In the seven years since launching ElasticPress, we’ve connected with thousands of website owners aiming to improve user experience with faster, more accurate search results. While delighted by the significant improvement ElasticPress brings to the WordPress search experience, these websites still face the same fundamental performance limitation we’ve been contemplating for years: WordPress itself.
From its first release, ElasticPress integrated tightly with WordPress. On every page load, ElasticPress looks for search queries and silently intercepts them, delivering high-quality, customizable results from Elasticsearch in mere seconds. Though a noticeable improvement on all but the fastest websites, each search was still only as fast as the WordPress site powering it. For sites where search speed matters most – like high-traffic ecommerce stores, where milliseconds of page slowdowns can mean substantial drops in conversion rates – “fast” may not be fast enough.
Today, we’re proud to announce the beta release of ElasticPress 4.0 with Instant Results — the built for WordPress search experience that bypasses WordPress for optimal performance.
Instant Results routes search queries through a dedicated API, separate from WordPress, that’s built for speed: returning results over 10x faster than previous versions of ElasticPress. And, because Elasticsearch isn’t directly exposed to the web, site owners retain total control over their data, deciding what is public and what remains private.
To deliver the fastest possible results, Instant Results adds a new search experience to your site: opening a modal over the page content whenever a search query is entered. Out of the box, the modal inherits your site styles, which means you can get started with no extra customization. Developers, however, can adjust appearance, expose facets, and further tailor the Instant Results experience to fit specific site needs.
With support for screen readers, keyboard navigation, and other technologies readers use to interact with the web, Instant Results is designed with accessibility as a priority.
Starting today, ElasticPress.io customers may begin testing Instant Results by manually upgrading the ElasticPress plugin on their staging sites to ElasticPress 4.0.0 Beta 1 and enabling the feature on ElasticPress’ Settings page. Although we’ve tested Instant Results extensively, upgrading production sites is discouraged until version 4.0’s full release later this spring.
Though Instant Results is designed for ElasticPress.io customers, the feature is also available for ElasticPress plugin users with independently hosted Elasticsearch installations. To enable Instant Results on non-ElasticPress.io sites, update the ElasticPress plugin to version 4.0.0 beta 1 and install our open source PHP-based proxy. To get ElasticPress 4.0.0 Beta 1, and to report questions, comments, or issues, visit ElasticPress’ Github project.