magento upgrade (4)

Before you can even consider how to upgrade Magento, let’s kick off this migration guide by addressing the question of why. Why do you need to upgrade from Magento 1 to its latest version, and is it worth it? Well, we’ve got three words for you: End of Life. This article explores what this means for your current online store and how to make a smooth transition to Magento’s latest upgrade.

Table of Contents:

  1. How to Upgrade Magento
  2. Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: Why Upgrade Magento to Its Latest Version
  3. Magento Migration Checklist
    1. Manual migration
    2. Assisted migration
    3. Automated migration
    4. What Migration Method to Choose
  4. How to Prepare for Magento Upgrade
    1. Manage Your Current Magento Store
    2. Prepare Your New Magento Store
    3. Choose a Theme
    4. Install the Necessary Apps
  5. How to Migrate From Magento to Shopify in 5 Steps
    1. Connect Your Shopping Carts
    2. Select Data for Migration
    3. Specify the Additional Migration Options
    4. Map Customer Groups and Order Statuses
    5. Run Free Demo / Launch Full Migration
  6. How to Migrate Products From Current Magento to the New Magento Store
  7. How to Export Orders From Current Magento to the New Magento Store
  8. Magento Upgrade Checklist: What Should You Do Once the Migration Is Complete
    1. Test Your New Magento Store
    2. Find the Apps You Need With Magento Marketplace
    3. Invite Customers to Reactivate Their Accounts
  9. Magento Upgrade: FAQs
    1. How to Upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2
    2. How to Migrate Products From Current Magento to the New Magento Store
    3. Why Upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2
  10. Time to Level Up

How to Upgrade Magento

If you're wondering whether migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 (the latest version of the eCommerce platform) is worth it, the short answer is—yes. If you like Magento 1, then you will love what version 2 brings to the table.

Besides, the software giant doesn’t give users a choice on the matter.

June 30, 2020, marked when Magento officially stopped offering updates and security patches for the platform. In other words, you’re basically on your own, which could spell disaster for your online business.

The good news is that Magento 2 was released with top-of-the-class features to address many of the drawbacks and bugs that were notorious with Magento 1. It is a much better platform all around and, quite frankly, a joy to use.

Now comes the question of how to upgrade Magento to its latest version.

Watch our video tutorial to see how easy it is to automatically upgrade Magento store with the help of the Cart2Cart migration tool:

You can do this in a few quick and easy steps using Cart2Cart, an automated data transfer tool for users who wish to migrate from one eCommerce platform to another. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Download and install the Cart2Cart app. Open it and link your source cart (Magento 1) to your target cart (Magento 2).
  2. Pick the data entities you want to transfer from your old site to the new one from the list provided. Be sure to include any other relevant migration options.
  3. Select Free Demo to migrate a few entries to the new platform to get a feel for how the app works.
  4. After that dry run, you can select Full Migration to transfer your entire online store to the new Magento 2 platform.

See also: Magento 2022: In-Depth Review.

Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: Why Upgrade Magento to Its Latest Version

Is upgrading Magento worth it? The answer to this is pretty much a no-brainer. As mentioned earlier, the software provider officially stopped offering Magento 1 support in June 2020. This translates to no security patches and no updates—ever.

So, what does this mean for your current Magento 1 website? The absence of these all-important updates essentially means that your store won’t be PCI compliant. It also means that you would be leaving it vulnerable to loss of reputation and cyber-attacks that could lead to the theft of customer and site data.

That aside, Magento 2 has massive improvements on Magento 1 that make it superior in every way imaginable. Here's a detailed breakdown of some of the key differences between the two versions and why upgrading Magento will prove worth your while.

Magento 1 Magento 2
Platform Architecture It ran on Zend Framework v1 only. It supports Zend Framework v1 and v2, MySQL Percona v5.6 and up, HTML5, PHP7, NGINX, Varnish, Composer, Symfony, and Redis.
Performance The average load speed was more than 2 seconds. It improved response time by 50% for the product pages and homepage and 38% for checkout.
Mobile Optimization The standard Magento 1 themes were not optimized for mobile viewing. Magento 2 is mobile-friendly with loads of responsive themes and mobile-optimized checkout pages.
Ease of Use The admin dashboard was hard to navigate, extremely clunky, lacked an advanced panel, and had a steep learning curve. Although the learning curve is still steep, it has massive improvements on the admin panel, navigation, and layout, making it easy to use.
Payment Processing It was compatible with many popular payment gateways but required custom development work or third-party integration. It now has the built-in capability to integrate with popular payment gateways such as PayPal and Authorize.net.
Checkout Process It had a six-step checkout process that customers could not skip, each of which was displayed on separate web pages. The checkout process was simplified to two steps, which makes for a better user experience.
Security All security upgrades and patches were discontinued on June 30, 2020. The new version offers updates and patches periodically, although it still leaves PCI compliance up to the user.
Extensions Magento 1 made it quite difficult for users to install multiple conflicting third-party integrations. Magento 2 allows different extensions to overlap thanks to CSS3, HTML5, Require.js, and other technologies.
Customer Support You're on your own. The level of technical support available depends on the Magento 2 plan you're working with, i.e., Magento Open Source, Enterprise, or Enterprise Cloud editions.

Magento Migration Checklist

You’ve now established that a Magento 2 upgrade is inevitable. It is not just a better platform overall; the fact that Magento no longer supports version 1 means there’s no point in you hanging on to it. It’s about time for a Magento upgrade from your old platform.

There are three ways to go about it. The method you use ultimately comes down to (1) the amount of web experience under your belt and (2) how important data preservation is for your enterprise.

Below is a blow-by-blow look at each of them to help you decide which migration route to take.

Manual Migration

Manual migration relies on what would traditionally be considered a copy-paste process. You would be copying each product and its respective details from your old Magento 1 platform and pasting it onto your new website hosted on Magento 2.

Yes, it is as tedious as it sounds, not to mention the very real risk of data loss it poses.

Transferring your data manually from your old store to your new one isn’t necessarily a problem per se. However, you can immediately see how difficult it would be to transfer all the underlying data. We're talking: Customer information, stock and inventory details, order data, payment information, customer reviews, etc.

If you have a small business with a handful of products listed on your website, then you may decide to use this method to set up your new store and just start afresh. On the flip side, if you have dozens of products to migrate, with a ton of associated backend info and ongoing orders, you may have to enlist the help of a professional to handle the migration process for you.

Assisted Migration

An assisted migration is what it sounds like—getting someone to do all the heavy lifting for you so that you don't have to.

Manual migration is a tedious process. It gets infinitely more complicated if you have several products to migrate and a ton of underlying data to transfer. If you have no web development experience to do this on your own, you would have no choice but to ring in the big guns and have them do it.

As you would expect, hiring an expert or a team of developers to migrate for you isn’t exactly cheap. They would need to transfer all your store’s product listings, including the images, descriptions, and everything else that’s visible on your storefront. They would also need to handle the backend. This involves transferring customer data, their respective payment information, order and inventory data, and everything else that goes into running a successful, thriving online store.

The resources and duration of an assisted migration depend on the scope of the project concerning how much data needs to be transferred. The longer it takes, the higher the cost implication will be.

Unfortunately, however, the high cost of assisted migration does not guarantee data preservation and integrity. The fact that the process is entirely manual means that the risk of data loss is an ever-present reality.

Automated Migration

Automated migration is a no-brainer given all the risks and drawbacks that come with manual migration and assisted migration methods. This method relies on the use of software applications from Magento upgrade service providers like Cart2Cart, to transfer your existing online store from Magento 1 to Magento 2 automatically.

Since it is a fully automated process, there's no risk of losing precious store data. It is also infinitely cheaper than the other two options combined and doesn't require users to have a background in web development to perform the migration. It’s a win-win any way you slice it.

One of the great things about using Cart2Cart as your go-to Magento 2 upgrade service is the fact that you can move from v.1 to v.2 with virtually no disruption to your store’s operations. It runs silently in the background, so it won't affect your customers' user experience. Talk about seamless! The end-to-end process takes a couple of minutes or a few hours to run, depending on the size of your online store.

Some of the data entities you can transfer from Magento 1 to Magento 2 include:

  • CMS pages
  • Coupons and discount data
  • Customer data
  • Customer reviews
  • Multistore details
  • Order data
  • Product categories and information
  • Supplier and manufacturer information

What Migration Method to Choose

With that detailed overview of the three migration options available, the question then becomes: Which one should you pick based on your enterprise needs?

You need to think about six critical things when choosing the best technique to adopt.

  1. Cost: What's the allocated budget for migration, and can your business afford it?
  2. Customization: Will your new site retain the previous customizations, or will you have to do it afresh?
  3. Data integrity: Does the migration option you choose safeguard against the loss of valuable store data?
  4. Downtime: Will the technique you pick disrupt your normal business operations?
  5. Integrations: Will the extensions you had before be automatically integrated into the new platform?
  6. Themes: Do you want to hold on to your previous store design once you migrate to the new platform?

With those factors in mind, the only method that addresses each of these issues is automated migration, and here’s why:

Cost Customization Data
It is the cheapest option to transfer your online store from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Any customization you had in your previous store will automatically be applied to the new one. Cart2Cart guarantees the total and complete migration of all your store data with no risk of loss.
Downtime Integrations Themes
Migrating using Cart2Cart is a silent process that runs in the background without disrupting customers' buying experience. All compatible extensions and plugins that were previously on your Magento 1 website will automatically be installed on Magento 2. Compatible themes on Magento 1 will be retained after migrating to Magento 2 without affecting their existing functionality.

How to Prepare for Magento Upgrade

Here’s what we know so far: Automated migration trumps the manual and assisted options. It’s cheaper, faster, and more convenient, making it the go-to option for any business owner looking to transfer their online store from their existing platform to a different one altogether.

This section explores the steps you need to take to prepare your website for a Magento upgrade.

1. Manage Your Current Magento Store

As is the case with any data or site migration operation, there are three critical things you need to do beforehand to get your store ready for transfer. Here’s a brief overview of each.

Back-Up Your Store Data

First things first—you need to back up your store’s existing data. That way, you always have a fallback plan if things go awry. There are three very specific ways to do this:

  • Perform a full backup of the whole system, including the files stored in the database, the file system, and the media folder.
  • Perform a full backup of the database alone.
  • Perform a full backup of the database and the files stored in the media folder.

Perform a Site Audit

Once you’ve successfully backed up all your files, you’ll need to go through this information in detail to sort out what to keep versus what to trash. A comprehensive site audit generally involves an in-depth data analysis exercise of all the data stored in the various fields within your database. Some of these include the information contained in the Product Details field, Product Name field, Customer Information field, Contact Information field, and so forth.

Get Your Store’s Access Credentials

You'll need to establish a strong connection between the two platforms for the Magento 1 to Magento 2 site migration to go off without a hitch. A critical part of doing this involves authenticating the access details of your existing Magento 1 store. You’ll need to verify the URL in addition to the FTP/SSH before you can initiate the connection between the two sites.

2. Prepare Your New Magento Store

As soon as you’ve ironed out all the kinks in your existing store, you can start preparing what is about to become your new store on the Magento 2 platform. Here’s how to go about it.

Choose a Theme

As we mentioned before in this upgrade guide, some of the perks that come with Magento 2 are all the mobile-responsive website templates it supports. While you could always retain your existing theme, we recommend revamping your entire store with the professionally designed themes available on Magento Marketplace.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a wider selection of templates, Theme Forest is an excellent resource you can use. It features dozens of mobile responsive themes that would gel well with a wide range of eCommerce industries.

Install the Necessary Apps

The functionality of your online store is only as good as the plugins you have installed. Magento 2 supports infinitely more integrations than its predecessor. It allows users to install multiple conflicting apps, which was previously impossible to do.

Choose from the 3,000+ extensions available on the Magento App Marketplace and get the most out of your new online store.

How to Upgrade Magento in 5 Steps

So far, you’ve prepared your existing site and what is about to become your new store for the migration. You’re now ready to switch platforms. Here’s how to upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2 in a few easy steps.

1. Connect Your Shopping Carts

The first step involves linking your Magento 1 and Magento 2 shopping carts using Cart2Cart. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to Source Cart Setup and then navigate to the Source Cart field.
  • Click the drop-down menu to display the list of available eCommerce platforms and select Magento 1.
  • Next, download the Connection Bridge to link and allow communication between the two platforms.
  • Unzip the contents of the downloaded file labeled connection_bridge.zip.
  • Proceed to extract the file contained in the folder labeled bridge2cart and use an FTP client to import it to the root folder of your Magento 1 website.
  • Enter your Source Store URL and verify that there’s a link to your Source cart.

You’re now ready to proceed with your Magento 2 setup. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Go to Target Cart Setup and then navigate to the Target Cart field.
  • Click the drop-down menu to display the list of available eCommerce platforms and select Magento 2.
  • Next, download the Connection Bridge to link and allow communication between the two platforms.
  • Unzip the contents of the downloaded file labeled connection_bridge.zip.
  • Proceed to extract the file contained in the folder labeled bridge2cart and use an FTP client to import it to the root folder of your Magento 2 website.
  • Enter your Target Store URL and verify there’s a link to your Target Cart.
Magento 1 upgrade to 2

2. Select Data for Migration

Once you’ve established a connection between your two websites, it’s now time to choose the data entities you wish to migrate. Check the Select All box to transfer everything or check the individual boxes to choose specific data classes to migrate.

Some of the available entities you can transfer include:

  • Products
  • Price
  • Customers
  • Manufacturers
  • Orders
  • Categories
  • CMS pages
  • Coupons
  • Reviews
  • Taxes
Magento 1 upgrade to 2

3. Specify the Additional Migration Options

Cart2Cart gives users the ability to specify more migration options in addition to selecting the data entities to transfer. Some of the available options you can integrate into your new Magento 2 store include:

  • Create 301 redirects
  • Preserve order IDs
  • Migrate customers’ passwords
  • Migrate invoices, shipments, and credit memos
  • Create migration SEO URLs for products and categories
Magento 1 upgrade to 2

4. Map Customer Groups and Order Statuses

To map the various order statuses and customer groups from your old Magento 1 store to the newly created ones on your new website, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Cart2Cart's Mapping Window and click on the data classes you want to be mapped from your old store
  2. Choose the corresponding entries in your new store
  3. If you can’t find the groups you need in the Target Cart, click on the relevant buttons to create them
  4. Click Check Again to refresh the data and then proceed with the mapping as outlined in steps (1) and (2) above

Keep in mind that when transferring your Magento 1 customers to Magento 2, Cart2Cart will create default email addresses for users who don’t have valid entries at the time of transfer.

Magento 1 upgrade to 2

5. Run Free Demo and Launch the Full Migration

The last phase involves initiating the actual migration. To learn how the Cart2Cart tool works, you can use the Free Demo to migrate a limited number of entries from your old site to what is about to become your new store.

To transfer your entire site to Magento 2, you’ll need to launch Full Migration. Don’t close your browser window until the process completes. Full migration may take a couple of hours to complete, depending on the volume of data you’re transferring. As soon as it does, you should be able to see your migrated data on Magento 2’s front end.

To view it from the backend and check whether all the required data is present:

  1. Go to the Demo Results page
  2. Select, download, and view the file labeled Product IDs
  3. Compare the data there with the newly migrated entries on Magento 2
Magento 1 upgrade to 2

See also: Complete Magento to Shopify Migration Checklist.

How to Migrate Products From Current Magento to the New Magento Store

Cart2Cart makes migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 a breeze. All you need to do is select the specific products you want to transfer, along with their respective data classes, and launch the migration process. Here are some of the options you’ll find displayed on the wizard:

  • Item Name, Item Description
  • Primary Image, Image Description, Secondary Images
  • Meta Title, Meta Description
  • Offer Price, Base Price, Discounted Price
  • Stock Quantity, Order Status
  • Supplier, Manufacturer, Stock Keeping Unit
  • Product Variants
  • URL

Relying on an automated tool like Cart2Cart to migrate is by far the safest, cheapest, and most convenient way to upgrade your online store to the new version of Magento. Nonetheless, if you wish to do it manually, there’s the option to export the products from your Magento 1 database into a CSV file and then upload it to your new site.

How to Export Orders From Current Magento to the New Magento Store

Right off the bat, Cart2Cart allows you to export the following data entities:

  • Product data such as Name, Product ID, Price, Stock Quantity, Status, etc.
  • Customer data such as Name, Email Address, Phone Number, etc.
  • Shipping data such as Customer Name, Payment Information, Billing Address, etc.

Just like manually exporting products from your old Magento to your new store, there’s always the option to export them into a CSV spreadsheet and upload them to your new Magento site.

Keep in mind this method might not be the safest if you have a large volume of data to migrate. There’s always the risk of losing data using this export-import technique. Automated migration tools like Cart2Cart are a much safer bet.

Magento Upgrade Checklist: What Should You Do Once the Migration Is Complete

Once you’ve successfully completed the migration, the final step involves checking that your new Magento 2 site is working as it should. Here’s a migration checklist you can use to confirm that your new online store is ready to go live:

1. Test Your New Magento Store

The whole point of doing a post-migration audit is to identify any functional issues that might get in the way of your customers’ user experience. Below are a few things you need to keep an eye out for:

  • Domain name: Is it active?
  • Navigation links: Are they all working properly?
  • Store catalogs: Are all products in all categories visible?
  • Onsite search function: Is it working as it should?
  • Onsite links: Are all the links in the headers, footers, site menus, and webpages correct?

Once you’ve run through the checklist and have confirmed that everything is working great, it’s always a good idea to make a couple of test purchases just to be sure.

2. Find the Apps You Need With Magento Marketplace

Extensions are at the heart of any solid online store. One of the major complaints that Magento 1 users had was that they could not install and use conflicting third-party plugins. Magento 2 resolves this conundrum. It now allows users to install any plugin they need from the App Marketplace without interfering with their functionality.

You can choose from any of the 3,000+ apps in several different categories, including:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Content and Customizations
  • Customer Support
  • Marketing, SEO, and Sales
  • Payments and Security
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Shipping and Fulfillment
  • Site Optimization

Most of these integrations are compatible with Magento 2 v2.2, v2.3, and v2.4.

3. Invite Customers to Reactivate Their Accounts

The final step of the Magento upgrade process is to let your customers know that you’ve moved your store to a new platform. The best way to do it would be to use an app such as the Bulk Password Generation Notification. It prompts imported customers to use the reset password link they receive in their emails to set a new password and access their respective accounts on the new Magento platform.

Additionally, ensure that you provide a feedback channel through which customers can communicate any issues they run into while using your new site. That way, you can address them and improve their user experience for a smooth transition.

Magento Upgrade: FAQs

How to Upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2

To migrate your existing Magento 1 online store to the latest Magento platform, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch the Cart2Cart wizard, download and install the Connection Bridge extension, and enter your existing site URL as well as that of your new store to establish a connection between your Source Cart and your Target Cart.
  2. Pick the data groups you want to transfer from Magento 1 to Magento 2.
  3. Choose any other relevant migration option you deem necessary for your new store.
  4. Map the various order statuses and customer groups from your existing site to what is about to become your newly created store.
  5. Run the Free Demo to test how the Cart2Cart tool works, and then launch the Full Migration to transfer all your store data.

How to Migrate Products From Current Magento to the New Magento Store

There are several ways to upgrade your existing site to the new Magento platform. The easiest and most efficient method to use would be Cart2Cart. This automated migration tool has become the go-to for many store owners looking to switch from their existing eCommerce platform to a different one. You don’t have to worry about losing precious store data in the process.

Why Upgrade Magento 1 to Magento 2

On June 30, 2020, Magento officially stopped offering updates and security patches for the older version of the platform—Magento 1. This leaves your online store vulnerable to loss of reputation and cyber-attacks that could lead to the theft of valuable customer and site data.

Magento 2 was released with top-of-the-class features to address many of the drawbacks and bugs that were notorious with Magento 1. It is a much better platform overall and is capable of so much more.

Time to Level Up

There you have it—everything you need to know about how to upgrade Magento to its latest version. If your online store currently runs on Magento 1, it’s time to make the switch and enjoy the full host of benefits that come with the upgraded version.

Not sure where to begin? Sign up to Cart2Cart for a Free Demo and find out why it has become the go-to migration tool for many online store owners.