Magento 1 vs Magento 2: Comparison & Reasons to Upgrade

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September 16, 2021
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Magento 1 vs Magento 2: Comparison & Reasons to Upgrade
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Magento 1 or Magento 2 — that is the question. 

When Magento 2 was first introduced in 2015, the issue of ecommerce replatforming was not that pressing. But ever since Adobe announced the end of Magento 1 support, more and more businesses started to wonder: should I stay with a familiar tool or risk it and enjoy the benefits of an upgraded platform? The fear of migration was too much.

In this article, we will try to shed some light on all of these questions. You will learn about the difference between Magento 1 and 2, discuss what end-of-life (EOL) means for Magento 1 merchants, and calculate how difficult it is to migrate. 

Magento 1 EOL and Adobe Upgrades

After Magento 2 was released, Adobe announced the end of Magento 1 support in 2018. As the community asked to move the date, the Magento 1 EOL actually took place in June 2020. 

The EOL may sound dramatic but it does not mean that all websites on Magento 1 have magically stopped working one day. The platform runs still but requires consistent maintenance and support on the part of the end-users. 

Here is what Magento 1 EOL means for its users.

No Security Patches

When developers were still working on Magento 1, they would regularly release security patches if they found security issues. As for now, nobody checks for vulnerabilities, and users have to take care of their website safety on their own. 

Issues with Extensions

The community will be focused on providing extensions to Magento 2. It means that no new plugins will be released for Magento 1 and the old ones may start lagging or having compatibility issues.

PCI Non-Compliant

Your website will be no longer PCI-compliant which Google will notify users about. Security is vital for eCommerce websites, and customers are not willing to fill in their payment and delivery information on an unsecured website. Some payment processing companies are likely to stop working with Magento 1 as well. 

No Support

If there are security issues, a particular feature doesn’t work properly, or you need training, there will be no Magento 1 support team to help you out: they all moved to Magento 2. 

As for now, the Magento 1 downloads significantly dropped, while the Magento 2 downloads skyrocketed. The community who could have answered your question on forums before will not be as active either. 

Dynamics of Magento 1 and Magento 2 installs
Dynamics of Magento 1 and Magento 2 installs. Source: Sansec 

What Is the Difference Between Magento 1 and Magento 2?

You may still wonder why Adobe had to create a whole new platform rather than just fix the existing Magento 1 issues. Still, there is that much difference between Magento 1 and Magento 2. In this section, you’ll learn what changed in the popular eCommerce platform and whether it is actually any better than before. 

Architecture

Magento 2 added a lot of new technologies for eCommerce architecture that open more room for customization and optimization. It now supports newer versions of previous technologies and:

  • Nginx (for HTTP cache and load balance)
  • Varnish (for improved website speed)
  • Redis (for database cache and broker for messages)
  • RequireJS 
  • PSR
  • Knockout.js
  • Composer (for effortless third-party library reuse)
  • Symphony (for more control over website content, UX, and UI)

Speed & Performance

It was a common complaint that Magento is too slow. Magento 1 used to have an average page loading speed of over 2 seconds, which brought more harm than good to ecommerce websites. Magento 2 managed to cut the average loading time by around 50% for the homepage and product pages, and by around 38% for the checkout. It became available mostly because of new technology that was added to the platform. 

With Magento 2, you do not have to wait for the entire page to load before seeing the page. The platform has added a built-in module for clear cache: previously, you had to use a third-party extension. Magento 2 also offers tools for image optimization on the server rather than manually. Thus, there’s a significant difference in Magento 2 vs Magento 1 performance.

Performance of catalog pages for Magento 1 and Magento 2.
Performance of catalog pages for Magento 1 and Magento 2. Source: Aheadworks 

Security

You might have already understood that Magento 1 is not safe to use now. Missing security patches and PCI compliance are to blame. Magento 2, on the contrary, augmented platform security to make it even safer than Magento 1 before its EOL. 

Magento 2 supports SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256) for the reduction of dictionary attacks and Signifyd for rejecting scam orders. It’s also implemented 2-factor authentication and new rules to prevent XSS attacks. Regular security patches, measures to prevent clickjacking exploits, and many more Magento security features have made the platform even more resilient to hacking attacks than ever.

magento 2 security updates

Security is a top #1 reason for Magento 2 migration. Mount-It!, an American mount and stand retailer, moved to Magento 2 only after their website was hacked. Now the brand enjoys maximum data protection as well as personalized security measures. 

Mobile-Friendliness

Mobile retail sales will reach $432 billion by 2022. To become a part of mobile retail, you need to have a mobile version of your website that provides a flawless user experience.

Statistics on m-commerce sales.
Statistics on m-commerce sales. Source: Bigcommerce 

Responsive design was not standard for Magento 1, but Magento 2 took care of the issue. It is a lot easier to optimize for mobile now and even create a native mobile app with the feel and look of your website. The latter became possible thanks to the PWA Studio

Admin Panel & Ease of Use

The admin panel is easier to navigate in Magento 2, even though it is more advanced. From the new Magento 2 dashboard, you can track the success of your business by analyzing last, new, and average orders; lifetime retail sales, top search keywords; income tax, bestsellers; the number of products; and amount of shipping. You can even customize your dashboard to get access to what you need easier and faster.

Magento 1 Dashboard
Magento 1 dashboard
Magento 2 Dashboard
Magento 2 dashboard

Checkout & Payments

With Magento 1, you could have hypothetically integrated with any payment provider but it required a lot of work from your developers: the integration was fully custom. Magento 2 supports integrations with widely-used payment providers automatically, thus making it faster, easier, and bugless. The upgrade has given merchants the opportunity to integrate some best Magento payment gateways — something unthinkable in Magento 1.

The checkout process was also long with Magento 1 and you could not skip any stage out of 6. Magento 2 breaks the process just into two steps and offers mobile-friendly options. 

SEO

Magento 2 provides rich SEO functionality, for example:

  • Canonical tags
  • XML sitemap
  • Adding alt text to product images
  • Robots.txt File
  • Meta tags
  • Search-friendly URLs
  • Rich snippets

Take a look at these effective Magento SEO tips that would help you optimize your store and achieve high rankings for the relevant keywords.

Extensions

In Magento 1, it was difficult to install multiple extensions while they conflicted with each other. It is not an issue anymore with Magento 2: you are free to add as many extensions as you want and install them with less effort due to new additions to architecture. 

An online vape shop, Dampfi, has contacted Elogic to move to Magento 2 to boost their retail operations management system. Not only have they experienced a seamless migration process, but also their website expanded functionality — all thanks to integration of third-party extensions.

Support

The customer support on Magento 1 is out of the question and it is likely that the community support will soon be abandoned as well since everyone is moving to Magento 2 now. 

Magento 2 provides customer support to Magento Enterprise Edition and Enterprise Cloud Edition but Magento Open Source, the free version, comes without the support from Magento. You can still go for community support. 

Magento 2 Migration: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

No matter how good the new technology is, it is always a hard decision to make a move. So are the benefits of Magento 2 over Magento 1 sufficient enough to migrate from the good old platform?

Do I Have to Upgrade to Magento 2?

No, you do not have to but we recommend doing so. As you may have noticed, in Magento 1 vs Magento 2 battle, Magento 2 wins on every step and rights everything that was wrong with the first version: it’s faster and more advanced, gives you endless opportunities for extensions, and makes payments and mobile-friendliness easier than ever. 

Moreover, it’s just unsafe to stay on Magento 1. Its EOL means no more support, no security patches, and PCI non-compliance, no room for improvements and growth. Maintaining obsolete software is both difficult and expensive.  

How Challenging Is It to Migrate Your Magento 1 Store to Magento 2?

The main reason why businesses do not want to upgrade to Magento 2 is the complexity of migration. It is true that Magento 1 and Magento 2 are two different platforms and you can not move with a single click of the button. 

The migration process usually happens in five steps: 

  • Migration of data
  • Migration of theme
  • Migration of extensions
  • Migration of custom code
  • Quality assurance

If you choose the right agency, you are unlikely to let the whole website down; quite on the contrary, you can manage migration without significant downtimes or lagging website performance. However, it is still a challenging process that requires thoughtful preparation and expert migration services. 

Looking for an experienced company to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2?

Elogic has taken care of dozens of migration projects - reach out to us!

Migrate to Magento 2 now

How Long Does It Take to Migrate From Magento 1 to Magento 2?

The duration of the process depends on the complexity of your current website. Obviously, it is easier to move a small website with six product categories than a store with a lot of products and numerous extensions. On average, it takes 1-3 months to complete the migration process. 

Magento 1 and Magento 2 Comparison Table

Magento 1Magento 2
ArchitectureApache 2.x


PHP 5.2.x – 5.5.x
MySQL

Solr (Only for EE) HTML
CSS

JQuery (in latest themes)

Zend Framework 1  
Apache 2.2./2.4.
Nginx 1.7 or greater
PHP 5.6.x/ 7.0.2 / 7.0.6
MySQL/MySQL Percona 5.6.x or greaterSolr 4xHTML 5Varnish 3.x / 4.xCSS3Redis 2.x / 3.x orMemcached 1.4.xJQueryRequireJS / Knockout.jsPSR – 0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4Zend Framework 1 / 2ComposerSymfony
Speed & PerformanceLoading time: 3 secondsLoading time: 1,5 seconds
SecurityInsecure due to EOLHas new advanced security tools for eCommerce specifically
Mobile-FriendlinessYou have to manually create a mobile versionMobile version comes with themes automatically; has PWA studio for building native mobile apps with looks and feel of the website
Admin Panel & Ease of UseDifficult to use; does not have advanced tools and statisticsEasy to use; has advanced tools and statistics; the admin panel is customizable
Checkout & PaymentsYou have to manually integrate payment gatewaysAutomatic integrations with the most popular gateways
SEOHas basic tools for SEOHas more advanced SEO tools
ExtensionsExtensions conflict with each other; no new extensions due to EOLYou can add as many extensions as you want without them conflicting with each other
SupportNo supportCustomer support for paid versions, community support for open-source

Conclusion: Why Magento 2 Is Better Than Magento 1?

Magento 2 wins on every step: it performs better, more processes are automated, while still opening more room for customization, it has more advanced tools for SEO and security, and a new tech stack. While the new platform will be maintained and updated, the old one will become more and more unsecured and expensive to manage. 

The migration process, however difficult it is, is completely justified. You can significantly save if you invest once rather than dealing with obsolete software for years. 

If you want to learn even more about the replatforming process, take a look at our step-by-step Magento migration guide.
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Pierre
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Pierre

What a great post on Magento 1 vs Magento 2 comparison. Now I see all the benefits why merchants should upgrade to Magento 2. Always great reading your posts, Yuliana!

Brian
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Brian

I firmly believe that Magento 2 upgrade is just a matter of time. Thank you for sharing valuable information on the key differences between Magento 1 vs 2. Always great insights!

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