WP Engine announced that the company is deprecating the .htaccess file. With this change, the company aims to increase website performance and match trends. WP Engine also provided a list of recommended alternatives for users’ websites using custom .htaccess directives outside of the default WordPress rules. According to the announcement, some websites will temporarily retain grandfathered support of the .htaccess to provide the time required to convert specific directives.
Why is it being deprecated?
The .htaccess file, an Apache configuration file, tells Apache how to interact with the website. It controls various things, such as how the URLs are formed or restricting access to a directory. Since it is read recursively, it can cause the file system to read it on every page loading on the website. This can have a significant negative effect on the website’s performance, especially on larger websites.
It also ties the architecture to Apache as a backend server. WP Engine stated that they want to break that dependency by making new technologies available to customers to evolve their Digital Experience Platform. WP Engine’s support team will help users during this transition period. WP Engine said,
« While our data suggests only a small amount of customers leverage this feature on our platform, we recognize that there are those that do rely on this functionality. As previously stated, we’re committed to smoothing this transition, and will be more than happy to assist with recommendations. We’ll include more in this document as time goes on and we suggest reviewing our list of alternatives. »