Complete magento 2 upgrade guide

What is Magento 2?

The complete Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration guide

Developed by Varien in 2008 and later sold to Adobe in 2018, Magento Commerce is a leading eCommerce platform. Used globally by all sizes of businesses, the Magento platform allows for the creation of engaging and interactive online marketplaces.

With extensive capabilities and functionality out of the box, Magento is a great choice for any business looking to provide an online store for their customers.

In 2015, Adobe released Magento 2, intended to take over from Magento 1 with new capabilities, fixes, security features and a ground-up rework of the platform itself to bring it in line with new technologies and development practices.

As such, Adobe stopped providing support and updates for Magneto 1 in June 2020, hoping to encourage their users to migrate to Magento 2.

This means thousands of businesses are now running an outdated version with potential security risks and no further performance updates. As expected, organisations are scrambling to upgrade to Magento 2.

Of course, a new platform means new features to get your head around. So, what are the main differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2? Keep reading to find out.

What is the difference between
Magento 1 and Magento 2?

  • Performance

    A major complaint about Magento 1 was the slow loading speeds.

    Google has confirmed that eCommerce sites should load pages within 2 seconds, or risk their prospects bouncing off and going to a different store.

    It is a real challenge to get Magento 1 sites to meet this target, and with site speed now a Google ranking factor, it can damage your bottom line by losing your search rankings. Thanks to numerous performance revisions and upgrades, Magento 2 offers 25% faster site speeds compared to Magento 1 on average.

    For larger sites, Magento 2 can cope with 10 million page views per hour, which is a vast improvement over Magento 1’s 200,000.

    Finally, with Magento 2 able to process 39% more orders per hour, it’s clear that Magento 2 wins out when it comes to your business’ bottom line.

  • Cost/Pricing

    Despite getting all the extra capabilities of Magento 2, the cost compared to Magento 1 is pretty similar.

    The Magento Community Edition is open source, which means the platform itself is 100% free. For many businesses, this version will provide for all of their needs, but if you have a particularly large online store, Magento Enterprise offers more power-user features, such as complex SEO tools, full page caching, security features, marketing tools, and more readily available support options.

    Magento Enterprise can cost anywhere between £17,000 to £25,000 a year.

    One thing to bear in mind with both editions is that you will need a developer or a specialist Magento 2 agency to actually create and maintain the site. Unlike platforms like WordPress, Magento is more sophisticated, thus requiring specialist knowledge to set up and maintain.,

    ITQ specialises in Magento development and can help you migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2 with little disruption to your business operations.

  • Security

    Not only does poor security put your customers at risk, it can also put your business at risk by opening doors into your confidential data and exposing you to fines from failing to adhere to legal requirements like GDPR.

    Although secure when it was supported, Magento 1 is no longer receiving security updates. As such, it has less protection against new and upcoming threats. This is only going to get worse as the platform gets older.

    Magento 2 is quite new and still receives regular security updates to match the changing digital environment.

  • Support

    As your digital store becomes the lifeblood of your company, even small outages in the service can have severe consequences for your bottom line. When issues do arise, you want to be able to reach out to an expert as quickly as possible.

    Although well supported in its time, Magento 1 no longer receives updates or support services. Consequently,, you are now largely on your own if you are still on the Magento 1 platform. This means any issues with your store can be much harder to resolve and potentially present costly delays.

    On the other hand, Magento 2 has a wide range of support options still available, including troubleshooting guides, community forums, FAQs, how-tos, support tools, and direct customer service support. This means you are far likely to resolve issues quickly and protect your business from any downtime.

  • Platform Architecture

    This refers to the underlying framework of code which your store runs on. Although you may never see this code as an end user, it has a direct impact on your store experience and performance.

    The Magento 1 platform is now outdated and lacks many modern website features, such as PHP7, HTML 5 and various server types and configurations.

    Magento 2 remedies this with full support for PHP7, HTML 5, Zend Framework 1 & 2 and various server-side technologies such as NGINX, Composer, Varnish, Symfony and Redis. Although these features will make little difference to the end user, your developers will appreciate the new capabilities and flexibility.

  • Dashboard

    Sat behind your storefront, accessible in the admin pages, is the dashboard which gives you an overview of your store’s performance.

    Both Magento 1 and Magento 2 aren’t known for their user-friendly backends. Although powerful, the admin systems can be overwhelming to new users and present a steep learning curve unless you are eased into the new admin by a competent Magento 2 trainer.

    However, Magento 2 has improved upon Magento 1 by offering new widgets and features to make performance monitoring much easier. The new UI also does away with the more clunky features, giving a much more streamlined experience.

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

    For your store to be competitive on Google and other search engines, SEO consideration is an absolute must. Although often given to dedicated SEO experts and agencies,

    Magento 2 offers many more features which will make their lives easier. In return, you get better rankings in search engines, more traffic, and more revenue.

  • Mobile Friendly

    With 60-80% of searches performed on mobile devices, it is no wonder that sites are starting to move to a “mobile first” design ethic. Google has also jumped on this, ranking mobile friendly sites higher. As such a site optimised for mobile is likely to perform better and boost your profits.

    Magento 1 was a lot more rigid than Magento 2 in terms of site design possibilities. This meant it was hard to create a good looking mobile Magento site, and even harder to make it fast! Magento 2 expands on the features of Magento 1 and allows much more flexibility to design sites from the ground up or kissing well proven design themes with mobile in mind.

How long does it take to migrate from
Magento 1 to Magento 2

Depending on the scope and size of your store, it can take anywhere from 1-6 months to complete a migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

Upgrading Magento is not as simple as updating the version. Magento 1 and 2 are completely different platforms and should be considered as separate systems. As such, a Magento 2 migration involves literally moving across all your data, products, theming etc and converting them into formats which are compatible with Magento 2.

This is a time consuming process and can cause large problems with your store if not conducted by experts such as those at ITQ Digital.


How to upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2

There is much more to migrating to Magento 2 than just doing a regular update. It requires building a shop from the ground up based on completely different,
modern software. Here are just some things that you need to look out for:

Planning your migration

  • Start planning today; depending on complexity it can take 2-6 months for a migration. If you want your site to be ready for a big event like Christmas or Black Friday, take into account any potential delays and factor that into your timescale.
  • Pick and Choose the right moment to release the new shop wisely. You don’t want to launch right before one of the aforementioned events, as any problems could cause your site to be down during that important time. Equally, we recommend launching earlier in the week, as any issues cropping up on a Friday won’t generally get fixed until late on Monday.
  • Don’t rush the design phase. This is your chance to make sure your site looks and functions exactly as you need it to. Amends to design are naturally more difficult and costly once the site is developed and live.

Getting ready

  • Keep your URL structure in check. Remember it can change, so plan for this. You don’t want to face problems with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) down the line with Google unable to find your original pages. The best way to deal with this is to keep the same URLs if possible, or use 301 redirects.
  • Remember about your server, it?s important to check it can handle Magento 2. The last thing you need is to update your site and discover that you also need a new server! Your Magento Developer should be able to help advise on this.
  • Compare the features of your current and targeted versions. It’s likely you’ve customised your Magento 1 site over time, so take a moment to research which features Magento 2 has by default, and which ones you will need to add with plugins. As mentioned previously, there are also different versions of Magento 2, so check your version supports the features you need.
  • Let your customers know about the changes. It can be jarring when you visit an established site and it looks different. Sometimes this can damage your conversion rates, as returning customers may think your new site is a phishing attempt if it looks radically different!
  • This is also a good chance to shout about your new site, drive some interest and let your customers know that you are investing in your site and their experience.
  • Training for your staff to ensure they understand the new platform completely. The dashboard and admin functionality differs between Magento 1 and Magento 2, so you will want to train any staff who will be editing and uploading content and changes to the site before you go live.
  • Choose the right time to switch. As mentioned before, consider the safest time of the week and year to make your switch to mitigate any teething problems.
  • Say goodbye to your old shop and old problems!

Migration process

  • Ensure you have the right development team in place with loads of Magento experience to handle this work. It’s a complex undertaking and you don’t want to risk leaving it in the hands of amateurs. It can be tempting to try it yourself by following online instructions, but unless you really understand what you’re doing, any issues which crop up could cause significant delays.
  • By getting an experienced Magento developer on board at the state, you know they are aware of every step and nuance of the process so far, and will be able to build your site quickly and efficiently.
  • Ensure you synchronize the orders and customer data; don’t forget while your developing Magento 2 your Magento 1 site is still taking orders! Again, this is best left to a Magento developer and will serve to keep your data history intact.
  • Test, test and test again. Most Magento site’s are large and you want to try and preempt any issues and errors which customers may come across. As such, set aside a good amount of time for testing and try and test every aspect and feature of your site, no matter how small. For example:
    • Do orders go through correctly and does the site notify your distribution?
    • Do all the buttons and links work?
    • Do the filters work correctly?
    • Does your out of stock notification feature work on product pages?
    • Do any contact forms work correctly?
    • Countless others! Your Magento developer can help guide this process
  • Keep it cool; even if something goes wrong do not panic! Work with your development team and hosting company to work through the issues. Any magento developer worth their salt will be able to find and address any issues which presents themselves along the way.


How to start your upgrade from
Magento 1 to Magento 2

At ITQ Digital, we strongly recommend using an experienced Magento developer to oversee and enact your migration from
Magento 1 to Magento 2 from start to finish.

Why not book in an informal call to have a chat about your Magento 1 site and the options for upgrading to Magento 2?

Find out more about our Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration service