We make every effort to make sure our versions are backwards compatible with previous versions, but it is impossible to test every scenario and how our Raffle Ticket Generator interacts with themes and other plugins. NEVER UPDATE THE RAFFLE TICKET GENERATOR ON A LIVE RAFFLE SITE WITHOUT EXTENSIVE TESTING AND BACKUPS All of our versions from 3.x to 3.y include feature additions and changes that also effect the database and could affect raffle ticket numbering, etc.
As a web development firm that has been building customer websites and app for 25 years, we understand the importance of maintaining proper backups and development staging environments. Unfortunately, we see a fair bit on bad practices when doing support so we wanted to put together this short article.
Setup a staging environment
While always a good idea to setup a test and dev site, it is an absolute necessity when dealing with an eCommerce site. There are so many factors that are constantly changing and you simply cannot just rely on luck when updating plugins that have to interact with others. We even offer a cheap add-on license to enable you to work in a test environment. This environment is typically on a subdomain such as devsite.yourwebsite.com and you should note all updates and changes on that site and do dozens of test orders and check all products BEFORE you update and change the live site or heaven forbid simply turn an untested site live.
When you have a live campaign or site promotion going, it is never a good idea to simply update WordPress and the plugins blindly. Having built over 3500 sites over the years, we can tell you from experience that problems happen that you do not expect and not testing in a staging environment beforehand can have a catastrophic effect.
For an eCommerce site, which is what the RTG plugin is installed on, this is a necessity. We use updraftplus and we cannot tell you how many times this has saved us over the years. There are many other backups as well. You should keep daily backups offsite of your database and regular backups of your full site. Do not rely on your hosting company for backups. They are backing up to be able to restore your site in the event of a server issue, not a hack situation or a plugin conflict.
We see a serious lack of testing when dealing with support for our plugin. I am amazed at just how many people install wp, add woocommerce and a few dozen plugins and install our Raffle Ticket Generator and simply turn the website live and announce their raffle. No test orders, never looking at how the tickets will appear. Then as orders come in, they realize that things are not how they want them and change settings and end up with a mess. When you purchase our plugin, we clearly state that this is to be used by web developers. We assume that someone charging for their services follows WordPress Development Best Practices, this includes testing the site and orders, etc. prior to taking a site live.
When updating the plugin, we suggest that you setup a development site, do a full backup. Update plugins one at a time and do test orders after each update. If using coupon codes test the coupon codes on the appropriate products and also the products you do not want the codes on to work on. Testing should be done to find ways to make the site and situation fail as you can never be sure how your customers will use the site.