As many Magento merchants are aware, M2 was released in 2015. Now when a new software version comes along that’s better equipped to meet evolving technological needs, the old version will eventually fade away.
While there isn’t currently an official Magento end of life date, their team and Magento Extension makers are continuing to focus their efforts on M2. Their team continues to put out patches for Magento 1, but merchants shouldn’t expect amazing innovations for that version.
What’s the Deal with PHP v5.x and Magento?
It’s also important to note that most Magento 1 websites were built to work with PHP v5.x. This software is part of just about any Magento 1 hosting account. However, PHP v5.x will officially sunset in December 2018. This means no more security patches for this vital server software.
Merchants can invest into making their websites compatible with the latest versions of PHP, but this may vary in complexity depending on their Magento Extensions and customizations. It’s foreseeable that many merchants will simply choose to vacate the Magento 1 environment rather than invest into this. Also, other potential maintenance will remain secure and functional with a Magento 1 environment.
So that brings merchants to a crossroads. If you haven’t already begun planning for what to do next, we highly recommend having a plan, even if you don’t break ground immediately. Luckily, you have choices:
Looking More Closely at Magento 2
If you were happy in Magento 1, chances are that M2 will be a great environment for your business to thrive. As you may expect, there are many many new features in M2. This includes a faster 2-step checkout process and overall speed improvements are some of the more talked about improvements.
One key thing to point out is that there is no “upgrade” from Magento 1 to Magento 2. M2 is a new platform, so you’ll need a compatible theme, data migration, installation of M2 compatible extensions as-needed, and other services to get setup in your storefront.
Migrating to M2 basically entails a rebuild of your website. There is no “one-click” solution for this, so merchants need to budget in terms of time and labor. Team’s like Rand Marketing offer a free assessment to provide you with a quote on building a M2 site, and moving over your data and content.
Magento 2 vs. SaaS Options
If you’re looking for other options, chances are that you’re hoping for a cloud based solution like BigCommerce or Shopify. When comparing M2 and BigCommerce, for instance, the biggest difference will be with maintenance and support.
Software as a Solution (SaaS) platforms basically have you rent your website. Security, patches, and upgrades are anticipated to happen pretty seamlessly on an ongoing basis. BigCommerce provides website hosting, and support of their core platform. With Magento, unless you have managed services from an agency like Rand Marketing, chances are that you’re going at it alone, and have less predictability in your E-commerce store maintenance.
Not Sure if You Should Migrate?
If you’re still not sure if you should migrate away from Magento 1, or which platform is best for you, consider soliciting a free consultation from an agency that works with multiple platforms. Just like Nextopia supports a variety of platforms, so do seasoned E-commerce agencies. It’s one of the best ways to get more insight into how your options stack up.
Such firms can also assist in discovering what features and functionalities you need, and which platforms best support those needs natively, or with apps or extensions. Be sure to plan for the marketing implications of a website migration like the need for 301 redirects in order to maintain SEO rankings as best as possible. Steps can be taken to keep your traffic and leads as strong as possible during a relaunch of your site.
About The Author
This was a guest post written by Robert Rand from Rand Marketing. Educated at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Robert has managed the development and marketing of hundreds of websites. He’s best known as one of the foremost experts in eCommerce strategies in the USA. Along with Rand Marketing’s award winning team, he helps clients take their businesses to the next level by employing best practices, while staying at the forefront of Digital Marketing technologies.