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.
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.
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.
DDoS mitigation – Protects against Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Powered by Cloudflare, a leader in DDoS mitigation solutions.
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.
Currently there are three types of networks a website may be using when hosted on WP Engine: Legacy, Advanced Network, or Global Edge Security (GES). Global Edge Security is the only network type that incurs a fee.
The legacy 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.
Websites using the legacy network will have DNS records configured using either:
WP Engine’s 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 additional charge to all WP Engine customers.
Websites using Advanced Network will have DNS pointed using either:
- Two (2) static Advanced Network A records for each domain variation:
- OR CNAME flattening to the static Advanced Network CNAME:
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.
Websites using Global Edge Security will have DNS pointed using CNAME flattening with a custom GES CNAME. For example:
Network Feature Comparison
|Availability||All||All (Free)||All (Paid add-on)|
CDN and Caching
|CDN Domain||N/A||Not needed||Not needed|
|Custom CDN Domain||N/A||Not needed||Not needed|
|Automatic Image Optimization||No||Cloudflare Polish||Cloudflare Polish|
|Automatic WebP Conversion||No||Cloudflare Polish||Cloudflare Polish|
|Optimized Network Routing||N/A||No||Cloudflare Argo|
|Tiered Caching||N/A||Yes||Cloudflare Argo|
|Managed SSL Certificates||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Let’s Encrypt SSL||Yes||No||No|
|DDoS Mitigation||Standard||Standard and Cloudflare||Standard, Cloudflare, and WAF rules|
Switching between networks can be done from the User Portal. After making a network change, DNS will need to be updated to point to the new network CNAME or IP addresses.
- Log in to the User Portal
- Select the environment name where the domain has been added
- In the lefthand secondary navigation menu, select Domains
- Locate the domain name, and open the three dot menu icon to the right
- Select Switch Network
- Confirm that this domain will be switched to the new network
- DNS details will be displayed, update DNS to point to the new network
NEXT STEP: Learn how to upgrade to the advanced network