Magento 1’s End of Life: The Complete Guide

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform that has enjoyed massive popularity since it was established in 2008. After a decade’s worth of development, Adobe purchased the platform. Now, Magento 1.x’s end of life has been declared for June 2020.

Merchants using the platform will have support in the coming months while they decide on next steps for upgrading. This includes software support, quality fixes and security patches until the end-of-life date. According to Magento, it’s a great opportunity for users to migrate to Magento Commerce 2 without being rushed.

In fact, Magento 1.x will work after its end-of-life date. However, feature and security updates from Magento will stop. While there may be some community-produced security patches, the platform will be less secure and become more vulnerable as time goes on.

Magento Commerce Screenshot

This is an exciting opportunity for innovation, as the Magento Migration will open a wealth of new features and improvements. But, it takes a significant amount of effort to leave a platform and rebuild a new system. Data migration is a lengthy process — it takes a great deal of work to plan, test and integrate a new platform.

Magento 1 End-of-Life Recommendations from the Platform

Magento logo

That said, migration is a solid opportunity to move to a more dynamic platform. You should consider the following before and during your migration:

  • Start Now: This is a lengthy process. Allthough June 2020 seems far away, migration is a marathon of effort and time.

  • Platform Selection: Take care in choosing which platform is suitable for your needs. Magento 2 will have performance enhancements, security improvements and ecommerce-business-scaling features. Consider the pros and cons of Magento versus competitors such as Wix and Shopify, etc.

  • Strategy Shift: Consider how this will affect your business on a macro level and seize the opportunity to make big changes. This can include redesigning your website or choosing between a licensed or open-sourced platform.

Magento recommends that you waste no time and head over to Magento Commerce 2. In this September 2018 blog post by Joe Ayyoub, Director of Support Operations at Magento, he wrote:

“Magento Commerce 2 delivers superior cloud-hosted performance at scale, freedom from IT bottlenecks with creating, scheduling and launching compelling content, and true business intelligence capabilities. Plus Magento’s unmatched flexibility enables our global community of partners and developers to deliver virtually any commerce experience in record time and at a superior total cost of ownership.

As a result, we’re seeing tremendous community and market momentum for Magento 2 as a whole, now with more than 2,000 available extensions, new capabilities launching quarterly (version 2.3 is on the horizon), and over 8,000 new quarterly Magento 2 site launches on top of 30,000 existing Magento 2 sites.”

Ayyoub also recommends that Magento Commerce 1 customers request their customer success managers or development partners to start upgrade planning ASAP.

What to Consider When Moving Platforms

Shopify Homepage

But what if you want to play the field a little bit and consider other alternatives? Some companies tout that alternatives like Shopify are a better route forward due to its ease of setup and affordability.

When comparing platforms, consider these five factors:

  1. Features: Are there different apps, plug-ins and other add-ons that will enhance and provide options for your platform?

  2. Design: Are there a plethora of design options available and are they easy to manage?

  3. Customer Support: Are there staff on-hand to help you with technical issues?

  4. Ease of Use: Can you set up your ecommerce business easily or is there a large learning curve that will require outside support?

  5. Price: How much does it cost to start and then have on an ongoing basis?

When you’ve decided which platform to use, here are some additional tips to keep in mind before you start the migration process:

  1. Ensure that you make a full backup and clone of your Magento 1 store.
  2. Don’t use your live store for the actual migration process.
  3. Determine what from your store you want to keep, and then delete everything else.
  4. Make sure your current features such as themes, coding and formats are compatible with your new platform.

How to Migrate to Magento 2

Magento 2 logo

If you are migrating to Magento 2, there are four different stages that have been laid out according to Magento’s official documentation:

  1. Theme Migration: Magento 2 presents new procedures and technologies for bringing improved shopping and store experience to both merchants and users. Users can utilize new-fangled ways of making Magento 2 themes or alter current themes so they are usable with Magento 2 standards. It’s important to remember that users can’t migrate Magento 1.x themes directly to Magento 2. They can buy and install a Magento 2 theme from the Magento Marketplace or other compatible platforms.
  2. Extension Migration: Extensions offer new features and can expand the options of a Magento store. Keep in mind that Magento 1 extensions will not work on Magento 2 as there are compatibility problems when users integrate extensions. Users should only install applicable extensions that are obtainable and necessary for the Magento 2 store. Currently, Magento developers, development agencies and the Magento community are developing Magento 1 extensions for Magento 2.
  3. Customizations: Generally, the customizable code used with a Magento 1 store is compatible with Magento 2. Magento also has a Code Migration Toolkit that you can refer to for help with the process. There are structural differences between the two platforms and Magento migration might need more work to ensure that custom code integrates with a new Magento 2 store. As a reference point, refer to the GitHub repository for Magento’s Code Migration Toolkit.
  4. Data Migration: The final step for the Magento migration process is to transfer the Magento 1 data and settings to Magento 2. To soothe the lengthy migration process, Magento released an official Magento 2 Data Migration Tool to help developers migrate store everything with CLI commands.

    This helps the Magento migration process become much more straightforward. It also migrates critical data such as products, store configurations and settings, categories and orders, etc. to Magento 2. For easy migration, check out Magento 2’s Data Migration Tool. The tool migrates entire datasets from the database of Magento 1 to Magento 2 based on a set of rules in the XML files.

    Currently, the Data Migration Tool only transfers basic settings and data. Magento 1 themes, extensions and code customizations can’t be automatically migrated to Magento 2. For now, reach out to the theme or extension provider to see if they have an exporting option for Magento 2.

Final Thoughts

Consider how this migration will affect your business strategy as whole. For example, if you’re developing a potential brand refresh, attempt to synchronize your Magento 2 migration with the new website or rebrand.

ecommerce shopping cart

With June 2020 just several months away, make sure you start planning your migration strategy ASAP. Keep in mind that even if you don't finish your migration by this time, it isn’t an end all, be all. The Magento 1.x platform will not cease to exist, but it won't have software support, quality fixes and security patches from June 2020 onward.

Good luck as you move your ecommerce business forward into 2020 and beyond!

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Quinn Boylan

Quinn is a professional digital marketer and writer based in Mexico. He currently leads content strategy for global businesses, digital agencies, and independent projects. This also enables an endless taco addiction that powers his prose to excellent levels. His work has been featured in a variety of publications such as the San Diego Union Tribune, the BBC, The Portsmouth News, Yahoo Finance, and many more.