Last Updated | July 16, 2020
Anyone who knows anything about e-commerce has at least heard about Magento. Magento 1, and now Magento 2, are some of the most popular e-commerce platforms available in the market today. However, in 2015, Adobe announced that the Magento 1 Sunset is on the horizon. The latest news puts the Magento 1 End of Life on June 30th 2020.
In this article, we discuss what the Magento 1 sunset means for you, what options you have moving forward and what you need to re-platform your online store to newer, more robust platforms.
Magento 1 Sunset: What it Means
The Magento 1 “sunset” basically means that the Magento 1 platform will no longer receive support from Adobe after June 30th 2020. The relatively newer Magento 2, released in November 2015 completely overhauls the e-commerce systems used by its predecessor and introduces a full range of new features. Unfortunately, these improvements and the lack of security and performance updates after Magento 1 End of Life make Magento 1 obsolete.
What will happen after Magento 1’s End of Life?
After the Magento 1 End of Life, merchants still operating on the old platform will no longer receive technical support, security patches, new features and performance updates. Furthermore, any new Magento users will automatically start on the Magento 2 platform. As a result, third party companies such as Folio3 that either provide Magento development services or magento custom extension development and add-ons have shifted focus over to the newer platform. Slowly but surely, it will become costlier and riskier for merchants to remain on Magento 1.
What are the risks associated after Magento 1 sunset date?
As mentioned in the previous section, the risks involved with continuing to use the old platform goes up exponentially after Magento 1 End of Life. Some of the consequences of not migrating to Magento 2 or another applicable platform include:
- Increased likelihood of data breaches which will impact brand integrity and reputation;
- Greater security vulnerability without performance upgrades or security patches;
- A higher chance of non-compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
Some of the other risk associated with the Magento 1 sunset date include:
Paypal won’t be supporting Magento 1 after End of Life.
An integral part of any e-commerce platform is payment processing. On that front, PayPal is one of the most popular online payment processing systems available with more than 325 million active accounts in the 1st Quarter of 2020. Following the Magento 1 sunset, PayPal has also announced it will end support for Magento 1 due to possible non-compliance with PCI DSS requirement six.
Requirement six demands that merchants must strive to ensure secure systems and applications by installing the necessary vendor-supplied security patches. However, now that Magento 1 will not receive any security updates, merchants using this platform will fail this requirement indefinitely, thereby resulting in security loopholes.
In light of this consequence of the Magento 1 End of Life, PayPal will also pull support for the Magento 1 platform. By not migrating to Magento 2 or another e-commerce platform, you will lose access to this payment system and, subsequently, a large pool of potential customers.
Regardless of whether you migrate to Magento 2 or some other platform, you will need a site redesign. Of course, you can take this opportunity to rebrand your company should the need arise. Either way, a redesign is one of the risks associated with Magento 1 End of Life and can be a drawn-out and expensive process. At the same time, since Magento 1 stores will no longer receive updates, design elements will quickly become irrelevant, making it difficult for you to stay contemporary. Therefore, try and make sure you plan out the process and conduct an audit of your current setup to see what functionality in terms of design you need to retain and what is unnecessary. You may also procure the services of a professional developer or development company to help you ease into the new design.
Another risk associated with the Magento 1 sunset relates to the extensions and integrations you run with your Magento 1 store. Many such applications will stop supporting Magento 1 as users switch to the newer format. At the same time, although the vast majority of available extensions have shifted focus to Magento 2, specialised applications may still need time. Suffice to say, more popular extensions will update fastest. However, most extensions designed for Magento 1 have already received updates making them compatible with the new platform to aid migration. In this case, store owners save a lot of time and effort when planning for the conversion.
If switching to an alternate platform, you need to research two things thoroughly. First, whether the new CMS supports the same extensions and second, are there any applications that offer the same functionality while still being easy to use for you.
Regardless of your choice, keep in mind that as technology grows over time and platforms evolve, specific extensions and integrations no longer add value to your business. You may find that reducing reliance on outdated technology improves efficiency rather than having them around.
Site security for e-commerce platforms is a critical feature in today’s world. Specifically, e-commerce store owners have to protect their customer’s privacy and data, safeguard the business’s financial integrity, prevent fraud and scams. In doing so, the platform defends the store’s reputation as well as its own as a safe place.
However, this is one of the most significant risks of remaining with Magento 1 after End of Life. As mentioned earlier, after Magento 1 End of Life in June 2020, the platform will not receive any security updates. Therefore, you will lose access to improvements in transaction security, website integrity and more.
Furthermore, although many developers have said that they will continue to support the Magento community and Magento 1 after the official End of Life, there is no telling how long this support will continue. The critical question, in this case, is why would any company continue to support a platform that cannot support today’s functionality. Switching to Magento 2 or an alternative will help ensure that your site, its extensions, and any integrations stay up to date and you stay well within compliance regulations.
Hosting is a necessary component of any e-commerce platform. Without a reliable and secure hosting service, there is no point in creating an online store. That said, which hosting service you use is usually irrelevant to the e-commerce platform. Therefore, not much will change when switching from Magento 1. However, hosting services do sometimes differ in terms of environment optimisation and minor features. So when you make the change from Magento 1, you need to determine whether you can continue with your current service or you require some modification. And since you may need to rethink your hosting service provider, this might be an excellent opportunity to consider upgrading your hosting infrastructure and look for something better in terms of scalability, performance, and security.
Regardless, as a rule, if you plan to migrate to Magento 1, your current hosting service should cut it. Magento is a relatively complex hosting environment and therefore, requires fine-tuning in terms of things like PHP and cache size. So if you plan to shift to a Magento alternative, your hosting provider will have to make changes to how these optimisations get carried out.
Regardless of whether you plan to stay with Magento 1 or migrate to a newer platform, there are individual costs involved. If you choose to stay, third party extensions and integrations will only become more expensive since fewer and fewer development companies will focus their attention on this platform. At the same time, migrating to a new platform involves several hidden costs. In this case, these costs are apparent but never explicitly stated. For example, the cost of cloning your site’s current look and functionality to the new platform requires the services of a professional. Similarly, migrating extensions, data and custom functions necessitate the services of a skilled development company like Folio3. In cases such as these, we recommended that you employ a development company rather than many individuals since you get a bundle deal all in one place.
What are the positives and negatives of upgrading to Magento 2?
As discussed earlier, Magento 2 is the second generation of Adobe’s powerful Magento platform. Magento 2 offers a wide range of flexible tools that improve control, scalability, security and ease of use. Key features include:
- ElasticSearch powered site search;
- Simplified product catalogue management;
- Integrated order processing, checkout, payment and shipping features;
- Multiple currency support and international shipping;
- Mobile-specific Magento design templates;
In this segment, we will go over some of the advantages and some disadvantages of using the Magento 2 platform:
Pros of using Magento 2
Magento is a seasoned veteran in the e-commerce industry. Over the years, the platform has gained a plethora of features that give it an edge over the competition. Here are a few to take into consideration post-Magento 1 End of Life.
A brand new look and feel
Magento 2 boasts a new and improved GUI and default theme. The new design means you can find tools and necessary information much faster. By improving the admin interface and reducing the learning curve, onboarding non-technical team members is now a breeze.
Improved flexibility and customisation
Comprehensive product creation tools and, integrated media support and robust coding allow more creative freedom to developers. With Magento 2, it is now quicker and much easier to develop a state-of-the-art online store.
The improved built-in feature set
Many features obtainable only through an extension are now a part of Magento 2. The Magento2 dashboard now displays information like lifetime orders and average sales. It also summarises revenue, taxation and shipping information.
Improved coding structure and testing tools
Magento 2 Enterprise comes with a more advanced testing framework that allows developers to test functionality automatically. The enterprise edition will enable users to maintain separate databases for separate functions, thereby distributing the load and increasing site speed.
Improved scalability and performance
Magento 2 can handle the increased demand that comes with a growing business. Magento 2 operates at least 20% faster than Magento 1 and manages to keep page loading times within 1-2 seconds. Full static page caches, coupled with faster query performance, enable better user experience.
Magento 2 offers an optimised checkout process. As opposed to Magento 1, checkout now requires less information and steps, thereby reducing checkout time and increasing sale conversion. Furthermore, Magento 2 efficiently integrates with most popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Authorise.net (AIM versions), Braintree and WorldPay.
More Integrations and extensions
Magento integrations has always focused on offering flexibility and versatility in terms of extensions. With a significant focus on community-driven development and third-party integrations, Magento 2 offers over 5000 extensions in various categories.
Given the increased reliance on mobile and handheld devices, customers are more likely to access an online store from their phones. Therefore, Magento 2 comes with fresh new themes, interfaces and integrated media optimised for mobile devices and touch screens.
Cons of using Magento 2
As you can probably tell by now, Magento is a powerful e-commerce tool with incredible community support and enormous user base. However, in this case, after the Magento 1 sunset, migrating to Magento 2 does carry its downsides:
Longer development times
Since Magento 2 is predominantly open-source, new functionality or features will require more development work. Despite the improved testing framework, the fact remains that the developer will have to ensure compatibility with each extension and theme individually.
Themes do not carry over.
Unfortunately, many themes (especially custom themes) from Magento 1 do not carry over. You have to either choose from the standard themes already available on Magento 2, get a developer to clone your Magento 1 design or build a new one from scratch.
Intense migration process
Migration to Magento 2 from Magento 1 is a long and drawn-out process impossible without the aid of a skilled developer. All functionality, themes and extensions will need redesigning to bring it up to speed with Magento 2. All of which adds to the total cost of ownership.
Magento 1 to Magento 2 extensions incompatibility
Extensions you use with Magento 1 cannot directly port into Magento 2. You will have to purchase them separately for the new platform. Although, this is a common disadvantage, no matter what platform you select for migration.
Increased overall costs
Magento 2 fees for licensing and hosting vary depending on projected revenue in the coming year. Therefore, the more you expect to earn, the more you pay. A standard licensing and hosting fee
What is an alternative plan available after Magento 1 End of Life?
So far, we have discussed what Magento 1 End of Life means, the possible risks involved and the implications of using Magento 2. In summary of these points, you can choose one of three options. You can stay and continue to use Magento 1, or you can move on to Magento 2, or you can switch platforms and move away from Magento entirely.
Plan # 1: Stay with Magento 1
There are several risks inherent in this plan. In short, you will lose support for your online store in terms of technical assistance, developers, designers, new features and security updates. However, on the bright side, you will not need to invest time and money into the migration process. Not to mention you can keep all your themes and extensions (those that will continue support) the way you like them.
Plan # 2: Upgrade to Magento 2
The second option entails migrating away from Magento 1 but staying within the Magento universe. Magento 2 is a more advanced and better-performing version of Magento 2. Even though the second generation brings with it a host of changes, it is a familiar environment. Choosing to upgrade to Magento 2 means you still get to work with the same people, community and ideologies. However, Magento 2 costs significantly more than its predecessor in terms of licensing and hosting. Not to mention the added costs for the developers and designers required to re-platform your online store.
That said, here’s a simple guide to help you in the migration process:
- Hire a reputable developer or development company (like Folio3);
- Identify and prioritise the extensions you currently use with Magento 1 then find equivalents in Magento 2;
- Plan out how you want your store to operate. Do you want to retain your old functionality or expand your horizons;
- Build and test you Magento 2 store with the new testing framework;
- Map how your data and settings will migrate;
- Migrate all incremental data such as orders, customer history and more.
Plan # 3: Move away from Magento
Your third option entails figuring out which e-commerce platform you can switch to which will not detract from the functionality you get from Magento. Downgrading is never a good idea since any hiccups reflect poorly on the brand’s reputation. Possible choices include:
OpenCart is an open-source, “shopping cart” style platform similar to Magento. It supports multiple languages and currencies depending on your requirements. However, it does have high development and support costs due to all extensions and integrations being community-driven.
First in the list is BigCommerce. This platform is an example of a Software as a Service (SaaS) application sold with a monthly fee. It provides a comprehensive and easy to use set of features with substantial SEO benefits.
Shopify is another SaaS option built with small and medium enterprises in mind. Setup is quick and easy with mobile-friendly designs and excellent uptime. However, to bring it up to speed with other SaaS platforms, you need to invest heavily in add-ons.
WooCommerce is one of many popular plugins used in WordPress websites. It is technically free since you don’t have to pay for the plugin itself. However, you will still pay for domain hosting, themes, plugins and more. Unfortunately, much like Magento, you will need the help of a developer or designer.
What steps should I take next?
As the Magento 1 End of Life draws near, there will be a rush to move up onto Magento 2 or some other platform. By June 30th 2020, Magento 1 will no longer receive any sort of security patches, performance updates or design changes. Therefore, you must migrate off of Magento 1 before the rush begins and all reliable developers and designers find themselves caught up in a backlog of projects.
Furthermore, even though Magento already extended the support cut-off deadline once before, it is unlikely to happen again. So in the short time left until the end of June 2020, get in touch with an experienced Magento development agency like Folio3 to help you throughout the entire process. Companies like Folio3 specialise in providing seamless development services for a wide range of platforms.