WP Engine has announced that it will deprecate .htaccess file use in October 2022. It has asked customers that rely on the .htaccess file to use alternative options that it has provided.
WP Engine .htaccess deprecation
WP Engine says it plans to deprecate the use of the .htaccess file because of performance issues. It notes that large sites like directories with tens of thousands of files that rely on directives in .htaccess files can have performance issues.
WP Engine also adds that .htaccess relies on Apache as a backend web server which means that it becomes difficult to break the dependency on Apache if more and more websites keep using it. Therefore, it becomes difficult for WP Engine architecture to take advantage of emerging website technologies.
WP Engine .htaccess alternatives
Recognizing that some websites that heavily rely on .htaccess will be inconvenienced by this change, WP Engine has provided a number of alternatives as listed below.
- Web rules: WP Engine Web Rules was introduced as an alternative of .htaccess rules. Supported rules include IP Allow/Deny and response headers.
- Default WordPress directives in .htaccess alternatives: If you are using default Wordpess directives in .htaccess, then you do not need to worry as WP Engine will handle the directives automatically at server level.
- 301 and 302 redirects: If you website is using custom 301 and 302 redirects then use the user portal redirects option. You can also install WordPress redirect plugins like (Redirection Plugin). If you have bulk redirects, you can contact WP Engine support for bulk import.
- mod_Headers: Should be sent with PHP code
- Caching Rules: WP Engine handles caching at server level. Extra caching rules should be implemented through PHP code
- Grandfathered: Some websites whose PHP version has been changed through .htaccess by WP Engine will be given an opportunity to re-enable .htaccess use (temporarily) by going to Web Rules.
Some WordPress plugins like (Ezoic, WordFence, etc) rely on rules that they automatically add to .htaccess for functionality. WP Engine has indicated that you can contact them if you want to be given an extended window to address such issues.
Here is a complete list of alternatives to .htaccess use provided by WP Engine