Magento 2 Migration Guide

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Your eCommerce website is only as effective as the technology behind it. Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 might be the single most important decision you ever make for your eCommerce business. This Magento 2 Migration Guide has everything you need to know about Magento platform migration.

Magento 2 is the most powerful eCommerce platform in the world. The recent release of version 2.3 gives eCommerce retailers unprecedented sales power and business management flexibility.

If you’re a Magento 1 customer or are considering re-platforming your website , migrating your eCommerce website from Magento 1 to Magento 2 will make your online business future-ready. You’ll be prepared for a mobile-first world, for robust new tech integrations, for changing customer expectations and any scalability challenges that come your way.

Of course, migration is something that every Magento 1 business must think about because…

The End is Near (for Magento 1.0 support)

In the fall of 2018, Joe Ayyoub, then Director of Support Operations at Magento, announced that support for Magento 1 will end in June 2020.

What does this mean? Depending on your version (community, commerce, 1.X), software support may include both quality fixes and security patches. Magento software support and/or security maintenance only applies to Magento software and not to third-party extensions or customizations.

“Maintenance of extensions, customization or other modifications to the Magento codebase, including compliance with security and privacy standards (PCI, SOC, ISO, etc.), are the express responsibility of the merchant.” – Joe Ayyoub, Magento

This means that the closer we get to June 2020, the more susceptible Magento 1 sites will be to security breaches, data transfer issues, and performance problems. More importantly, it means that Magento 1 customers need to start planning their migrations now.

As you’ll see in the sections below, Migration is essentially a rebuild. If you haven’t started looking for a Magento 2 migration partner, now is the time.

Magento 2.0 Benefits

Magento 2, the transformed version of the Magento eCommerce Platform, comes with a fresh architecture, code structure, and database design. The best minds in the eCommerce development industry have made it more user-friendly, more in-sync with modern eCommerce trends, and more valuable for eCommerce retailers.

We’ve already discussed the Magento 2 pros and cons for your business, so here’s a recap of the benefits you can expect from migrating to Magento 2:

  • Improved Performance
  • Superior CMS / Cataloging
  • Attractive UI Design
  • Easy Admin Panel
  • Fast Load Times
  • Enhanced Results Tracking & Visibility
  • Better Omnichannel Commerce Experiences

Future-Ready Code

For merchants who have set up a Magento 1 store in the last year or two, moving to a new platform so soon may be unpleasant. It may also raise questions about whether a new version of Magento (Magento 3?) will be released in the next few years, and that yet another migration may be required.

While no one can predict the future, most experts in the eCommerce development space (us included) are thrilled by Magento 2’s features and codebase. There are compelling reasons to believe that Magento 2 and it’s later versions will be around for a long time. After all, its predecessor, Magento 1, was around for more than a decade and changed the face of eCommerce.

Here are three reasons to believe in Magento 2: Magento 2 was built for modern eCommerce. M2 is mobile-optimized, ready for omnichannel and uses the latest PHP 7.X codebase. Magento 2 is also extremely flexible and has a large community of independent developers working to improve it every single day.

We’ll explore this subject in more detail in a later article, but for now, be confident that migrating to Magento 2 will future-proof your eCommerce business and technology investment.

What does a Magento 1 to 2 Migration involve?

Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is a complex process, but it can be broken down into four parts:

  • Theme Migration. You cannot directly migrate your old Magento 1 theme to Magento 2. Developers can, however, create unique Magento 2 layouts or modify your current theme to make it compatible with Magento 2 standards.
  • Extension Migration. With the theme in place, extensions provide new features and enhance the functionalities of your Magento store. Magento 1 extensions will not work on Magento 2.
  • Customizations. You may have built custom features on your Magento 1 store perform exactly the way your business requires. Customizations cannot be directly imported from Magento 1 to 2 (since most extensions won’t work anyway), so they’ll need to be re-built on Magento 2 framework..
  • Data Migration. Finally, you need to move Magento 1 settings and data to Magento 2. Magento released the Magento 2 Data Migration Tool that helps developers migrate store data and settings using CLI commands. A web developer may have their own tools for doing this as well.

Magento Community or Magento Commerce?

Before you can plan your Magento 1 to 2 Migration, you need to decide whether you want to use Magento 2 Commerce or Magento 2 Community. What’s the difference? Let’s start with cost. Magento 2 Commerce provides best-in-class features, performance and support. The Magento 2 Commerce license has associated fees that vary based on the type and size of your business. In comparison with other eCommerce platforms, these license costs are competitive.

On the other hand, the Magento 2 Community edition is free. Magento 2 Community is open-source software for developers & tech-savvy merchants. While Magento 1 Community could compete with the Magento 1 enterprise edition performance, that is not the case with Magento 2. The community edition may be a viable choice for some smaller retailers.

Here’s a simple table you can use to compare the key features of each edition:

Magento 2 Community Edition Magento 2 Commerce Edition
Promotions and Pricing
Search Engine Optimization
Site Management
Catalog Management
Catalog Browsing
Product Browsing
Checkout, Payment and Shipping
Order Management and Customer Service
Support for Global Sites
Customer Accounts
Mobile Commerce
Architecture and Security
Multiple Store Views
Analytics and Reporting
Layout and Theming
Product Configurations
Multiple Languages
Flexible Couponing and Promotions
Full Page Caching System
Rules-based Related Products
Rules-based Up-sells and Cross-sells
Private Sales with “Invite-a-Friend” Emails
Database Scalability
Search Engine
Advanced Content Management
Message Queue
Management of Customer Attributes
Extended Admin Rights Management
Reward Points
Marketing and Merchandising
Administrator Roles and Privileges
Enhanced Performance
Technical Support
Visual Merchandiser
Gift Cards
Customer Segmentation
Customer Attributes
Content & Staging
Admin Log
Private Sales
Platform Support
Database Sharing

You may not need all the Magento 2 Commerce edition features right away, but if you plan on scaling your business to the enterprise level, it’s worth considering.

Magento 1 to 2 Migration Timeline & Costs

Every Magento 1 to 2 migration will vary based on your specific business needs. These can include Magento B2B best practices, B2C optimization, platform scope, and customizations. However, based on the 200+ Magento projects we have launched since we got started, here is what you can expect based on the size of your business:

Business Size Migration Timeline Migration Costs
Small 2 – 3 months < $30,000
Medium 3 – 4 months < $60,000
Large 4 – 6+ months < $100,000

Migration can be an intensive process and in this industry, you definitely get what you pay for. Mayank Agrawal the Chief Technical Officer of DotcomWeavers says:

“If a developer gives you a very low estimate, it is likely too good to be true. A $10,000 Magento migration can quickly turn into a $100,000 problem if not done right. Magento is a complex platform and a successful implementation requires a skilled and experienced team. Paying less for a broken or buggy site with a poor user experience is a terrible investment. Find a professional Magento developer. It is more than worth it.”

What to Look for in a Magento 2 Migration Partner

Magento has a collection of certified partners who know the platform and can help you navigate the complex migration process. Look for a company with 5+ years of experience and several dozens past Magento projects.

A good developer – someone Magento recognizes as a partner – will have at least 5 certified Magento solutions specialists on their team. The company itself may also be a Magento Solution partner. Look for some (or all) of these badges when deciding on a Magento 1 to 2 Migration partner.

Going with a Magento partner means you don’t have to do any of the manual work, which can be substantially based on your business structure, database setup, and number of SKUs. Finally, be sure to ask lots of questions. If the answers you get don’t sound like they are coming from an expert who can do exactly what you need, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Magento 2 has a Learning Curve

Yes, Magento 2 is much more user-friendly than its predecessor. It’s also quite different from Magento 1. When planning your migration, remember that you need time to learn the new system. The way you add and configure products, customers and promotions have changed.

In most cases, a good Magento migration partner will train you and your team in how to use Magento 2, so you are ready to go on launch day.

Can’t I DIY my Magento Migration?

DIY is an option, but even with an in-house developer, most businesses lack the skills and experience to manage a Magento migration without disrupting business. You’ll need:

  • 1+ skilled Magento 2 developer (migration requires 100s of hours)
  • 1 IT professional to support, test, troubleshoot, etc.
  • 1 Project Manager
  • 1 Designer (you can’t migrate your old themes)

And that’s minimum. You’ll likely need more resources on hand to manage your migration within your timeline and budget. You should also remember that no one can migrate your customizations from Magento 1 to Magento 2. They need to be coded, tested and maintained from scratch.

Here’s a high-level look at the migration process to give you an idea of the complexity involved.

As you can see, DIY migration may be technically possible, but we strongly recommend you go with a professional developer!

How to Prepare for a Magento 1 to 2 Migration

There’s a lot that needs to be done before you and your Magento developer can begin your migration. In fact, you’ll want this information on hand before talking with a Magento 2 developer.

  • Record which site functionalities you want to carry over. This includes your custom extensions, workflows, and integrations. Make a list of the extensions that you’ll need to purchase again.
  • Make a list of site functions that you want to improve. Migration is the perfect time to make upgrades that you’ve been putting off. Check the Magento marketplace for extensions that could improve your online shopping experience.
  • Create your timeline and budget. With your site inventory completely, it’s time to figure out the execution. How much can you afford to invest? What is your target finish date?
  • Find a web developer. Shop around for Magento-certified developers who have extensive Magento 1 to 2 migration experience. You want your transition to be seamless.
  • Before starting the migration, back-up your website. You should probably also create a duplicate Magento 1 site to work with, just in case.

The Time to Migrate is…Soon

Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Let’s review at the benefits and considerations of migrating to Magento 2.


  • The Magento 2 platform is constantly improving technology and features
  • Magento 2 boasts a significantly improved codebase
  • It is a much faster program than its predecessor
  • Improved email automation features
  • More detailed and advanced reporting
  • Better content management and email setup


  • Magento can be costly because it requires skilled developers
  • Upgrading to Magento 2 is a full rebuild, which is a lengthy process
  • Maintaining your store may require code updates every 1.5 – 2 years, based on Magento’s software/code release cycle

Magento 2 delivers superior cloud-hosted performance at scale, freedom from IT bottlenecks with creating, scheduling, and launching compelling content, and true business intelligence capabilities. Plus Magento’s unmatched flexibility enables its global community of partners and developers to deliver virtually any commerce experience in record time. It is also a serious undertaking in terms of time and resources.

At the end of the day, your Migration needs to happen before June 2020. We recommend you start looking for a professional Magento developer soon.

If you found this article helpful or have questions, please let us know in the comments. For Magento 1 merchants who are preparing to Migrate to Magento 2, please contact us today for a free consultation to understand your options.

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