Google Geocoding and Browser keys

This article effects the WordPress StoreLocatorPlus  users “Do it yourself “

MAP Service and API Keys

Changes as of June 11, 2018 will effect the WordPress Store Locator Plus (DIY) community.  Google requires all sites  using map services to have an API key with a billing account attached. See Google Developers console.

The Browser key is used to display the map and handle user-input addresses during a location search.  The Geocoding key is used on your WordPress server to geocode locations you’ve entered via the Google API. You do not need the geocoding key unless you have added referrer restrictions.

Mixed Content Warnings and Site migration

Google’s push for all websites to be HTTPS  has been a game changer over the past few years with many companies  switching from HTTP to HTTPS with some hiccups along the way.  Some of the site transfer mishaps are minor, but if done incorrectly can cause your plug-ins to misbehave , and often is the case, after the transition team has left the building.

Mixed Content Warnings – Loading Assets Over HTTP

If you have never had HTTPS on your site, you will undoubtedly run into an issue with how your site assets are loaded. By assets we are referring to things like images, JavaScript, and even your CSS.   Insecure assets may not stop the green padlock from showing in browsers, but it will add an exclamation point warning to your users that information is being loaded insecurely.

 Site Migrations Vary

Occasionally we see comments from customers that Store locator Plus broke their site or is not working. When asked if they recently  migrated their site they often state nothing has changed.   On further investigation , or by inspecting their console  we often see the “Mixed Content warnings” quite often for images or icons from older versions of Store Locator Plus. This is a sure fire clue that there was indeed a “site migration”. They started out with their site when  the SLP plug-in was originally installed as HTTP and now , at least part of their site, is HTTPS.  This is known as  a protocol migration. If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change. That means you may need to obtain a new Google API key for SLP to work properly. With version SLP 4.9.15 you are allowed to add HTTP referrers now as long as you also obtain a geocode key. See  info about those changes under news

Upfront Investment

A site migration is a great opportunity to address legacy issues. If you have outdated legacy add-ons  this is a good time to invest in your future by planning for and including any  update expenses in your overall budget.  Including these costs in the project scope is the most cost-effective method to ensure your site stays relevant and on-track. When you consider that  issues that may arise after going live will require additional time , resources and, yes, may even create downtime and loss of traffic  to your site it is worth including the new versions in your budget. Contact support if you have made a recent purchase or check our What to Buy guide for options.

 

Search Form Labels

 Set the Labels for the Search Form

The label that will be displayed in front of the Search form box on your locator page can be changed under Settings/Search in the Appearance section Label. If none are set, a blank box will appear on your site. The “Address” Label you enter will appear in front of the search box. The “radius” information indicates to the site visitor that this is the radius (whatever radii you entered in the search form  for radii options.

Consider this label as  a help text tool for the site visitor to assist them as to what  to enter in the box.   Label Examples:  zip code, city, street, or a combination such as  address / zip code.  The more detailed the better. We find address and zip code to be the most useful hint.  If you leave this label blank nothing will appear in front of the search form box and your site visitors will be guessing what to enter as keywords to search (the same as any other search boxes). They can type in anything that comes to mind and end up with no results.

The second search box is the drop down menu for your distance units.  We find the words “Within” useful.  If you prefer to enter another language for the labels that appear on the front end , that is your option as well.

Additional Search settings are available with  Experience or Premier add-ons.

Location Limit URL control

Location Limit

The location limit feature is available exclusively to our Store Locator Plus Premier/Enterprise customers.

When the URL Control module is active you can enable location ID passing by turning on “Location Limit” under the General / User Interface tab.

When this is enabled you can pass in a limit for the number of locations to be returned when the map initially loads and when a search is performed by adding ?limit=<id> to the end of the page address where your locator map is deployed with the [slplus] shortcode.

Example: Client has 250  results to return by default but when the site via a URL link loaded they only wanted 5 to come back.

Location Limit functionality supersedes the initial default limit.

Store Locator Plus INFO Plug-in Environment

Plug-in environment

We often have questions posted from users asking why something is or is not working. The information needed to be able to assist them properly and efficiently is shown under the SLP/INFO tab. It is called the Plugin environment.

 

Plugin environment example

What is meant by the  Plugin Environment.

The plugin environment shows the versions of Store Locator Plus, and any active SLP add-ons you have installed, as well as the WordPress version, php version, MYSQL , the domain name and other useful data specific to the WPSLP environment.

This information is required when posting in forums. You can also  find the latest release versions under your account Downloads List, and/or review the Versions under the Support tab on the WordPress Store Locator Plus  home site  to see if you have the most recent version of Store Locator Plus and the various add-on packs.

 

Release Notes and Updates SLP 4.9.2 and above

Release Notes for  fixes in Store Locator Plus 4.9.2 

Please check your versions on our Home site to ensure you are using the latest versions of the plug-in and add-ons.  Please note changes to the Google API set for June 11, 2018 will effect everyone using the plug-in. You will be required to update your version of SLP to add the new Google API if you do not have one.

 

 

Store Locator Plus 4.8 and above updates will disable Legacy add-ons

Legacy Add-ons

The   auto-update of WordPress v 4.8.2 and above required a major update to the WP Store Locator Plus free base plug-in resulting in the end of compatibility with the popular Pro Pack , Tagalong and other Legacy add-ons.  The Legacy add-ons are no longer supported nor maintained and have been retired over the past two years as announced in news posts, blogs , changelogs, mail campaigns  and social media.  If you are not sure if your add-on is considered Legacy, see the FAQ comparison featured to Legacy add-ons

Time to invest in your future

Some of our customers were surprised by the change and retirement of the  Legacy Add-ons.  We tried to give as much of a heads up as possible using news blogs,  content news to the home site and reached out using a  Mail Chimp campaign for those most likely effected.   Ultimately, there is no sure fire method to reach the thousands of customers who may have had these older add-ons installed.  If there is one thing we know, change in the technical genre is inevitable.  The SLP support team will always endeavor to help our customers transition to the new age.  We pledge they will see real value-added from updating their site and software . Please take a moment to review the multiple benefits of utilizing the newer Experience add-onPower add-on.

Although downgrading to an earlier version of SLP is an option, you may note that changes to the WordPress code and their security patches may disable features. Before making any changes to your site you should ensure you are backing up your site WP database and files.  It is very important to take this step before you have issues or worse, site crashes.    WordPress security has become more robust over the years.

For more information please see this important message from the author:

Store locator Plus  updates and retired add-ons

 

Import process using WordPress Store Locator Plus Power add-on

SLP 4.9  or above Power add-on now uses the built-in file uploader provided by WordPress Core instead of a custom file import script. If you were able to import and now do not see that process working,  look in the Media Library in WordPress. Make sure your install has not disabled the default WordPress media uploader.

What to look for when importing

Do you see the CSV file you just imported? If not then your site has disabled the WordPress media uploader.

If your file IS in the media library but never gets past  the offset “0” setting check to make sure your server  has not disabled the WordPress Cron .

WP CRON can be found under Forms WP environment

Check to see if your server is preventing the wp-cron.php from being triggered.

Check your import file in the media library by clicking on it.  It should show what the file size is and the current offset. The offset is where the background process is shown while importing the file.  If it is shown as “zero” then your WordPress Uploads directory for the media library has been set to non-standard restricted access meaning the background location import process is not allowed to open the file after it was uploaded.

Click on the file to see the file size and meta data

Legacy Add-ons not compatible with SLP version 4.8 and higher

 Legacy Add-ons

If you want to keep the legacy add-ons, do not upgrade the base plug-in to version 4.7 or above.   All individual legacy add-ons have been phased out and replaced over the past 2  plus years due to security patches, coding changes, WP updates, maintenance overhead and inefficiencies that were no longer viable to support.  To find the match to your Legacy Add-ons,  see FAQ: Legacy versus featured add-on

Please follow the SLP news feeds for important information about updates.

Even if you received a notice in your WordPress admin panel that an update to your base plug-in is available, you do not need to click the update button.  All version updates to SLP are optional.  We do not auto-update like WordPress does.

If  you already updated (most likely if you are reading this) and now try to roll back SLP to earlier version to o retain the Legacy add-on compatibility.

Note:  Due to the security patches required by Word Press  you may also need to rollback WordPress.  Before attempting to roll back or downgrade WordPress or any plugins , make sure you have a recent back-up of your site.  Do not attempt this on a live site.

The SLP author does not recommend rolling back versions of any software or WP.   This is time consuming and messy, requires technical savvy,  and you will miss  important security patches.     If you are confident that you know what is entailed and are willing to take the risk;  it is still recommended to use a back-up service such as  Vault Press or Jet Pack. 

P.S. If you do not want the headache of maintaining back-ups , updating, obtaining a new Google API, you may want to consider moving over to a My SLP plan.   See  MYSLP SAAS

 

Search Address Auto-complete setting

Feature to have the address to auto-complete the zip code based on your location database is available with the Premier/Enterprise or the Experience add-on

When 2 or more characters are typed in the address input box,  input suggestions based on location data will appear.

  • None (default) – do not suggest address input.
  • Zipcode – suggest matching zip codes.

If the formatting of the autocomplete is not  the way you would like it to appear, reset the Search Form Style under appearance layout.

Locator Styling determines how the auto-complete drop down box will appear on your page.