WP Engine: 2021 in Review

At WP Engine, our Core Values drive everything we do. They guide our priorities, the investments we make, and how we serve you and the communities we’re a part of.  

As 2021 comes to a close, we wanted to reaffirm our Core Values: Built for Growth, Customer Inspired, Design Matters, Do the Right Thing, and Committed to Give Back and celebrate how we Pressed Ahead, together, to make WP Engine the #1 platform for WordPress.


We Helped You Build for Growth 

2021 reinforced the need for every business to meet its customers online with fast, beautiful,  and responsive digital experiences. 

You met that challenge head-on, building more than 400,000 new sites on our platform in 2021. That’s nearly triple last year’s amount and it brings the total number of websites on our platform to 1.5 million. 

As you continue to grow, our mission is clear: keep delivering the best tools, technologies, and services in WordPress to fuel your growth and help you unlock creativity, no matter what type of digital work you do.

From Headless WordPress to agency management solutions, we focused on your growth goals in 2021 with the launch of these new products:

The Fastest WooCommerce Stores

As eCommerce continues to surge, we launched highly optimized eCommerce hosting to help businesses grow their digital storefronts. 

Our eCommerce plans combine customizable themes and WooCommerce-optimized Gutenberg blocks with best-in-breed technologies like ElasticPress to increase website speed by up to 40% and to improve sales.

The end result? This year, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) sold by online stores on our optimized eCommerce platform was up 360% from the prior year! We’re excited to bring this growth potential to everyone with a WooCommerce store in 2022. 

Growth-Centric Tools to Automate Your Agency 

2021 also saw the launch of Growth Suite, which helps agencies and freelancers automate insightful client reports, billing software, managed WordPress hosting and more, making it easier to earn a steady stream of monthly recurring revenue. 

Get a closer look at all of the features Growth Suite has to offer here.

Complete Headless WordPress

Atlas, the complete Headless WordPress platform, offers businesses with large-scale digital needs a single solution for headless architecture and a straightforward path for building advanced, omnichannel footprints. 

Atlas delivers the absurdly fast performance needed to crush Core Web Vitals and secure more visitors, leading to increased engagement, interaction, and ultimately revenue. 

Alongside Atlas, 2021 also saw the launch of WP Engine’s Developer Relations (DevRel) team, headed by StudioPress founder and one of the architects of the modern WordPress theme ecosystem, Brian Gardner.

Since its inception, the DevRel team’s output has been prodigious, launching two open source projects to the community Faust.js and Atlas Content Modeler, while creating developer resources for both traditional and Headless WordPress projects.  

From large digital demands to agency pain points and everything in between, providing our customers with the right tools, the best products and the #1 platform in WordPress were all major focus areas in 2021, just as they will stay major focus areas in the future.


We Remained Customer Inspired

We continue to be blown away by customers like you, your creative ingenuity, and your unwavering focus on innovation, all of which were on full display in 2021. 

Here’s a look at just a handful of the incredible things our customers built this year:

Peak Performance With Headless WordPress

With an Atlas Headless WordPress architecture, Android Authority increased speed by 6x, improved its search rankings, and dramatically upgraded the browsing experience for its 50 million monthly readers. Keep Reading.


Speed to Market for a Family of Enterprise Brands

WP Engine Agency Partner Digital Yalo helped B&G Foods standardize 50+ disparate brand sites on WP Engine’s enterprise WordPress platform, migrating all sites and relaunching within four months. Learn More


Cleaner Code and User-Centric Design for Excellent Core Web Vitals

WP Engine Agency Partner StrategiQ helped one of the world’s most popular travel blogs vastly improve its Core Web Vitals, rising 3x to the 90th percentile of page loads across both mobile and desktop devices. Read More

To ensure all of the experiences we build for you are exceptional and designed with intention, we continue to innovate on our platform, making more than 50 enhancements and upgrades this year, a record, to continue to give you the best security and performance in WordPress.

Another significant update in 2021 was offering more of our tools and services for free, to our customers and to the wider WordPress community.  

In addition to the Genesis Framework and the Genesis sample theme, we made the premium features formerly offered with Local Pro available to everyone, totally free! Our hope is that this encourages even more builders to create with WordPress. Check out all the details here

We also made major improvements to Smart Plugin Manager, which automatically checks plugins for updates and ensures that when updates occur, they don’t break your site. 

This powerful tool, which keeps sites safe and up-to-date, saw significant user-centric updates in 2021, including user interface and setting visibility enhancements, reporting upgrades, the ability to pause updates, and the ability to begin automating theme updates in addition to plugins. 

We also looked to highlight your incredible sites as well as the power and versatility of WordPress with more than 35 in-person and virtual events across time zones and topics throughout the year. 

WP Engine Chairwoman & CEO Heather Brunner kicks off Summit 2021 with her keynote presentation
WP Engine Founder & CTO Jason Cohen presents the opening keynote at DECODE 2021.

From Summit/2021 to DECODE, to Ignite, we hope you were among the tens of thousands of attendees who joined us and we hope our events inspired you and your next digital breakthrough. 


We Stayed Focused on Design   

In addition to all of the new products and features we created for you this year, we also remained laser-focused on the design of your overall user experience (UX), including streamlining administrative tasks and day-to-day back-end navigation.   

Our User Portal and WP Engine plugin received significant enhancements in 2021, including UX upgrades, the addition of quick actions, and new caching features for added granularity and convenience. The latter, which provides easy access to cache settings and the ability to clear all caches at once, has resulted in a 30% reduction in related support tickets,    

Adding new sites on our platform became easier too, with major UX improvements to our “Effortless Add Site” feature, which now includes the ability to add sites on our eCommerce plans, and sets newly launched sites up with a Genesis default theme and Smart Plugin Manager. 

You played a major role in all of these innovations, as our UX Research team, which doubled in size in 2021, conducted hundreds of interviews and usability tests with our customers resulting in a considerable number of insights we incorporated into our products.  

Click here if you’re interested in joining WP Engine’s User Research Group and taking part in our ongoing UX research.


We Continued to Do The Right Thing

Just as you Pressed Ahead throughout 2021, so too have our employees, whose deep commitment to our Core Values has allowed us to build hubs around the world that share the same ideals of openness, acceptance, transparency, and trust.

In 2021, we expanded those efforts, starting with the appointment of Tarsha McCormick as our first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Culture, and Engagement who immediately made strides toward creating a workplace and company culture that both reflects our Core Values and is welcoming and inclusive for all.

This year also saw the launch of our new Employee Resource Groups, each of which provides community and representation to the many lived experiences of our employees, as well as impactful and inspiring programming that brings education and awareness to all.  

As a clear reflection of our Core Values, these efforts resonated around the globe in 2021, which was the first year every single one of our teams were both eligible for and recognized with Great Place to Work certification.

In addition to becoming Great Place to Work-certified, our London and Limerick international locations were specifically recognized as great workplaces in tech, with the recognition for Limerick coming on the heels of that location’s five-year anniversary


We Committed to Give Back 

Across all of our global teams, employee-led giving and company matching reached nearly $350,000 in 2021, with support for a wide list of causes spanning everything from hunger relief and housing assistance to disaster response.   

As we look back on the year that’s gone by, we’re proud of the way all of our employees have remained committed to giving back, channeling their efforts through our corporate social responsibility program, Engine for Good, and touching more than 30 organizations around the globe, including Autyzm Up Foundation, Barnardos, Black and Pink, Central Texas Food Bank, Pieta, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Rize Up.

None of this is possible without you and the trust you put in us every day. 

Our sincerest thanks to each of our customers, partners, and employees for an incredible year. Here’s to Pressing Ahead, and to your continued success and growth in 2022!

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