Magento 2 was released in 2015 to replace original Magento 1. It isn't a direct upgrade from the old platform and as such the developers were able to rewrite huge amounts of the code base to improve pretty much all aspects of the original platform. The downside of this is that you can't just ‘run and update' – you need a new store. More on that later.
Expiry of Magento 1
When Magento 2 was released, the makers announced a period of 18 months during which they would continue to support and provide security updates for Magento 1 stores.
Magento 1 users were not happy about this – and rightly so. Thousands of websites were going to be obsolete in a relatively short space of time and left potentially vulnerable to security flaws.
The community was quite vocal about this and Magento listened. In May 2017 they announced that they would extend this period of support with no fixed end date in mind but a promise that when they do end support for Magento 1 that there would be another 18 months' notice period.
Great news for Magento 1 store owners. But let's not forget, Magento 2 is much newer and has a host of benefits that make the upgrade worthwhile.
Update 9/18. Magento have now announced the end of life for Magento 1 as June 2020. More information can be found on their official blog post.
Benefits of Magento 2
Better Native Checkout
Two steps to be precise and therefore no need for one of those ghastly single step checkout extensions. Optimised checkouts have been proven to improve conversion rates.
Better Admin Dashboard
The admin interface has been overhauled to not only look better but it is now far easier to use. Additional reporting tools make understanding how your online business is performing far easier.
By rewriting most of the codebase the developers of Magento have been able to adopt newer, faster technologies and techniques. For example, Magento 2 requires PHP7 as a minimum which is measurably faster and uses less memory than PHP5.
Connect third party apps to your Magento 2 store without the need to install modules. Connect to shipping or accounting platforms simply by giving them credentials to access Magento 2's powerful, built in API.
Magento 1 won't last forever. If you're considering a new e-commerce store, then you should absolutely use the platform with the longest lifespan.
The Same Great Community
One of the strengths of Magento 1 was the massive community of developers who supported it and developed extension. It's the same story with Magento 2 although in it's infancy, expect some great stuff to come out over the next few years.
Running updates on Magento 2 is far easier than Magento 1 which will be music to the ears of anyone who's ever seen a "maintenance.flag" file.
Costs of Magento 2
As it's still comparatively new, the community extensions are still fairly expensive compared to their Magento 1 counterparts because of a lack of competition. This will improve over time as more developers come to the party.
It's also a more time-consuming development process. Expect development time and therefore costs to be roughly 1.5 to 2x more than with Magento 1.
Magentgo Data Migration
What about my data? A fair question – especially if you have a lot of products. Magento released a data migration tool which can move your products, customers and orders to a Magento 2 store. It won't be completely painless, migrations never are, but it's a great start.
Even with the key data moved, there is no upgrade path for the theme of your Magento 1 store or any of the extensions, but you should think of that as an opportunity to streamline your store and have that redesign you've been wanting for a while now.
Magento 1 support will stop eventually, when it does then the next time an exploit is discovered and published online, your store is likely to be vulnerable to hacking. As an online retailer you are responsible for the integrity of your store and the safety of your customers, so you will have to move to an alternative solution. We believe Magento 2 is the best.
Get in touch
We have been designing and developing Magento 1 and Magento 2 stores since we opened for business. Contact us today with any questions about a new store or upgrading and we will be happy to help.