Our engineers at OnSiteWP follow the large developments in the WordPress community. One such development is the release of WooCommerce 3.0.
The new version of WooCommerce is a major update. By major we mean that your plugins and themes need to be compatible with this update.
Should I Update to WooCommerce 3.0?
As of today, April 10, 2017, our recommendation is to NOT upgrade your site just yet. There will be a time to update but we recommend to give the developers and field testers a chance to find and fix compatibility issues with this major 3.0 release.
Already we have seen WooCommerce 3.0.1 get released. This fixes some of the issues in 3.0 but it has only been a week. We would like to see Woocommerce 3.0 mature a little bit more before we recommend it as an update to our clients?
Some people think they always need to stay updated to be secure. This is a guiding principle absent of additional information. The WooCommerce 3.0 release is a new feature release, not a security release. At this time we can confidently say it is not a security problem to stay at version 2.6.14.
WooCommerce 3.0 has introduced a new product image lightbox on the product pages. If you have a theme with a custom product page, your theme will need to be updated to be compatible with WooCommerce. If you are unsure if this applies to you, contact your theme developer and ask if your theme is compatible. It will be helpful to look under Appearance – Themes in the WordPress dashboard to tell the theme developer the name and version of the theme currently installed on your site.
It is very common to extend WooCommerce functionality with plugins. This can range anywhere from payment gateway, shipping module, or a full on subscription system. Check with your plugin developers for WooCommerce 3.0 compatibility. Developers have had about 2 months prior to the public release of 3.0 to get their plugins ready. Some have done a better job of preparing than others. At minimum, make sure that you have the most current version before attempting the WooCommerce 3.0 upgrade.
We have seen one report of a site where their woocommerce license manager had disconnected from woocommerce.com so they weren’t showing any plugin updates. If you have plugins from woothemes, you may want to spot check certain plugins by going to their product page (e.g. woocommerce subscriptions) and clicking on the ChangeLog link at the bottom of the right column. Within the long list of text are the version numbers and release dates.
Testing With A Development Server
OnSiteWP recommends you copy your full website to a development environment where you can test the WooCommerce 3.0 update prior to rolling it out to your live site. This is to find any compatibility problems with your collection of theme, plugins, and customizations.
If you decide to forego testing on a development server, at least take a backup of your WordPress site prior to upgrading to 3.0. This new version updates your database scheme which means there is no going back to an old version without restoring your database from backups.
If this is something that you don’t want to deal with, OnSiteWP has website maintenance packages to alleviate your need to be a technical wiz to perform the update. Contact us today for more information.
Author: Brian Murphy
Brian Murphy is co-founder of OnSiteWP, a WordPress website maintenance company. His professional experience of working within enterprise IT, communication departments, startup companies and freelancing provides a unique, well rounded perspective on the issues business owners face.