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Magento 1: Upgrade? Or Time to Re-Platform?

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Updated 14/06/2017- After stating an original end-of-life date of November 2018, Magento have recently reneged on this date and stated that support will continue for at least 18 months after November 2018. This article has been updated to reflect this change.

Any time after November 2018, Magento will cease support for eCommerce merchants using its version 1.x platforms. This means stores will no longer receive the security updates essential for keeping their sites safe, and you’ll need to transition your store to either Magento 2, or a different platform.

So with time and financial investment unavoidable, should you transition to Magento 2, or is this the perfect time to move to another platform such as Shopify?

After an original end-of-life date of November 2018 was removed, Magento has now provided no definite end-of-life date, only increasing uncertainty for store owners. With the possibility of only 18 month’s notice before support ends what should your eCommerce business do?

Magento 1.x’s end of life is confusing to say the least, so we’ll run through the key worries Magento merchants have, and help you decide whether to take the plunge with Magento 2, or switch to another platform.


Key Questions Answered

So what are the key concerns of Magento merchants? The upgrading procedure for the platform isn’t exactly simple, and could take a few months to complete, even for the simplest stores.

Here are the key considerations for upgrading:


How Quickly Can I Re-Platform?

The short answer? Not very quickly. As mentioned above, even the most basic of Magento sites would take some time to transition. This means you’ll need to start thinking about your course of action now.

How quickly can I re-platform

Exactly how long your upgrade will take depends on the complexity of your store, the extensions you are using and the skill of your developer. You’ll also need to ensure that the transition doesn’t impact on your site’s SEO. A sudden drop because of a poorly executed transition might cut your traffic and sales.


When Should I Re-Platform?

Again, this question doesn’t have a simple answer. You could transition to Magento 2 now, but the platform is still fairly young and many users have reported bugs.

So migrating now is still risky and dealing with bugs will likely impact on your business. Having to handle constant issues and niggles isn’t ideal for eCommerce stores that need to focus on selling and growing a strong business.

So should you wait to upgrade? Well waiting is fraught with potential problems as well. If you wait until closer to Magento’s end of life, you’ll have to rush to meet the deadline and might end up with a store that’s undergone an obviously rushed transition. You may also find that most Magento developers’ time has been booked up, as they tussle with transferring all of their clients’ stores to Magento 2.


What Version Should I Move To?

Deciding on which version to transition to is also a tougher question than it might seem.

What version

The most obvious choice is to move straight to Magento 2. This gives you the very latest version available and means you shouldn’t have to worry about transitioning again (for a while at least).

But for merchants using versions 1.6 and earlier, things aren’t that simple.

As support for earlier versions of Magento 1.x becomes sketchy, you could decide to transition to Magento 1.9 in the short term. 1.9 is a much more stable version than 2.0, but means you’ll ultimately have to transition again in the next couple of years.


Can I Carry on Using Magento 1.x?

Again, the short answer is no. Having no security updates means your store would quickly become vulnerable to security breaches, errors and malicious attacks.

You could rely on Magento’s community to provide security patches into the future, which they may do. However, you’d have no assurances that support would continue or that threats would be addressed. Relying on community updates doesn’t make business sense as it exposes you to unnecessary risk.


I’ve Heard about issues with Magento 2, Should I Be Worried?

As mentioned earlier, there are still problems with Magento 2.

As Magento 2 is essentially a new platform, many extensions aren’t yet compatible. Extensions are a vital component of most Magento stores, and provide key functionality, so a lack of compatibility is worrying.

Magento 2 also represents a learning curve for merchants, with a different interface and layout. This means you may have to re-train your staff to use the new version.


Time to Re-Platform?

So with all of these different issues around moving to Magento 2, could re-platforming be the easiest solution? After all, you’ll have to invest the time anyway, and modern eCommerce platforms such as Shopify have some great advantages over Magento.

In our opinion, we find that Shopify makes a great alternative to Magento.


No Versions To Worry About

Shopify doesn’t release updated versions of its software for merchants. Instead, every Shopify store always runs on their latest version, without any action needed from the merchant.

Your store would always have access to the latest features and technologies such as Apple Pay, without you having to do anything at all. Shopify is currently the only eCommerce platform to offer Apple Pay out of the box’.

This means you wouldn’t ever have to worry about upgrading again and your store’s features would never become unsupported. It also means you’ll never have to re-learn your stores’ interface or re-train staff to use it.


Unrivaled Security

Shopify is a fully managed solution. This means everything on the hosting and security side is taken care of by Shopify themselves. You don’t have to worry about being security compliant and every Shopify store has the latest security updates.

Unrivalled security

All Shopify stores use SSL everywhere, even when the visitor isn’t logged in, for the best security. Additionally, they are all set automatically at the highest level of PCI compliance.

You won’t have to worry about exposing your store to threats, and you can rest easy that all of your customers are shopping in a safe and secure environment.


Manage and Monitor Your Store - Anywhere

Shopify offers an amazing suite of iOS and Android apps which allow you to monitor your sales, manage your products and view reports from anywhere on the move - providing you with unrivalled access to the information you need to grow your business, wherever you are.

Plus, like the complete Shopify eco-system, these apps are being upgraded all the time, so you’ll continue to benefit from new innovations.


Future-Proof

Finally, no versions means your store is future-proof. With Shopify, you’ll never have to turn your attention away from sales and divert funds to upgrading and maintaining your site.

Shopify is committed to bringing the latest features, updates, security fixes and business tools to all of its stores. Shopify is a platform focused around the needs of your business, rather than developers. This means you can focus on building a successful eCommerce business, rather than upgrading your platform.


In Summary…

Every store running on Magento 1.x will have to upgrade or replatform by a currently undefined date, any time after November 2018. For merchants who’ve spent a long time building a loyal customer base, great looking store and flourishing business around the platform, there’s no doubt it’s frustrating.

Magento 1.x’s end of life may be the perfect opportunity to re-platform your store and choose an eCommerce platform with no updates, the latest features and a fantastic support structure.


Switch to Shopify: Breaking Up with Magento

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