Resolving WooCommerce Plugin and Theme Issues

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a WordPress based plugin used by many small to medium sized businesses for building, tracking and maintaining an easy to use e-commerce solution. Because WooCommerce is updated regularly with new releases, online sellers can add new and existing features frequently, along with resolving any known bugs or security vulnerabilities. WooCommerce is actively installed on over 4 million WordPress sites and is used to drive e-commerce sales on a significant number of websites.

Testing for Plugin and Theme Issues

Site issues may arise if you are running a WooCommerce site with a larger number of plugins (20-40). as the number of updates involved, and or running, may cause slowdowns. Additionally, WooCommerce sites with outdated plugins or themes pose a greater risk of a security breach if not addressed. Customers always expect websites to protect their data when using an e-commerce platform like WooCommmerce for sales.  Issues like these can be addressed by testing your plugin and theme updates on a staging site and if no problems are seen, you can then safely update your live site with confidence, that your site will work as expected.

The first thing we need to review is that we have is a staging site setup. Our Managed WooCommerce and Managed WordPress hosting plans each allow for an easy way to create staging sites from within the site’s management panel. The Softaculous software installed on cPanel contains a WordPress clone/staging feature we can use for this. Also, the Plesk management panel has a WordPress’ Toolkit which contains a staging tool option.

Never update a WooCommerce plugin on a live site without first taking a backup and then, testing it on a staging site. Using a staging site is the best way to ensure that you are not affecting the live site by installing an untested plugin which may cause unintended problems in not tested first. By following this simple plan, you can ensure updates will go as smoothly and your sites will work as intended.

A staging site will be your best bet to test plugins and theme updates, without breaking the live site and causing a possible loss of sales and/or downtime! First, update any plugins or active themes on the staging site, and if all goes well, you can catch any issues or errors before they occur.

Step 1: If you are using WooCommerce Subscriptions on your main live site, make sure that the staging mode is enabled. This should normally happen automatically since the plugin will check if the site URL is different than the live site. Clicking on the WooCommerce > Subscriptions button you’ll be able to see Staging next to the Subscriptions option indicating you are in fact using the staging area.

Step 2: Make sure that site email is disabled by using a plugin on the staging site like Disable email notifications.

WooCommerce > Settings > Notifications

Be sure you’re using an active theme that is regularly updated.  Otherwise, WooCommerce updates can break the site by using a theme from an outdated WooCommerce template.

Focus on the following areas of the staging site for testing the WooCommerce core plugin and WooCommerce plugin update:

  • Does the shop page load correctly?
  • Do single product pages load correctly?
  • Can you add products to cart?
  • Does the Cart page load correctly?
  • Does the Checkout page load correctly?
  • Does the My Account page load correctly?

After you’ve tested the WooCommerce plugin and other related plugin updates on the staging site and everything is working correctly, select a low traffic volume time frame for updating the live site. After updating address the same areas that you did while updating the staging site. Check from the order list page in your WordPress dashboard to validate that you can still see new orders being made correctly, with the payment gateway information being saved in the order notes.

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