Magento 2 is the next step in the whole Magento ecosystem. We’re going to talk about why it’s a step in the right direction, what’s different versus 1.9, and why should we upgrade to the new version.
Mind you, Magento 2 is not new – it’s just the next Magento version. It’s been out there for a while now. But if you ask me, after the release of Magento 2.2.x, it just became a lot better and a lot more stable and usable.
So let’s tackle each problem:
Is Magento 2 stable for a modern e-commerce store?
Yes. If you’ve been following on opinions of various people and companies regarding Magento 2, please note that since it’s original launch, there have been many updates, fixes, and new features added.
From the looks, the freshly redesigned administrative panel, to the underlying technologies used, the new version outperforms the old one at almost everything.
Especially considering the new functions added and the fact that we can now finally benefit from the advancement of technologies like PHP 7.1, Elasticsearch, jQuery (so long Prototype!), and the increased security that comes with using the latest versions of different software.
Note this: if you’re facing an upgrade from Magento 1.9 to Magento 2, take the time to consider a complete store redesign (be it minor or major). It’s a good occasion to do some major work on the shop as long as it’s in development/migration, and you’re working with the team handling the migration.
A lot of people covered this more technically. Magento 2 is faster.
Of course, having a Full Page Cache (FPC) included in Magento 2 helps a lot. But over the updates received, the current Magento 2.2.5 is faster even when compared with a Magento 1.9 store with all the bells and features performance-wise with various extensions. (a good FPC, the Inchoo PHP 7 patch, etc.)
So, what can Magento 2 do fresh out the box, and Magento 1.9 needs additional extensions?
- Integrated FPC cache;
- PHP 7.1 support;
- Varnish 4 support;
- Elasticsearch support;
Kinsta made several benchmarks for different platforms, and Magento 2 is one of them. We can see just how much PHP 7.1 helps the 2.2.x version speed up things. We’re talking about a ~40% increase in requests/sec just by going from PHP 7.0 to PHP 7.1. That is huge.
And I think we’re going to see a lot more improvement over the years from Magento 2. It’s just natural. Compare Magento 1.4 with Magento 1.9… things got a lot better over the years.
What does dead mean? No more updates?
First of all, when the Magento 1.9 version reaches the ‘end of life‘ status, all stores built on that version don’t explode.
It simply means that we’ll stop seeing security updates, bug fixing updates, and other stuff. Mind you, and new features are not coming for Magento 1.9 anyway. Feature-wise, it has already reached the end of life status as far as the official development is concerned.
When is Magento 1.9 support completely over?
The latest news we have is that Magento will announce at least 18 months in advance. And as far as we know, it will be sometime around June 2020.
After June 2020, we’ll no longer see updates from Magento for the 1.9 version. Not even security updates.
And that means you should be on Magento 2 by that time if you want peace of mind.
Tip: and yes. There will be security issued past June 2020. You can bet on that. Attacks are the most successful when placed on old software. That’s why it’s good to update frequently (everything! Not just Magento)
What’s so new in Magento 2?
I get it. You’re about to spend some money on migrating or building a store on Magento 2. You want to know what’s so new, what do you get. Who cares about PHP 7.1 it’s the developer’s job to handle that stuff.
Before making a shortlist about what’s new, we must talk about speed. Store speed affects sales big time. 2 seconds of loading time can increase or decrease your sales number a lot. And all the metrics with it (bounce rate, exit rate, conversion rate, yada yada).
So here are some of the new things in Magento 2:
- Increased security: strengthened hashing algorithms (SHA-256) for passwords. And all the boring stuff like newer PHP versions are also more secure;
- The ‘Instant Purchase’ feature can save a lot of time for your customers. It basically speeds up 200x the checkout of an existing customer;
- The checkout process is a lot better vs. Magento 1.9;
- The customer can place an order as a guest and create an account while placing the order;
- Ajax add to cart;
- The fresh administrative panel look is friendlier;
- Some admin grid views can have personalized columns (amazing feature!);
- The add new product ‘form’ is redesigned and now supports adding videos – very cool;
- Better and more reports regarding your store;
- better support for B2B – finally;
- Better search;
- Integrated with: PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, WorldPay, Dotmailer, and many more;
- + other stuff that I might have overlooked;
By quickly looking at the above list, we can understand that everyone is to benefit from the new Magento 2. From the administrator to the product operator and the customer, everyone will get something to make their life easier.
Yes, a little compared to the costs involved in Enterprise licensing of Magento 1.9 in the past. The Magento 2.x Enterprise starts at around 22K $.
Of course, the CE still does not require a license, but having support from an agency is kind of recommended. Even after the initial migration, to handle the usual adjustments, the maintenance, and the upgrades when needed/available and other tasks regarding your store from a technical point of view.
But as far as development costs go, there should be something else asked:
Is building a Magento 1.9 store still worth it?
Fairly inclined to say no. 2020 is not tomorrow. But it’s not that far, and you’re missing out on speed, security, and features.
And considering you’ll probably want to migrate to Magento 2 anyway in the future, the money you save by building a Magento 1.9 store in 2018 might actually be money lost because of the things you are missing out on.
Magento 2 development – are there enough extensions available?
Yup. The majority of Magento extension vendors have both Magento 1.9 and Magento 2 versions for the same extension. So yeah, developers are working hard on bringing lots of features to Magento 2.
It’s so good that even some localized services have moved towards Magento 2 – for example, some local payment processors and couriers have Magento 2 integrations ready and working just fine in Romania.
What problems can I expect when migrating to Magento 2?
Magento 2 is quite different from Magento 1.9. So naturally, some problems can appear while migrating. Thankfully, all of them can be solved by having a solid development team helping you.
Some of the problems you might face, depending on your Magento 1.9 setup:
- you have some dedicated scripts or extensions, custom-tailored just for your store. They will need fixing;
- integrations with various lazy ERP systems or services that are not Magento 2 ready;
- extensions that do not have a Magento 2 version ready. As far as we saw, this rarely happens;
- migration of some data from the Magento 1 database to the Magento 2 database. But usually, the things that matter can be safely migrated without problems: products, URL’s, categories, pages, attributes, attribute sets, customers, newsletter subscribers;
Magento 2 needs better hosting. And that’s expensive! True?
Well, yes and no. If you already have a well above the minimum required for hosting a Magento 1.9 store, your hosting provider will probably easily activate PHP 7.1 and other things needed for Magento 2.
So if you already had a decent hosting package (CPU, Memory, and Disk Space wise), you’re probably fine.
For example, your 4-core 4GB VPS with a 120 GB SSD can run either version of Magento. Just the way it will be configured differs a bit. (that might not even cost anything with some providers!)
If you were or are uncle Scrooge and are running Magento 1.9 on a shared hosting plan… wtf you doing, man? Speed
saves lives brings sales!
Conclusions – TLDR
About Magento 2:
- it’s the future of Magento. Faster and more secure. Get over it.
- Tons of new and exciting features and stuff. Things that pave the road for future development.
- Focus for getting a Magento 2 store if you are building a Magento store in 2018;
- You should look for migrating before June 2020 from older Magento versions;
- Think about a front-end redesign as long as you are doing the heavy lifting on your store;
- If you don’t want additional stress with maintaining the store up to date (Magento 2 gets updated quite often), look for a maintenance plan;
- Magento is going places. In a good way!
Magento 2 is definitely something new and a step forward. Being so different from the previous versions, the migration is not made with the click of a button. But as far as we’ve seen and done, it’s well worth the effort!
Using the latest tech available and all the aces up our sleeves is very important and can give us the edge we need to improve our business and brands.
If you or your company needs help in migrating or building a Magento 2 store, we can help! Just head to our contact page and tell us about the challenges you’re facing.