WP Engine

Partnering with Cloudflare plays a key role in WP Engine's delivery of the fastest, most secure managed WordPress hosting solution.

WP Engine is the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company, used by more than 150,000 customers in 150 countries, powering the freedom to create with the most relied-upon brands and developer-centric WordPress products for companies and agencies of all sizes.

Challenges: Enhance and offer a more robust managed hosting solution

As a WordPress technology provider, WP Engine offers its customers leading performance and security optimizations along with hosting solutions. In 2018, the company began iterating on a product that would couple performance enhancements with a web application firewall (WAF) and DDoS mitigation. WP Engine focused on how to protect customers against emerging threats and high-volume DDoS attacks, while exploring a chance to optimize performance and security internally, but it needed a partner to help build out this new product, which became known as Global Edge Security.

Additionally, WP Engine wanted to abstract away the complexity of DNS configurations for its customers and find additional options for SSL certificate management.

WP Engine chose Cloudflare because it offered an expansive suite of performance and security solutions. After implementing Cloudflare DNS, WP Engine partnered with Cloudflare to build out its GES product, adding Cloudflare CDN, Argo Smart Routing, the Cloudflare WAF, and Cloudflare DDoS mitigation. WP Engine also added Cloudflare SSL for SaaS.

Cloudflare DNS minimizes DNS-related support tickets

Cloudflare DNS has significantly reduced DNS-related support tickets and improved the stability of WP Engine’s hosting platform. Currently, WP Engine has about 4.7 million DNS entries on Cloudflare DNS.

Because Cloudflare uses an anycast network with a stable IP address, WP Engine’s customers no longer have to reconfigure their DNS settings when WP Engine needs to migrate their sites on the back end. “Customers configure their DNS settings only once, when they first onboard to WP Engine,” says Michael Smith, Senior Architect. “If we need to migrate them to another server, the change is invisible on their end.”

Additionally, Cloudflare DNS is integrated into WP Engine’s Domain Connect solution, which is based on an open standard that abstracts away the complexity of configuring DNS records. This has further reduced DNS-related support tickets when onboarding new customers.

WP Engine and its customers have also benefited from Cloudflare BYOIP (Bring Your Own IP). “Some of our customers want to run their sites on their apex domain instead of going through Cloudflare, and for technical reasons, they must point to specific IP addresses,” Smith explains. “BYOIP provides them with stable IP addresses to point at. This is very important, because this also enables those customers to use Global Edge Security.”

Cloudflare’s security and performance solutions enable WP Engine to deliver excellent value-add with Global Edge Security

WP Engine’s team worked closely with Cloudflare to build the Global Edge Security product, which integrates Cloudflare CDN and Argo Smart Routing, the latter of which improves performance by routing dynamic content around network congestion, with the Cloudflare WAF and DDoS mitigation.

“Our customers are very happy with Cloudflare’s CDN,” Smith says. “Our previous CDN solution was only for static assets. Cloudflare’s solution offers better performance because everything goes through the same origin.”

The WP Engine team found Argo Smart Routing very easy to deploy, and the solution improved performance in two areas of the world where WP Engine had seen issues with high latency. “Argo Smart Routing cut response times by 35% on average. The performance improvements were even greater for sites with global audiences.”

Cloudflare worked closely with WP Engine’s security team to craft managed rules for the WAF that were specifically tailored towards both WordPress and WP Engine’s platform. “We serve customers from many different industry verticals, and their security needs differ. Additionally, the security needs we have internally are different from our customers,” explains Denver Serrao, Software Engineer. “Cloudflare helped us set up rules that worked for both us and our customers.”

Cloudflare SSL for SaaS gets WP Engine out of the certificate management business and will play a key role in an upcoming product

WP Engine is gradually phasing in Cloudflare SSL for SaaS to manage its customers’ SSL certificates. They expect this phase-in to accelerate once WP Engine launches its new Advanced Networking offering, in which SSL for SaaS will play a large role.

“We are looking forward to all of our customers being able to take advantage of the offerings of Advanced Network as opposed to just the customers who have opted in to Global Edge Security.”

The WP Engine team eagerly awaits that day. “Once we’ve migrated all of our customers to Cloudflare, we’ll be able to focus on enhancing our product offerings instead of managing certificates.”

WP Engine raves about Cloudflare’s customer support and pace of innovation

Cloudflare's round-the-clock customer support gives WP Engine peace of mind that their customers are being cared for, while Cloudflare’s rapid pace of innovation makes WP Engine confident that its partnership with Cloudflare will help further its vision and organizational goals.

“Cloudflare support is excellent,” Serrao says. “Whenever we’ve encountered an issue, with Global Edge Security or otherwise, Cloudflare has always been very responsive and has generally helped us solve the problem quickly.”

WP Engine’s contacts at Cloudflare work closely with WP Engine to ensure that WP Engine is kept up to date on new Cloudflare products and product enhancements. “Sometimes, Cloudflare has introduced us to very helpful new features that we didn’t even think about,” Smith says. “The value of WP Engine’s partnership with Cloudflare is continually increasing, which makes it easy to advocate further integration with Cloudflare to our company’s leadership team.”

“WP Engine has a true partnership with Cloudflare,” adds Ellie Cooper, Senior Tech Partner Manager. “Their team has helped us think strategically, and they’re always willing to connect us with product managers to get a first look at new solutions that Cloudflare is developing.”

WP Engine
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Key Results
  • WP Engine relies on Cloudflare DNS for 4.7 million records

  • Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing reduces latency on customer sites by 35%

  • SSL for SaaS saves WP Engine significant time and resources by offloading certificate management to Cloudflare

WP Engine has a true partnership with Cloudflare. Their team has helped us think strategically, and they’re always willing to connect us with product managers to get a first look at new solutions that Cloudflare is developing.

Ellie Cooper
Senior Tech Partner Manager

Argo Smart Routing cut response times by 35% on average. The performance improvements were even greater for sites with global audiences.

Michael Smith
Senior Architect