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7-Step Guide to Magento Migration: +Tips, Best Practices, and Much More!

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7-Step Guide to Magento Migration: +Tips, Best Practices, and Much More!
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7-Step Guide to Magento Migration: +Tips, Best Practices, and Much More!
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When is the best time to migrate to Magento 2? A few years ago. The second best time for Magento migration is now! 

The necessity to upgrade to Magento 2 is more urgent than ever. On June 30, 2020, Adobe officially ended support for the Magento 1 release line for both Magento Enterprise (Commerce) and Magento Community (Open Source). 

What does it mean to the ecommerce business owners? If you don’t migrate Magento 1 to 2, you shouldn’t expect any official patches or security updates. Upgrading to the latest release is a great opportunity to experience the most up-to-date version that offers new functionality, better performance, and advanced built-in security options.

Having successfully performed more than 40+ migration projects, Elogic team has covered all the information you may require to avoid unwanted expenditures and data losses during migration. In this guide, we’ll outline the clear roadmap to a successful Magento 1 to 2 migration. 

Let’s jump-start your Magento migration!

Why should I migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2?

Magento 2 delivers a modern, scalable ecommerce solution for businesses of all sizes, and it offers unmatched flexibility and customizations. Compared to Magento 1, Magento 2 can process more orders per hour on the same hardware with faster server response times, which provides customers with a stress-free experience.

By staying with Magento 1, you not only risk customer data, but you also lose your competitive edge because new features and innovations will only come out for Magento 2.

No more security patches

According to a ServiceNow study, 57% of cyberattack victims reported that their breaches could’ve been prevented by installing an available patch. And 34% of those respondents were aware of the vulnerability before they were hacked. 

Magento is no longer supporting any official security patches for Magento 1. If you had mixed feelings before, it’s time to embrace change, because otherwise, you’ll be a sitting duck for hackers.

Magento 2 features that are worth migrating for

The latest Magento version comes supercharged with user-friendly, versatile features. Now that Adobe and Magento are working together, we’ll see closer integrations with marketing and sales platforms.

Feature highlights:

  • Full-page cache — overall site speed and also 1-2 sec loading time compared to 5-10 sec without full caching. A faster site speed equals more sales and increases website SEO.
  • Streamlined, faster checkout reduces the chances that customers will abandon carts.
  • Updated technology stack — PHP7, MySQL, Varnish, HTML5, CSS3, RequireJS, Knockout.js, and others.
  • Magento Commerce Cloud, formerly Enterprise Edition combines Magento Commerce, cloud infrastructure hosting, with added features such as Git integration, key development environments, staging, and live production.
  • Mobile-optimized layouts are a huge plus — and the number of mobile users is growing every year.
  • Key integrations such as PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, Klarna, and others offer more versatility and are much easier to integrate. Payments in Magento 2 are also more secure.
  • Better built-in search — Elasticsearch is available for Magento Open Source.
  • Full customization of the admin panel for quick access to information — this increases productivity and product import is 4x faster.
  • The Magento Functional Testing Framework improves testing capabilities, logging, and debugging.
  • The database split feature boosts scalability and helps high-load projects to improve performance
  • Rich content features with new Page Builder — WYSIWYG
  • Progressive Web App Studio allows developers to create ultra-fast storefronts. 

Related article: Magento 1 vs Magento 2: The Reasons To Upgrade To Magento 2

Will my store stop working during migration?

Our aim is zero downtime, but there will be some downtime (a matter of minutes). The process is fairly straightforward and a matter of following an established checklist. 

Just to be on the safe side, you can prepare and send out an email to your customers to inform them of the day and time your site will be unavailable. Imagine their surprise when they see a beautiful, brand-new store.

Can I migrate all my stuff (products, categories, content, blog, etc)?

Yes, you can migrate almost everything. With the help of the automated Data Migration Tool, you can migrate orders from Magento 1 to Magento 2 as well as products, customers, settings, store configurations, and promotions. 

The only option to get the rest zoomed over is to do it manually. Manual migration is required for:

  • Extensions and custom code

To take advantage of the architectural advances in Magento 2, developers need to manually port custom code and extensions to Magento 2.

  • Web services credentials

You must manually create credentials for SOAP, XML-RPC, and REST in Magento 2. 

  • Media on the file system

Media assets include, for example, images for products, categories, WYSIWYG editor, and so on. You must copy these manually from the <your Magento 1.x install dir>/media directory to the <your Magento 2 installdir>/pub/media directory.

  • Storefront design

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, templates, and XML layouts are implemented differently in Magento 2 and must be migrated manually.

  • Layouts

Layout updates implemented in Magento 1.x cannot be used

in Magento 2. You must migrate the following manually: XML in CMS category pages in the Magento Admin; Layout updates specified in widget instances.

Can I migrate on my own using the Data Migration Tool?

We sometimes get this question, and the TL:DR is — given the fact that you’re not a Magento developer, you’ll need to find a reputable Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration service provider.

The Magento 2 Data Migration Tool is meant to help you efficiently and securely transfer data such as product, customer, and order data, store configurations, and promotions. It is one of the key components of the migration process and is intended to ensure minimal downtime so you can get up and running quickly.

However, the databases that need to be transferred may not be structured properly. For example, if you have customized data fields, the databases have to be adjusted and in some cases, rebuilt, to guarantee the transfer goes smoothly. There are also other parts to the migration process, like migrating themes, extensions, and custom code. 

Plus, there are lots of things that can go wrong. That’s where Magento experts can be invaluable — they can go through your site, perform an audit, migrate settings, and determine the scope of work needed to get everything working properly. The data migration tool is powerful, but only in the hands of certified Magento developers.

How to migrate Magento 1 to Magento 2: Success in 7 Migration Steps

Magento 2 migration includes four components: data, extensions and custom code, themes, and customizations. 

Magento 2 Migration Technical Overview
Magento 2 Migration Technical Overview. Image credit: Magento

Step 1: Create a migration plan

Before any code is written, the stakeholders, internal team, and external team have to sit down and map out the process so everyone is on the same page. The more details you write down, the more time you’ll save on development and post-deployment. 

With our clients, we split up planning into three stages:

  1. Migration details for data — products, categories, customers, orders, and content (articles, pages).
  2. Project specifications are needed if any additional development is required. In this section, we describe how the project will be developed, including all pertinent processes. This means that every page, every tab, button, and the block has to be described. We suggest using digital tools such as InVision.
  3. Project planning — a step-by-step list of milestones with deadlines and definitions of done.

Step 2: Preparing a testing environment

It is highly recommended to perform each step of migration and develop all related projects in a separate environment (on an allocated server) so that your current store can continue operating without downtime.

At this point, we prepare a test development environment and install the default Magento 2 platform (Open Source or Commerce), and configure the version control system (Git/SVN) to make sure everything is ready to run the project. It’s important to involve a good DevOps engineer at this step.

Step 3: Extensions installation and development of specific functionality

This is where we take our migration plan with the mapped extensions and install the corresponding Magento 2 extensions (if applicable). This is also where we develop custom extensions or additional features for Magento 2.

Step 4: Data migration

A very important step in the process because it’s the bulk of the information that you need to transfer. As we mentioned before, Magento includes an automated tool for transferring only the data existing in Magento by default: (everything except files, layouts, media, custom code, and control access configurations).

Step 5: Creating a design for Magento 2

The themes for the Magento 1.x and Magento 2.x platforms are incompatible. It is possible to copy your current theme for Magento 1.x to Magento 2, but this will require some elbow grease, and we highly recommend updating the design because so many more features are available in Magento 2.

If time is a concern, we also suggest using a default theme available in the Marketplace.

Step 6: Launching a plan and additional database synchronization 

After finalizing and testing the design, we set up the hosting server according to the new system requirements for Magento 2. Once we optimize the server for Magento, we can perform a final database synchronization so no orders or customers get left behind in migration. 

Once you’ve tested the final version and ensured everything works, the store is ready to launch. 

Step 7: Magento 2 store launch on a live server

This is the last step of migration — launch day.

If everything was done correctly and according to the plan, your engineering team will perform a smooth transition to the new store so you can start selling and shipping products right away.

The full workflow breakdown of migrating from Magento 1 to 2:

Migration flow diagram
Migration flow diagram. Source: Magento DevDocs

What can go wrong during migration?

Planning and auditing go a long way in mitigating any risks. 

The available tools allow you to migrate customers from Magento 1 to Magento 2, including accounts, passwords, orders, etc, in an encrypted format. That’s why data security should be one of the last things on your mind. 

Apart from that, there are some pitfalls you should be aware of. We describe these pitfalls in more detail in our article — 7 Major Pitfalls You May Face with Magento Migration

Here’s a brief look:

  1. Magento 2 data migration isn’t as simple as dragging and dropping this is an important point for both time and business considerations. You can’t clone the site and magically make it run on Magento 2. 
  2. Messy code and a shoddy data structure may mean a lot of custom development — you can run into this nasty pitfall at any point during the migration process. The only way to power through is experience and a proper audit before you start migrating. 
  3. You may experience poor SEO performance after migration — Since the page structure is different in Magento 2, developers need to go through and tag any pages or groups of pages that need to be redirected to save SEO rankings.   
  4. You can’t use Magento 1 extensions in Magento 2 — not to mention that Magento 1 extensions will be deleted from the Magento Marketplace on the June 2020 end-of-life date.
  5. Store theme and design have to be redone from scratch — you can still salvage the old design, but since you’re upgrading, we recommend using one of the new, mobile-friendly, and responsive themes.  
  6. The process may take longer than you think — as previously mentioned, you need to be ready to launch well before the support cutoff. A single day without support may make your business vulnerable to security breaches. 
  7. There’s no end in sight if there is no definition of done — there have to be requirements for a successful migration. Involve all of your stakeholders and make sure the internal and external teams are working together. 

How much will Magento migration cost?

Magento 2 is a brand-new platform, which means you will have to invest a fair amount of money to get the most out of it.  Let’s find out the cost to upgrade to Magento 2!

Redesign

The cost of redesigning your store on Magento 2 can vary depending on the complexity of the design. For example:

  • A simple ecommerce website is generally anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000.
  • A medium-sized ecommerce website will cost $40,000 to $80,000.
  • And an enterprise ecommerce website with more custom design features is $80,000+.

We’ve compiled an in-depth article on website redesign costs where we categorized redesign into components and did the math.

Extensions

Magento has already deleted all M1 extensions from the marketplace. Thankfully, most extensions are available for M2 so you won’t have to waste time searching for new options. This makes the process considerably easier.

This is a set of extensions we installed for a client to give an idea of what you may end up paying. 

ModulePrice
Elastic Search$279
Layered navigation$349
Marketplace Multi-Vendor$349
One Step Checkout$299
Abandoned Cart Email$149
SMTP Email Settings$259
Admin Actions Log$249
Follow up email$299
Automatic Customer Group Switcher$259
Special Promotions$279
Magento 2 Google Analytics$99
Out of Stock Notification$229
Magento 2 Mega Menu $179
Total$3,277

Custom extensions/modules

Many clients prefer to fully customize their merchant experience with optimized solutions for their needs. Our team has worked on projects to customize out-of-the-box tools and open-source extensions. You can take a look at our portfolio to read the details for each case study.

Customization

Do you have custom coding for modules or extensions on your existing Magento 1 store? If you want it to work the same way in Magento 2, it has to be refactored or rewritten. 

This isn’t a money grab for developers — a lot has changed since Magento 1.x. Magento 2 supports PHP 7, new caching technologies, and a host of other things. You’ll save more in the long run by optimizing the performance. 

How long will it take to migrate?

A lot longer than you think. 

It’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take without evaluating and planning. This is why the timing is so vital. If you start planning too late, you’ll be caught between a rock and a hard place. So start planning ASAP. 

We’re always available to help guide you through the migration process, so please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Here’s the breakdown of each stage of migration:

Creating a migration plan3 weeks
Preparing a testing environment1-2 days
Installing extensions and custom development3 weeks
Data migration from Magento 1 to Magento 21-2 days
Redesign2-4 weeks
Launching plan and additional database synchronization1-2 days
Magento 2 store launch on a live server1 week
Total migration timeApproximately 2-3 months

Please keep in mind that this is a rough estimate. If you run a small business, migration can be way faster, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, large businesses may require twice as much time to migrate.

Which Magento 2 edition is right for my needs?

Both Magento Open Source 2 and Commerce 2 have significant improvements over Magneto 1. But since you’re migrating, why not migrate to Magento Commerce? Is Magento Commerce that much better? 

Earlier this year, Adobe commissioned Stax, a global strategy consultancy, to evaluate how merchants benefited by migrating from Magento Commerce 1 and other competitive solutions to Magento Commerce 2.

We’ll let the numbers do the talking.

  • 165% 3-year ROI from migrating to Magento Commerce 2
  • 29% increase in mobile revenue
  • 5% increase in average order value
  • 61% reduction in content creation time
  • 25% increase in site traffic
  • 16% increase in conversion rates
The ROI of Migrating to Magento Commerce 2
The ROI of Migrating to Magento Commerce 2. Image credit: Magento

Also, when you upgrade to Magento Commerce, you can replace custom code with third-party extensions. But again, your choice will depend on your needs. 

To get a better understanding, take a look at our Magento Community vs Enterprise Edition Comparison. You can also consider the cloud-hosted version of Magento — Magento Commerce Cloud

Magento migration in a nutshell 

Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding of what’s involved with Magento 2 migration. To reiterate:

  • You can migrate all of your data with a hybrid approach (manual +  automated).
  • You can retain your Magento 1 design, although we would recommend investing in a new design with modern technologies and architecture that Magento 2 offers.
  • It will take approximately 2-3 months; depending on the size and complexity of your business it can go much faster or take much longer.
  • By entrusting the process to Magento experts, you minimize risk and downtime.
  • Magento 2 has more features and Adobe is continuing to improve the integrations and feature-set.
  • Magento Commerce 2 is superior to Magento Open Source —  it provides everything an enterprise-level company needs (and saves them money at the same time).
Need to migrate your ecommerce website to Magento 2? The earlier you start, the more time you have to get everything right.

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Sagar Chand
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Sagar Chand

Amazing article helped a lot those having so many questions in their mind regarding Magento 2 upgrade. It is only worthwhile if you are hiring a professional expertise development team.

Vatsal
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Vatsal

Hey this article covers almost everything one person want to know what are the advantages of migrating from magento1 to magento 2. What are the features of it, how much cost it will take, what kind of customisation it will be there. Even you have also describe 7 steps to migrate from magento 1 to magento 2.

Roger
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Roger

What an amazing article!!! Thanks a lot. Your post provides me full information about Magento 2 migration. Do you know other ways to migrate Magento in a short time? I saw that this process takes at least 2 -3 months to complete which is, honestly, quite long!

Alexpaul
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Great guide on migrating to Magento. These tips will help a lot to the developers. Thanks for sharing the informative article.