Updating the WooCommerce Database

long colorful lines on a computer screen

It seems like there are a lot of odd things that can happen when updating WooCommerce to the latest version. Most recently, we had a very major update to WooCommerce 4.0. We have since released Version 4.0.1 as well. There are a lot of things that can happen during the update. Most times the plugin appears to update just fine. The store owner is none the wiser and goes about their day. After this, they start to see issues that can be corrected by updating the WooCommerce database.

They will start getting emails and/or phone calls from customers saying something has gone wrong with a purchase. Typically I see things related to payments and shipping. But there are a lot of other things that can happen as well. In these cases, something went wrong during the update. Even though the plugin updated just fine, the WooCommerce Database that it uses did not.

This database houses every bit of information for the store. When it isn’t updated properly the issues can be related to almost anything. There is hope though! The developers at WooCommerce have a tool in the plugin. It will update this database when it gets out of sync. You just need to know how to find it and how to use it.

How to fix the problem.

Updating the WooCommerce database is simple and completes behind the scenes. I highly recommend having a good backup process as a safety precaution. Also, understand how to restore it before beginning this update, please. When ready, go to the site’s Dashboard and navigate to the WooCommerce โ†’ Status โ†’ Tools tab. Then scroll down:

When updating the WooCommerce Database, visit your site Dashboard and go to WooCommerce, then Status, and then the Tools tab. From there scroll down to find the Update database tool.

Find the “Update database” tool. There is a Note here to remind you to have a sufficient backup before proceeding. If you do, click the Update Database button.

Updating the WooCommerce Database is easy when you have the right tool. Clicking the Update Database button shown here will start the process but will not show when it is completed.

Updating the WooCommerce Database is complete when the System Status Report shows them in sync. If you are using the latest version, both entries should show version 4.0.1 as my test site does, as of 30 March 2020:

The System Status Report shows if updating the WooCommerce Database was completed successfully.
Both the WooCommerce plugin’s version and the WooCommerce Database version should match

Updating the database can solve a lot of things.

I can’t actually guarantee updating the WooCommerce database will fix the issue you are seeing. But if you are at your wit’s end and cannot find the cause of an issue. If a conflict test is also coming up with no results, then give this part of the site a look. See if things need updating, it may just solve things for you.

What if it didn’t work?

Other things you may want to consider when nothing else seems to work is to check the three most common causes of issues with a WooCommerce store:

  • Outdated software on your site
  • Conflict with your theme
  • Conflict with another plugin

The first item is easily fixed by updating all of the themes and plugins installed on the site. The second and third items can both be discovered by conducting a thorough Conflict Test. It is one of the most versatile testing processes you can use to find issues within a site aside from updating the WooCommerce Database.

There are also a lot of free support resources online besides this blog. You can review information from the WooCommerce Documentation. There are a ton of external resources like Stack Overflow, the WordPress Support Forums, and other blogs. There is so much free information out there that it can get overwhelming at times. If you find too much information, look for the most common similar answers. If you check 10 resources and five of them all say to run a specific process it is likely a good idea to do so. If that doesn’t work then check the next common answer and so on.

This will be resolved.

Even if updating the WooCommerce database didn’t fix things. And even if all the resources cannot solve the issue right now, it doesn’t mean things are permanently broken. WooCommerce is Open-Source Software. There is a large community supporting this plugin with extensions sales and other business models. It’s not going anywhere so that thing that can’t be solved today will get solved soon.

I hope this has been somewhat helpful. My SEO plugin tells me I don’t have enough words for a post but I don’t care. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let me know in the comments if updating the WooCommerce database solved any issues for your site. I’d like to gather enough anecdotal evidence of this to put something together for my colleagues. I would appreciate your help with that.

Take care!