When you run into problems and issues in your WooCommerce store you need to troubleshoot and investigate the cause of the problem. Sometimes it’s quite easy to see what plugin (or part of your WordPress website) that is causing the problem, but since the majority of WooCommerce stores have a number of different plugins activated it can be tricky to instantly spot the root cause of the problem.
Before you spend time to create a support ticket (or before you know which vendor to reach out to) it can be a good idea to try to locate the issue yourself. Or at least – to determine where the issue is located and prepare as much as possible. This way, when you create a support ticket, it becomes a ticket that is easy manageable and therefore solved in a shorter time than an unprepared ticket.
A good WooCommerce Self-Service Guide is available in the official documentation at woocommerce.com
1. Read the documentation
If you know what plugin (or theme) that is causing the problem, check the documentation. It might sound obvious and something that you’ve already done when installing the plugin, but a large proportion of users actually don’t read the documentation at all. If you are among the people actually reading the docs – new plugin versions are released and the documentation might get updated. It can be a good idea to go through it again 🙂
2. Create backup of your site
Always make sure to have some sort of backup of your site before you try any of these steps below. This is very important!
3. Create a staging environment
Avoid troubleshooting in production. Having customers trying to make purchases in your store at the same time as you’re doing changes trying to locate a problem isn’t optimal. A better way to investigate the issue is to clone the entire website and install it in a test/sandbox environment. Several hosts offer a one-click staging feature. If yours doesn’t you can clone your website via plugins like Duplicator or WP Staging.
4. Update to the latest version
A good ground rule is to always have a backup of your site and keep WordPress and installed plugins up to date. If you’re experiencing issues it’s a good way to start the troubleshooting with updating all your plugins to the latest version.
For more information: How to update WooCommerce
5. Deactivate other plugins
One of the most common problem are conflicts between different installed plugins. Even if the issue clearly is tied to one plugin, the reason to the problem might be caused by another plugin. To troubleshoot this, deactivate all other plugins and then start to activate one plugin at a time until the issue appears again. Then you know what plugin is causing the conflict.
If you are experiencing problems with any of Krokedils plugins, we suggest that you deactivate all plugins except WooCommerce and the plugin in question. Then you proceed with activation of the other plugins until you can reproduce the issue.
For more information: Plugin and theme conflicts
6. Switch theme
Sometimes the issue is related to the theme that you are using. Since many themes comes bundled with a lot of custom functionality (similar to a plugin) the conflict can be caused by the theme.
A good idea is to navigate to → Appearance → Themes. Download Storefront (the default WooCommerce theme from Automattic) and temporary activate that theme.
For more information: Plugin and theme conflicts
7. Turn on debug
Some issues might cause PHP errors and warnings. By reading these error messages you might be able to trace where the issue is coming from. By turning on debug logging in WordPress you will be able to read the error messages. In your wp-config.php file you add the following:
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
WP_DEBUG true means that debug logging should be activated.
WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY false means that notices, warnings and errors should not be printed on the web page.
WP_DEBUG_LOG true means that notices, warnings and errors should be printed and stored in the file debug.log, located in the folder wp-content.
For more information: Debugging in WordPress
8. Submit a support ticket
OK, if you have come this far and haven’t solved the problem yet it’s time to create a support ticket. Now you have a really good grasp of what’s wrong. You have eliminated other potential plugins interfering with your problem. You also have an environment ready for the plugin support staff to start troubleshooting in (without it affecting your production site and your customers).
When you create the ticket I would suggest you:
- Describe the problem as clear and concise as possible.
- If possible, provide screenshots/videos of your problem.
- Describe how to recreate the issue step by step.
- Provide a link to an order, page or reference where the issue can be displayed.
- Provide a temporary WP admin login so the support technician can look into the problem.
- Provide us with a WooCommerce System Status Report.
By going through the steps above, you increase the chance of solving your problem in a quick and efficient way – whether you manage to solve the error yourself or if you come as far as step 8 you need to create a new support case.