WordPress managed internet hosting supplier WP Engine introduced that it’s ending help for .htaccess directives. WP Engine has began End-of-Life (EOL) processes for winding down using .htaccess on their servers and have set a date of October 2022 for full removing of help.

The use of .htaccess as a device for managing web sites is so deeply ingrained that the concept of not supporting .htaccess could sound like a deal breaker.  Some could rightly suppose that if clients can’t have a customized .htaccess then the hosting service won’t be appropriate for how fashionable websites are created.

But a more in-depth take a look at what WP Engine is doing reveals that the choice is sensible and extra surprisingly, this may increasingly sooner or later be a typical function of excessive efficiency hosting.

Why WP Engine Deprecating .htaccess Support

The causes WP Engine gave for leaving .htaccess behind had been about attaining efficiency good points from eradicating .htaccess from the site-level and in addition with the ability to reap the benefits of efficiency good points from newer applied sciences.

The announcement acknowledged:

“WP Engine can be deprecating the .htaccess file so as to enhance web site efficiency and match trade tendencies.

If your web site is utilizing customized .htaccess directives exterior of the default WordPress guidelines, now we have put collectively an inventory of really useful options.”

WP Engine estimates that this variation is not going to have an effect on most web sites that it presently hosts as a result of most websites are solely utilizing the default model of .htaccess that WordPress generates.

“By our analysis, most WP Engine websites will not require any extra changes to the .htaccess as they are using a default WordPress version of this file.
Default WordPress rewrites will be handled by WP Engine automatically at the server level.”

.htaccess and Site Performance

.htaccess is a technique to management sure elements of an internet site, like redirecting a request for one URL to a different URL, redirecting requests for insecure HTTP URLs to safe HTTPs and for blocking the IP addresses of malicious hackers and scrapers, amongst many different makes use of.

.htaccess is a file that’s used on servers that run the Apache open supply server software program (in addition to, for instance, Nginx servers that run as a reverse proxy for Apache).

The use of .htaccess recordsdata is a longstanding and established observe for managing web sites.

However, one thing that is probably not generally thought-about or mentioned is that using .htaccess recordsdata is just not an environment friendly manner of managing actions like blocking IP addresses or redirecting URLs.

When .htaccess recordsdata change into very massive they will have a unfavorable affect on search engine optimisation and conversion-related metrics such because the Time to First Byte (TTFB), a metric that measures how lengthy it takes for a server to start downloading internet web page assets.

According to a check by  StrategiQ that quantified the affect of .htaccess on efficiency, they found that .htaccess recordsdata can have an effect on each server efficiency and scalability.

What they found was that a big .htaccess file had a measurable and vital affect on CPU utilization. Testing additionally revealed that an .htaccess file with as little as 1,000 traces may have a “significant” affect on server reminiscence utilization.

They famous that the additional pressure was not sufficient to carry down the web site as a result of the server nonetheless had sufficient assets to deal with the pressure.

“It’s worth noting though that during our tests, we didn’t see any huge impact on overall page load time on anything but the 50,000 line file. This is probably because, even though significant resource was being used in handling the requests, we still weren’t hitting peak capacity.”

Yet one can think about {that a} server with a number of web sites with massive .htaccess recordsdata may trigger an affect on the server.

Secondly, what could come as a shock to many, is that in keeping with the official Apache Software Foundation (the builders of the Apache server software program that runs .htaccess), the one time .htaccess recordsdata ought to ever be used is when entry to the server configuration file is restricted, corresponding to one would possibly discover on price range shared servers.

The Apache Software Foundation documentation advises:

“There is, for instance, a typical false impression that consumer authentication ought to at all times be performed in .htaccess recordsdata, and, in more moderen years, one other false impression that mod_rewrite directives should go in .htaccess recordsdata.

This is solely not the case.

You can put consumer authentication configurations in the principle server configuration, and that is, in reality, the popular technique to do issues. Likewise, mod_rewrite directives work higher, in lots of respects, in the principle server configuration.”

What WP Engine is proposing is definitely a best-practice in keeping with the Apache documentation and within the quick and future it’ll profit their consumer base by creating an surroundings which will make their web sites carry out quicker, which helps gross sales, promoting clicks and has a small search engine optimisation profit.

Will WP Engine Users Be Inconvenienced?

WP Engine presents methods to get round utilizing .htaccess recordsdata by way of what they name Web Rules. Web Rules permits customers to handle IP-based enable/deny guidelines and for setting header responses.

Redirects will be utilized 3 ways inside the WP Engine managed internet hosting platform:

  1. Bulk imported into WP Engine’s Nginx configuration
  2. Bulk imported right into a WordPress plugin known as Redirection
  3. Bulk imported into the Yoast search engine optimisation Plugin redirect supervisor

I take advantage of the Redirection WordPress plugin on a few of my web sites and have discovered it to be a straightforward technique to handle redirects and headers.

The plugin additionally has a handy log file that reveals you visits that lead to 404 responses which might provide you with a warning to inbound hyperlinks which are misspelled (which will be mounted by making a redirect for the misspelled URL to the proper URL).

WP Engine End-of-Life (EOL) Process For .htaccess

While at first it might appear to be a radical concept to finish help for .htaccess, contemplating how the Apache Software Foundation itself recommends not utilizing .htaccess on the web site degree, the strategy that WP Engine is taking makes a whole lot of sense.

There are clear advantages for their customers and for web site guests as effectively.

Will different internet hosts comply with their lead?


Read the WP Engine Announcement

.htaccess Deprecation and Alternatives

Read The Apache Software Foundation’s Advice on .htaccess

When (not) to make use of .htaccess recordsdata

WP Engine Web Rules

Redirects on WP Engine


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