WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced several new updates to its Smart Plugin Manager, the only comprehensive WordPress plugin manager on the market using machine learning to solve one of the most challenging aspects of WordPress — manually keeping up with plugin updates, and doing so safely. WP Engine has safely updated over 70,000 plugins since the launch of Smart Plugin Manager’s first release in June 2019. Incorporating feedback from dedicated WP Engine customers to inform a 2.0 product release just four months later, WP Engine’s updates to Smart Plugin Manager include increased control over visual regression testing, improved security, expanded and customizable reporting, and bulk enable/disable functionality.
The updates provide developers, designers and site owners with much more control over their updates and what sites or specific pages will be tested by the Smart Plugin Manager’s visual regression testing. This provides customers with better clarity and visibility into what plugins are passing or failing, and greater overall security by ensuring that successful plugins are updated while others are set aside for review.
“We’re thrilled to see the enthusiasm for Smart Plugin Manager with our customers. It has truly been a game-changer for our customers when it comes to automating their site management, saving time, overcoming development challenges and keeping their sites secure,” said Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine. “As a values-driven company, one of our core values is Customer Inspired, and by listening to their feedback we were able to provide even better testing, security and reporting, letting them focus on growing their business.”
New features and benefits
- Individual plugin updates enables updating at scale while addressing any individual issues
- Custom sitemaps for visual testing – users can designate which pages get tested and which are excluded
- Improved customer email with ability to add multiple email addresses for mass notifications when needed
- Customers can specify what sections of a page are tested by excluding CSS snippets
Automating Website Updates
The Smart Plugin Manager was created to help alleviate the need to constantly manually update and manage plugins. There are a myriad of potential issues that come with neglecting plugin updates, such as potentially bringing down a website, UX issues, security issues and breaking core functionality. Plugin vulnerabilities represent 56% of the known entry points for cyber attacks. And with over 55,000 WordPress plugins that collectively have been downloaded over one billion times and more added monthly, it’s more important than ever to update them safely.
In order to help manage this risk and provide peace of mind and an operational efficiency to its customers, WP Engine created the Smart Plugin Manager which incorporates artificial intelligence to automatically keep plugins updated and sites secure with the confidence that comes with using the best solution on WordPress.
Machine learning at scale
The Smart Plugin Manager automatically updates a site’s plugins on a scheduled interval that is customizable by the user. It also runs a Visual Regression Test (VRT) using machine learning to identify if updates passed or failed. If the VRT fails, plugin update(s) are automatically rolled back and a note sent to the user(s) about which plugin(s) contributed to the failure.
What it does:
- Daily plugin update checks, enabling users to schedule the ideal time for updates
- Provides control by allowing users to select which plugins automatically update
- Helps ensure a site has the latest code and security patches for all the chosen plugins
- Visual regression testing ensures updated plugins don’t break a site or change the look/feel of it
- Automatically rolls back a site and plugin versions if the test fails
- Upgrade status updates are sent after each update
“Our backup routine was very time-consuming, and so when we heard about Smart Plugin Manager, we immediately jumped on it,” said Montana Pham, Senior IT Manager, IT Support Lead at RocketLevel. “We activated it for our most heavily trafficked multisite installs and it’s honestly become, for lack of a better word, an auto-pilot for us. It was that seamless—we were immediately off to the races—and we haven’t had a single problem since we started using it.”
The Smart Plugin Manager is available to all WP Engine customers. For more information, go to https://wpengine.com/smart-plugin-manager/.
About WP Engine
WP Engine is the WordPress Digital Experience Platform that gives companies of all sizes the agility, performance, intelligence, and integrations they need to drive their business forward faster. WP Engine’s combination of tech innovation and an award-winning team of WordPress experts are trusted by more than 120,000 customers across 150 countries to provide counsel and support, helping brands create world-class digital experiences. Founded in 2010, WP Engine is headquartered in Austin, Texas and has offices in Brisbane, Australia; Limerick, Ireland; London, England; Omaha, Nebraska; San Antonio, Texas and San Francisco, Calif.