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

The usage of .htaccess as a device for managing web sites is so deeply ingrained that the thought of not supporting .htaccess could sound like a deal breaker.  Some could rightly assume that if clients can’t have a customized .htaccess then the internet hosting service won’t be appropriate for a way trendy websites are created.

However a more in-depth have a look at what WP Engine is doing exhibits that the choice is sensible and extra surprisingly, this may occasionally sooner or later be a standard function of excessive efficiency internet hosting.

Why WP Engine Deprecating .htaccess Help

The explanations WP Engine gave for leaving .htaccess behind have been about reaching efficiency features from eradicating .htaccess from the site-level and in addition having the ability to take benefit efficiency features from newer applied sciences.

The announcement said:

“WP Engine might be deprecating the .htaccess file with the intention to improve web site efficiency and match business tendencies.

In case your website is utilizing customized .htaccess directives outdoors of the default WordPress guidelines, we have now put collectively an inventory of really useful alternate options.”

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

“By our evaluation, most WP Engine web sites is not going to require any further adjustments to the .htaccess as they’re utilizing a default WordPress model of this file.
Default WordPress rewrites might be dealt with by WP Engine routinely on the server degree.”

.htaccess and Website Efficiency

.htaccess is a option to management sure points 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 usage of .htaccess information is a longstanding and established observe for managing web sites.

Nevertheless, one thing that might not be generally thought-about or mentioned is that the usage of .htaccess information shouldn’t be an environment friendly means of managing actions like blocking IP addresses or redirecting URLs.

When .htaccess information turn into very giant they’ll have a adverse impression 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 net web page sources.

In line with a check by  StrategiQ that quantified the impression of .htaccess on efficiency, they found that .htaccess information can have an effect on each server efficiency and scalability.

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

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

“It’s price noting although that in our checks, we didn’t see any large impression on general web page load time on something however the 50,000 line file. That is in all probability as a result of, although vital useful resource was being utilized in dealing with the requests, we nonetheless weren’t hitting peak capability.”

But one can think about {that a} server with a number of web sites with giant .htaccess information may trigger an impression on the server.

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

The Apache Software program Basis documentation advises:

“There may be, for instance, a standard false impression that person authentication ought to all the time be performed in .htaccess information, and, in newer years, one other false impression that mod_rewrite directives should go in .htaccess information.

That is merely not the case.

You possibly can put person authentication configurations in the primary server configuration, and that is, in truth, the popular option to do issues. Likewise, mod_rewrite directives work higher, in lots of respects, in the primary server configuration.”

What WP Engine is proposing is definitely a best-practice in accordance with the Apache documentation and within the brief and long term it would profit their person base by creating an atmosphere that 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 Customers Be Inconvenienced?

WP Engine presents methods to get round utilizing .htaccess information by means of what they name Internet Guidelines. Internet Guidelines permits customers to handle IP-based enable/deny guidelines and for setting header responses.

Redirects may be utilized 3 ways throughout the WP Engine managed internet hosting platform:

  1. Bulk imported into WP Engine’s Nginx configuration
  2. Bulk imported right into a WordPress plugin referred to 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 simple option to handle redirects and headers.

The plugin additionally has a handy log file that exhibits you visits that end in 404 responses which might warn you to inbound hyperlinks which can be misspelled (which may be fastened by making a redirect for the misspelled URL to the proper URL).

WP Engine Finish-of-Life (EOL) Course of For .htaccess

Whereas at first it might look like a radical concept to finish help for .htaccess, contemplating how the Apache Software program Basis itself recommends not utilizing .htaccess on the web site degree, the strategy that WP Engine is taking makes a number of sense.

There are clear advantages for his or her customers and for web site guests as properly.

Will different net hosts observe their lead?

Citations

Learn the WP Engine Announcement

.htaccess Deprecation and Alternate options

Learn The Apache Software program Basis’s Recommendation on .htaccess

When (not) to make use of .htaccess information

WP Engine Internet Guidelines

Redirects on WP Engine



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