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.

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.


When pointed to the advanced network or Global Edge Security, SSL is automatically applied at Edge. On the advanced network and GES, third-party SSL may be applied, if needed. Legacy networks can continue to utilize Let’s Encrypt or third-party certificates. Learn more here.

Network Types

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).

The legacy network is a basic connection type and is no longer recommended, as it will be retired in the future. Advanced Network is an upgraded network type that offers increased security and stability, and is available to all WP Engine hosting plans. Global Edge Network expands even further on the security and performance offered by Advanced Network, and can be purchased as a plan add-on.

Legacy Network

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.

Learn more about pointing DNS to WP Engine.

Websites using the legacy network will have DNS records configured using either:

Advanced Network

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.

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

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.

Learn more about Global Edge Security.

Websites using Global Edge Security will have DNS pointed using CNAME flattening with a custom GES CNAME. For example:

Network Feature Comparison

AvailabilityAllAll (Free)All (Paid add-on)

CDN and Caching

Dynamic ContentCached
at origin
at origin
at origin
Static ContentServed
by origin
by CDN
by CDN
CDN DomainN/ANot neededNot needed
Custom CDN DomainN/ANot neededNot needed

Content Optimization

Automatic Image OptimizationNoCloudflare PolishCloudflare Polish
Automatic WebP Conversion
NoCloudflare PolishCloudflare Polish

Network Performance

Optimized Network RoutingN/ANoCloudflare Argo
Tiered CachingN/AYesCloudflare Argo


Managed SSL CertificatesYesYesYes
Third-party SSLYesYesYes
Let’s Encrypt SSLYesNoNo
DDoS MitigationStandardStandard and CloudflareStandard, Cloudflare, and WAF rules

Switch Network

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.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Select the environment name where the domain has been added
  3. In the lefthand secondary navigation menu, select Domains
  4. Locate the domain name, and open the three dot menu icon to the right
  5. Select Switch Network
  6. Choose whether or not to also switch the www or non-www domain to the same network
  7. Confirm that this domain will be switched to the new network
  8. DNS details will be displayed, update DNS to point to the new network

NEXT STEP: Learn how to upgrade to the advanced network

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