CEO & IT Architect
Updating your Prestashop store isn’t as easy as it seems so you should always prepare earlier. Regular Prestashop updates are important. Today I’ll explain how to safely carry out this process.
- What will you gain by updating the store?
- Is updating the Prestashop store safe?
- The update process – what to look into
What will you gain by updating the store?
- higher safety levels
- increasing the speed of generating individual pages
- functional development
Let’s assume you’d like to expand your store’s functionality by buying a module. It may turn out that your version of Prestashop is outdated and installation of the module will not be possible. This is because most publishers do not create modules for old versions of the stores. This is a signal that you should update your store.
By not updating your store, you are incurring a technological debt. It is known that every debt has to be paid off at some point. The bigger the debt, the greater the interest. The longer you wait for development and updates, the more costs you will incur.
How to update your Prestashop store? You will find out in the article below.
Is updating the Prestashop store safe?
There is always a risk of major or minor failures when updating. Therefore, we recommend that you go to specialists for help. Especially when your store generates daily sales and you do not have programming knowledge.
The most important things you need to do before updating your store to do it safely:
Backup on the server
The first and most important thing to do is to make a backup version of the store, and this is the version that you will update. If all goes well you can either upload it to the store and make it the production version, or you repeat the whole updating process on the production version. Remember! You should do this process during the smallest traffic in the store!
It is unheard of not to have a backup of your store from a few days back. If you manage the server yourself, create an automatic mechanism that prepares such backup. This is useful for a failed update and is the quickest and safest way to revert to the pre-upgrade state of your store.
SEO data backup
I explained SEO backup in more detail in a previous article on transferring your store from another platform to Prestashop. It is not a very important step when updating the website. However, if your store is large and you have invested a lot in positioning, it is worth creating a backup of your SEO data once a year or before implementing major changes.
A test version of the store
Create a separate test version of the store and perform the update process to it first. All changes, including module installations and Prestashop updates, should be done on the test version first.
The update process – what to look into
The store template after updates
All store engines (including Prestashop) are evolving. Some functionalities are being retired by new ones taking their place. Differently prepared and written by programmers. This can have a big impact on all elements of the store’s operation.
Start by checking if the template you prepared earlier still works well after upgrading your store to a newer version. What for? You may find that the function which displays product prices and was called “show price” has been changed to “show price 2” due to the update. Of course, the developers care about backward compatibility, and the example given is radical, but it may happen.
If this happens to you, you might have to consider:
- customizing the template you already have,
- creating the template from scratch,
- designing new artwork.
However, it always depends on the specific case.
You may find that your store has new functionalities after updating its software. And that’s cool!
However, you may notice that some website functionalities are not working after the update. For example, your site had functionalities prepared by programmers and they cannot simply be copied from folder to folder on the server. They have to be geared to the new version of the Prestashop software.
Make a list of custom functionalities created especially for your store. Consider whether to transfer them to the new version of the store. Will the code work? If not, think about reaching for the help of a programmer.
Prestashop module compatibility
If you used ready-made modules, they could have been prepared for an older version of the Prestashop store, for example, version 1.6.1. However, they may not be compatible with version 1.7.8. If so, you have two options:
- buy an update, which will generate a cost,
- ask the developer to prepare the modules for a specific version of the store.
Today it is no longer the case that you can download add-ons and updates without any limits on the official Prestashop website. You have 12 months to download an update. After that time, you’ll need to purchase support for each module to continue to access support and updates.
Updating the databases
If you update the store from version to version and stay on the same database, the database migration will probably be done by the updater. However, when you change the version (for example from 1.6.0 to 1.7.8), the changes will be huge. Consider transferring (customers, products, orders) from database to database.
Whenever you update, especially when transferring large versions, you should consider changing the store’s infrastructure.
Is the current hosting provider enough for you? Do they offer you what you need? Maybe you want to implement new acceleration solutions (content acceleration, application acceleration, caching mechanisms, database version upgrade)? It is worth considering changing your hosting. This may be the best time to apply new optimization solutions. If you have not previously applied Change Deployment Management and have not used:
- version control system,
- code repository,
- automated mechanisms for implementing changes to the store (they reduce the time the store is unavailable for the viewer, which translates into the amount of money that the store will earn),
it is a good time to take them into account at this stage because you already have a lot of work to do. Website speed is very important. The opening time of the store page must be as short as possible.
When to update to a new version of Prestashop?
Do not update immediately after Prestashop becomes available. It’s best to wait 2-3 months. Check if there are any patches for the new version. There may be some critical bugs in the beginning. Check it out and then update.
Update your Prestashop store whenever possible, but don’t do this with every small version. It is worth reading what changes are hidden in a given update, what has been corrected, and what may stop working. Although the truth is that as an e-commerce owner or manager you are not able to follow all the news regularly, so it’s best to surround yourself with specialists in your narrow fields.
Prestashop code structure
Good web developers run projects in a way that the base engine of the store can be updated without compromising the functionality. Functionalities are added through purchased ready-made modules or modules created by programmers and are attached to the store’s engine. Functional changes must be carried out in the modules and not in the core engine.
This structure keeps the code clean. This also allows the store to run smoothly while allowing programmers to read the code quickly. In the event of a failure, this structure allows for quick removal, even by programmers who didn’t write the code. This is of great importance for large and fast-growing projects.
Check if your contractor does this and ask about it when choosing the Prestashop agency. Everything else that is worth paying attention to while running a store is described in the article on how to choose the right Prestashop agency.
A summary of the update process
Handing the store update on Prestashop over to specialists will cost you, but think about what costs will occur if something goes wrong and your online store is down for several hours. In extreme cases, even for a few days!