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Launch a site

Begin a launch for a network site

Sites on a WordPress multisite network can be launched from the Network Sites panel in the VIP Dashboard.

Completing a site launch with the Network Sites launch tool will cause the following actions to occur:

  • A full backup of the environment’s database.
  • A search-replace operation on the network’s database will update:
    • All corresponding site tables (e.g., wp_*_posts) from the old domain to the new domain.
    • The URL values for siteurl and home in the corresponding wp_*_options table from the old domain to the new domain.
    • The site’s domain and path values in the wp_blogs table from the old domain to the new domain.
  • If the site being launched is the main site (ID 1) of the network, the new domain will become the primary domain for the environment.
  • The WordPress object cache for that site will be flushed.

Prerequisites

Select a site for launch

  1. Navigate to the VIP Dashboard for an application.
  2. Select the environment for the site launch (e.g., Production, Develop) from the dropdown located at the upper left of the VIP Dashboard application view.
  3. Select “Network Sites” from the sidebar navigation at the left of the screen.
  4. Locate the site for launch in the list of the environment’s network sites. To be eligible for launch, a site must have a status of “Launch this site” or “Launched” in the Launch Status column.
  5. Select either the “Launch this site” button, or the “Update domain” link below a site’s “Launched” status.

Set your domain

To be available for launching a site, a domain must be added to the environment’s Domains panel prior to beginning the launch process.

  1. Select the URL structure for the site launch. Sites can be launched with a URL structure that includes only a custom domain (e.g., example.com, www.example.com, admin.example.com), or a custom domain with a subdirectory structure (e.g., example.com/directory).
  2. Select domain. Select the field that appears below the Select domain label to display a list of up to 10 domains available for the site launch. If a large number of domains are associated with the environment, locate the desired domain by typing the first few characters of the domain into the search field.
  3. For a site that is launching with a subdirectory structure, enter the desired path value in the “Enter subdirectory path” field.
  4. Review the generated “Final site URL” value.
  5. If the final site URL value is correct, select the “Confirm” button.

Configure and test your site

Displayed in the panel is a list of the database value updates and actions that will occur based on the accepted final site URL value.

  1. Review the actions carefully to be sure that they describe the desired outcome.
  2. If needed, the launch process can be paused by selecting “Skip“. No changes will be made to the database.
    To complete this step of the launch process at a later time:
    1. From the Network Sites panel, select the “Continue this launch” button displayed for the site in the Launch Status column.
    2. Select the “Change” link at the right of the collapsed “Set your domain” panel. Complete the step to select the new site URL for the site launch and proceed with the step to “Configure and test your site“.
  3. Select “Update Site” to proceed with the database value updates.

The amount of time required for completing the site update depends on the size of the network’s database.

Possible error when updating a site

If the error message There was an error updating your site domain is displayed after selecting “Update Site“, the launch was not completed successfully. Only one site launch can be performed at a time, and this error may appear if a site launch is already in progress for this environment.

Configure DNS and provision a TLS security certificate

For a site to be accessible at the new site URL, DNS for the domain must be updated with the DNS provider and pointed at VIP.

  1. Select the linked text “Display DNS instructions” to review available DNS setting options for the domain.
  2. Update the domain’s DNS settings with the domain’s DNS provider.
  3. Review the status of a domain’s DNS propagation under “Current status“. After updating a domain’s DNS settings with the DNS provider, the speed at which the updated DNS will complete global propagation is dependent on the domain’s Time To Live (TTL).
    • Domains with DNS that is not correctly pointing to VIP will display a recommended action to resolve the issue below the “Action” column.
    • Sites with a reverse proxy configuration are likely to display DNS errors. These errors can be ignored, and separate instructions should be followed to configure domains and TLS for a reverse proxy.
  4. Request an updated status of a domain’s DNS by selecting the “Recheck status” button.

Once a domain’s DNS is correctly pointing to VIP, a TLS certificate can be installed.

  1. Review the status of the new domain’s Let’s Encrypt or custom TLS certificate under “Current status“. If the error message “No certificate found” is displayed for the current status, the user must install a Let’s Encrypt certificate or install a custom TLS certificate from the Domains panel.
  2. Request an updated status of a domain’s TLS certificate by selecting the “Recheck status” button.
  3. Once a domain’s TLS certificate is installed, select the “Continue” button.

Mark site as launched

Monitoring and alerting used by VIP Support differs slightly for network sites marked as “Launched” based on the expectation that a launched site is publicly accessible. Sites on a non-production environment are not publicly accessible and marking their launch status will have no relevant effect.

  • Select “Mark as launched” to indicate that the site has successfully completed site launch and is available to receive public traffic.
  • Select “I’ll do this later” if the site is updated with the new site URL, but is not yet receiving public traffic. All site launch settings completed prior to this step will be saved.
    To return to this step and mark the site as “Launched” at a later time:
    1. From the Network Sites panel, select the “Continue this launch” button displayed for the site in the Launch Status column.
    2. The user will be returned to the step “Configure DNS and provision a TLS security certificate” where a domain’s DNS and TLS settings can be confirmed before proceeding to the final launch step.

Troubleshooting

  • Sometimes Jetpack and VaultPress become disconnected during a site launch. To request a reconnection of these tools, contact VIP Support.
  • For resolutions to other common issues that may be discovered after a site launch, refer to the launch troubleshooting article.

Last updated: September 14, 2022