Magento 2 Migration: Benefits, Risks and What you Need to Know

Magento, one of the top ecommerce platforms, has officially announced it will end support for all 1.x versions this November. This leaves hundreds of thousands of businesses vulnerable to security risks if opt not to migrate to Magento 2.

Who Will the End of Magento 1 Affect?

Globally about 420,000 websites are running Magento but less than 20,000 or 4% of them are using Magento 2, most from the U.S., according to trends.builtwith.com

This leaves 95-96% of all users trying to navigate the best course of action for their businesses. The good news is the company will continue additional support for at least 18 months, since the upgrade process for even the most basic ecommerce website will take from three to six months.

Is It Worth Upgrading to Magento 2?

Magento 1 versions already have limited functionality compared with 2, which comes with significant improvements such as:

  • Up to 50% faster loading time
  • Enhanced security through several payment gateways
  • New B2B and B2C features
  • A responsive platform that can be used on any device
  • A more intuitive and user-friendly admin panel
  • More flexibility for personalized features and easier extension updates

Disadvantages of Moving to Magento 2

Even though there are a number of benefits, moving your entire store to a relatively new platform is far from a quick and easy process.

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed beforehand in order to be quickly fixed:

  • Extra costs on developers. You can’t migrate your website without a team of developers to set everything in place and make the necessary adjustments, such as building extensions not available on Magento 2.
  • You need to build new themes from scratch.
  • It isn’t possible to port your Magento 1 themes directly into Magento 2.
  • Some extensions from Magento 1 will disappear.
  • It’s a time-consuming process.
  • There are SEO risks and indexing issues that can have an impact on your website.
  • High price: While Community Edition is free, just the license for Enterprise Edition has increased from $18,000 to $22,000 per year.
  • Issues with stability. Magento 2 is using new technologies, which also makes it prone to technical difficulties.

The Risks of Remaining on Magento 1

Once the support on Magento 1 ends, all the websites still using the platform will be easy targets for server attacks, website attacks, spam attacks and silent capture of payment details.

Apart from the security risks, all stores will still have to manage issues regarding the slow performance and an increasingly difficult to navigate website, which can result in a decrease in traffic, customers and sales.

All of this means that a migration is imminent, as the upgrade isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when.

When Is the Best Time to Move?

Unfortunately, no two merchants will have the same answer to this question, as there are many different factors to take into account.

For example, if your Magento 1 has a lot of issues and problematic features, instead of continuing to invest in a platform that will ultimately be abandoned you’d be advised to start the migration process.

On the other hand, if your store is running smoothly, the best course of action would be to wait until Magento 2 is further updated. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing for the big move, though.

Since this is a long process, there are a few steps that will help create a smoother transition.

Prepare for the Magento 2 Migration Process

Figure out what features you need on your new website, your business goals, how will Magento 2 help achieve them and how much time you have to set everything in place.

Here are a few steps to consider:

  • The functionality of your store: A pre-migration checklist will prove extremely helpful in choosing which features you want to fix and which you need to implement.
  • Set time aside: You need to hold off on any major adjustments to your ecommerce website while making the upgrade.
  • Create a migration plan: Review extensions and themes on your current site and write down every single idea you have: what stays, what goes, what needs more work.
  • Install and set up a Magento 2 hardware system and design it to match your current one. In some cases, the Data Migration Tool might prove helpful.
  • Always have a dry run: Once everything is set in place, consider having a dry run and testing everything thoroughly before going live.

Marketing teams, web development teams and website owners should be discussing plan to move their ecommerce site to Magento 2. Ultimately it comes down to being able to do so without any downtime, business disruption or sales decrease.

Jacob North is Founder and CEO of Ecomitize

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