Updates to WooCommerce, Storefront, WordPress, and your extensions and payment gateways are a fact of life. Our team of developers are hard at work releasing updates that add new features, fix issues, tighten security and, in general, make your store better than ever.
But how do you update WooCommerce without causing issues? We’ll cover a few of the common ways below, but first…
Any store powered by WordPress and WooCommerce has two places where data and content are stored.
- One is your wp-content folder, where your themes, plugins, and any uploaded content is located.
- Another is the database that organizes and stores your products, orders, posts, pages, etc.
With this precious data and content stored in different places, how do you safeguard it all and keep it backed up?
- Unlimited storage space.
- Automated, regular backups of your entire site including your database, all content, plugins & themes, settings, and more.
- Instant restores so you can revert to a previous version with one click.
- Direct access to 24/7 expert support.
To do things manually, there are two parts to backing up your store:
- Backup your database! There are multiple ways to do this, see the Codex for your options to back up your content. Both manual and plugin options exist.
- Using SFTP head to your
wp-contentfolder to backup your theme and plugin files. We strongly recommend making a backup of your theme files if you made any customizations.
Let’s now talk about keeping your site updated and making you money with the latest and greatest features. Just fair warning, this can sound technical and complex but don’t let it get to you!
Working with a developer who is trained to handle these tasks for you is also an option. Our WooExperts are standing by!
Terms To Know
First, let’s review a few terms we’ll be using. Some may use other terms like a dev environment, testing environment, and live environments, but we’ll stick to the basic three:
- Local – is on a personal computer, generally not accessible from the web.
- Staging – is where you test updates. Should replicate the same server setup as the live site.
- Production – is the live site. Where customers and users are visiting and purchasing.
Keep in mind this is a simplistic overview, and there are many tools and ways to do this. There aren’t absolutes in how you test updates, just as long as you do not test them on a live site. If you have a developer working on your site, ask them about their process for testing updates.
Most developers will start with a local install. Meaning WordPress is set up on their computer and it acts as a server. Using a preferred code editor, one can then build, update, and test updates on their own computer.
While working on a local install we highly recommend you start using version control if you aren’t. Whether that is Git, SVN, or something else it comes in handy in case you need to revert back to something that works, and can even make it easier to deploy a site to staging and production.
To test an update beyond a local site, it’s best to create a second WordPress install with your host and restore a backup of your live site to it. VaultPress can do this for you, and WordPress hosts often offer tools to set up a staging environment.
This is a replica of your production site and a safe place to test updates. A staging site can also be shared with others for their help testing. Makes sure to test on different devices, load time, and so on.
Should all go well during staging tests, then you are ready to update your live (production) site.
You can do this however you prefer or arrange with your developer(s). One note: Put your site in maintenance mode to prevent people from checking out or making payments. If a transaction occurs during update, orders may be lost.
To update, some have Git set up to deploy from a master branch, or you yourself can click the Update button knowing you tested these updates and it’s safe for your site. Of course, your backups are on standby to restore in an instant if anything unexpected occurs. That way there’s no downtime or revenue lost.
From here, figure out what tools and strategies work best for you and your team or developer(s), and put a good testing process in place. If you put the time upfront into testing updates, you save yourself both headache and money in the end. Guaranteed!
Updating Extensions and Payment Gateways
To get updates on anything purchased from WooCommerce.com, go to WooCommerce > Extensions > WooCommerce.com Subscriptions and ensure that your store is connected to your WooCommerce.com account.
Connecting your WooCommerce.com account to your WooCommerce site/store allows you to:
- View status of WooCommerce, plus your extensions and payment gateways
- Filter by Installed, Activated, Download, and Update Available
- Determine which extensions and payment gateways have compatibility with what version/release of WooCommerce