E-commerce Tools & Best Practices

A Timeline for Moving From Magento 1 to Magento 2

By: Guest Author | March 1, 2019

Magento 2 was released in November 2015 with the intention of Magento 1 reaching its end of life three years later. However, Magento extended the official sunset date for Magento 1 to June 2020. In essence, this extended support period has given Magento 1 store owners a reprieve from replatforming to Magento 2, but the proverbial clock is moving closer to midnight.

Why is the Magento 1.x End of Life a Concern?

When software goes end of life, the software publisher no longer publishes security patches and updates. This means new security vulnerabilities won’t be patched. The software user becomes responsible for tracking and addressing security threats. For online stores that interact with shopper and payment data, this is particularly dangerous.

How Long Will Migrating to a New Website Take?

Magento 2 is an entirely different platform. Merchants will need to start with a fresh instance of Magento 2, and proceed to:

  • Purchase and install Magento 2 compatible extensions
  • Integrate designs with Magento 2’s frontend (i.e. stores will need a new Magento 2 theme)
  • Migrate customer, order, product, and any other data
  • Copy over static content, such as CMS pages (i.e. about us, contact us)
  • Configure Magento 2 settings, including taxes, shipping, and analytics
  • Test your new site, including testing the site navigation, checkout, and mobile experience
  • Connect analytics and other vital tools
  • Schedule launch, including any final migration of data, such as your most recent orders
  • Monitor and test the site, and make any necessary adjustments

Overall, three to six months is a good range for a typical deployment, but more complicated e-commerce sites can certainly take longer to launch, especially if you need complex functionality added or if your availability to make decisions and provide required information and feedback is limited.

Should I Simply Launch a Magento 2 Store in my Existing Hosting Account?

The short and simple answer is “no,” for a number of reasons. This is your chance to start fresh with a clean, secure, up-to-date hosting environment without a bunch of clutter and potential performance issues holding you back. You should strive for an environment that will be optimized to load Magento 2 quickly, securely, and reliably while also being elastic enough to meet your peak traffic needs.

Technically speaking, versions of Magento 2.x require specific versions of PHP 7.x to function properly. You’re also likely to want additional software running like Composer, which can help you update your instance of Magento 2. Magento merchants are best off working with a hosting partner in order to launch and maintain an effective hosting environment.

Is My Magento 1 Store Safe in the Meantime?

That depends on your maintenance and hosting. You should be continuing to take steps with your Magento 1 site, like:

  • Install Magento security patches and keep your Magento extensions and theme up-to-date
  • Secure your Magento admin with Two-Factor Authentication and with IP address restrictions
  • Leverage a CDN and WAF like Cloudflare to further protect your main hosting account
  • Maintain your hosting environment. For instance, if you’re still on a version of PHP 5.x, your hosting environment is out of date and insecure
  • Run a Magento Security Audit to check other one-off issues

When Should I Vacate my Magento 1 Store?

Too many merchants are still on Magento 1. Given the labor that it takes to replatform to a new e-commerce installation, such as migrating to Magento 2, it’s foreseeable that merchants that wait until the last minute will not launch comfortably and appropriately before the end of life of Magento 1.

The best advice would be to plan to vacate Magento 1 in 2019. This way you have more leverage to negotiate, more time to test, and a greater ability to address any issues that arise. Keep in mind that Murphy’s Law may mean that there won’t be a Magento 2 extension that meets a need that you have, or, that upon attempting to migrate data, you find out that you have database errors that will need to be addressed.

Do I Have to Move to Magento 2?

No. This is a great time to decide which platform is best for you and your business. There’s no shortage of other e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce, Weebly, WooCommerce, and Shopify to choose from. If you’re accustomed to Magento, one of the most robust and flexible platforms on the market, it can be difficult to make the switch. It can be doubly difficult if you’re a B2B business or have complex business rules and functionality that your e-commerce software needs to accommodate. If you stick with Magento, make sure you find a Magento shipping extension that will allow you to automatically sync orders to streamline fulfillment.

You could also choose to stay on Magento 1 past the end of life, but you’d be taking excessive risk with your business, so it’s certainly not advisable or recommended.

When in doubt, it’s often best to work with a consultant or agency that has experience with more than one platform in order to get a less-biased opinion. Such professionals can evaluate your needs and goals, and help you compare short-term and long-term total costs of ownership, pros, and cons of different options.

About the Author: 

Robert RandRobert Rand is the Director of Partnerships & Alliances at JetRails. Robert has over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound E-commerce and Digital Marketing strategies. He’s highly experienced at harnessing the power of E-commerce technologies and solutions to help businesses of all types and sizes grow and succeed and has earned numerous distinctions and accolades from his work with merchants and partner organizations. Robert is the head of partnerships for JetRails, a fully-managed white-glove eCommerce hosting service.

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