According to the WooCommerce Usage Statistics gathered by BuiltWith, there are 6,398,602 live websites using WooCommerce as of March 2023. You’re probably using WooCommerce right now to run your eCommerce business, and consequently, your online shop’s checkout page plays a pivotal role in the success of your online business. Even minor issues can lead to your customers abandoning their carts, which will decrease your revenue.
These errors can range from minor glitches to major roadblocks, such as payment failures and shipping calculation issues. Identifying and rectifying these issues can significantly improve your conversion rates and boost your bottom line.
In this article, we will explore the most common WooCommerce checkout page issues and provide you with 7 expert tips to solve them. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be able to create a seamless and user-friendly checkout experience, ensuring that your customers complete their purchases without any hurdles. By following these tips, you’ll be able to improve your customers’ checkout experience and increase your online sales – let’s dive in.
WooCommerce technical difficulties and their impact on your sales
When you’re running an online store using WooCommerce, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential technical difficulties you might run into and their impact on your sales. Problems with your online store’s performance, load time, payment gateway, and security will cost your business a lot of profitable opportunities. The repercussions of having technical difficulties on your WooCommerce website can include:
Decreased conversion rates
Having website performance troubles, payment gateway issues, and plugin conflicts will frustrate your customers during their checkout process. Moreover, payment gateway issues, such as transaction errors or declined payments, can undermine your customers’ trust and discourage them from shopping in your online store. Additionally, conflicts between your WordPress plugins can cause errors, disrupt the checkout process, and present inconsistencies in your product data to your customers. All these issues will frustrate your shoppers and cause them to abandon their purchases, further reducing your conversion rates.
Lost sales opportunities and damaged reputation
If your WooCommerce website experiences frequent downtime, server errors, or security breaches, your potential customers may be unable to access your store. Furthermore, they could even lose trust in your brand or share their negative experiences with others, which will discourage new or existing customers from making purchases on your website. This can damage your reputation and result in lost sales opportunities.
Missed marketing opportunities
If your WooCommerce store experiences technical issues during critical marketing campaigns or sales events, such as Black Friday or holiday promotions, it can lead to missed opportunities to capitalize on increased customer interest and traffic. Unfortunately, recovering your sales momentum after resolving your technical issues can be challenging, as customers may have moved on or lost interest. To minimize these consequences, it’s crucial to monitor your website’s performance, optimize your checkout process, and regularly test your payment gateways.
Common WooCommerce checkout errors
The checkout page is not working or redirects back to an empty cart
There are a plethora of reasons why your checkout page might not be functioning as it should. The most probable cause could be that your hosting environment is not designed to be compatible with WooCommerce. WooCommerce has specific system requirements and relies on certain server configurations to function correctly. If your hosting does not meet these requirements or lacks the necessary settings, it can lead to conflicts or errors during the checkout process.
Additionally, not regularly updating your WooCommerce version, plugins, and themes can cause compatibility and functionality problems on your checkout page. This is because outdated plugins may contain deprecated functions and code, which may no longer be supported by the latest WooCommerce version.
The checkout process is stuck on loading
If your checkout page gets stuck loading while processing your customers’ order information, your customers will get frustrated and will most likely abandon their purchase. This is a challenging issue since it can be difficult to identify the root cause.
However, one of the likely reasons is that there is a bug in the script responsible for updating the order information based on your consumers’ inputs. Errors in this script can make your checkout page get stuck loading without displaying any error messages for your customers.
Payment buttons are unavailable or not working
Stripe and PayPal are among the most common and efficient payment gateways to set up for your online store. However, if your customers are struggling to interact with your payment gateways, you’re going to end up with lost sales. This problem most commonly occurs because of issues with your WordPress site’s SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a security measure that ensures that the link between your web server and your customers’ web browsers is encrypted, which is required by Google. It is indicated by a padlock icon in a browser’s address bar.
Moreover, payment methods usually require websites to have an SSL certificate in place for security purposes. If your store doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed, the payment options might not be displayed on your checkout page.
Unknown or fatal errors
When unidentified errors pop up on your WooCommerce site, it may be due to issues with your WordPress PHP code. Problems with your PHP code could be a result of several factors. One possibility could be having incompatible plugins installed on your online store. Sometimes conflicts can arise between different plugins or between a plugin and WooCommerce itself.
The best solutions for fixing WooCommerce checkout errors
1. Troubleshoot your plugins and theme
Your WooCommerce site might be encountering the aforementioned errors due to conflicting plugins. In order to troubleshoot your plugins, you will need to:
- Create a WordPress staging site as a test environment, then log in to your WordPress admin dashboard from it.
- Navigate to the Plugins section on the left-hand menu.
- You’ll see a list of installed plugins. Start by deactivating all the plugins by using the Bulk action option, or you can simply click on the Deactivate option below each plugin’s name. Make sure you exclude deactivating the WooCommerce plugin.
- Start reactivating each plugin one by one, checking your WooCommerce store for any problems after each activation. If the issue emerges after activating one of the plugins, you can then further investigate the problem with that plugin. You can try updating the plugin to the latest version or reaching out to the plugin’s support team for assistance. Additionally, if you’re a seasoned developer, you can try debugging the plugin’s PHP code. However, if you’re not familiar with PHP yourself, you can always hire a WordPress expert from our team of experience developers.
- Finally, if your issue has been resolved, push or upload your WordPress changes to your live website.
Another potential cause is a theme conflict. If you have recently switched themes or updated your theme, that could be causing the issue. Try switching to a default WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty-Two in your staging environment and see if that solves the problem.
2. Inspect common WooCommerce AJAX issues
Your checkout page relies on AJAX calls to communicate with your server to perform various actions, such as updating WooCommerce cart items, calculating totals, or processing payments. If your checkout page is not working, redirects back to an empty cart, or gets stuck loading, then you might want to explore the following AJAX errors and their solutions:
2.1 Incorrect AJAX URL
When working with AJAX in your WooCommerce, you need to specify the correct AJAX URL to ensure that your AJAX requests are sent to the appropriate destination. The AJAX URL is the endpoint where your AJAX requests are processed by the server. In simple terms, imagine that you’re sending a letter to someone. The AJAX URL is like the address on the envelope where you want your letter to go. When you make an AJAX request, it’s like sending that letter to the server. The server reads the AJAX URL to know where the request should be processed. Just like the address tells the mail carrier where to deliver the letter, the AJAX URL tells the server where to handle your request and send back the response.
WooCommerce provides a specific AJAX URL that you should use in your code. This URL is typically generated dynamically and includes specific parameters to route the request to the correct handler within WooCommerce. If you use an incorrect or outdated AJAX URL, it can lead to errors because the request won’t be properly processed.
2.2 AJAX error caused by mismatching WordPress and Site URLs
When you set up a WooCommerce store within WordPress, there are two important URLs that need to be configured correctly: your WordPress Address and your Site Address. The WordPress Address refers to the URL where your WordPress installation is located, while the Site Address corresponds to the URL where your customers can access your web store. It’s crucial for both URLs to match exactly.
When these URLs don’t match, it can cause issues during the checkout process in your WooCommerce. Since AJAX requests can only be made within the same domain due to security restrictions (known as the Same-Origin Policy), any mismatch between your WordPress Site URLs can lead to failed AJAX requests.
To check if this discrepancy is the cause of your checkout problems, you can follow these steps:
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to “Settings” and click on “General.”
- Look for the fields labeled “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL).”
- Verify that both URLs are identical.
- If you find that the URLs are not the same, you will need to update them to match precisely. You can do this by editing the respective fields and entering the correct URL for your website. Make sure to include the appropriate protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) and ensure that the domain is accurate.
You’ll need to exercise caution when making these changes to prevent any disruption to your website’s functionality.
2.3 AJAX errors caused by the index.html file
When your WooCommerce checkout page functions incorrectly, it may mean that the response received by your website from your server as a result of an AJAX request is invalid. To troubleshoot this problem, you can examine the response in the XHR tab (XMLHttpRequest) of the developer console in your web browser. If the response appears to be HTML instead of JSON, it indicates that the index.html file located in the root directory of your website is causing the issue.
This problem requires a lot of technical knowledge and expertise. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling this issue on your own, try hiring one of our WooCommerce Codeable experts.
3. Fix ssl_error_rx_record_too_long error
Encountering the ssl_error_rx_record_too_long error When a customer tries to access the checkout page of a WooCommerce website, the browser initiates an SSL/TLS handshake process to establish a secure connection. If the ssl_error_rx_record_too_long error occurs during this handshake, the connection may fail, and the checkout process may not proceed or may display an error message to the user.
This typically indicates a problem with the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) configuration on your website. It ensures that sensitive information, such as credit card details, is transmitted securely between your web server and your customers’ browsers. Therefore, this issue should be dealt with immediately.
The best way of doing this, in this case, is to try to reach out to your hosting provider for assistance. They will have access to the server configuration and can help diagnose and resolve the SSL configuration problem. Since this issue isn’t directly related to WooCommerce itself, your hosting provider is the best resource to address it.
4. Fix session_start errors
This error typically indicates an issue related to the session_start() PHP function found in your woocommerce.php file under the wp-content/plugins/woocommerce directory of your WordPress site. session_start() problems mean that the function failed to open a file in a certain directory, returning the error code Permission denied (13).
Resolving session_start() errors can be fairly technical. If you want to be hands-on regarding this problem, you can contact your hosting provider since they have access to your server configuration and can assist you in resolving the issue. They might need to adjust the PHP session configuration or ensure that the necessary permissions are set correctly for the session storage directory. On the other hand, if you are unsure about how to begin tackling this problem yourself, you can simply hire one of our Codeable WordPress experts to take care of it for you.
5. Fix checkout and payment buttons that are unavailable or not working
If your customers are having problems with the checkout button or checkout options on your WooCommerce shop, you might want to try the following solutions to get your WooCommerce payments functioning as they should:
5.1 Verify payment gateway settings
Check your WooCommerce payment gateway settings and ensure that they are correctly configured. Verify that the payment gateway is enabled, API keys are accurate, and any required credentials or settings are properly entered.
5.2 Clear your browser cache
Sometimes the browser cache can cause issues with your website functionality. Clearing your browser cache can help in resolving this problem. You can also try to access your website on a different browser or from an incognito/private tab to see if the issue persists.
6. Fix confirmation emails that don’t contain download links
This point covers when the confirmation emails you send to your customers after they purchase a downloadable product from your eCommerce site do not include the necessary download links, which is a problem! This will frustrate your customers because they won’t be able to access what they’ve just bought.
The reason behind this issue is usually the absence of the SQL table wp_woocommerce_downloadable_product_permissions in your database. When you enable WooCommerce on your website, certain SQL tables are supposed to be added to your database. However, if the WordPress SQL table prefix, which is stored in the wp-config.php file, is too long, this process may fail.
To fix this problem, you need to rename the WordPress SQL table prefix. The prefix can have up to 64 characters, but it’s recommended to use a prefix of no more than 20-25 characters. Additionally, you can hire one of our WordPress developers who will know exactly what to do here.
7. Fix WooCommerce page content not showing
If you’re facing an issue where pages, like your cart page, in your WooCommerce are not displaying content, you can follow these steps to resolve it:
- Create a new page and insert the appropriate shortcode for the content you want to display.
- Publish the page.
- Go to WooCommerce > Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the page you just created from the dropdown menu.
- Save the settings.
You will now have a fresh page setup which will correctly associate your page content to your desired WooCommerce page. This approach is helpful because it will solve the issue of your page content not showing entirely, or help you pinpoint the root cause and resolve it.
Best practices for your WooCommerce storefront
Utilizing conflict and health check plugins for your WooCommerce website is significantly important. Health Check & Troubleshooting, Redis Object Cache, and SiteAlert are among the most popular health check plugins. These plugins can help you easily identify and resolve conflicts between different themes, plugins, or custom code on your eCommerce store.
Additionally, health checking and troubleshooting plugins help you proactively monitor your website’s performance, identify potential bottlenecks, and zoom in on any underlying issues that may impact your site’s speed, security, or stability.
Hire a Codeable expert to fix your WooCommerce checkout problems
WooCommerce checkout errors can cause your customers to abandon your online business and take their wallets elsewhere. When it comes to these issues, there are several areas you should look into, like the ones explained in this tutorial.
However, if the step-by-step guide above is too complex for you or you just want your website to be fixed as quickly as possible, then opt for hiring a Codeable WooCommerce specialist. Just submit your project to our WordPress experts, who are highly experienced, and they will handle your WooCommerce issues for you!