eCommerce, Magento

Migrating to Magento 2

Hopefully, this news won’t come as a shock to you, but Magento 1’s days are numbered – if they haven’t already expired.

Initially, the Magento 1 end of life date for official support was set for November 18th 2018, but this deadline has now been extended to June 2020. So at the time of writing, this gives you just over a year to migrate your Magento 1 store over to Magento 2.

That may sound like a lot of time, but website migrations have the potential to be problematic at the best of times, especially for e-commerce websites with large numbers of pages. So the sooner you get started on your Magento 2 migration, the better.

Fear not though, as this handy guide is here to show you how it’s done.

Why upgrade to Magento 2?

Magento 1 has been around since 2008. To put that into perspective, this was during a time when Facebook was a mere four years old, and people were still texting each other smiley’s rather than emojis on their iPhone 3G.

Of course, Magento has been patched and upgraded over the years to keep it as current as possible, but it’s safe to say that a major redevelopment of the entire Magento platform has been well overdue for some time now.

Here are some other reasons to upgrade to Magento 2:

Magento 2 is much faster


With Magento 2, you get a significant upgrade in raw performance over Magento 1. This includes impressive numbers such as:

  • Pages that load up to 50% faster
  • The ability to handle up to 39% more orders per hour
  • 66% faster add-to-cart times
  • The ability to process 10m page views per hour versus 200k for Magento

This is excellent news for your customers, as it means your shop will load much faster, provide better engagement and fewer reasons to abandon carts.

You gain access to new features

Magento may have pledged to support Magento 1 with security updates until June 2020, but it’s safe to say that they won’t be in any rush to develop new features for the ageing platform. With Magento 2 though, you already benefit from many new features such as:

  • A much simpler admin interface so you can get things done faster
  • Cross-device responsiveness, right out of the box
  • Ajax powered carts that customers can update without needing a page refresh
  • A new dashboard that displays lifetime sales, last orders, top search terms and more
  • Support for modern development languages such as CSS3, HTML5 and MySQL

This is just the tip of the iceberg, with many other official features and additions planned in the near future for Magento 2.

What are the risks of remaining on Magento 1?

Well, the good news is that your Magento 1 installation won’t suddenly stop working in June 2020.

The bad news though is that without official security updates, your store will gradually become more vulnerable to the common exploits used by hackers. This will obviously place your store and customer data at risk, with the potential to damage your reputation and suffer from legal ramifications should the worst happen.


However, with Magento 2, you can be confident that the developers are fully focused on providing continued support and security updates for the platform well into the foreseeable future.

What is the Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration cost?

The cost of your Magento 2 migration will depend on two factors:

  1. Whether you need to hire a developer to help you migrate from Magento 1 to 2, or if you can carry out the work yourself.
  2. The price of replacing any Magento 1 themes, extensions or plugins with paid for Magento 2 alternatives.

How to migrate Magento 1 to Magento 2

So now that you know why you should migrate to Magento 2 let’s move on to how you actually do it with the following Magento migration steps. It’s worth noting that much of the upgrade process will depend on you having solid development knowledge or access to a developer with Magento knowledge and experience. If you don’t have this knowledge or access to someone that does, then you may need to seriously consider the option of starting your store from scratch using a fresh installation of Magento 2.

If however, you do know your PHP from your flux capacitor, then here are the steps you need to follow for a successful Magento migration:

Step 1: Get yourself prepared for the migration

The first step in the Magento 2 migration process is to preserve your current live site and use a cloned version for the migration to Magento 2.

  1. Generate a full backup of your existing Magento 1 store, including your database and all the files and folders on your server. Keep this backup in a safe place.
  2. Use the backup to create a clone of your Magento 1 store. This clone will be used for the migration while your live site continues to function as normal in the background.
  3. Go through the cloned version of your store and trim the fat. This includes extensions you no longer use, outdated areas of the store and products you no longer sell.
  4. Install the latest version of Magento 2 on the same server as your Magento 1 installation.

Step 2: Check that your theme and extensions are compatible


Due to the significant infrastructure upgrades of Magento 2, it’s quite likely that your theme and extensions won’t be compatible. If you are lucky, the developers of your theme and extensions may have created Magento 2 alternatives or a way to convert your existing files into a Magento friendly format. To find out for sure you should do the following:

  1. Contact the developers of your theme and extensions and ask them about compatibility with Magento 2.
  2. Reach out to the community on the official Magento Forums to ask about compatibility with your theme and extensions.
  3. You can also repeat the above process on the Magento Stack Exchange Forum or Magento Experts Forum.

If you do run into compatibility issues, then you will need to look for Magento 2 alternatives on the Magento Marketplace or a similar third-party extension provider such as Amasty. This may sound like a lot of hassle, but you may be surprised at the added functionality of the new native Magento 2 extensions and plugins.

Once you have found suitable alternatives, you can then add them into your new Magento 2 installation.

Step 3: Migrate custom code using the Magento 2 Code Migration Toolkit

If you have added custom code to your Magento 1 store, then you will need to use the Magento Code Migration Toolkit to convert this code into a Magento 2 friendly format. This is very much a task for a developer, so if you’re confident that your Magento 1 code has never been tinkered with you can safely move on to the next step.

Step 4: Migrate your data using the Magento 2 Data Migration Tool

Magento has been kind enough to release the Magento 1 to Magento 2 Data Migration tool that allows developers to migrate store settings and data using CLI commands.

This reduces the strain of the Magento migration process, with a streamlined approach to migrate data from Magento 1 to Magento 2, including products, orders, categories and key configurations. Just make sure that the version of the Data Migration Tool matches the version number of your Magento 2 store installation.

Download instructions and guides on the installation and use of this tool can be found on the official Magento DevDocs website.

Step 5: Ensure that you have followed SEO best practices for site migration

Magento 2 is very SEO friendly right out of the box, but you should still make sure you have covered your bases by checking the Moz Website Migration Guide and the SEO Best Practices for Magento 2 Powered Websites from SEM Rush.


To wrap up

The idea of carrying out such a significant migration project may seem daunting, but the sooner you get it done, the better. You’ll then have more time to test your new Magento 2 store and become more familiar with its various new features. We wish you the best of luck with your move and hope you enjoy continued success with your store in the future.

Follow this link for more information about Magento 2