We work with a number of WooCommerce site owners and have built a bunch of them, so we know a thing or two about fixing issues with the latest WooCommerce plugin updates when they occur.
If you’re not a developer, maybe self-taught when it comes to WooCommerce – you’re in the right place. Leave the code to the developers, meanwhile store owners need a simple to follow guide on how to get your WooCommerce site back up and earning you profit.
So which WooCommerce version update am I talking about fixing issues with?
I’m talking about ALL of them!
I’ll also give you a quick tip on how to avoid issues caused by WooCommerce updates. But more on that shortly.
So if you’re stuck wondering how to go about fixing outdated WooCommerce templates after the latest WooCommerce update – stop for a moment, read this article thoroughly and get your site back up and running fast!
Fixing WooCommerce Sites After Updates
This article contains affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission if you purchase plugins and services we mention at no extra cost to you. We only recommend the best plugins and services – which we have used and can recommend.
How to fix your WooCommerce site after updating plugins
Updating WordPress plugins frequently is a good idea. It keeps your site secure.
However, WordPress plugin updates also cause plugin clashes and software errors that change the way your site works. In some cases, functionality will break.
In the case of WooCommerce, most plugins (and WooCommerce Themes for WordPress) spend a lot of their time keeping up with Core Software updates from WordPress and WooCommerce.
It’s not unusual for WooCommerce to push an update and the other plugin developers need to edit their plugins to “fit” with the WooCommerce updates.
The same goes for core WordPress updates.
Without getting to geeky – if WordPress or WooCommerce change the way different parts of the software talks to each other, the conversation between WordPress, WooCommerce and your other plugins can fall silent.
So how do you fix issues caused by plugin updates on WordPress and WooCommerce?
Well… YOU Don’t!
The issues are fixed by the plugin developers.
So how do YOU get your site back up and running whilst you’re waiting for the plugin developers to fix issues?
You undo the updates that caused the issue in the first place using WP Rollback.
Using WP Rollback to undo WordPress Plugin Updates that broke your site
There isn’t a standard function within Core WordPress to be able to reverse WordPress plugin updates.
Instead you need to install the WordPress Plugin WP Rollback which then adds a new option on each plugin on the WordPress Plugins page that simply says “Rollback”
Once you click “Rollback” you’ll be presented with a screen where you can select which version of the WordPress plugin you’d like to Rollback to.
If you know that it was the most recent update that caused your WooCommerce site to stop working properly, simply rollback to the last version of the plugin.
It might actually be a combination of plugins that are causing the issue, so don’t be afraid to rollback a few plugins to (1 at a time) to establish which plugin update (or plugin updates) has caused the issue.
How to downgrade WooCommerce (Rollback WooCommerce Plugin Update)
WooCommerce is a WordPress Plugin so WP Rollback also works with WooCommerce allowing you to simply click “Rollback” and select the version of WooCommerce you wish to downgrade to.
Issues on your site caused by OTHER plugins not working with a core WooCommerce update are common. WP Rollback allows you to downgrade and get your site back online and profitable, quickly.
Disabling WordPress Plugins vs Rolling Back Plugin Updates
The first thing most people will say if you’ve got a problem with your site is:
“…Disable your WordPress Plugins 1 by 1 and identify which one has caused the problem…”
That’s great… thanks for that.
Now what the hell do I do once I’ve found the plugin that’s causing the issue?
Do I just leave my WooCommerce site without the piece of functionality that the now disabled plugin was providing?
What if the now disabled plugin was my payment gateway plugin?
USELESS ADVICE is what you’re getting.
It grates on me MASSIVELY that WordPress and WooCommerce users aren’t provided a sensible approach to resolving issues with plugins on WordPress.
Rolling back WordPress plugin updates takes the plugin back to the last known state in which your WooCommerce store was working so your store is back up and running, taking customer orders and generating you profit.
|Disabling Plugins 1 by 1||Rolling Back Plugins 1 by 1|
|Typical Advice||OUR Advice|
|Doesn’t get your site back up and running in the same state as before||Gets your site running and retains functionality|
|Useless for getting your WooCommerce store back up and running||The best way to get your WooCommerce store back up and running properly QUICKLY|
Avoiding Plugin Update Issues with WooCommerce
As mentioned earlier, WooCommerce and WordPress set the pace when it comes to updates.
If WordPress or WooCommerce update the way they work, the other plugin providers then need to adapt and update their plugins to work with WooCommerce and WordPress seamlessly.
As a result, the most common cause of plugin clashes are WordPress Core updates and WooCommerce Core plugin updates.
Simply rolling back the WooCommerce plugin can therefore fix a LOT of issues you’ll face.
Don’t update WooCommerce in the first place
Yes. I said, don’t update WooCommerce.
If WooCommerce has got ahead of your plugin developers in their development, it’s worth giving the plugin developers a chance to catch up.
Now I’m definitely not saying DON’T Update WooCommerce at all. But there are ways you can avoid the higher likelihood that you’ll encounter a plugin clash with WooCommerce.
First, let’s look at the difference between a minor release and a major release with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce Plugin Minor Release vs Major Release
From a non geeky perspective, the difference is relatively simple.
Minor releases don’t change anything too fundamental about the plugin.
Major releases can encompass a lot more structural change.
So MAJOR releases are more likely to cause plugin clashes and issues.
How do you know which releases are Major and which ones are minor?
Well if you want to keep yourself informed about Major and Minor WooCommerce Releases you can check out the WooCommerce Release Schedule here.
But the really quick and easy way to know if a WooCommerce Plugin update is a Major Release is by looking at the version number of the plugin update.
If the plugin update doesn’t have a third number in it – so it looks like this: 4.6 or 4.6.0
That’s a MAJOR release.
If the WooCommerce update DOES have a third number in it – so it looks like this: 4.6.1 or 4.6.4
That’s a MINOR release.
So it makes sense that WooCommerce Major Releases cause more issues with plugin clashes and therefore can be delayed to prevent clashes.
Minor releases are less of a risk to plugin clashes, but if you’ve got a selection of plugins from a range of developers with varying levels of update support you can find yourself struggling with clashes on every minor release. (more on that shortly)
In general the advice would be to avoid Major Releases and update WooCommerce once the first MINOR release after a MAJOR release.
i.e. instead of updating to 4.6 wait until 4.6.1 is released to update your WooCommerce Plugin.
Select The RIGHT Plugins that have less Clash Issues
You may not have known this, but WooCommerce test the Core WooCommerce Plugin against ALL Plugins in the WooCommerce Extensions Marketplace before each release.
That means the majority of clashes related to those plugins are FIXED before the software gets released for you to update WooCommerce and your other plugins.
This is how WooCommerce explain it:
During this phase, we perform the first set of manual tests, automated compatibility checks with all extensions in our marketplace, and evaluate performance changes and potential regressionsWooCommerce
See this explanation of what the WooCommerce team do when it comes to testing and quality assurance of the WooCommerce plugin and testing it with the other Plugins available at WooCommerce.
Keeping your plugins down in number and only selecting plugins from plugin developers who stay up to date with WooCommerce is vital to preventing excess downtime with your WooCommerce store.
Plugins from the WooCommerce Extensions marketplace could easily pay for themselves in lost orders due to plugin clashes with other plugin providers!
Don’t Use Automatic Updates on WooCommerce
Based on the above advice, I’m guessing you’ll have taken this one on board already.
As of a recent release of WordPress, you now get the option to enable “Automatic Updates” as a core part of the WordPress functionality.
Typically this is a bad idea and can ultimately lead to a bunch of unchecked plugin updates, clashes and issues that take your WooCommerce store down and cost you sales.
What if a WordPress update broke my WooCommerce website?
The same principles with MAJOR and MINOR releases apply to WordPress core as they did to WooCommerce Plugin updates above.
Major updates can be installed with a slight delay to ensure plugin clashes are minimised.
Can I use WP Rollback to reverse a WordPress Update?
WP Rollback is only designed to rollback WordPress plugins, so it’s perfect for rolling back WooCommerce and other plugins, but NOT for WordPress as a whole.
To switch WordPress back to the previous version you’ll need another plugin called WP Downgrade.
This plugin, like WP Rollback, allows you to switch back to a previous version of software (not just the last version). So you can get your WooCommerce store switched back to an older version of WordPress and get it back up and running.
What if my WordPress Theme Update Broke WooCommerce?
In the same way WooCommerce needs to communicate with plugins correctly, it needs to communicate with your theme.
Clashes with your theme are most likely to impact the appearance of your site.
You’ll often see a warning when WooCommerce gets updated that says something like:
Your theme contains outdated copies of some WooCommerce template files.
This is another example where the Theme developer needs to play catch up with WooCommerce.
Now WooCommerce have formally released the software, the theme developers can get on with fixing the issues. Of course, many theme and plugin developers stay very close to WooCommerce and ensure compatibility is tested during the Beta release phase with WooCommerce.
This is another way to avoid Theme and plugin conflicts with WooCommerce; Select a theme that’s developed for WooCommerce specifically AND is actively supported by the developer.
To be actively supported by the developer, the theme provider needs to be a big enough name with big enough funding. Therefore a premium theme that’s widely used is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to avoiding WooCommerce store downtime due to plugin and theme conflicts.
We recommend Divi by Elegant Themes. It’s awesome and you can check it below (affiliate link)
Can’t I just get someone else to manage WordPress Updates for me?
With a relative amount of complication in understanding what’s going on here, it makes sense that you might want someone to manage this on your behalf.
There are a number of services out there that do keep your site up to date and functioning.
Here at Future State Media we offer this service for our customers who we’ve built a website for.
We know the technology stack we’ve implemented is robust, so we can do this quickly and effectively and our entire client base benefits from the testing we do across our network using the exact same combination of plugins.
Doesn’t Managed WordPress Hosting handle updates for me?
Managed WordPress hosting is simply a service that encompasses the management of the hosting servers – NOT your WordPress installation.
This means the server configuration is managed for you – but NOT your WordPress website or WooCommerce Store.
Other Useful Resources for fixing Plugin Conflicts with WooCommerce and WordPress
If you’re still on the page that you want to identify the plugin that’s causing the issue by disabling plugins rather than rolling them back, there’s a really useful plugin developed by WordPress.org themselves called Healthy Check & Troubleshooting.
I’m not saying it’s a miracle worker as it’s not going to get your WooCommerce store live any quicker that using WP Rollback or WP Downgrade to take your site back to the last known working state without reverting to a server backup of your site.
Backups are a good idea, but they’re painful with WooCommerce as you risk losing customer data and knitting data back together is ultimately time consuming and just a pain you don’t need as an eCommerce business owner. So rolling back individual plugins to return your WooCommerce store back to it’s previous working state is a FAR better idea.