WP Engine’s eCommerce hosting makes WooCommerce stores more performant, and our search functionality, Instant Store Search, just got a major speed upgrade. 

Turn on Instant Results to bypass default WordPress search and provide your shoppers with more accurate, relevant search results up to 10x faster. It’s available right now to any WP Engine customer on an eCommerce Professional plan or higher.

(Even Faster) Instant Results

Leveraging the power of ElasticPress, Instant Store Search supercharges the online shopping experience by identifying and intercepting search queries, offloading them to a separate server, and delivering highly relevant, customizable results from Elasticsearch in seconds. 

While this alone has provided our eCommerce customers with faster site speeds and higher conversion rates, the release of ElasticPress 4.0 has made Instant Store Search even faster, as queries are now routed through a dedicated API, separate from WordPress, which returns results more than 10x faster than before. 

This is a significant update, as previous versions of ElasticPress still routed search queries through WordPress itself, meaning searches were, ultimately, only as fast as the sites they were powered on.   

Although this was less of a concern for sites hosted on WP Engine’s platform (which ensures integrations like ElasticPress are optimally configured), high-traffic eCommerce stores and other sites where search speed is critical can see substantial fluctuations in conversion rates based on the difference of only a few milliseconds.  

With ElasticPress 4.0, those fluctuations can be greatly reduced, ensuring shoppers on the most highly-trafficked sites consistently experience a fast, relevant search experience that keeps them engaged.  

Additional Features 

While ElasticPress’ new API-based approach is yielding impressive results, additional new features and updates released with 4.0 represent further optimizations for sites with a high volume of search queries.  

New features in this update include:

  • New default search algorithm: prioritizes exact matches and matches in the same field, then matches across different fields.
  • WP-CLI request subcommand: helps when debugging, or otherwise sending arbitrary requests to Elasticsearch, similar to other WP-CLI subcommands like wp db query. (For example: wp elasticpress request _cat/indices –method=GET)

Updated features with version 4.0 include: 

  • Sync page: in addition to explaining the different syncing options available, the new sync page displays a message when indexing is stopped by the WP-CLI stop-indexing command and surfaces errors count and code responsible for indexing.
  • Password-protected: WordPress actions for password-protected content are correctly reproduced with ElasticPress enabled.
  • Reindex confirmation: Enabling features that require a reindex will now ask for confirmation.
  • Minimum required versions: Elasticsearch bumped from 5.0 to 5.2, WordPress from 3.7.1 to 5.6, and PHP  from 5.6 to 7.0.

Getting Started with New Instant Store Search Features

Upgrading is fast and easy—you can manually update the ElasticPress plugin to version 4.0 from your user portal or do so using Smart Plugin Manager (if you have it installed). As with all updates, it’s recommended that you test changes using a staging or local environment before deploying to your production site. 

You can enable and configure Instant Store Search settings within your user admin

Newly created eCommerce hosting sites will automatically include ElasticPress 4.0 and all of its new and upgraded features. 

The Fastest WordPress Host for WooCommerce Stores

Stay tuned for additional updates and improvements coming soon. Find out more about our eCommerce plans here, or speak with a specialist for answers to your questions.