Comparing Network Options

At WP Engine we are hard at work building more stable and performant digital experiences for you and your customers. While many of these changes happen behind the scenes, the most recent network advancements have been made available to you as opt-in upgrades.

In this article we’ll discuss what each network is, why you may want to use it, and how the features compare.


Network Features

There are many features made available to each network type. We’ve put together some terminology that we’ll be referring to in this article.

Content Delivery Network – A Content Delivery Network (CDN) accelerates your website by distributing your content globally and placing large assets physically closer to the end user.

Separate CDN Domain – This means your site’s static content is loaded from a different domain than your primary web domain, such as https://example-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/. With the Advanced network and GES, this is unnecessary because the CDN functionality is integrated into your main site URL at the DNS level, such as https://example.com/.

Custom CDN Domain – This is the ability to use a custom domain, such as cdn.example.com instead of the default CDN domain, such as example-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com. This is not needed when using Cloudflare.

Automatic Image Optimization – This automatically optimizes cached images to reduce their file size without reducing quality. It can also convert JPEG or PNG images into the more efficient WebP format, and will only serve that image type to browsers that support them.

HTTP/3 – The latest version of the HTTP protocol, which reduces latency for returning visitors and performs better on congested networks.

Optimized Network Routing – Lowers latency by choosing the optimal network path for your site visitors. Powered by Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing.

Tiered Caching
– Increases cache hit rates using multiple tiers. Powered by Cloudflare Argo Tiered Caching.

Managed SSL Certificates – WP Engine will automatically manage and renew the SSL certificates for your domain, making it easy to secure your site with HTTPS.

DDoS mitigation – Protects against Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Powered by Cloudflare, a leader in DDoS mitigation solutions.


Network Types

Currently there are four types of networks a website may be using when hosted on WP Engine: basic, basic + CDN, advanced, and Global Edge Security. Global Edge Security is the only network type that incurs a fee.

Basic Network

The basic network simply refers to pointing your DNS to WP Engine using an A record or your WP Engine CNAME. It is the most direct way to connect your website to your domain name.

This network type only leverages WP Engine’s proprietary server architecture for security, performance, and speed.

Learn more about pointing DNS to WP Engine.

Basic Network + CDN

Building upon the default WP Engine network, basic + CDN also includes MaxCDN. MaxCDN is WP Engine’s CDN included at no charge and is enabled at the server level.

While still taking advantage of WP Engine’s server architecture, this network also leverages a global CDN for static assets, such as images, to improve page speed and increase scalability.

Learn more about our MaxCDN offering here.

Advanced Network

WP Engine’s new advanced network is an even faster and more secure network for your website. While WP Engine’s server architecture keeps things optimized on the backend, the advanced network utilizes our custom blend of Cloudflare features to improve the speed, scalability, and security of your website at a DNS level.

The advanced network is available at no charge to all WP Engine customers. We are currently in the process of entitling WP Engine accounts to this new network type.

Learn more about the new advanced network and how to upgrade.

Global Edge Security

Global Edge Security (GES) is the only paid network option on WP Engine and focuses on security and performance at the outer edges.

The GES network offers expanded network caching, smart routing, web application firewall, and many more Cloudflare features tailored for WordPress by WP Engine.

Learn more about Global Edge Security.


Network Feature Comparison

BasicBasic + CDNAdvancedGES
AvailabilityAllAllLimitedPaid add-on

CDN and Caching

BasicBasic + CDNAdvancedGES
CDNNoMaxCDNCloudflareCloudflare
Dynamic ContentCached
at origin
Cached
at origin
Cached
at origin
Cached
at origin
Static ContentServed
by origin
Cached
by CDN
Cached
by CDN
Cached
by CDN
CDN DomainN/ANetDNA-generated DomainNot neededNot needed
Custom CDN DomainN/ABy requestNot neededNot needed

Content Optimization

BasicBasic + CDNAdvancedGES
Automatic Image OptimizationNoNoCloudflare PolishCloudflare Polish
Automatic WebP Conversion
NoNoCloudflare PolishCloudflare Polish

Network Performance

BasicBasic + CDNAdvancedGES
HTTP/3NoNoYesYes
Optimized Network RoutingN/ANoNoCloudflare Argo
Tiered CachingN/ANoYesCloudflare Argo

Security

BasicBasic + CDNAdvancedGES
Managed SSL CertificatesYesYesYesYes
DDoS MitigationStandardStandardStandard and CloudflareStandard, Cloudflare, and WAF rules
WAFNoNoNoYes

NEXT STEP: Learn how to upgrade to the advanced network