In 2015, the Magento community was introduced to Magento 2. While it's an exciting time for the software supporters and instant upgraders, users of the original version were left discussing Magento 1 End of Life (EOL).
This open-source ecommerce platform — written in PHP — saw its value soar from $180 million to $1.68 billion within the eight years following eBay's acquisition in 2011. Since then, Magento has changed ownership numerous times.
As of 2019, Magento constituted a 9% market share of ecommerce platforms across the United States. Thousands of merchants relied on this software for years, with Magento 1 being released way back on March 31, 2008. Long-time users of this software were told that Magento 1 EOL would be imminent following the release of Magento 2 in November 2015.
The software company announced to its ecommerce merchants that a three-year timeline — recently extended — would be the likelihood for version 1.X EOL. In a more recent announcement from September 2018, the expected date for Magento 1 EOL is extended to June 2020 — an 18-month extension from the original date.
Online retailers who depend on these services are likely curious about how the software overhaul will impact their businesses.
Magento 1 End of Life is Coming Soon
Merchants are running out of time to transition from Magento 1.X to Magento 2 seamlessly. Failure to take action could have a detrimental impact on how your ecommerce operating system works. It's critical to gather information to ensure your digital presence continuously grows and your customers are satisfied.
As a merchant using Magento 1, you should consider setting aside adequate time to make the transition. According to the software provider, ecommerce business owners operating with Enterprise versions 1.13+ will keep receiving quality and security updates through June 2020.
Not sure which version you're using at the current time? Log into your account and view the version number located at the bottom of the admin panel toward the center of the footer.
Four Encouraging Reasons to Switch From Version 1.X of Magento
How you choose to adapt to the updated version of Magento is up to you, but it will ultimately impact the long-term success of your ecommerce store. Understanding the main reasons you should switch providers is essential to making an informed decision. Let's explore some of the benefits of replacing version 1.X of Magento with an updated version:
The original 2018 EOL date for Magento 1 support created an eruption of confusion and concern across the merchant community, with many of the platform's users flocking to Magento developers for assistance in moving to Magento 2.
Moving to Magento 2 will at least get you customer support and security, including thorough security audits and extension installation. Those left behind on Magento 1 are at risk of security breaches and hacks unless proactive security measures are taken.
2. Improved Quality and Features.
If you’re moving to Magento 2, you’ll need to think of it as a complete replatforming process, as opposed to a simple upgrade. What's more, Magento 2 supports CSS3, HTML5, and MySQL. The admin interface has been tweaked for improved performance, and since the software is mobile-friendly, user experience is enhanced. The latest version also operates with a two-stage checkout process; a much more streamlined alternative to the six-stage process offered through Magento 1.
3. Third-Party Extensions and Themes.
An updated selection of third-party extensions and themes are available in the constantly evolving Magento Marketplace. However, accessing those themes and maintaining them on a Magento 1 site isn't feasible. Why? You'll need to conduct plenty of auditing and fixing to keep the new extensions and themes in working order.
On the other hand, an endless selection of mobile-specific layouts, responsive storefronts, and free/premium paid themes are available in the Magento 2 marketplace. You can also customize your store with add-ons, modules, and extensions.
Keep in mind, M1 extensions will be eliminated from the Magento Marketplace on July 7, 2020, so if you already have an outdated Magento 1 theme installed on your ecommerce site, it could soon start to malfunction. Worst-case scenario, you may lose valuable content from your website and storefront and, consequently, deter customers from buying your products.
4. Better Online Business Visibility.
Magento 2’s enhanced overall functionality will give you a better chance at optimizing your site for search engines. Magento 2 supports the latest PHP versions, meaning that site speed can be ramped up a notch — which is important for SEO — but it’s still often slower than other ecommerce platform options.
Is it possible to install Magento 2 instead of performing a migration?
Comparing the two – Magento 1 and Magento 2 – both versions are unique in their core codebase and database structure. Moreover, the extensions and themes offered from Magento 2 are much more advanced than Magento 1. Because of the differences in compatibility, utilizing migration tools won't be an easy feat.
To successfully carry out migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you'll need to adopt a "brand new" mindset. Since the ecommerce merchant platform has been refreshed in its entirety — featuring significant framework alterations — a lot of effort would be required to basically build your ecommerce site from scratch.
For example, you'll need to dedicate plenty of time to rewriting the custom code and extensions for Magento 2, not to mention reviewing whether the PHP code is compatible once rewritten. Time is money, and particularly so for retailers hoping to create a lasting impact with their online ecommerce store. On that note, it may be best to avoid migration and, instead, transform your site in its entirety.
Making the Most of your Ecommerce Platform Options
What appeals to most people who choose Magento is the extensive range of features — from the integrated payment, checkout, shipping, and mobile-optimized shopping options, to catalog management, performance monitoring tools, and B2B management.
Although Magento 2 is an appealing option for those who are already familiar with Magento 1, much more exists beyond the scope of Magento. Replatforming presents an opportunity to not only broaden your field of business exposure but also ensure your ecommerce business continues running smoothly.
Replacing Magento 1 with a Different Ecommerce Platform
If the thought of migrating to Magento 2 leaves you feeling flustered or uncertain, consider choosing an alternative option. Some robust Magento alternatives to consider in 2020 include Volusion, OpenCart, WooCommerce, and, especially, BigCommerce, an SaaS platform that offers an all-in-one ecommerce solution.
Whatever avenue you choose, ask yourself how much you want to spend on ecommerce software each year, where you want to host your data, how much you want to manage yourself, and what level of customization you require.
Choosing Magento 2 will at least provide you with customer support and security patches. But there’s still a lot that you’re responsible for as a merchant. For some ecommerce store owners, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish these tasks, and therefore, an alternative hosted ecommerce option like a SaaS solution would be a wise choice.
Magento 1 end of life is approaching quickly. If your ecommerce store is still on M1, you need to make sure you’re taking the needed precautions to keep your store functioning and safe from cyber threats. That probably includes signing up for managed hosting and security services, or maybe hiring more developers to your team.
If you think it might be time to move away from a high maintenance solution, take a look at SaaS platforms like BigCommerce, which includes hosting and many other features that would cost you extra money and/or time on Magento.
Leigh-Anne Truitt is an SEO Specialist at BigCommerce where she researches and discovers strategies to increase organic traffic. Prior to joining the e-commerce industry, Leigh-Anne perfected her marketing skills at The University of Texas at Austin and CanIRank.