WP Engine adds Web Rules as an .htaccess alternative

WP Engine restored some of the lost functionality when they deprecated .htaccess files. The new Web Rules feature provides the ability to create rules for allowing and denying IPs.

WP Engine

When WP Engine added support for PHP 7.4 in early 2020, they also deprecated the use of .htaccess for version 7.4 and all future versions. They claimed the change resulted in a performance increase of up to 10%.

If you’re unfamiliar with .htaccess files, they are used on web servers to configure certain directives. Directives have different purposes. For example, a directive could deny access to certain files or password protect a section of a site. The most commonly used directive is a redirect, which can send visitors to a different URL if the original content’s location has changed or is no longer available.

WP Engine provides a list of alternative methods for .htaccess directives. While some of the alternatives already exist on the WP Engine platform, others, like redirects, require the use of a plugin.

Web Rules restores IP access rules

Web Rules in WP Engine's User Portal
Web Rules in WP Engine’s User Portal

WP Engine has started to restore the remaining functionality that was lost when they removed .htaccess. Webmasters can now add rules to allow and deny IPs in the User Portal with a new tool called Web Rules. Specifically, Web Rules can:

  1. Disallow IP/Range access to protect against malicious attacks and other negative site behavior
  2. Allow IP/Range access for known good actors
  3. Prevent direct access to private files

Before Web Rules was released, adding IP access rules required contacting WP Engine Support or using a proxy service like Cloudflare. Web Rules is now available to all WP Engine customers.

Disclosure: Coywolf News is hosted on WP Engine and may get a commission if you signup via our links.

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Jon Henshaw

Jon is the founder of Coywolf and the EIC and the primary author reporting for Coywolf News. He is an industry veteran with over 25 years of digital marketing and internet technologies experience. Follow @[email protected]