Upgrading to LifterLMS 3.0

Before You Upgrade

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Before you upgrade to LifterLMS 3.0 we recommend you perform the following steps to ensure a hassle-free upgrade.

LifterLMS 3.0 is the largest upgrade in the history of the plugin, a lot is changing. Please thoroughly read the changelog.

Once you’ve upgraded there is no undo button.

  • Check for minimum system requirements here
  • If you’ve customized your plugin, read this document
  • We recommend you test the upgrade on a staging or local site first, especially if you have developed a custom theme or have custom functionality built into your platform or site.

And, as with any update, we recommend you make thorough backups before proceeding with the upgrade process.


Create a Backup!

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You will be prompted to run an upgrade after installing LifterLMS 3.0. There are a few key structural changes to the LifterLMS 3.0 database that will be made here so it is important you have backups in place prior to running the upgrade.

There are a couple of services out there that make backups easier for you:

  • BackupBuddy is a very popular backup and migration tool amongst our customers.
  • ManageWP does a lot more and is especially useful if you manage multiple websites.
  • VaultPress is the full backup service by Automattic.

You can also perform backups manually.

Create and Test in Staging

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The best way to ensure a smooth upgrade is to test everything on a staging site first.

A staging site is a copy of your website where you can make changes safely without affecting the live site where your students are taking courses and making purchases.

Quite a few hosting platforms provide you one-click staging sites. WPEngine is our favorite example.

If you are unsure of whether your host provides staging sites, contact your hosting company’s support team to ask.

If your host does not offer a staging site feature, there are premium tools available to help. The WP Stage Coach plugin is a great way to create a staging site without having to copy databases and files manually. Alternatively, you can manually create a staging site by following one of the many tutorials online, like this tutorial from Maintainn or this one from WP Beginner.

Once you’ve created your staging site you can follow all the upgrade steps without fear of affecting your live site and once you’re satisfied, you can duplicate your changes and run the upgrades on your live site.

Update LifterLMS Add-Ons and Themes

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With LifterLMS 3.0 come updates to a host of APIs that are utilized by official and third-party LifterLMS add ons and themes.

  • AffiliateWP – No upgrade required
  • LifterLMS ConvertKit – Upgrade to 1.0.4 to take advantage of new APIs. This version maintains backwards compatibility with LifterLMS 2.7.x and lower.
  • LifterLMS GravityForms – No Upgrade required.
  • LifterLMS Helper – Upgrade to 2.3.0 so you can activate and update official LifterLMS add-ons.
  • LifterLMS LaunchPad – Upgrade to 2.0. Versions 1.3.4 and lower are not compatible with LifterLMS 3.0. Version 2.0 is not compatible with LifterLMS 2.7.x and lower
  • LifterLMS MailChimp Upgrade to 2.1.2 to take advantage of new APIs. This version maintains backwards compatibility with LifterLMS 2.7.x and lower.
  • LifterLMS Stripe Upgrade to 4.0. Versions 3.0.2 and lower are not compatible with LifterLMS 3.0. Version 4.0 is not compatible with LifterLMS 2.7.x and lower. We recommend deactivating LifterLMS Stripe during the upgrade process and reactivating after both LifterLMS and LifterLMS Stripe have been updated to new versions.

If you have any other LifterLMS add-ons not listed here you should consult the documentation associated with the add-on to ensure LifterLMS 3.0 compatibility before proceeding.

Theme Compatibility

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LifterLMS 3.0 has some significant upgrades to how course and lesson sidebars are upgraded and it’s more than likely that your theme does not yet support LifterLMS Sidebars.

If this is the case, you will see the following message after upgrading to LifterLMS 3.0:


You may declare support for LifterLMS Sidebars by following these steps: https://lifterlms.com/docs/lifterlms-sidebar-support/

Additionally, with LifterLMS 3.0 comes a unification and upgrade to the default colors as well as some design elements utilized on the front end of your website.

As with LifterLMS 2.7.x, our goal is to have the smallest visual impact on your brand and site as possible, but there will be an impact.

If you are using LifterLMS LaunchPad you’ll want to see the new customization options available to you and customize them!

If you are using another theme or a custom theme you will need to add custom CSS to override the LifterLMS default colors and styles.

PayPal and WooCommerce

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In LifterLMS 3.0 payments via PayPal and integrations with WooCommerce have been overhauled, upgraded, and removed from the free LifterLMS plugin.

If your platform relies on either of these two integrations, purchase and install the replacement add-on during the upgrade process so that their functionality can resume after upgrading.

If you use WooCommerce, you’ll want to review the WooCommerce Upgrade Guide for additional upgrade steps as well.

Run the LifterLMS 3.0 Database Upgrade

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After installing and activating LifterLMS 3.0 you will be prompted with a message asking you to upgrade to the LifterLMS Database.


This will run in the background and will notify you when it’s finished.

For a list of the changes being made, please see the upgrade log at https://lifterlms.com/docs/lifterlms-database-updates/#300

We recommend waiting for this upgrade to complete before making any changes to your LifterLMS content and settings. Updates to courses, memberships, and other LifterLMS content types will happen 50 at a time. Most updates should finish in less than 5 minutes. If you have more than 500 courses or memberships, expect it to take longer. A site with few courses but many lessons will move quicker than a site with many courses.


Customizing after upgrade

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You may want to customize some things, like author, syllabus, course length, etc. Instead of making the changes directly in the plugin, use the customization plugin.

We’ve created a simple plugin for you to download and install, for free, to help speed up the process of adding actions, filters, and template overrides to your site. https://lifterlms.com/docs/how-do-i-add-custom-code-to-lifterlms-or-lifterlms-launchpad/

Trouble Shooting

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