March 27, 2024

How to Migrate Magento 1 to Magento 2: Complete Guide

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer

Magento (Adobe Commerce)

Guide for Untroubled Magento 1 to Magento 2 Migration
March 27, 2024

How to Migrate Magento 1 to Magento 2: Complete Guide

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer

Magento (Adobe Commerce)

Guide for Untroubled Magento 1 to Magento 2 Migration

Magento migration from 1 to 2 is a decision that can be pretty hard to take and even harder to carry through. However, it is vitally important to keep your Magento-based web store secure, updated, and convenient for the customers.

We’ve successfully completed dozens of Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration projects, and in this article, we present a complete guide for the migration process. 

Why should you migrate Magento 1 to 2?

Magento is a popular e-commerce platform that was released back in 2008. Today, more than 120,000 live sites have been created on the platform, and it is among the top ten, along with such market players as Shopify, WooCommerce, OpenCart, BigCommerce, etc. 

Distribution for websites using ecommerce technologies: Shopify 23%, WooCommerce Checkout 15%, Magento 8%.
Market share of top e-commerce platforms [2023]. Source

In 2015, Magento 2 was released. Immediately after the launch of the new version, the e-commerce website owners started migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2. 

But what were the main reasons for such a shift?

Let's start with the fact that the original version of the "engine" remained in history in 2020. The Magento 1-based stores are still functioning, but there have been no updates or official support for them since then. All problems emerging on Magento 1 are now only business owners' concerns, as they were left to deal with bugs that arise, vulnerability to hacker attacks, the rise of integrations due to incompatibility, and the drop in search rankings by themselves.

Time does not stand still: the PHP version is regularly updated, and the platform's capabilities are improved, making customers' experiences smoother and facilitating the store's management and general functionality. No one wishes to lag in the high-competitive world of e-commerce, so migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is worth it. 

The migration process might seem costly and risky. However, staying with the outdated solution without support might jeopardize your business, and the potential damage can exceed the funds saved. That is why you should consider shifting to a modern e-commerce platform instead of sticking to an old solution.

Here are the advantages Magento 2 offers for those ready to migrate.

Improved performance

Magento 2 provides features designed to handle massive growth and deliver seamless customer experiences. Here's how it surpasses Magento 1: 

  • PHP 8 delivers faster page loads and enhances overall responsiveness (the latest supported version is 8.2);
  • Built-in image compression shortens page loading time;
  • Asynchronous APIs process requests seamlessly in the background, leading to quicker page loads and higher conversion rates;
  • Varnish caching minimizes server load and delivers lightning-fast responses;
  • Minified and bundled JavaScript eliminates unnecessary code and optimizes JavaScript delivery, reducing background browser operations and boosting user experience.

New admin panel

Magento 1 to 2 upgrade opens access to a new operating panel that is convenient, modern, and intuitive. Navigation is more accessible than in the previous version. It's easy to monitor the leading indicators of your business without diving into sections – they are available on the main panel.

Magento 1 Admin Panel look
Magento 1 Admin panel example
Magento 2 Admin Panel look
Magento 2 Admin panel example

Modern design themes

The Magento 2 themes are more stylish than those of Magento 1 and are better adapted to mobile devices. They adjust to the device's screen size, whether it is a desktop, mobile, or tablet. Magento 2 introduced progressive web applications (PWA), which allowed users to avoid using Magento 2 default frontend. Moreover, Magento 2 themes, such as Hyva, offer high performance and user experience. Hyva theme is easy to handle, is customizable and has a fast-growing community. 

Streamlined checkout process

Magento 2 has only 2 checkout steps instead of 6. The cart is counted faster, and payments are processed quickly. Moreover, the checkout process is now mobile-friendly, which is vital for business when the convenience of mobile shopping continues to drive its dominance. 

Omnichannel ship to store process

Magento 1 to 2 upgrade opens Magento 2 ship to store (STS) functionality to the business owners, facilitating inventory management. STS allows businesses to fulfill orders even if the desired items are unavailable at the chosen pickup location. By transferring stock from another source to the pickup store, STS ensures a smooth customer experience and avoids order cancellations due to stock issues.

Extended inventory management features

Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce v2.3 offer improved inventory management capabilities with introducing the Inventory Management module. It replaces existing inventory APIs and provides enhanced single-source and multi-source inventory management features. Key features include:

  • Flexible configuration: merchants can choose settings tailored to their inventory setup, whether they manage stock in one location or across multiple sources.
  • Aggregated stock tracking: the system tracks available inventory across all designated sources, providing a clear picture of total stock levels.
  • Concurrent checkout protection: this feature prevents overselling by ensuring only one customer can purchase the last remaining item at checkout.
  • Efficient shipment matching algorithms: optimized algorithms streamline the process of matching orders with available inventory, leading to faster fulfillment.

SEO capabilities

Migration to Magento 2 offers more tools for SEO promotion, not only by keywords but also by images and meta tags. Magento 2 canonical tag prevents duplicate content from showing up at different URLs, and rich snippets enable the visibility of the store and products in search results. Moreover, the platform’s mobile-friendliness gives your web store a higher ranking.

Enhanced security

High data security and protection against hacker attacks may become the critical point for migration from Magento 1 to 2. In addition to regular security patch releases, the platform is PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant, protects against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and uses two-factor authentication and a Security Scan tool.

AI features

One more reason to migrate to Magento 2 is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce and Adobe Cloud plans) offers e-commerce businesses modern features and integrations, enabling them to personalize customer experience and boost sales. The advanced capabilities include chatbots, fraud detection AI-algorithms, AI-powered customer personalization and smart inventory management systems.

Improved reporting

Unlike Magento 1, Magento 2 includes analytical reports with all the key indicators of online trading: sales, marketing, reviews, product, and customer reports. Obtain detailed reports on taxes, invoices, refunds, shipping, coupons, and PayPal settlements, empowering you to understand your financial performance and identify areas for improvement. 

Migrating to Magento 2 allows you to analyze complete order data, including individual orders and orders per customer, to gain valuable insights into conversion rates and customer trends.

Easy update

With LESS, HTML5, and CSS3, Magento 2 offers easier updates and lets you gain all the e-commerce platform’s benefits and the latest features. Updates in Magento 2 rely on declarative configuration, minimizing manual code changes and streamlining the process.

Close collaboration

Magento 2 has a significant presence on GitHub, serving as a valuable resource for developers and users. Here, you can find issues, pull requests, discussions, and more, giving insights into the platform's development and contributing opportunities. On GitHub, you can find tools for building Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) on Magento 2, get help from other Magento developers and users, and more.

ElasticSearch and OpenSearch implementation

One of the significant improvements in upgrading Magento 1 to 2 is ElasticSearch technology. 

  • Magento 2 Elastic search is a robust digital search tool that integrates seamlessly with Magento 2. It presents a fast, efficient, and scalable way to search for products, categories, and other content on your Magento store. 
  • OpenSearch is an independent search and analytics suite built upon the foundation of Elasticsearch 7.10.2. It has become the default option for cloud-based Adobe Commerce deployments, while on-premises installations still have the choice of using either OpenSearch or ElasticSearch. Notably, with version 2.4.6, OpenSearch gained dedicated configuration options within the Magento admin panel, enhancing its integration.

Modular networks availability

Magento's new modular design streamlines integrations with payment gateways, shipping providers, and more. It allows working with modular networks when creating directories, unleashing flexibility and streamlining the workflow. Migration from Magento 1 to 2 also lowers the risks of incompatibility issues if several extensions are installed from different vendors. Additionally, no Magento 1 modules are developed for new payment gateways.

Remote Storage support

Effortlessly manage your growing data with Magento 2.4.2's innovative Remote Storage feature. This powerful tool allows you to seamlessly leverage the vast storage capabilities of Amazon S3, eliminating the need for costly hardware upgrades or complex vendor juggling.

Overall, if you're looking for a secure, scalable, and user-friendly platform for your online store, Magento 2 is the clear choice.

How to migrate Magento 1 to Magento 2?

At NEKLO, we’ve worked out our own migration process consisting of 6 steps:

Consulting

At this stage, we evaluate your current Magento 1 solution. The problem is that the Magento 1.x and Magento 2.x platforms are not compatible, so all the modules you have and the theme you use will not be possible to transfer.

We also explain that the migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is more a creation of a new store with your existing data rather than an average website upgrade. That is why, at this stage, we will ask you many questions about your customizations, modules, and other technical and marketing issues to understand the overall project better. 

Roadmapping

After analyzing your website, we develop a plan for the migration process. We evaluate your current technical capabilities, all the existing integrations and customizations, store size, and the changes you would like to introduce. The evaluations include deciding what extensions you need to replace, assessing current website productivity and performance, analyzing user experience and how it can be improved, and checking and refining existing data.

Moreover, we estimate the time necessary for the new code development, design creation, and functionality addition to successfully deliver Magento to Magento 2 migration.

Migration

Magento migration process: project analysis, migration plan elaboration, theme migration, extensions migration, customizations, data migration, SEO store optimization.

This is the most complicated and time-consuming stage, as it is necessary to migrate the Magento theme, extensions, and, most importantly, the data.  

1. Database migration

The vital step of Magento 1 to 2 upgrade is data migration. It includes all the data related to products, registered customers, different store configurations, promotions, etc. You must have worked hard to collect this data, so we’ll do our best not to lose it now.Luckily, the Magento 2 data migration specialists at NEKLO are at your disposal. Our developers use data migration tool to transfer data and adapt to new structures. The Magento Migration Tool checks if Magento 1 and 2 databases can work together, tracks data transfer, creates logs, and verifies the accuracy of the moved data.

2. Choosing new theme

Magento 2 introduces new methodologies and technologies to improve the store experience from both the admin and the user side. Despite out-of-box themes available on the platform, they offer limited customization opportunities and may not allow your store to stand out. We can create a custom Magento 2 theme or tailor the third-party theme you choose. However, please note that it’s not possible to directly migrate your theme from Magento 1 to 2.There are several options for Magento 2 themes:

  • The default Luma theme provided by Adobe Commerce free of charge;
  • Third-party popular solutions, like Hyva theme;
  • Magento 2 PWA;
  • Custom theme development.

3. Extensions

Extensions are essential to every store, as they often provide unique features and tools that improve store management and sales. Magento 1 extensions are incompatible with the newer version, as is the store template. For this reason, all extensions and tools must be built from scratch.One option is to use the official Magento store or any official Magento-certified technology provider’s store. Unfortunately, finding solutions that meet your needs is not always possible. The good news is that the Magento developers and the platform community are working hard to port extensions from version 1 to version 2.

4. Customizations

In many cases, unique code explicitly written for Magento 1 will not be compatible with Magento 2. Due to structural differences between platforms, the process may require additional work to ensure the new code is fully integrated with Magento 2.

5. SEO settings

Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 may be aligned with certain SEO risks. To prevent your new store from losing traffic and a drop in rankings, we analyze your current SEO performance and identify potential issues. The major steps include checking high-performing keywords, sitemap file, robots.txt file, fixing 404 errors, and verifying product details. 

Fortunately, Magento 1 and Magento 2 have similar SEO characteristics and usually no concerns arise after the migration. With properly conducted migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 SEO metrics remain stable.  

Adjustments

At this stage of Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration, we will add all the third-party integrations, extra services, and custom solutions to your new project to improve the overall functionality.

Test & launch

The migration process ends with testing. We will get the most out of it and make the necessary changes before the new version of the store becomes fully functional. After we are sure the new website is ready and bug-free, we will launch it.

Training

Remember that Magento migration from 1 to 2 will impact your entire company. Therefore, it is worth preparing your sales team or customer service to the current changes so everyone is ready for them. At NEKLO, we offer the necessary training activities so that your staff gets qualified advice on operating the upgraded web store.

Summing up, the major Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration steps include:

  • Making a list of Magento 2 extensions you need
  • Checking the compatibility of extensions, custom code, etc.
  • Choosing new store theme
  • Deciding what data you want to migrate
  • Refining data before migration
  • Preparation of SEO overview
  • Magento 2 installation
  • Data migration tool configuration
  • Data migration
  • Making the necessary changes to migrated data
  • Testing
  • Launching Magento 2 store.

Magento 1 to 2 migration: points to consider

Magento Migration: consider architecture, compatibility, performance, security, migration team, and hidden costs.

Magento 2 wasn't designed as a complete overhaul, but rather a targeted effort to address shortcomings in the first version. Time constraints had led to some rough edges back then, and Magento 2 aimed to smooth them out. Think of it as a quality improvement project, a refactoring focused on making the system better, not brand new.

However, some e-commerce website owners find migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 inconvenient. Changes are always challenging. Below, we will overview the three most widespread challenges you can face during the Magento to Magento 2 migration, for as you know, forewarned is forearmed.  

Architecture

The first Magento was released in 2008. It’s more than 15 years ago. In terms of software development, it’s close to forever!

While retaining some aspects of the Magento 1 codebase, Magento 2 introduced significant architectural changes, creating a distinct platform with contrasting user experiences and functionalities. 

This significant shift from familiar tools and processes presents the biggest challenge during Magento data migrations, requiring comprehensive planning and adaptation. Yet, this improved architecture makes Magento 2 faster and more innovative, offering various opportunities for business development. 

Compatibility

As mentioned above, the extensions you've successfully used on Magento 1 are incompatible with Magento 2. You may find an equivalent solution among Magento 2 modules, but if not you will probably have to develop a new extension, which is time-consuming. And if you have several of them? It may lead to additional investments and long debugging and testing processes.

Performance

While performance primarily depends on modules added, it is necessary to keep in mind the other common Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration issues connected with the performance:

  • Slow web store speed
  • High server resource usage
  • Search indexing complexities
  • Database performance issues

Luckily, we have already prepared a guide on Magento 2 optimization – the most effective tips that will help improve performance and speed up your e-commerce website.

Additionally, to deliver perfect functionality and performance, the NEKLO Magento 1 to 2 migration team suggests optimal variants of server configuration, which will keep you within budget.

Security

The security patches for Magento 2 are regularly updated. Moreover, the Magento 2 has built-in features for advanced security.

But we can't exclude this point from this list because third-party extensions can cause performance and security issues.

Remember to purchase the Magento 2 modules from certified developers to avoid endangering your customers' data. Additionally, you can always check any extension you buy before installing it on your website.

Choosing migration team

If you already have a Magento 1 developer familiar with your store, that's a plus! They understand your unique setup, saving time and effort in the migration process. However, they'll have to tackle a learning curve as Magento 2 has a different coding structure.

Hiring a professional migration team competent with Magento 1 and 2 eliminates the learning curve. They possess extensive expertise, ensuring a smooth transition.  

That's why, when selecting a reliable Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration services provider, we suggest giving preference to developers who have already worked on similar projects and have proven experience.

Hidden costs and incorrect time estimates

Though it is essential to stick to the schedule while Magento 1 to 2 migration, sometimes it does not go as planned, causing delays. The best way to overcome this pitfall is to approach choosing Magento experts with full attention and seriousness. Carefully select seasoned professionals to run Magento migration without a hitch.

The other issue is additional costs, arising from the need to buy extra extensions, maintenance and support costs, and costs for new requests. However, the problems due to the missed opportunities with Magento 1, security breaches and data leaks, long page load time, etc., may be related to installations or even exceed them.

Potential challenges

More particular yet unpleasant issues the website can face after unprofessional migration to Magento 2 may include the following:

  • The absence of required third-party modules. Magento 1 modules do not work with Magento 2, and sometimes there are no alternatives to the solution you previously used.
  • Insufficient security measures or security deterioration caused by improper extensions. 
  • Complicated integrations with third-party services and perplexed Magento 2 updates in the future.
  • Data loss, functionality and performance fall due to incorrect migration procedure.
  • Requirements inaccuracy, leading to the absence of some vital extensions and integrations in the Magento 2 version.

Do not allow these potential challenges to make you feel distressed! With a professional approach to migration from Magento 1 to 2, it is possible to overcome any difficulties!

NEKLO success stories with Magento migration

As we've been working with Magento since its first release, we studied both solutions in the most minor details.

Below, you will find the upgrade Magento 1 to 2 projects we've realized.

AIMLA

AIMLA web store look

Our customer, the American Institute of Medical Laser Application, an expert society on laser application in various fields of medicine, referred to NEKLO requesting a Magento 1 to 2 upgrade. The client requested Magento 1 to Magento 2.4.6 migration services. They additionally asked us to integrate the website with the Moodle platform to hold online educational courses.

Our team successfully migrated all the clients' data to Magento 2, including that of the customers, products, orders, and store configurations. We've implemented all the requested integrations and applied the latest security patches to protect the website. We also provide post-release technical support to ensure the website's trouble-free functioning.

Carbon38

Carbon38 web store look

Carbon38 is a US-based brand of luxury sportswear that ships its goods worldwide. The client came to NEKLO requesting to upgrade Magento 1 to 2. They also needed to integrate the upgraded solution with the most popular payment gateways, including PayPal, ApplePay, and others.

We've successfully migrated Magento 1.9 to Magento 2 and provided the client with a brand-new website. We delivered a fully-functioning Magento 2 web store with minimal downtime during the data migration process, which we are very proud of. We've also made all the necessary integrations and provided technical support. 

Conclusion

13 steps of flawless Magento migration from planning to data migration and testing.

Migrating to Magento 2 is a step that requires time, effort, and investment, but it's like changing an old car model to a new one: scary at the beginning, and you need to get used to it, but then it's a pleasure and you get to enjoy a completely different level of comfort.

Naturally, the migration process may seem risky and contain certain obstacles, but your business is out of danger with the experienced Magento migration team. Don't be afraid to improve your e-commerce business – opt for the Magento migration services at NEKLO, and we'll help you progress!