Super-charged WordPress search with faceting, powered by ElasticSearch.

The WordPress.com VIP Search Add-On is a service which was purpose-built to supercharge search for WordPress sites. Improve the relevance and quality of your search results with the WordPress.com VIP Search Add-On powered by ElasticSearch technology.

Pricing

For WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting customers, the initial setup of VIP Search is $2500, which includes the initial site indexing, and then VIP Search is $1199 per month. Current WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting clients can get started with VIP Search by getting in touch or by sending in a VIP Support ticket.

VIP Search is not available for self-hosted VIPs yet, but if you’re a self-hosted VIP who wants to enable VIP Search on your site, get in touch  and let us know.

Documentation

Activate and Go!

Configuration is as simple as activating the plugin via the WordPress.com VIP Dashboard. After your site index is configured, your search results will be automatically filtered to deliver ElasticSearch goodness. Search results are provided by ElasticSearch which is doing complicated stuff in order to get the results, much more than would be possible via MySQL.

Define custom filters and facets

You know your site’s content best, so you can define facets which are most relevant to your content, and then add the optional sidebar widget so viewers can easily narrow down to the exact result they want. Some popular custom facets are tags and categories, post type, and date posted.

Here’s an example of the facets powering the WordPress.com VIP site’s search:

// Sets ElasticSearch facets
add_action( 'after_setup_theme', function() {

	if ( ! function_exists( 'WPCOM_elasticsearch' ) )
		return;

	WPCOM_elasticsearch()->set_facets( array(
		'Content Type' => array(
			'type'     => 'post_type',
			'count'    => 10,
		),
		'Categories' => array(
			'type'     => 'taxonomy',
			'taxonomy' => 'category',
			'count'    => 10,
		),
		'Tags' => array(
			'type'     => 'taxonomy',
			'taxonomy' => 'post_tag',
			'count'    => 10,
		),
		'Year' => array(
			'type'     => 'date_histogram',
			'field'    => 'post_date',
			'interval' => 'year',
			'count'    => 10,
		),
		'Month' => array(
			'type'     => 'date_histogram',
			'field'    => 'post_date',
			'interval' => 'month',
			'count'    => 10,
		),
	) );
});

VIP Search supports searching across multiple VIP Search enabled sites while presenting a single, unified set of search results to visitors. Results are ranked by their score across all sites, much like a traditional search engine. To add multi-site support, simply tell the Search Add-On which additional sites you’d like to query, by their WordPress.com subdomain name:

WPCOM_elasticsearch()->set_additional_blogs( array(
    'vip.wordpress.com',
    'en.support.wordpress.com'
) );

The VIP Search Add-On transparently handles switching to the appropriate blog context for each result, requiring no additional setup or configuration.

Development / Testing

Development and testing against Elasticsearch happens through the WP.com REST API and therefore requires a publicly accessible Jetpack-connected blogs. Localhost or private sites will not work here as the content for the site needs to be synced to Jetpack.

To get your development site indexed, please set up a staging site and set up a Jetpack connection. If your staging site is setup to prevent access to the public, you’ll need to whitelist the “Jetpack by WordPress.com” user-agent to access the XML-RPC endpoint so we can properly sync your site.

Once done, just open a new ticket with the URL of the site and we’ll take care of the indexing.

See VIP Search in action

Try it out on this site, and take a closer look at Kaiser Family Foundation (below) which is using VIP Search on their site.

On the VIP site, a search for “code” gives a lot of results across many types of content – posts, pages, news, plugins, and documentation:

vip-search-addon-01

We drill down further into the “News” results:

vip-search-addon-02

And more particularly, news about code tagged “government.” Now we can delve into how NASA is using WordPress!

vip-search-addon-03

On the Kaiser Family Foundation site, VIP Search is integrated into their site like any normal search.

Kaiser Family Foundation VIP Search

Searching for something simple like “healthcare” brings up an initial set of results on the search page. Filters and additional refining tools are in the sidebar widget next to the results.

Kaiser Family Foundation VIP Search - results

Users can refine results by selecting topics, tags, dates, and other filters specified by the KFF site. Here, additional topics of “health costs” “health reform” and a “coverage” tag are selected.

Kaiser Family Foundation VIP Search - faceted search results

Results are displayed in a list or grid (below) format, which can put further emphasis on visuals and featured images.

Kaiser Family Foundation VIP Search - grid results

Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation website to see VIP Search in action!

If you’re interested in using the VIP Search plugin or learning more, please get in touch.