if you look hard enough, there's some VIP Go documentation and code out there. On WordPress.com VIP documentation pages, they describe it like this:
VIP Go is the newest hosting offering from VIP. It offers new kinds of flexibility for VIP clients while providing the same scalable, secure and well-supported platform experience that VIPs already know.
The existing WordPress.com VIP platform allows VIP sites to run custom themes on WordPress.com’s multisite environment. VIP Go has its own container-based infrastructure, where VIP clients can run core WordPress with custom themes and plugins on Automattic’s world-class hardware and network infrastructure, backed up, as always, by VIP’s team of WordPress experts.
VIP Go is still undergoing final testing with a limited number of VIP client sites. Documentation linked here is subject to change as we put the finishing touches on this exciting new service.
There is also a public guide for a VIP Go specific local development environment, with a corresponding VIP Go Quickstart repo on Github. There's also a list of public MU plugins that will run on VIP Go sites.
I don't have an official timeline for the new platform's public launch, but I'll be sure to let you know if I learn anything more about it. WordPress.com VIP plays an important role in the enterprise WordPress ecosystem, and changes to their environment that improve those websites or offer them more flexibility are important for the rest of us to pay attention to.