Magento 1 to Magento 2: Five Reasons to Upgrade

Eric Hileman

August 30, 2017
Magento 1 to Magento 2: Five Reasons to Upgrade

Magento is the best ecommerce platform, and Magento 2 offers even greater benefits including better speed, performance, features, ease of use, and customer experience. If you’re setting up an ecommerce store on Magento for the first time, using Magento 2 right out of the gate is a no brainer, but for those already set up on Magento 1, here are reasons to consider migrating to Magento 2.

Magento 2 is everything Magento 1 was and more. It adds a plethora of new features, while maintaining enough familiarity to ease the transition for long time users of Magento 1. Upgrading is something everyone should do, and with fast high quality hosting such as MageMojo, the benefits stack up.

Improved Performance and Speed

First, Magento 2 offers significant speed and performance boosts by adopting Varnish and PHP7 technologies. The lower page load times are due to full page cache on both Community and Enterprise versions of Magento 2. Improved performance directly leads to higher revenues. The faster customers can get to your catalog and products, the more likely they are to buy something. Stores upgraded to Magento 2 show higher revenues and conversion rates than slower Magento 1 stores.

PHP 7, is the latest version of the most popular web programming language and is much faster in execution than PHP 5.x. It even outperforms or hits parity with HHVM (Hip Hop Virtual Machine). HHVM also required a lot of extra work to configure for Magento 1 and the built-in Full page cache (FPC) supports Varnish out of the box.

Magento 1 required a 3rd party extension to incorporate Varnish cache which was difficult to use. It also required an experienced (expensive) hand to get custom themes working correctly. But with Varnish cache the time to first byte goes from half a second or more down to only a couple hundred milliseconds. And total page load may be less than a second total.

In Magento 2, a simple click in the backend creates a Varnish configuration file for you customized to your store. Varnish and PHP7 together provide faster load times with lower effort than ever before in Magento. Coupled with Magento specific hosting, such as with MageMojo, and you’ll have the best performing ecommerce site available.

More Streamlined and Easier to Use

This aspect is great for both merchants and developers since the ease of use means you can easily customize and edit things without a developer, and even with a developer the chances of issues cropping up is greatly diminished.

  • The new Visual Editor allows for “drag and drop” customization to the site, making it easy for non-developers to build a site on Magento 2. Along with beautiful new themes which are now organized by vendor and easier than ever to find and access, you can play around with how your front end will look to your heart’s content. Cleaner and simpler organization also makes it faster and easier for both developers and merchants to manage content.
  • Quality of life improvements simply abound in Magento 2. Filterable dynamic grids have been added to many sections like the catalog and order listing. Your store data can be searched and queried quickly and efficiently without the need for 3rd party tools. The admin is also simply arranged with a clean left-hand navigation menu. The backend is overall much faster than Magento 1, where many backends suffered from long load times for basic changes such as managing categories.
  • The new step-by-step product creation tools allow you to more quickly and accurately add products to your store. This tool makes adding products up to 4 times faster in Magento 2. Plus, customizing themes and modules is easier and more streamlined for developers and incorporates modern responsive design.

The best part? No extensions are required for payment gateways such as Paypal and Braintree, which are all automatically integrated into Magento 2.

Better Customer Experience

Even more improvements were put into the frontend. The customer experience is the most important part of any store, and Magento 2 adds features that shoppers expect on a modern website. The checkout, cart and registration are all streamlined, faster, and much easier for customers to use, reducing cart abandonment. The cart is now Ajax to reduce loading times (meaning no full page refresh is needed after adding a product). The catalogsearch is also faster and on Magento 2 Enterprise supports Elasticsearch by default and shipping configuration is simpler as well.

The above changes on the frontend extend into the mobile realm, as almost a majority of shoppers today are using mobile devices. The faster search improves conversion rates for mobile users who rely on it in lieu of navigating through an extensive catalog listing.

Improved Features

On the development side, Magento 2 uses HTML 5 and a responsive default theme, to bring everything up to date to modern web standards. The new marketplace and integration of tools like composer also make upgrading and installing new modules more manageable than Magento 1.

Here are some highlights:

  • Making custom code is easier for developers with higher quality and lower maintenance
  • More in depth review and testing of extensions, extensions that make it to the official Magento Marketplace are proven to work and are better quality. They are also vetted for security.
  • The theme improvements also enter the mobile realm. Themes are now mobile friendly, which is better for SEO now that Google ranks up mobile friendly stores higher

Magento 1 will only stay up to date on security patches for another 3 years, so it’s good to start planning the move to Magento 2 at some point, especially given the major performance boosts it offers. It is also more secure using more modern coding paradigms. The development community will be focused on Magento 2, so Magento 1 will not see much attention anymore. You don’t want to get left behind and this is a fantastic chance to make improvements to your site and usability in the process.

Migrating to Magento 2 is Easy

The Migration Tool makes moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 easy and simple. Custom code, themes, and extensions will have to be redone, but this gives merchants a chance improve your code, add better, tested, extensions and upgrade your site’s theme. Customer and product data can also be directly imported with tools from Magento.

Moreover, when upgrading Magento 2 between versions, it makes sure modules are compatible and if they are not, the upgrade stops. Gone are the days of hoping your upgrade works from Magento 1.

Starting the upgrade is a no brainer. All stores will eventually have to switch to the newer platform so it’s a good idea to start planning the move now, especially so you can maximize on the benefits that much sooner. In the competitive world of ecommerce, you don’t want to get left behind. Better yet, upgrading sooner than later will put you ahead of the curve and give your shop a leg up on the competition. To maximize on this you’ll want the best hosting available as well, such as MageMojo which is the number one Magento specific hosting service.

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