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Magento 2 Migration: Step-By-Step Guide

As most of you already know, there’s no more time left to postpone the question of migrating a Magento 1 eCommerce website to Magento 2. The thing is that the support of the first version has been officially terminated in June 2020. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Magento 1 stores can’t function any longer, yet it does mean that they are already jeopardizing their site’s safety and missing out on many new features.

In this article, we’ll explain why such migration is time-consuming and challenging as well as cover the reasons why it shouldn’t be delayed. Moreover, in this Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration guide, we’ll go over the major steps that the process is comprised of.

Don’t Delay Your Magento 2 Migration

If you’re planning to postpone Magento 2 migration, don’t. Among the major reasons why lies in the fact that the process takes loads of time since Magento 1 and Magento 2 differ from each other greatly. It’s absolutely nothing like copying a paragraph in one Word document and pasting it to another one, this is why it’ll take at least 3-6 months.

Mentioning other crucial reasons to make the move is security. There won’t be any more security patches released for Magento 1, therefore, any store that stays on this platform becomes a lot more vulnerable to hacks, fraud attacks, and data leaks. The latter is perhaps the most intimidating point since any eCommerce store is responsible to keep the client details safe, and their leaks can lead to lawsuits.

Moreover, moving the store to Magento 2 can be an outstanding chance to renovate the website, rework the design, add new functionality, implement modern technology, boost its performance. And you can always continue improving it after the migration as unlike Magento 1, the second version will continue to expand its features (whereas the first one will become ever more outdated).

So Why is Migration to Magento 2 So Hard?

Migration to Magento 2 is a struggle and requires various resources, particularly as regards time. As stated earlier, the first and second versions have more dissimilarities than similarities and are practically “strangers” to each other in terms of their architecture. This means that any migration is coupled with building from the groundwork and all the way up.

Giving a comparison based on the analog of moving from one house to another, imagine that you have to move, say, from New York to London. This’ll require not only packing, sorting, and getting rid of the old things (which is no easy task). You’ll also need to be prepared for the new realities of the London house that, for instance, has 220V electric sockets (as opposed to 110V American ones), so you’ll need many new technical appliances. You’ll most likely even rework the design of the new home since you probably won’t be able to (nor will want to) take your old wallpaper or doors with you across the ocean.

Therefore, migration involves planning, cleaning up, moving data (logs, databases, etc), updating modules, working on the modules’ compatibility, adding new functionality, tweaking the design, testing, fixing bugs, alongside a plethora of other things.

10 Key Magento 2 Migration Steps

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the scale and relevance of this process. Yet what are the fundamental steps that make up the migration to Magento 2? Let’s go through them one by one.

Step 1: Find the Right People for the Job

In order to reach a successful migration, you have to hire the most competent team of developers. These people must be equally experienced in Magento 1 development, Magento 2 development, and have a strong portfolio of previous projects with store migration. Otherwise, if you opt for the services of inexperienced developers, you may spend too much extra money and time on a process that’s already lengthy and costly in itself.

Step 2: Perform an Audit & Plan with Milestones

Before you move on to the planning stage, it is important to understand what you have at the moment so as to estimate the scope of work ahead. The developers should assess how hard it may be to migrate from the technical side, the possible time it’ll take for creating custom functionality, and the volumes.

At this point, you should make decisions regarding which data is needed in the new store, which elements aren’t, etc. Then you map it out, break it down into milestones.

Step 3: The UX / UI Part

You can either use an existing ready-made theme, have designers brush up such a theme, or have them create a completely new design for the website from scratch. Either way, keeping in mind the visual outer look of your online store and how easy the site is to navigate for a user are the points to give attention to.

In any case, this is the time to see what parts of the design could be improved. Of course, any requested suggestions should be verified with the developers in terms of the possibility of implementation.

Step 4: Creating Custom Functionality & Logic

Since every Magento 1 store is different, there’s a huge chunk of time that’ll be used for developing custom code and functionality for the migration. Although there are many toolkits, still, a lot of manual coding that is unique is required.

Step 5: Handling Extensions & Modules

Any Magento store is composed of various plugins and third-party modules, thus, they first need to be listed and prioritized by importance. Finding the right analog to replace the ones used on Magento 1, running all the necessary module updates, replacing or getting rid of unneeded ones, or even crafting new extensions if there don’t exist analogs for them in Magento 2 is the next step of the deal.

Step 6: Testing the Technology

After covering the technical side, it is time to run tests to see that everything functions well. This includes every aspect from the modules and plugins to safety and mobile compatibility, to name a few.

Step 7: Moving the Data

Migrating data could also be a complex step that’ll gobble up a lot of time. In much, this depends on how much of it is needed on the new version of the store.

Of course, your products, product variations, their customization information, and client databases are among the prioritized data to move. Order history is another point to be imported. Yet the major question here is do you really need all the logs and entries? If you’re ready to sacrifice some very old logs, this can “lighten” up the process.

Step 8: Server Configuration

The Magento 2 store won’t work properly if the servers won’t be configured correctly. Since Magento 2 is deemed to be not as fast as Magento 1, you won’t go far without tools for caching (such as Redis and Varnish) that could be able to assist you in boosting the performance of the store.

Step 9: Bug Fixing

Before the final launch, all the possible bugs and shortcomings need to be fixed. This is the phase where the last touches are made to assure that everything functions correctly, for last-minute tweaks, and linking the store to external CRMs and other internal software.

Step 10: Post Migration Support

Now that the migration was carried out successfully, in an ideal case scenario, the team of developers who worked on the project should provide their support afterward. This is needed as a back-up in case something occurs.

Final Thoughts

Although you may feel a dash of fright before the migration ahead, the process is inevitable. Sooner or later, the migration to Magento 2 from Magento 1 has to occur. This is why with thorough prior planning, a clear vision of what you expect the eCommerce store to turn out to be at the end, and a good team with enough expertise to handle the migration, you’re up for success.

About the Author

Alex Husar

Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.