This post is part of a series focussing on the main changes and improvements made at WP Engine throughout 2015.
The new WP Engine GeoIP, launched early in 2015, allows WordPress site owners to serve different web content to their different visitors, dependent on location.
This means users can now redirect visitors on their pages to read content in their language, or prices using their currency; you can also use it to make sure your website is displaying geographically-specific content and hiding irrelevant content.
In the previous year, WP Engine Labs announced that the Alpha of GeoIP was one of its inaugural projects; after it successfully got through trial stages, WP Engine GeopIP entered general availability on January 29th, 2015.
Uniquely, WP Engine GeoIP also integrates into the EverCache system (RAM based caching) for scale; this means that you can do some very useful things with the features. Here are a few examples:
- Create a personal user experience on your website, by showing content especially useful to visitors in their particular location.
- Create marketing campaigns that target only a particular region; if you’re running a business with different branches, you can also use this to direct customers to branches in their area.
- Maintain your website’s speed and performance by getting rid of both the need for third-party plugins, and also eliminating the need to exempt pages from caching is using GeoIP.
- Comply with regional legal regulations by making sure you can easily adjust your content to your visitors’ countries. For example, you can now show users the required cookies notice for the UK, but you don’t need it in the US, so you can eliminate it from that region.
Added to this, the GeoIP lookup also happens directly on WP Engine servers so there doesn’t need to be any call to connect with an external service to provide that data, which can result in slow loading and also, therefore, be expensive.
This method means that the GeoIP will be faster than any other third-party service and also appropriate for many exciting uses for customers who are using the web to give a new dimension to their business.
In some cases, this kind of feature would require special page-caching information where you’d have multiple versions of the same page, each for a very specific context and location. Instead, with WP Engine GeoIP, this type of caching is set up fully for you already.
GeoIP is also a free addition for any customers with a Business Plan or above, and all you need to do to acquire the new GeoIP, is to send a request as a support ticket to get started.
Some Useful Points About GeoIP:
- GeoIP is only available on Business Plans and higher, and there is no additional cost to it.
- WP Engine will help you to set up GeoIP and while they are doing so you should implement the code for the API call or invoke the GeoIP variables yourself.
- The GeoIP feature does work in staging, but remember that the staging environment is never cached, and staging is strictly used to test code.
- Any content you want to display must already exist; GeoIP will not translate your content or automatically create content that is based on location.
- GeoIP works with SSL, as these certificates are domain specific, and as long as the content remains constant, or you’re using a Multisite with the correct SSL certificates installed, it will work just fine.
- There have not been any issues with CDN usage so far.
- Use of the GeoIP plugin is not required to display geographically specific content: it simply makes the process much more manageable and quicker.
- The GeoIP plugin will regularly be updated, and if you find any bugs or unexpected behaviour, then WP Engine are waiting to sort the problem.
- The GeoIP feature will not work as well on most mobile devices; a mobile could be using a cell tower for Internet connection, which may result in inaccurate geographical information. This is only an issue for mobiles using data roaming; mobiles using WiFi will not have this problem.
This is an exciting new feature from WP Engine, which promises to offer new ways in which businesses can use the Internet to reach their customers, and to create a global presence online. Many will be excited at the potential that this feature can offer their business as they try to expand to the next level.