In the previous part of this series, we looked at some of the challenges come up when implementing an eCommerce solution using WordPress themes and plugins.
In this particular post, I intend to offer solutions to each of the aforementioned challenges with the ultimate goal being that implementing eCommerce in your WordPress setup will be a joyful experience.
WordPress Automatic Versus Manual Updates
One of the problems that we've previous discussed is how automatic WordPress updates can negatively affect plugins that are installed on the current site.
From WordPress version 3.7 forward, WordPress core allows minor security updates to be performed automatically and the major core to be done manually by the user via the dashboard
By editing the
wp-config.php on the root folder of your website file, and inserting the following lines of code you can choose to either have updates be handled automatically or update them manually.
In each case below, you will have to choose
false depending with the result you wish to obtain
- This particular line of code will enable or disable major core updates of the WordPress core
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
- In case you need the plugins to update automatically you insert the following line in
add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' );
- If you are using a theme downloaded directly from the WordPress repository, you can add the following line to enable automatic updates:
add_filter ( 'auto_update_theme','__return_true' );
Themes and plugins are an integral part of your website, so always keep tabs with the developers to check compatibility of the theme and/or plugins installed with the new WordPress update.
In case you're required to modify a theme extensively, always use a child theme. This way, when a developer updates a theme, the website will be minimally affected.
Please note that WordPress security updates are essential to your website. Each update fixes a particular issue in the application, so I highly recommend leaving the default settings.
Since most WordPress eCommerce sites use third-party payment methods and merchants to handle cash transactions for the site, it is important to implement security measures that will protect users usernames and passwords when interacting with your site during the shopping process.
Fortunately, the WordPress plugin repository has a number of security plugins that can help with that. The following are some of the security features you should look out for in a WordPress security plugin:
1. User Login and Account Security
A good security plugin should be able to protect against a brute force attack with a lock-down feature, a monitor, and should enforce a limited number of login attempts. It should also use a password strength tool to check users passwords.
2. File-System Security
Folder permissions are a very important part of any WordPress website regardless of it's an eCommerce site or not. It is essential a plugin to aid in checking the relevant file permissions and correct them accordingly, another feature along with permissions, is the ability to back-up your original
3. Database Security
A good security plugin should enable you to change the default prefix of the database to a value of your choice and schedule automatic backups of your site. This will protect the site from hackers who can sneak through the server to collect data from the database.
4. Firewall Security
Firewall security involves protecting the site against WordPress pingback vulnerabilities by denying bad or malicious query strings, protecting the site against cross site scripting, and other preventive measures that will help block malicious attackers from gaining access to your website.
Website security is not reserved just for eCommerce sites, but for all websites. Choosing the right security plugin will go a long way to ensuring that your site serves its intended purpose and does so securely.
Some of the security plugins I recommend include:
Variety of WordPress eCommerce Solutions
It can be very difficult to find one plugin solution that will offer all the features you need, but again there quite a number of them that offer exceptional features that meet various criteria of different eCommerce sites.
In a previous post, Factors to Consider in WordPress eCommerce plugins, we covered some of the essential factors one needs to consider when choosing an eCommerce plugin. We also did a comparison of the different features each plugin has, and what plugin best works for what type of eCommerce site.
As you review that post, it's important to mention that different eCommerce sites require different solutions. Because of that, it is up to you as the site owner to look at what your website needs, the products and services your are offering, and the features of each plugin and select one that best meets your requirements.
Website Scaling and Growth
Most of the popular WordPress eCommerce plugins, such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, take advantage of built-in WordPress custom post types meaning they interact with the site database just like any other WordPress installation.
Heavy traffic is something that most websites are not always prepared to handle, in most cases you will find a site moving from a shared hosting, to virtual private server, and finally to a dedicated server.
As painful as it may be to hear, opting for a new web host plan may be essential as your eCommerce site grows and continues to receive heavy traffic, but this is a good problem to have as it indicates the growth of your site.
The WordPress Plugin Repository has a few plugins that can come in handy when it comes to website catching. One that I highly recommend is W3 Total Cache. In this particular series, Configuring W3 Total Cache, Ahmad Awais explains in simple steps how to best configure this plugin. Together with W3 Total Cache, varnish cache can be used to help store pre-built pages in memory and serve them quickly.
In this post, we highlighted a number of solutions to the problems we mentioned in the first part of this series. It is essential you come up with a strategy of how to handle WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates, implement effective strategies when it comes to your website security and scaling and finally analyzing your site requirements before choosing an eCommerce plugin.
I highly recommend you read through the various tutorials mentioned and all the related tutorials to gather all the necessary knowledge you require to build your next eCommerce site
In the mean time, feel free to leave any questions or comments below!