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Launch a site

Customers can self-launch a WordPress or a Node.js site from within the VIP Dashboard. Though launch tools in the VIP Dashboard differ for a WordPress single site, a WordPress multisite, and a Node.js site, all launches require the same preparation steps.

Professional Service Upgrade

Customers who add WordPress VIP Launch Day Services to their support package will have a Technical Account Manager (TAM) assigned to them to ensure a smooth launch for their site on the VIP Platform. VIP TAMs will draft and confirm a launch plan for the site, guide customers through the necessary steps leading up to and including the site launch, and advise customers on any last-minute issues that may arise.

Prepare to launch

To ensure that a launch on WordPress VIP goes smoothly and successfully, prepare to launch by completing the preparation steps outlined below several days before the planned launch date.

Many of the steps for launching a site require a customer’s team members to have varying levels of access to the application’s VIP Dashboard, GitHub repository, and WordPress Admin dashboard. During onboarding, VIP grants a member of the customer’s team with access to these accounts with admin-level roles. That individual is responsible for managing any additional user access for their team members.

Ensure that team members have user accounts and the levels of access that they need in order to complete the launch steps that they are responsible for.

1. Add a custom domain

Add the custom domain (i.e. for the upcoming site launch to the Domains & TLS panel of the environment’s VIP Dashboard. Domains have specific environment associations, and an environment (e.g., production, develop) can be selected from the dropdown located at the upper left of the VIP Dashboard application view.

The version of the added domain (www or non-www) will be the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the launched site. Redirects between the www or non-www variants of a domain are automatic on single sites but must be configured for multisites.

When launching a single site or the main site (ID 1) on a multisite, the custom domain will most often replace the environment’s convenience domain (i.e.

2. Verify the domain

After adding the domain to the VIP Dashboard for an environment, it must be verified before DNS instructions can be accessed and before a Let’s Encrypt certificate can be installed. Verification proves that a customer has ownership of a domain and the necessary credentials to access the domain’s DNS settings. Only verified domains can be used for launching a site.

Instructions for verifying the domain can be accessed in the Domains & TLS panel of the environment’s VIP Dashboard.

3. Lower the domain’s Time To Live (TTL)

To ensure that a DNS change from an old hosting provider’s address to VIP’s address is recognized as quickly as possible, lower the domain’s TTL to 300 (seconds, or five minutes) or lower. This should be completed at least 24 hours before the site launch is planned to occur. Check with the domain’s DNS provider for specific instructions for how to update a domain’s TTL on their system.

4. Decide on the TLS approach

TLS certificates can be procured and installed as a self-service feature of the VIP Dashboard.

  • Let’s Encrypt certificates are available by default for all domains and can only be installed after a domain’s DNS is pointed to VIP and fully propagated.
  • Custom TLS certificates can be installed at any time prior to a launch, even before a domain’s DNS is pointed to VIP. Pre-installed custom TLS certificates will be available and working immediately when a site is launched.

5. Migrate site content

Migrate a site’s SQL database and import media files into the WordPress production environment prior to the launch date.

When migrating a site to VIP, the imported database might have URLs for intermediate image files. To ensure that all image URLs work as expected for launch, it may be necessary to import all intermediate image files when migrating media files. After migration and launch, all images uploaded to the VIP site will be dynamically resized; intermediate images will no longer be generated and they should not be imported.

VIP recommends allowing several days to complete and verify the results of database and media imports, to the best possible extent.

Importing WXR files

By default, the WordPress Importer plugin is provisioned and enabled on all WordPress sites via VIP MU plugins. The plugin allows content and media to be imported to a WordPress site with a WordPress-generated WXR file. WXR files can only be imported with the WordPress Importer plugin on the VIP Platform. Importing WXR files with the WP-CLI command wp import is disallowed on the VIP Platform. If the amount of content to be imported is too large for the WordPress Importer tool to be used successfully, use VIP-CLI to import SQL database files and import media files separately instead.

6. Confirm that the site is ready for launch

It is important to ensure that the site is working as planned before a launch. This is particularly critical if most of the site development has been performed in a local environment. Set aside time to thoroughly review and test the site on the VIP production environment.

Ensure that a site is working as expected (with no launch-blocking bugs on the production environment) at least two business days prior to launch. 

Begin a site launch

After completing the preparation steps above, customers are ready to begin a site launch from within the VIP Dashboard:

Last updated: March 01, 2024

Relevant to

  • Node.js
  • WordPress