Wondering whether you should upgrade Magento to 2.3.x? If not upgrade - will the store stop working? Will it be working as it always has? If Yes - how to upgrade it to the newest version? Read the post to find out answers to these and many other migration-related questions

In the fast-changing era of web technologies, Magento is evolving as well. Thus, with the release of new versions, the older ones become the end of life. If you’re on version 1.x, which will reach its end-of-life in June 2020, now is a perfect time to upgrade and move to the latest and greatest version 2.3.x of Magento.

Why Upgrade to Magento 2.3.x?

It is important to realize that even if your website seems to be working exactly the same way it always has, you should be planning an upgrade to version 2.3.x due to the following reasons:

  • Multi-Source Inventory (MSI) makes it possible for the store admin to manage multiple stores.
  • GraphQL Support - an API technology that enables progressive web apps to push and pull information from the Magento store using smaller packets of data.
  • Progressive Web App (PWA) - is an application that uses the latest technology to combine both web and mobile applications aiming to help developers create online stores as progressive web apps.
  • Page Builder helps in creating custom pages with simple drag and drop functionality for adding videos, images, etc.
  • Declarative DB Schema defines database tables in XML rather than in install scripts. Therefore, the upgrading and installation process is much easier with the 2.3.x version of Magento.
  • Asynchronous and Bulk Web API makes it easy to run multiple API requests at the same time. This implies that integrations won’t need to wait for requests’ completion when making the calls.
  • Elasticsearch is a third-party search engine that helps to improve the speed and relevance of the online store search results.
  • PHP 7.2 Support aims to enhance the performance and add new features to Magento 2.3.x. It also enhances security.

Considering the features mentioned above, we highly recommend you to upgrade Magento to 2.3.x version. The upgrade to Magento 2.3.x process can be tricky and time-consuming. Although, the benefits of getting to the newer version are completely worth the cost of the upgrade.

Not sure where to start? Keep reading the post and discover 3 possible scenarios to get around the problem.

How to Upgrade Magento to 2.3.x?

Once you’ve made the right choice to upgrade to Magento to 2.3.x and benefit from its great features and improvements - there’s one more challenge to step over. Migration across releases (if performed manually) is quite a daunting task that requires a certain level of programming experience. There are undoubtedly lots of highly-experienced developers and experts who will gladly give you a hand, though it can cost you a pretty penny. As an alternative, you can use automated migration services (like Cart2Cart) that have been specifically developed to make the upgrade process across clean and error-free. Notably, an automated migration is much easier than manual, cheaper than hiring a programmer, and less frustrating in general. Interested yet? Scroll down to find a step-by-step instruction.

Upgrade Magento to 2.3.x. Cart2Cart Roadmap

How to Prepare for the Upgrade?

Before initiating the upgrade to Magento 2.3.x process we urge you to:

  • Outline your plan and set up a schedule. Take time to prioritize the most complex and tedious tasks and address them in order of their importance.
  • Perform a thorough analysis of the eCommerce items and get rid of those disabled or unwanted products. Furthermore, remove attributes and attribute sets that are no longer linked to products and remove any unused categories (this Moz guide can come in handy).
  • Besides, take advantage of the Migration Preview option. It allows you to see how your current Magento data (products, customers, orders, etc.) will look at the Magento 2.3.x platform.
  • Make a backup of the current Magento database to avoid any possible risks. Since eCommerce entities are the core of your future database, make sure to exclude any possible information loss.
  • If your source store is in more than 2 languages, you need to create the corresponding number of Store Views on Magento to migrate different languages in. Here’s the tutorial on how to do it.
  • If you would like to save your customers from the hassle of password recovery after migration to Magento, you can install a free Cart2Cart Magento 2 Passwords Migration Plugin before the migration. Don’t forget to select the “Migrate customers' passwords” option in the Migration Wizard (after you select the data to migrate).

Note: Since the differences between the various versions of Magento are so large and substantial, it is rather a migration, not just an upgrade. The store entities will be transferred from one store to another, therefore, the process can be called “Migration Magento to Magento”.

Magento Upgrade Itself

Set up the Source & Target stores

With that being said, now comes the real part of the migration. To initiate the process of upgrade, specify Magento as your Source & Target cart. There is no need to provide both store versions - the Migration Wizard will define them automatically. Once done, insert the stores’ URLs in the appropriate fields and download the Connection Bridge. This file will establish a connection between the two stores.

upgrade magento to 2.3.x

If you want to see the process of bridge installation in progress, watch our video tutorial:

Choose data

Now you can proceed with specifying the store entities you wish to upgrade to Magento 2.3.x. The following data can be transferred from 1.x Magento version to the latest 2.3.x one:

  • Products,
  • Product categories,
  • Manufacturers,
  • Taxes,
  • Customers,
  • Orders,
  • Coupons,
  • Reviews, etc.

Also, you can benefit from additional migration options to broaden the functionality of data import. To be more specific, you can “Create 301 redirects to your Target Store” to make the old links working and to minimize SEO impact after the switch. “Preserve order/customer IDs on Target store” option will allow saving the Source store order/customer IDs on the Target store after migration. With the help of the “Migrate customers’ passwords” options, you’ll make it possible for your customers to log in to your new Magento store using their current store credentials.

Note: With Cart2Cart you pay only for those items you actually move, and the price of the upgrade to Magento 2.3.x update depends only on the number of entities to be imported.

upgrade magento to 2.3.x

What’s more, during this step of the migration wizard, you can map order statuses and customer groups. Select the necessary descriptions and all the data will be transferred respectively.

Try out Demo migration

Now when you have everything ready for the Magento to Magento migration, you can test the service in action by running Demo migration (it’s totally free). Performing Demo Migration, you’ll get the results within half an hour.

upgrade magento to 2.3.x

Launch Full migration

Full Migration usually takes from a couple of hours to be finished (though it depends on the number of entities). After you press the Start Full Migration button, it is safe to close the browser window and come back to managing your business.

Post-Migration Recommendations

Once all your current Magento 1.x store data is successfully transferred to new Magento 2.3.x (you’ll get an email notification), we recommend performing some steps to finalize the upgrade process and make new 2.3.x Magento ready to go.

  • Thoroughly test your new Magento store (in terms of checkout, customer registration, product management) for possible issues.
  • Reindex data to make the imported entities visible on the front end. In the Admin panel go to System → Index Management. Select those items that require reindexing. After that, go to Actions → Update on schedule / Update on Save.
  • Clear store’s cache. Go to System → Cache Management. Specify the cache types you want to refresh. Select Refresh action from the popup list and click Submit. Apart from this, you may also Flush Magento Cache or Flush Cache Storage. Follow the link for more detailed info on post-migration store management.
  • Furthermore, choose the new Magento 2 theme and download all the necessary modules from the Magento Marketplace. Read our post about top Magento 2.x modules in 2020 to get more ideas on store management.
  • Don’t forget to notify your clients about the shopping carts switch and ask them to inform you about any troubles.
A Few Final Words

To sum up, upgrade to Magento 2.3.x is not always an easy task, but with the proper planning and right tools, you’ll be able to do it on time, on budget and with satisfied customers. Don't wait any longer, perform Demo migration today and grow your business in the future!

Note if you wish to switch Magento to some other platform, take a look at our post 6 Powerful Magento 1.x Alternatives That Are Worth Checking Out