WooCommerce in a WordPress installation can be a powerful e-commerce setup. To stay that way, the CMS and the plugin need to be upgraded to ensure performance, to stay secure and to look and function continuously well. As important as these updates are, there can always be bugs and conflicts when installing an update on a running website.
If you want more information on why to update and the basics on how to update, there is great article on codeable: https://codeable.io/upgrade-wordpress-woocommerce/
Updating WooCommerce is more then just a click on the update button. Or at least it should be – most of all with all major releases. In this guide you will get a list on all the things you should test to make sure your installation is running flawlessly and your customers keep having the best shopping experience. Only when having checked off all these items, you know your update is running – or what exactly isn’t and where to start fixing.
The update process
The first important piece to keep in mind, is that updating is more then entering the updates screen and clicking on “update all”. You should perform updates step by step. That way, you don’t run into endless conflicts without being able to limit the possible sources.
- Take a backup
- Use the backup to create a staging site
- Update all plugins EXCEPT WooCommerce and its extensions
- Check your site
- Update the theme(s)
- Check your site
- Update WordPress core
- Check your site
- Now you can update WooCommerce and the WooCommerce extensions.
- TEST YOUR STORE
- Update the live site
Testing your updated WooCommerce store
Even though developers test their software before pushing updates, every installation is different and every server – plugin – theme combination is unique. Therefore, you cannot trust that everything will just work as it did. You always need to test everything! Or all future problems and bugs could be related to when you did not test and debugging will be a long and difficult process.
The following list is only for core WooCommerce. If you have any extensions like subscriptions, bookings, germanized etc installed, you also have to check all of their functionality in the front and the back end.
If you want to keep the list handy, you can also download it here.
What many store owners want to see first, is if everything still looks good and works for their customers. But just looking at the archives and saying „looks fine to me“ will not do the job. This is what you should check:
Single Product Page
Not only the front-end can change, you also have to make sure every part of your backend is working. If you forget to check this now and you build more using the buggy software, chances of your store breaking „suddenly and surprisingly“ without anyone being able to explain what happened increase.
As you did a couple of test purchases and cancelled purchases, you should now have all the corresponding emails in your inbox(es).
Fix all issues
As you can guess, only checking if a feature works is not enough. If there are problems either in the display or with the functionality, you need to fix these. Here are some tips on what to check and where to look.
Finally update the live site
After having successfully checke off all the list items, you can update your live site. Turn on Maintenance Mode, so you don’t loose customers who end up in the standard WordPress “maintenance” screen half way during checkout. Do not sync staging back to live, as you may loose new orders or other changes you made while testing the staging site.
If this sounds too time-intense for you at the moment, but you know that you should update soon, you can book me to go through the list and the updates for you.