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Magento 1 End of Life: Planning for the Future

Almost 13 years after its implementation, Magento 1’s lifespan is coming to an end. Back in 2015, upon announcing the release of Magento 2, Adobe set Magento 1’s end-of-life date as November 2018. This was subsequently pushed back a further 18 months to allow merchants to research their options and confidently plan for the future. Now, Magento 1’s end-of-life is just 4 months away on 30th June 2020.

If you’re one of many merchants still using Magento 1 to power your online store you may be wondering what implications this end-of-life will have and what options are available to you? Keep reading to find out!

What is happening to Magento 1?

Put simply; from June 2020 Magento 1 will cease to be officially supported by Adobe. The proper term for this is ‘end-of-life’ (EOL). This means that Magento 1 will receive no more security patches or functionality updates. Online stores powered by Magento 1 won’t suddenly combust on 1st June – they will continue to be accessible for shoppers, developers and merchants. However, Magento 1 stores are likely to become less user-friendly, and more vulnerable to security threats.

Magento 1’s end-of-life wasn’t unexpected. Since 2015, the Magento team have become increasingly focused on strengthening the Magento 2 platform. As a result, there have been no major updates to Magento 1 since 2014. In fact, the technologies that Magento 1 runs on, PHP 5.6 and 7.0, saw their end-of-lives in December 2018.

What options do Magento 1 users have? 

As of June 2019, around 189,000 websites were still running on Magento 1. It seems that merchants have been avoiding this situation due to the sheer time and costs involved in re-platforming. So, if you’ve suddenly found yourself in this position and you’re not sure what to do, know that you’re not the only one! Magento 1 users essentially have 3 options to choose from: continue with Magento 1, migrate to Magento 2 or re-platform to another CMS.

Option 1: Continue with Magento 1

As we’ve already established, Magento 1 stores won’t suddenly disappear after June 2020. If your current Magento 1 store is in good standing, it will continue to be accessible and useable. However, this is risky territory.

At present, the Magento team are constantly searching for platform vulnerabilities and creating patches to counteract them. Upon Magento 1’s end of life, this will stop happening. This means that Magento 1 sites will become increasingly vulnerable to security threats. Hackers know the potential vulnerabilities of Magento 1 and will start to attack them. As well as the obvious ramification of your site being hacked and broken, security threats can also have legal and economic consequences. Since the introduction of GDPR in 2018, merchants have had a responsibility to ensure any personal data is kept in a safe and secure manner. After Magento 1’s end of life, data contained in M1 databases are unlikely to be viewed as safe or secure. Businesses found to be in contravention of GDPR legislation may be liable to pay fines up to £10 million, or 2% of their annual turnover, whichever is higher. In line with this, some payment gateways will stop supporting Magento 1 sites from June 2020.

Similarly, the functionality of Magento 1 websites is likely to deteriorate. Although to start off with your M1 plugins and integrations will continue to receive updates, over time this is likely to stop as M1 usage phases out. If vital website plugins randomly stop working, parts of your website may be rendered unusable. Negative user experiences are obviously going to have a negative impact on conversions and reputability, so ideally this should be avoided. Ultimately, continuing with Magento 1 means you may struggle to scale your store and compete with other eCommerce websites, which in turn will affect your bottom line.

Option 2: Migrate to Magento 2

If you don’t want to continue with Magento 1 then upgrading to Magento 2 seems like the next best option, right? Actually, this is a lot easier than it sounds. Magento 2 is a completely different architecture to Magento 1, which means, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as clicking ‘upgrade’. Essentially, you’ll need to hire a website developer to rebuild your website in Magento 2 from the ground up. Luckily, however, you’ll be able to transfer products, attributes and customer databases using Magento’s migration tools.

So, why choose Magento 2? The platform has a lot of new features:

  • Faster performance – Magento 2 has 30-50% faster page load times and 66% add-to-cart times than Magento 1.
  • Improved admin interface – more user-friendly and intuitive.
  • Increased capabilities – can handle around 180,000 products and 39% more orders per hour than Magento 1.
  • Responsive design
  • Support for PHP 7
  • Enhanced security
  • Mobile shopping

Option 3: Re-platform to another CMS

Since Magento 1 was first introduced, the CMS market has become a lot more saturated. If Magento is too advanced, expensive or isn’t meeting the demands of your business, there’s now a variety of other options to choose from. As with any re-platforming, you’ll have to rebuild your website from the ground up, which will take time and money. As well as Magento, the most popular eCommerce solutions are BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Shopify. Of course, the platform that’s right for you will depend on the specific needs of your business. We work with all 4 platforms and can see the benefits and limitations of each.

For a more in-depth review of how these platforms compare, have a look through our series of eCommerce battle blog posts:

Here at Courageous we’re experts in eCommerce. With over 20 years of experience in the digital sector, we can help you determine the best eCommerce platform for your business – whether that’s Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce or Shopify. Fancy a chat?