Platform Upgrade: High-Performance Order Storage for WooCommerce

On October 10th, WooCommerce introduced an upgrade that will speed up your WooCommerce store. Among other improvements, High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) will enable a better, faster checkout experience for your customers and faster order processing for you. 

If your store was launched before October 10, 2023, you’ll be able to enable HPOS within your WooCommerce settings. If you’ve launched your store on or after October 10, 2023, great news — HPOS is automatically enabled for your store! This post explains what High-Performance Order Storage is, why we’ve built it for WooCommerce, and how you can enable it for your existing store.

Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know:

  1. HPOS means your customers’ experience and your store management experience will be faster and better.
  2. HPOS is fully compatible with Woo Express and its included extensions.
  3. If you have an existing store, it’s available to test — and turn on/off — now, but some extensions aren’t compatible yet. If an extension is incompatible with HPOS, you will receive an alert inside your wp-admin dashboard.
  4. For stores created on or after October 10, 2023, HPOS is enabled by default. When you download and activate a new extension, you will receive an alert inside your WP Admin dashboard notifying you of any HPOS compatibility issues.
  5. Third-party developers are responsible for updating their extensions. Woo will continue to communicate with them until the extension is compatible.

What is High-Performance Order Storage?

High-Performance Order Storage, or HPOS, is a major database improvement that WooCommerce has been working on since January 2022. It has been rigorously tested by our developers and the external developer community. 

HPOS will unlock major upgrades for your online store, including up to 5x improvement in order creation speed and up to 1.5x faster checkout. On the operational side, performance will also be greatly improved — finding an order will now be up to 40x faster.

It was the most requested feature from our developer community. This is not only a change that will help your store grow and our own technology scale, it’s something that will benefit all developers who work with Woo, from extension creators to the developers who help manage stores on an ongoing basis.

How is order storage changing with this upgrade?

With the current technology, your store’s orders were stored using the same database technology that stores WordPress posts. High-Performance Order Storage will move order information into a new database storage system that is commerce-first and will scale better with your store. 

Your website will process orders faster and you’ll be able to access order information more quickly on the backend. This new feature will upgrade your online shop with the most modern database technology that scales easily with your business — no matter how big it grows.

What happens next with HPOS?

We realize that some of the developers we work with may need more time to make their extensions compatible. This means that some plugins will continue to be incompatible for a little while after the general availability date. 

HPOS is built into WooCommerce for all new stores, which means you can test it out as soon as you’d like. For existing stores, you’ll still need to enable HPOS. 

How will I know if an extension will be compatible with HPOS?

Once you have an extension downloaded and activated, you will receive an alert in your WP Admin dashboard if an extension is incompatible. If an extension you have activated is incompatible, you can try the following steps to fix the issue:

  1. Deactivate any incompatible extensions to quickly resolve an issue.
  2. If deactivating the extension is not an option, you can disable HPOS by following these instructions.

How will this impact your WooCommerce store?

High-performance order storage is a default feature for all stores created on or after October 10, 2023.

However, we want to make sure that our existing stores are functioning perfectly and, at this time, HPOS will not be the default experience for existing stores. Your store will continue working but we encourage you to try it out and enjoy the benefits of a faster checkout — or ask the developer you work with to enable it for your store. 

This experience will eventually become the default for all stores in the future, but we are giving ourselves and our extension developers plenty of time to make that transition as smooth as possible. 

We’ll reach out to all existing stores before enabling HPOS for everyone.

Who can enable High-Performance Order Storage now?

If your store was launched prior to October 10, 2023, and uses WooCommerce 7.1 or later, you are welcome to try HPOS at any time. It’s currently an opt-in experience available under your advanced settings. To find it, follow this navigation path: WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced > Features.

There is documentation on the WooCommerce website and also in GitHub guides for developers. At the moment, it is still an experimental feature until it’s released, so work will be required to sync your store to the new table structure.

We recommend reading through the complete documentation before deciding to enable HPOS for your store. 

Please note that some extensions will not be compatible with the new database architecture yet. We’re working with our third-party developers to make sure the extensions they make and support will be compatible with HPOS. 

In the meantime, if you choose to try HPOS, we recommend testing the feature in a staging environment before adding it to your live site. Learn how to set up a staging environment for your store in this blog post. Once your staging environment is set up, you can see which extensions will be compatible via your extension screen after HPOS has been enabled. 

Since many of our Marketplace extensions are built by third-party developers, we are relying on them to update their extension code for compatibility. If you try HPOS and find your favorite extension is incompatible, we encourage merchants to reach out to that developer and ask them to update soon. WooCommerce has provided instructions and resources to all developers to help them update their products.

If you try HPOS and have any feedback for us, please reach out to our support team and they can make sure your feedback is sent to the right team.

How does this impact stores created after HPOS is released?

First, congratulations on taking a major step in your business journey! If you are creating a new store after High-Performance Order Storage is generally available, this will be the default database structure for your store. There is nothing you will need to do to enable HPOS. However, some extensions will remain incompatible. Despite our best efforts to encourage extension developers to make the updates, some will not have done so in time for general release.

All new stores will receive the full benefits of a faster checkout experience and better operational performance with HPOS.

Frequently asked questions

The Woo engineering team is working hard to ensure that all HPOS changes are impactful in positive ways, and so that merchants and developers alike have what they need to make an informed decision about when to enable High-Performance Order Storage. 

Below is a list of common questions and their answers. For more technical insight, take a look at our developer blog FAQ. If you have further questions, please leave a note in the comments section or reach out to our support team, and we will respond as quickly as we can. 

1. How does High-Performance Order Storage work?

High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) works by adding database storage tables, specific to orders, to the existing WordPress database. This means your orders are going to be now stored in a new table structure designed specifically to work for WooCommerce. For more technical information, our documentation on HPOS is a great resource.

2. I have an existing store but don’t want to try HPOS.

No problem! While we do encourage everyone to switch to HPOS to enjoy the full benefits of a faster checkout experience for your customers, we understand that not everyone will want to try it right away. You will be able to switch at any time.

3. My favorite extension is incompatible with HPOS, what should I do?

We have been actively communicating about the upcoming HPOS change with our developer community. We have several blog posts, guides for how to update extensions in GitHub, and full documentation. Despite our best efforts to encourage extension developers to make the switch, some developers may not accommodate HPOS. 

If one of your extensions is incompatible, we strongly recommend that you reach out to the developer’s support team and ask them to make the update. Any extensions that do not update by the time the feature is released will be removed from our Marketplace. You will continue to be able to use the extension without HPOS if you already have it installed.

4. I tried to enable HPOS, but I’m stuck!

If you work with a developer who helps manage your online store, we recommend that you ask them to help migrate your store over to HPOS. If you are not working with a developer and you try HPOS before it’s released, there is additional work needed to sync your store. Be sure to follow our documentation closely.

If you are still running into issues, you can disable HPOS, or you can reach out to our support team for assistance. Additionally, our knowledgeable WooExperts are available if you need more in-depth help with your online store.

5. Can small businesses use HPOS or is it only meant for larger businesses?

Businesses of all sizes will benefit from High-Performance Order Storage. 

6. I have a high-volume store on WooCommerce. How does this impact my store?

Existing stores will not be migrated over to HPOS at this time. You are still welcome to try it, especially if you work with a developer who maintains your store. 

Eventually, all Woo stores will migrate to HPOS. When we’re ready to migrate existing stores over, we will reach out again to notify our existing stores not currently on HPOS.

If you need additional support for your high-volume business, you may be eligible for Woo Enterprise, which includes unique benefits like dedicated support and discounted extensions. Learn more about how our team can help your business grow.

7. Will this work with extension [X]?

Prior to HPOS general availability, the best way to check if a specific extension’s compatibility is to enable HPOS under advanced settings and then check your plugins tab in WP Admin. Any extensions not compatible with HPOS will show a message on this screen. You may still be able to use an incompatible extension with HPOS, but please proceed with caution and always test it in a staging environment first.

8. Are there any specific hosting requirements or limitations for using HPOS in WooCommerce?

There are no hosting restrictions. Any host that is able to run WordPress should have no trouble running HPOS, and it should even increase performance in a number of ways after it is enabled.

This post has been updated following the general availability of high-performance order storage with WooCommerce release 8.2.0. For more information on this release, check out this post on our developer blog.