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April 8th, 2020

Magento 1 to 2 Migration: The Main Steps


Migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is a great challenge for any eCommerce company. With support provided until June 2020, Magento is trying to push business owners to withdraw the first version in favor of the second one. Even though after this date Magento 1 will become uncommonly vulnerable due to the lack of security updates and its functionality will be incredibly limited, some store owners are not sure whether they need to migrate at the moment.

Magento 2 has improved security features, provides lots of built-in integration (for instance, it is quite easier to implement ElasticSearch for better performance in an M2 store), its backend looks and works better, it is more fast, scalable, and functional. Moreover, with the time-honored old version, the task of finding experienced developers that are willing to work on an old technology stack will become more and more challenging. So, migration is a question of time and the only reasonable decision that can be made. In light of this, sooner or later you will have to upgrade your store.

However, the migration process itself is a big deal. If you don’t think that you can tackle it alone, be sure to hit up a company providing professional Magento upgrade services.

So, we’ve decided to define the main stages of the process to make sure that you or your contractor don’t miss any important details.

Stage 1: Preparation

Step 1: Evaluate your migration scope and current environment

The first thing you need to take care of is making clear the complexity of the coming migration. The duration and elaboration of the process significantly depend on the following factors:

  • The current level of store customization (moving a slightly customized store will be much easier compared to migrating a highly-customized one with lots of third-party extensions, custom themes, and integrations).
  • The number of products, categories, visits, orders, and attributes.
  • The number of domains and storefronts.

One of the most frequent questions clients ask is “How long does the migration take?”. Well, it depends on the current functionality and complexity of the store. On average, it takes at least 1 month – and any company that promises to finish it faster raises a red flag.

Step 2: Find proper replacements for the current functionality

Obviously, your store has a great number of third-party extensions aimed at expanding functionality and improving performance. As far as Magento 1 and Magento 2 are completely different platforms both in architecture and functionality, the task of finding identical extensions that would be a perfect match for your new store is quite challenging. Therefore, there are only a few options available here:

  • extensions that work both with M1 and M2 versions (lots of M1 extensions have proper M2 alternatives).
  • extensions that have no third-party alternatives for Magento 2 (they should be replaced with analogs similar to functionality).
  • ultimately unique customization that requires rebuilding a store from scratch.

Step 3: Choose the Right Magento 2 Data Migration Tool

We encourage you to use the standard Magento 2 data migration tool to move from a slightly customized store based on Magento 1 or other platforms (such as Shopify) to Magento 2. Writing custom logic is essential, in this case, to properly move and merge data from M1. If you are willing to move custom data and third-party extensions to the new platform, use this M1 to M2 code migration tool.

Stage 2: Migration

After the preparation stage is over, it is time to move to the process execution. You’ll need to define the milestones for every step to focus on goals and offer your team a clear understanding of the process.

Step 1: Prepare the development environment for Magento 2

A new theme should be either purchased from the Magento Marketplace or developed to spec. Besides, at this step, the new store has to be integrated with your current corporate systems and all necessary third-party extensions should be installed or developed (if you failed to find proper extensions on the Magento Marketplace). You also have to optimize such configs as Redis, Varnish, Memcached, and others.

Step 2: Data migration

At this step, you, your in-house team or contractor have to import user accounts, products, categories, order history to the new website. Keep in mind, if you have a great amount of data, this will turn into a lengthy process, and you may expect that it may take a significant amount of hours.

Step 3: Store optimization

As far as data migration is already finished, it is time to test your Magento 2 website performance with various tools and optimize it for better performance (if necessary). This step should be performed on actual store data to make sure that the store is ready to handle actual loads.

Step 4: Pre-deployment activity

Before the actual deployment stage begins, we encourage you to do the following:

  • document all important processes your store enables,
  • arrange the resources required for the process,
  • think up any enhancements to the customer experience that will bring the new website,
  • identify benchmarks to measure KPIs in terms of performance and UX.

Step 5: Deployment

The next step will be updating the existing data with the newest entries. So-called delta migration, which takes place on “live” websites allows you to migrate only the newly added data in several operations. The data will be added to the current one with the help of the script so that both websites will have identical users, products, order history, and so on.

Stage 3: Post-migration tweaks

The launch of the new Magento 2 store is not the end of the migration process. Next, you’ll need to make post-migration tweaks such as bug fixes and feature requests from the stakeholders. Moreover, some technical emergencies can happen, so you need to put aside some time for their debunking.

The most important part of this stage is connecting your new Magento 2 store with a CRM system or other internal software your company uses.

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