Plugins

With over 40,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin repository, we only forbid a relative handful. There are pretty good odds that if you want to use a plugin on WPEngine infrastructure, you can! It’s your blog after all.

But what about the disallowed plugins? These plugins have been shown to clash with the solutions that are part of WPEngine service offerings. Most of them fall into a few different classes of plugins.

CACHING PLUGINS

Most caching plugins do not cooperate with custom caching environment of WPEngine (WPE). As a result, we can’t have them running in parallel with WPE solution. In fact, whenever our maintenance scripts see these on the filesystem, they are automatically removed from your install:

  • WP Super Cache
  • WP File Cache
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordFence

It’s okay though, honest! We’ve already got you covered. Besides, you shouldn’t have to worry about the speed of your site… that’s our job. And our speed is hopefully one of the main reasons why you’ve chosen us as your provider!

As an aside, we haven’t banned Batcache — or others like it — because they simply won’t work in our environment..

(SOME) BACKUP PLUGINS

WPE already takes regular nightly backups of your site. These are done in an efficient, automated manner and the data is kept securely outside of your WordPress install. WPE makes these backups available for you to rollback to (or download) whenever you’d like.

If you feel more secure with a secondary, off-site backup, we permit and recommend VaultPress on our servers.

In general, however, we discourage the use of backup plugins. They needlessly duplicate our built-in functionality, rely on a large amount of local storage and can store files in an insecure manner. Additionally, many of these plugins run their backup jobs at inopportune times. This can slow database connectivity with extra — and sometimes very large — MySQL queries, causing timeouts on larger sites.

  • WP DB Backup — Though, to the author’s credit, he recommends not saving backups to the local file system.
  • WP DB Manager — Local storage is the only option here, and .htaccess protection is recommended, but disk space usage is a definite concern.
  • BackupWordPress — While the plugin is not insecure, it duplicates a number of files on disk that are already in our backups.
  • VersionPress — In order to function properly, this plugin needs access to server level functions that we disallow for security purposes.

SERVER & MYSQL THRASHING PLUGINS

There’s another class of plugins that we disallow simply because they either cause a high load on hosting servers or create an unnatural number of MySQL queries.

  • Broken Link Checker — Overwhelms even our robust caching layer with an inordinate amount of HTTP requests.
  • MyReviewPlugin — Slams the database with a fairly significant amount of writes.
  • LinkMan — Much like the MyReviewPlugin above, LinkMan utilizes an unscalable amount of database writes.
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster — Causes MySQL issues as a site becomes more popular.
  • WP PostViews — Inefficiently writes to the database on every page load.
    • To track traffic in a more scalable manner, both the stats module in Automattic’s Jetpack plugin and Google Analytics work wonderfully.
  • Tweet Blender — Does not play nicely with our caching layer and can cause increased server load.

RELATED POSTS PLUGINS

Almost all “Related Posts” plugins suffer from the same fundamental problems regarding MySQL, indexing, and search. These problems make the plugins themselves extremely database intensive. The ones that WPE has banned outright are:

  • Dynamic Related Posts
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
  • Similar Posts
  • Contextual Related Posts

There are dedicated services which allow you to offload related post functionality to their servers. If you’re interested in providing related posts on your site, it is advised that you look into one of the services listed above instead.

BROKEN LINK CHECKER PLUGINS

If you used the Broken Link Checker plugin and wish we hadn’t banned it, we recommend that you use one of the following tools to check your site for broken links. They are not plugins and will therefore have no effect on your server performance.

DUPLICATE BEHAVIOR PLUGINS

Like the caching and backup plugins, the following plugins also duplicate things that WPE already does for you in a more efficient, scalable, and configurable manner.

  • No Revisions — We disable revisions for all customers by default. See here for further information.
  • Force Strong Passwords — We already install & activate this plugin for you.
  • WordFence — This duplicates many security as well as caching functions that exist natively in our environment and can cause issues for them.
  • Bad Behavior — This plugin attempts to block a number of hosts that we already disallow.

E-MAIL PLUGINS

Just because you are able to send emails with WordPress, that doesn’t always mean you should. We want our customers to experience the same best-in-class experience with email as we provide with webhosting, so we recommend using a 3rd party service. Specialized services like MailChimpConstant ContactAWeber and countless others offer complete email solutions for your business and will provide you with optimal results.

If your domain’s email provider offers its own SMTP server, you are welcome to configure that as your outgoing server. Be sure to check with your email provider about their bulk mail, opt-in mail and anti-spam policies before doing so.

WPE has disallowed the following email plugin, as it allows you to send email blasts with WordPress.

  • WP Mailing List

There is a blog post about sending email blasts with WordPress if you would like more information.

MISCELLANEOUS PLUGINS

Other plugins that we’ve decided to proactively remove include:

  • Hello Dolly! — Sorry, Matt.
  • WP phpMyAdmin — Disallowed due to a fairly major security issue. We also offer phpMyAdmin access without a plugin.
  • Sweet Captcha — After our partners at Sucuri revealed that the Sweet Captcha service was used to distribute adware, we have decided to follow the WordPress Plugin Repo’s lead and ban the plugin outright.
  • EWWW Image Optimizer – While the original version can cause stress on the server to the point of negative impact, the Cloud version of the plugin located here is a great alternative that offloads the computing to the Cloud.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTS

Some frequently used scripts are known to contain vulnerabilities. Our platform scans the files system periodically to identify and either patch or remove these scripts.

  • TimThumb — Older versions of TimThumb are known to contain vulnerabilities. When our system scan identifies an older version, it will automatically update the script. After the upgrade has been completed, the system will notify you by email.
  • Uploadify — Access to this script is blocked due to known security threats. The reasoning behind this was largely informed by this blog post from our partners at Sucuri.

source

Leave a Comment