AUSTIN, Texas – June 20, 2019 – WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced the upcoming launch of the Smart Plugin Manager, the only comprehensive WordPress plugin manager on the market. The Smart Plugin Manager automates some of the most tedious yet necessary tasks associated with running a site, such as regularly updating to new plugin versions, and is the only plugin manager that updates plugins from both the WordPress Repo and private plugin repos with automated verification, enabling site managers to spend less time updating their plugins and more time driving their business forward. Beginning in the third quarter, WP Engine customers will be able to purchase the Smart Plugin Manager, which will start at $10 per month.

Automates the headaches

A common pain point in using WordPress is the need to constantly update and manage plugins. There are a myriad of potential issues that come with plugin updates, such as potentially bringing down a website, UX issues, and breaking core functionality. Additionally, the maintenance needed to manage plugins often leads to neglect, so plugins don’t get updated, meaning they don’t have the latest security patches, leaving users vulnerable to cyber attacks. Plugin vulnerabilities represents 56% of the known entry points for cyber attacks. And with over 55,000 WordPress plugins and more added monthly, the issues aren’t going away. Now magnify this by dozens or even hundreds of sites that digital agencies manage on a daily basis and it becomes a critical issue.

In order to help manage this risk and provide peace of mind and an operational efficiency to its customers, WP Engine created the Smart Plugin Manager, which keeps plugins updated and sites secure with the confidence that comes with using the best solution on WordPress.

How it works

The Smart Plugin Manager automatically updates a site’s plugins on a scheduled interval that is customizable by the user. It also runs a Visual Regression Test (VRT) using machine learning to identify if updates passed or failed. If the VRT fails, updates are rolled back with messaging to the user about which plugin(s) contributed to the failure.

What it does:

  • Daily plugin update checks, enabling users to schedule the ideal time for updates
  • Provides control by allowing users to select which plugins automatically update
  • Helps ensure a site has the latest code and security patches for all the chosen plugins
  • Updates out-of-date plugins, the most common cause of site vulnerabilities
  • Visual regression testing ensures updated plugins don’t break a site or change the look/feel of it
  • Automatically rolls back a site and plugin versions if the visual test fails
  • Upgrade status updates are sent after each update

Key benefits:

  • For site managers, developers and internal web teams overseeing a single or multiple, mission-critical sites, the Smart Plugin Manager offsets the need to constantly manage and update their plugins, keeps their sites secure, and empowers them to focus on tasks that drive their business
  • For agencies providing managed services to their customers, the Smart Plugin Manager can offer automated, verified plugin updates; enabling them to offer additional services, increase their margins and/or scale their business

“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help our customers save time, overcome development challenges and keep their sites secure,” said Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine. “By automating their plugin updates to ensure they have the latest versions, it gives them the peace of mind to focus on growing their business online instead of worrying about vulnerabilities.”

The Smart Plugin Manager will be available as an open beta to all WP Engine customers on June 25th and is expected to launch for general availability for WP Engine customers in the third quarter of 2019.