Once again, Gary and Geoff take to the couch for our Lunchtime Live Q&A. Today they discuss:
- What to do when your theme contains outdated WooCommerce template files
- How you would launch the site from a staging to a live environment, and
- What to do when your WooCommerce add-on plugins fail to update.
As always, if you have any WordPress questions that you’d like us to cover, get in touch and we’ll answer them on our next Lunchtime Live Q&A session.
Geoff Franklin: [00:00:02] We’re here. We’re live.
Gary Weis: [00:00:04] Hi folks. Still messing around with the iPad. Hi folks. Gary here and again today I’m joined by the amazing Geoff Franklin one of our sensational WP Butlers. And welcome to our Facebook Lunchtime Live Q&A. I tell you what, this “on the couch” business Lunchtime Live Q&A has become very very competitive. There was a lot of votes for Andrew but unfortunately he’s failed a drug test this week and he’s been suspended. So we’ve got Geoffrey again. So you keep sending in the votes. It’s great to see everyone chiming in and having a bit of fun. So thanks folks. Again we’re trying to keep this lighthearted but yet we try and keep it informative. So thanks for playing along at home. We really enjoy your comments and really enjoy your involvement so thank you again. Alright. Plenty to get through this week my friend.
Geoff Franklin: [00:01:04] Yeah always.
Gary Weis: [00:01:05] Alright. We’re going to kick off with a question from Pat in Adelaide who asks “I’m seeing a notice when I’m logged into the back end of my site saying that my theme contains outdated copies of some WooCommerce template files in my child. What should I do about this?”
Geoff Franklin: [00:01:24] Yeah I’ve seen that before, it’s a common one and typically it depends. Well it’s more a warning rather than anything really critical to worry about. And I guess what you need to look at is what version of the theme you have running. If you’ve got a parent theme and a child theme set up, assuming you know what that is? Like when you go into the appearance section in the back end of your site, just checking to see what you have set up. So in this case it sounds like you’ve got a child theme set up and that notice that you see? You probably see a button that says “view affected file” something along those lines. But if you click that button, it takes you to the WooCommerce status page and down, if you scroll to the bottom of that page, you’ll see a list of all the affected files. And it’ll say the version, the latest version that that file should be and it will say the version that it currently is in your child theme parent theme. And there’s no quick way to update and tend to these files other than basically you need to look in the WooCommerce plugin folder and look at the… So that list that you see, you’ll see the files it’s referring to and you need to basically log into your hosting and you can compare the files and you’re essentially going through each of the files side by side and copying and pasting bits. It’s a bit finicky but that’s that’s the only way to do it.
Gary Weis: [00:03:09] I can imagine that is a bit tedious.
Geoff Franklin: [00:03:10] Yeah yeah.
Gary Weis: [00:03:11] In fact, it is tedious.
Geoff Franklin: [00:03:15] And it’s really only in a critical issue if you find that, say you’re trying to go through the checkout of your website and something’s failing. You’re like “why is that?” So that’s one place to look is to go into your WooCommerce status section and see if the checkout template is outdated. That’d be a place to go to and look. Okay if that’s the case, alright now need to cross-reference and update it. So yeah there’s a bit of process to it. I mean, if you’re confident in going into your hosting, if you’re on cPanel and going into file manager and looking at the files and getting in there and comparing the files and doing that, by all means go ahead. But that’s something we’ve done many a time. So we’re confident we can sort that out for you.
Gary Weis: [00:04:09] Very good. Very good. If you do need a hand doing those updates to the WooCommerce files please reach out. We’re here to help you at wpbutler.com.au. There’s a live chat, you can jump on there. Or there’s a priority support form that you can fill in. Or just dial the number on your screen and you’ll be able to talk to one of these legends here and they’ll be able to help you out. Okay. Thanks Geoffrey.
Geoff Franklin: [00:04:35] What do we got? What’s Next?
Gary Weis: [00:04:39] Sue. Sue from Byron Bay says “I’m a web designer and I’m currently building a new website for a client on cPanel hosting.” Good ol’ cPanel. “How would you launch the site from a staging to a live environment?”
Geoff Franklin: [00:04:54] Okay.
Gary Weis: [00:04:54] Take it away.
Geoff Franklin: [00:04:54] So it’s hard to really say because it depends. There’s a few different cPanel solutions that actually have the option to set up what they call a “staging environment” and having your live environment separate. So, let’s say let’s say you don’t have that setup. Typically if you’re in cPanel, sounds like you familiar with cPanel, you would go into the File Manager section and, if you set this up yourself, you’d probably see where the staging site was set up, what directory that was set up in and then where the live website was set up in. So you’d see the two folders with the two different files for the two websites. And then you’d have the database element to the two websites. So assuming that you’re happy with how that’s all set up, the the short version of how to explain… Again is a bit of a process too. But the short version of how to explain how you do that is, because what I would do in that instance would be. I guess. Yeah. Like you got to be prepared for there to be a bit of I guess downtime with the website. It depends on how big the website is too. So what I’ve done in the past, if it’s not a high traffic website, you can probably quite comfortably do this where you create a temporary, I guess an archive file is how I’d do it. And you’d grab all the website files of the live site, dump it into the archive folder and then take all the staging website files and put it in place of where the live site was. And then in your database, on phpMyAdmin the classic one in cPanel. You go in there, provided you know which database to go to for your staging. In the wp_options table, you’ll find some references to the site and the home URL. Basically you’ll see, whatever you staging site URL was, it might have been staging.yourdomainname.com. You’d change it to the live domain. And that’s basically it. I’m pretty sure that basically it. So that’s like the quick way to explain how you do it but that’s probably the quickest way to do it if you had a basic cPanel setup. But again, depending on your hosting provider they may have like a staging solution set up for you to can quite easily, with the click of a button, move things back and forth quite easily. And that’s why we love WP Engine. They have a great solution for setting up a staging and moving it to live. Like it’s why we’ve chosen them as our partners.
Gary Weis: [00:07:50] It’s nice and simple isn’t it? It’s literally one click, move from live to staging, staging to live etc. So one of the secrets we use here – and we’ve covered this previously – is when we’re doing updates to core, updates to theme, updates to plugins, we push the site live to staging, make sure we do all the updates over there and then check that everything’s running okay and then we can actually make the live updates on the live site so we don’t mess anything up. If you do want to have a look at a more convenient hosting solution, particularly if you’re a web designer and you’re doing web development, have a chat to us about WP Engine hosting and the features that are built into there to enable your development life to be a hell of a lot easier a hell of a lot quicker. And if you are using the good old garden variety cPanel and you’re seeing notices, or you’re noticing performance issues with your site, please reach out to us here at WP Butler at wpbutler.com.au and you can have a chat to us about what goodness is wrapped up in WP Engine hosting. Good on you Geoffrey. Thank you very much. All right. Next question. Grant from Perth says “I had my online store built a while ago and I can see there’s a number of WooCommerce add-on plugins with updates. I tried to update them but they keep failing. Like the Australia Post Shipping Method plugin and GravityForms plugin. Add-on plugin. Sorry, and Gravity Forms Product Add-on plugin.” Does that make sense?
Geoff Franklin: [00:09:22] Yeah.
Gary Weis: [00:09:22] Do you understand the question?
Geoff Franklin: [00:09:23] Yeah yeah, I thank so.
Gary Weis: [00:09:24] I botched that up royally but basically it’s the Australia Post Shipping Method and the Gravity Forms Product Add-ons plugin that keep failing on updating. How can we help?
Geoff Franklin: [00:09:35] Well firstly, those two plugins, you may have more, sounds like you do. Those two plugins are premium WooCommerce plugins. So it sounds like the licence keys that you have set up with those plugins have expired. Or perhaps the developer, whoever set up those plugins for you, have disconnected those licenses from their account. So when you go an update, it just doesn’t work. That’s what it sounds like is happening. Sorry, what was the first part of that question?
Gary Weis: [00:10:08] I try to update them but they keep failing. Like the Australia Post Shipping Method plugin and Gravity Forms Product Add-ons plugin.
Geoff Franklin: [00:10:17] Yep. I mean, that’s basically what it sounds like to me is that the licenses have expired. And you may be like “Oh I don’t know where to go, I don’t know what to do!” And this is perfect because we have quite a few people come to us with the similar sort of situation where they’ve had someone else set up a site for them and use premium plugins, which we always highly recommend because you get what you pay for in the end of the day. So what we tend to offer is – because we, being a WordPress development house, we have a lot of premium plugins that we like to use and clients who don’t feel comfortable managing their own licenses, we can do that on your behalf. So, you know, I’m quite familiar with these two plugins you mentioned. The Australia Post and the Gravity Forms Product Add-ons. Great plugins and yeah, we have licenses for those. I mean, by all means, come to us and we we can provide a license to you through us. And, you know, that we provide that with like a small management fee so it gives you peace of mind. What that does is it covers the plugin itself, the license itself and the management. The small management fee for us to manage the plug in updates and any technical stuff around that. But yes, so I mean, that’s what it sounds like is just the licenses have disconnected themselves or expired from your site.
Gary Weis: [00:11:42] So premium plugins, as Geoff alluded to we more often than not, and we’ve got banks on them, we’ve got hundreds of the damn things. Of premium licenses, we have developer licenses which enable us to then on-sell those licenses, usually a little bit cheaper to you. Basically the way that works, as Jeff said, is that it includes the license, that includes the plugin and some ongoing management support. So most of the prices are in US dollars, so usually we’re able to offer you those plugins at the same price but in Australian dollars which will save you somewhere between 25 and 99 percent, depending where the Australian dollar is at the particular point in time. So again, if you’ve got a need for some premium plugins or you’d like to investigate, or you haven’t used premium plugins before, you may want to just reach out to us at WP Butler and we can help you with the options that are available in premium plugins and talk to you about the support and all the added features and benefits and all the little goodies that come along with using premium plugins. Nothing wrong with the free ones that are out there, but quite often, when you’re trying to extend the functionality of your store and depending particularly when you’re talking about the likes of WooCommerce or anything that’s usually a little bit more techie and based on a higher level of functionality, you really wanted to probably be sticking to premium plugins because they are backed by the developers. The developers make their living by providing premium plugins and they’re required to offer ongoing support. So don’t feel that premium plugins are outside of your reach. We can take care of all that for you. So again, just reach out to us at wpbutler.com.au and we’ll help you out. Alright that’s all the questions we had for this week. Thank you very much folks for chiming in. Hi there, Robeya. I think that’s how you pronounce her name? “Really great service guys. Thank you so much.” Again, as I started off this broadcast, this live we’re really really appreciative of all your support and all the comments that have been coming in and all the e-mails and all the messages we’re receiving over Facebook. And it’s your support and it’s your questions and it’s you chiming in and it’s you taking part in these Facebook Lives, and also just being part of the WordPress community that spurs us on and continues us to sit on the couch each week and bring you our Live Lunchtime Q &A. So again, thank you very much for tuning in now. No Geoffrey, any other WordPress news of note that you’d like to share with us.
Geoff Franklin: [00:14:32] I think I mentioned before, but officially today – because you know WordPress announces things and when they announce things – those things don’t always happen. But this has actually happened. WordPress 5.1 was released today. It’s released today and it’s really great. So there’s been some performance improvements, some improvements to the block editor, Gutenberg. Another really great feature too with the way PHP versions are going and being discontinued around their service.
Gary Weis: [00:15:04] Lots of end of life, isn’t there?
Geoff Franklin: [00:15:06] Yeah yeah. So when you, once you’ve upgraded or installed to version 5.1, you’ll start to see a notice notice that pops up detect if your version of PHP that is running then your server is outdated, or going to be, The support is going to be discontinued, you’re going to see something and you’re going to be able to take action around that. So that’s probably the biggest part to that, that I think needs to be paid attention to, that PHP version because that may open up a can of worms. You’re going to have to attend to your themes and plugins and that could be, especially a theme, like we’ve had a few clients when we’ve had to deal with, they’ve had to totally just gut the site, take the theme out, put a new one in and sometimes it goes really well, sometimes I have to redo a lot of stuff. So act now, act now.
Gary Weis: [00:16:02] Yeah. That’s just another reason to make sure that you’re using premium themes and also premium plugins because again the developers of those premium service are obliged to make sure that they do keep up with the latest versions of PHP, that their themes and plugins are compatible with the latest versions of WordPress, and they have to offer support. Otherwise, you know, the stores that they sell them through aren’t going to keep them on the shelf. So again, don’t be afraid to use themes, premium themes, don’t be afraid to use premium plugins and the other part of what we discussed today was all about hosting and updating your files. If any of this spooks you or if you’re just like us to take care of it all for you, again just reach out to WP Butler at wpbutler.com.au, have a chat to the team and we’ll be sure to help you out. With that, I think that’s a wrap for another lunchtime live. Thanks again for tuning in folks. Keep the support coming and we’ll see you next time. Bye for now.