A few weeks ago on September 6th, the Magento development team announced the end of life date for Magento 1.x to be June 2020. This will affect any store owners who have a Magento store running on v1.5.x – v1.9.x. This is the Community edition, which has been renamed to ‘Magento Open Source 1’.
So, what does this mean for you as a Magento store owner?
Firstly, there’s no need to immediately panic. Your store is still supported for the next 21 months, so you will still have access to any Magento security patches that are released in this time. The Magento development team release security patches periodically to fix potential security issues and flaws in the software. This is commonplace amongst any maintained software and it’s important that you install these patches on your website when they are released.
For clients who are on Magento Care Plans with us, we will continue to install any security patches that are released on an on-going basis. As you know, we test each of the security patches for a day or two after release to look for any potential issues that could be caused to client websites. After we’ve finished this testing, we then install the new security patch onto your website.
What do I do about Magento 2?
If you want to keep running your website on the Magento platform, you will need to start thinking about moving to Magento 2. We recommend starting to plan this as soon as you can, to avoid the headache of reaching June 2020 with a website that is no longer supported by the Magento development team. This would leave your website vulnerable to any future issues that are discovered, as there will be no patches released to protect your website and secure it against these issues.
Moving a website to Magento 2 is quite a complex task, with more information detailed below on the work that is involved. You could expect the migration over to Magento 2 to take somewhere between 8 – 12 weeks, depending on the complexity and size of your Magento website. Some sites may take a little less and some may require a lot more time.
How do I move to Magento 2?
Unfortunately there is no direct upgrade path between Magento 1 and Magento 2. There are tools that will help you to transfer data – but this won’t migrate everything, so there’s no easy approach. This is due to the developers of the software completely re-writing large sections of Magento 2, to optimise the software and add in new features. The codebase is completely different. This means that themes, extensions, custom code etc all need replacing when moving to Magento 2.
Store data (customers, products, orders etc) can all be transferred over using the data migration tools available from Magento. Custom attributes and attribute sets would need to be set up again, tax rules set up again, shipping rules set up again, payment methods set up again, etc.
If your Magento website uses a theme framework, this may have a Magento 2 version available. If so, then you can set your website up again using a Magento 2 version of your theme. If there is no Magento 2 version of your theme available, or you have a custom built theme, the website would either need to be rebuilt using an alternate theme, or a new theme created from scratch to match the existing look and feel.
Any extensions in use on the website – e.g. payment, checkout, SEO, pretty much anything – will all need to be audited. Some of these will have Magento 2 versions available, which would need to be purchased (if premium extensions). Developers who re-wrote their extensions from Magento 1 to the new Magento 2 codebase are charging for their time. For any extensions that do not have a Magento 2 version available, an alternative will need to be sourced.
Any custom code that was used in the creation of the website would need to be audited and if required on the Magento 2 website, it may need to be re-written to suit the new codebase.
As I’m sure you can imagine from the above, there is a lot of work involved in migrating a Magento 1 website to a Magento 2 website. In some ways, it can almost be considered an entirely new website build – due to the fact that so little of the actual Magento 1 website can slot into a new Magento 2 website, without being rebuilt or replaced.
What this does offer to you as a Magento store owner, is a great point for considering the appearance of your store right now, as you can plan to have a fresh new look with Magento 2 and not affect the cost of the work dramatically.
Are there any other options?
Yes, there are. You could use this as an opportunity to consider an alternate E-Commerce platform. Many store owners like to use WordPress & WooCommerce for their E-Commerce website. WordPress powers over 30% of the Internet now and with WooCommerce adding in E-Commerce functionality, you have a very powerful system. Plus there’s the added benefit of development, support and maintenance being significantly cheaper for WordPress, than it is for Magento.
You could also consider a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution such as Shopify. This is software that is hosted by the E-Commerce platform itself, and you pay a monthly fee for access, which varies depending on the feature set that you require. Shopify gives you an easy way to run a smaller store, but you are a bit limited if you ever want to leave the platform – due to the website not being able to be migrated elsewhere.
What are my next steps with regards to the Magento end of life for v1.x?
Make sure that you have someone on-hand to install any security patches moving forward for your website. It’s important that you stay up to date with these security patches, to keep your website secure from any issues or bugs that are found with the Magento 1.x software.
You’ll want to start putting together a list of the features that you like on your website, as well as any features that you like on other E-Commerce websites. Your migration to Magento 2 gives you the opportunity to re-align your website with your core target market and to introduce any new features that your audience will enjoy.
Once you’re ready, contact a few Magento development agencies and ask them to provide a quote to migrate your website over to a new Magento 2 store.