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How often should I update my WooCommerce store? We get that a lot from our clients. The ideal answer is that site updates should be done whenever there are critical security updates to keep your site secure.
For regular scheduled site updates, we have found that monthly updates are ideal. Weekly updates may be too frequent. There usually isn’t a lot to update in one week’s time. Every two or three months is way too long that the site remains vulnerable to security threats. Monthly updates are just about right. Note that even if monthly updates are being done, site owners must promptly update their WooCommerce stores should a critical security update come up.
Should I Even Update my WooCommerce Store?
We sometimes get this question too. It is true that updating your WooCommerce store can break your site. However, not updating your WooCommerce store can also eventually break your site. So essentially, it is still best to do the updates.
How to Prevent Issues When Updating My WooCommerce Store?
There is no sure-fire way to know if there will be any issues on your site as a result of updates. The best you can do is to test the updates first on a development site to see if any errors would occur. Also, you can stay on top of what the WordPress and WooCommerce developers are doing. You can sign up to newsletters or follow developer blogs to stay updated. You can check out the WooCommerce changelogs and the WordPress changelogs too.
When major updates are released, it might be ideal to wait a few weeks before updating your site. This is to give WordPress, WooCommerce and other plugin and theme developers sufficient time to update anything that was broken during the update.
What to Do Before Updating My WooCommerce Store?
There are a few steps you can take before updating your WooCommerce store. First, you can test your site updates on a development or staging site. Many hosting providers, such as WPEngine, provide their clients a staging environment for testing site updates. If your hosting provider does not provide a staging environment, don’t worry. You can still create a staging site manually.
After applying the updates on the development site, the next step is to check if the site has any broken features. Some important elements to check are:
- Home Page Formatting
- Product Page Formatting
- Product Image Gallery
- Add to Cart and Checkout Process
- Contact Forms
- Email Signup Forms
If you find that anything is not working, you can proceed to fix or forward to your developer to fix. If you do not have an in-house developer, you can contact us and we can help you fix the problem. If there are no problems, you can proceed to the next step.
The third step is to back up the live site. WPEngine features a one-click backup. You can also use a plugin for creating backups. We recommend Updraft Plus plugin which also features a quick restore feature in case something goes wrong.
Once you have created a backup, you can proceed to update WooCommerce, all other plugins, themes and the WordPress core. When that’s done, you need to check if anything is broken on the live site. If everything is working and there are no formatting issues, then that’s it. You have successfully updated your site. If something gets broken, you can attempt to fix the problem or restore your backup.
What to Do When Something Breaks When Updating Your Site?
The WordPress infrastructure makes updating your WooCommerce store easy. But dealing with the complications that come with updates can be very daunting, especially if you are not a developer. As such, we recommend working with a developer when doing your site updates so that any issues can be resolved quickly. If you do not have a full-time developer on board, you can contact us so we can get our experienced WooCommerce developers to help fix any issues.