Magento is one of the most widely used ecommerce platforms in the world, with almost 30 percent of the ecommerce sites on the Internet using Magento today. Released in 2008, it has grown in popularity due to its scalability, ecosystems of over 3,00,000 plus developers contributing towards richness and robust characteristics.
Magento community supports its software with regular releases of enhancements, upgrades and security patches, keeping the websites using Magento safe from vulnerability whilst continuously improving functionality.
Magento support – do we need it?
Magento is a software that is tested and developed by its huge community of architects, developers and vendors. This ecosystem of users is constantly looking for ways to improve the workings of Magento and help detect bugs, flaws as well as security issues. These are then submitted to Magento as either support tickets or with possible solution, which will then be tested and validated by Magento’s team of experts. Periodically, patches and updates are released to address core issues.
These updates help provide bug fixes and maintain the security of a website against hacks and malware attacks. However, these fixes are only rolled out to patch the core of Magento and not the third-party extensions or themes installed. Those will have to be upgraded by the vendor themselves.
You can perform regular security scan on your Magento website and patch or upgrade if necessary.
Magento 1 Phase Out – can you ignore it?
Towards the end of 2018, Magento officially announced the end of life date for Magento version 1 (M1). This should not come as a big surprise for most. Since the release of Magento 2 (M2) in 2015, there was talk of Magento community no longer providing security patches for M1 beyond a certain date. Now it seems the date has been officially decided – June 2020.
What does this mean for all the Magento 1 websites out there?
For M1 Commerce and Open Source Editions, Magento will provide software support through to June 2020 to ensure websites remain secure and compliant. However, although these websites can continue functioning for now, over time, without security patches in the future, they are likely to be subject to hacks and malware attacks and performance degradation.
Payment options will become non-compliant and merchants risk losing these services from their banks due to vulnerable scripts on the site. As an online merchant, you have a duty of care to your customers to ensure their data is always protected.
As time goes on, you will also notice a slow decline in performance, and functionality will start to deteriorate. Even the most basic things like clearing cache or re-indexing can become affected.
In today’s competitive online environment, a website that has been hacked can drive customers away almost “faster than the speed of light”! Gaining the trust back from these customers will then be an uphill battle and, unless you sell a niche product, the only one in the world, your business will most likely suffer.
Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2
Your Magento version 1.x store can be migrated to Magento version 2.x smoothly by a team of experienced Magento developers. As an overall update, here are some of the features that the new M2 site has in store.
1. Improved performance
M2 sites are 50% faster in page load speed than M1 sites on both catalogue and checkout pages. Considering that you have only 3 seconds to attract a customer’s attention, this speed improvement is a definite plus point. This speed factor also improves site rank on search engines, and improves sales and conversion.
2. Enhanced security
In Magento 2, the password policy has been strengthened. It now uses hashing algorithms (SHA-256) for passwords. This has made passwords stronger to the dictionary types of attacks. Documentation and support for various server configuration have also been improved in M2. Magento now provides optimum server configuration and documentation for M2 site hosting to ensure enhanced security and performance.
3. Streamlined checkout
The M1 site had a 6-step checkout. In M2, that has been reduced to just 2 stages. Customers will first add their email, and if an account with that email already exists on the site, it will simply prompt the user to enter their password. Otherwise, the user can continue with entering the address. The layout of the checkout is also cleaner, and users get to see each stage as they complete the current one, avoiding the feeling that there is a mile to go before the purchase is completed.
4.Improved admin user interface
Those who are used to the M1 administrative interface will take a good nudge to start using M2; it will quickly become apparent that the new Magento admin interface is simpler and faster to get things done. For example, there are better filters for order, customer and product searching. You can add more column options for these pages, such as displaying payment methods for order, which was not available in M1, or displaying any product attribute in the product catalogue listing page.
Besides Magento 2, are there any other alternatives?
Of course, there are alternative ecommerce solutions besides Magento 2. However, assuming that you are currently using Magento 1 in this case migrating to Magento 2 seems more like a natural progression as you are already familiar with Magento 1 features. Here are some points you need to consider before switching.
1. Business goals
What are your business and ecommerce goals? Are you satisfied with just having some products up online, or are you serious about developing and expanding your online store?
Magento 2 has a number of key features, including its ability to support an unlimited number of products, its own theming and layout system, as well as intuitive admin interfaces and product creation tools. If you decide to switch to other ecommerce platforms, you may have to go without some of the features that you have been enjoying. Again, whether or not this will work depends on your goals for your site.
How much traffic do you have or expect on your site? Magento is better suited for medium to large online stores, which means it can handle high traffic without much problems. This is especially important during holiday or sale seasons, when thousands of visitors may drop in on your site in a short period of time. Magento have inbuilt caching features, allows merchants to scale resources. For example One Magento CMS can connect up to four database servers; you can have separate database to perform read only functions and other for write functions.
Do you use other applications or software that need to be integrated with your ecommerce platform? Magento allows you to integrate your store with multiple services, including shipping, inventory, accounting, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), warehouse and payment modules. Not a lot of other ecommerce platforms have this ability.
The June 2020 deadline is fast approaching, and it is critical that you ensure you are ready for it. If you have not done so, it is best to contact your Magento developer and plan a migration strategy with a timeline that will suit you and does not disrupt your website’s retail capacity, especially during peak seasons.
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