Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: 15 Reasons You Should Upgrade to Magento 2 (Sooner or Later)

Although Magento 2 has been around for a while (it was first announced in 2010, but the beta version only became available in 2015), many ecommerce business owners are still probably contemplating whether upgrading to Magento 2 is worth it. By discussing the Magento 1 vs. Magento 2 issue, looking at different important aspects, we aim at helping them with making the right decision.


We will discuss all the important aspects: From required developments through budget, new functions to the question of support, both official (provided by the company) and unofficial (provided by the Magento community).


So the question is:

Is it necessary to upgrade to Magento 2 for current Magento 1 owners or is it OK to use a stable Magento 1.x version during the upcoming months, or even years?


We’re going to cover the following topics:


•    Magento 2
•    Magento 1 vs. Magento 2 – When should I upgrade?
•    How problematic is migrating your ecommerce store to Magento 2?
•    Magento development
•    How to plan the development budget
•    The Magento community factor
•    What is new in Magento 2
1) Scalability and enhanced performance
2) Responsive and search engine friendly
3) Streamlined checkout
4) Elasticsearch (EE only)
5) Cheaper and easier updating
6) Ajax add-to-cart
7) Simpler navigation
8) Split database solution (EE only)
9) Dashboard
10) Simpler product upload
11) More efficient customization
12) More efficient testing
13) Simpler integration
14) Platform compatibility
15) Hardware requirements
•    When will Magento 1.x become outdated?
•    Is it worth it to upgrade now?


Magento 2


Magento 2  brings fundamental changes in the well-known ecommerce platform.

Beyond  overall functionality enhancements, it has major improvements:

  • on a technological level,
  • in modularity (both backend and frontend),
  • in terms of performance.


Clearly, Magento aims to consolidate Magento 2 and expand its functionality, making it more attractive especially for bigger enterprises.

The official development team  adds new  features to Magento 2 every three months – this applies to both Magento Community and Enterprise Editions.


Magento 1 vs. Magento 2 – When should I upgrade?


If your Magento 1.x version ecommerce store

  • is running smoothly,
  • has no problematic features,
  • generates orders and revenue,
  • operates under a version that is not outdated,


then, as of Q2 2017, at least for a few months more, there’s no rush to upgrade to Magento 2.

You should already start planning, however if you’re thinking long term.


We recommend updating urgently if:

  • your current ecommerce store has performance issues,
  • you’re planning to start a new ecommerce business,
  • you’re planning to implement bigger modifications,
  • your current system is running smoothly, but on an outdated version.


It might still be worth updating to Magento 2 if you have absolutely no problems with the current system, aren’t planning modifications, and your version is not yet outdated.


Because Magento 2 offers  a number of new features, opportunities, and innovations that can make growth and serving your customers possible in ways not available until now.

We will further elaborate on the differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 soon.


How problematic is migrating your ecommerce store to Magento 2?


Let’s face it: Migrating is never painless, even when you’re migrating between two versions of the same system.

On upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you can transfer products, attributes, databases – people wouldn’t even consider migrating otherwise.

However, you have to leave all customized features and design behind – so, if you want these features in your new Magento 2 store, you have to build them again.

But you can look at this as an opportunity.

Yes, it means extra work and costs for your business, but, at the same time, it encourages you to make improvements wherever possible.


It’s a great opportunity to reconsider:

  • whether you have done everything the best possible way,
  • whether there are redundant features in your store,
  • if there are any missing features you’ve wanted to add for a long time,
  • how you can improve your online store in general.


Magento 2 has brought many improvements.

But since having to tackle some difficulties and develop new features are inevitable when migrating an online store, smaller businesses might want to wait a little.

In fact, technological advancement itself makes migrating a little more difficult, since Magento 2  has new solutions surpassing Magento 1.x  in many ways.


Still, a new major release was inevitable, and it’s not a good idea to hold on to older versions for too long.

Migrating databases between the two systems won’t be a problem, especially with the Data Migration tool.

Migrating product, customer, order, etc. data will likely go smoothly. However it’s a good idea to entrust experts with carrying out the process and handling your online business’ most valuable assets, your database.


Magento Development


Magento 2 can still be considered a relatively new platform.

Though it’s been around since 2015, still, the number of developers with considerable experience in Magento 2 development, developing and installing extensions is not yet very high.

Magento 2 development will probably cost more. (If you want to learn more about how much Magento developers cost, read our article covering global agency and freelancer pricing.)


How to plan the development budget


If you want customized solutions when switching to Magento 2, you will need professional developers.

Since the number of developers with experience in Magento 2 development is limited, their expertise comes at a higher price.

The exact costs of developing an entire Magento online store are hard to determine, since it’s an extremely customizable system, meaning basically endless development possibilities – which also makes giving generic estimates in advance difficult.

In our article on Magento Pricing we provide some information to help estimate on your budget if you know what you need. These prices typically refer to Magento 1.x developers. Budgets for Magento 2 development should be 1.5-2 times larger in comparison.

Modules already available are also pricy due to the limited choice. They might cost more than the modules available for Magento 1.x versions.


The Magento community factor


One of the advantages of Magento is the huge professional community behind it.

This community has been using Magento 1.x versions for the last 9 years, so those using the latest Magento 1.x versions have access to assistance with their related problems.

In Magento 2 even the core is developed on github, so many developers work on new features and patches every day.


What is new in Magento 2 – 15 reasons why you should upgrade


Magento 2 comes with a lot of improvements  in  areas of coding, functionality, and user experience. Let us see the most prominent ones.

1) Scalability and enhanced performance


Magento 2 loading time is way faster than the standard 2-3 seconds.


Note: According to experts, websites shouldn’t load for more than 3 seconds, or exceed 3 MB, otherwise you might risk losing a significant chunk of your traffic.


The homepage, category pages, and product pages load in less than 1.5 seconds, even without using frontend caching.


2) Responsive and search engine friendly


Magento 2’s responsive frontend design makes it easy to browse on all devices. This is a big advantage, because Google’s algorithms have been officially favoring mobile friendly websites in ranking.

This responsive design also enhances user experience.


3) Streamlined checkout


With the new, streamlined checkout, the checkout process has become easier and faster for customers.

Checkout is available for guests without registration and Magento 2 automatically identifies registered customers based on their email addresses.

Registering  after the checkout process is also an option, and the process has also been simplified.


4) Elasticsearch


In Magento Enterprise Edition, thanks to Elasticsearch, the quality of searches and user experience have been improved.

Last but not least, it already handles 33 languages, and Magento core developers are clearly going to rely on Elasticserach in the future.

Third party Elasticsearch extensions for M2 are also available with similar functionality.


5) Cheaper and easier extension updating


Compared to Magento 1.x versions, installing new extensions and modules has become simpler and thus cheaper too.

Installing even a few of basic Magento 1.x  extensions can take a lot of time, even for professional developers, not to mention the possibility of conflicting extensions.

The process has become simpler, as well as the frontend development, the functionality can be modified more easily too, thanks to HTML5, Less, require.js, and CSS3.


6) Ajax add-to-cart


Every time a product is added to the cart in Magento 1, the system reloads the page, which has a negative impact on its performance.

This can mount to seconds, and as our regular readers might already know, having to wait even only a few seconds can cause customers to abandon their carts.

If you’re selling products of smaller value or your customers usually add more products to their carts, this is an issue you can’t disregard.

Thanks to Ajax add-to-cart, the new system doesn’t  have to reload the entire page when a new item is added to cart, which also enhances user experience.


7) Simpler navigation


Admin navigation has been simplified and modernized in Magento 2, even users with less experience can manage their online stores efficiently.

Many Magento 1 store owners have found M1’s admin interface a little complicated – only those with previous experience with complex interfaces could navigate it easily.

The new, simpler admin interface is a welcome feature for those without their own Magento developers.


8) Split database solution


In Magento 1, customers, admins, and developers use the same database, which might lead to database overload.

Straining the system from the admin side might cause problems on the customer side.

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition offers you the opportunity to use three separate master databases for:

  • product data,
  • checkout,
  • and orders.


This scalability prevents the load on different databases having a negative impact on the performance of the others.


9) Dashboard


In the new system you can find the most important information in one place.


The Dashboard gives you an overview of:

  • lifetime sales,
  • average order amount,
  • last orders,
  • top search terms,
  • most viewed products,
  • new customers, etc.


It also displays financial data, so you can see the overall state of your business in a blink of an eye.


magento 2 admin dashboard


10) Simpler product upload


Creating new products has also become simpler.

The new system guides you through the simplified process step-by-step.

Another innovation makes it possible to upload product videos besides product photos.


11) More efficient customization


A personalized customer experience is a basic requirement for ecommerce stores that take business seriously.

Up-sell and cross-sell offers, personalized payment methods, or even giving coupons based on earlier behavior are all available to merchants using Magento 2.

By monitoring on-site behavior, we can determine what content we want our customers to see, what discounts and offers we want to give them.


12) Platform compatibility


Magento 2 supports advanced technologies such as CSS3, HTML5 and of course, MySQL.

Magento 2 uses jQuery instead of prototype.js.


13) Hardware requirements


Right now it’s hard to say exactly how much better Magento 2 is compared to earlier versions, since different performance tests yielded different results.

One thing is for sure though: it has lower hardware requirements to ensure the same level of performance.

This has a positive impact on costs and also potentially less problems.

First, new hardware is not cheap, acquiring even only a few pieces per year can be a huge burden on a growing business’ budget. Besides, more servers mean more potential complications.

The new system is more cost-effective even if you don’t have your own servers but use a hosting service.


14) More efficient testing


Regression testing Magento 1 to screen it for bugs is not an easy task.

When working with a more complex system with a lot of customized features, extensions, and modules, especially when the online store has a lot of traffic, minimizing risks is important too.

That’s why testing is essential. Fortunately, it has become easier in Magento 2.

Checking if new features and modules would conflict with the existing system has become a lot simpler.

The built-in testing framework makes running automated tests on any Magento site, regardless of size, easy.


15) Simpler integration


A useful feature of the Magento ecommerce store platform is the ability to integrate a lot of different systems – inventory management software, ERP, CRM.

However, when the integration doesn’t go smoothly, it’s not easy to find out exactly what messages got lost during the communication between Magento and the other system.

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition addresses this particular problem with the built-in RabbitMQ (Message Queue) framework that monitors the communication between Magento and other systems.

The second half of its name refers to its main function – storing unsent messages and forwarding them to the relevant systems as soon as possible (for instance, whenever a certain system, say, the inventory management software, is set to refresh).


tips Try Magento Demo Stores:

Check Magento 1 Demo Store here

Check Magento 2 Demo Store here

Access data:

User name: admin

Password: admin123456


When will Magento 1.x become outdated?


The fact that Magento will cease official support for its 1.x versions makes a Magento 2 platform the right choice for those planning to launch new ecommerce stores.

The functionality of earlier versions can practically only be expanded by customized solutions.

Migration is basically inevitable, since only Magento 2 will have official support.

It’s not that the technology itself becomes obsolete in such a short time – Magento 1.x versions might actually prove to be a good choice in terms of efficiency.


Security is the real issue here Since Magento will end its official support for Magento 1.x versions, there might be an increase in the number of malicious software that target vulnerabilities discovered after the release of the last security patches.


You can always have developers create security patches for your system, but this means extra development costs and a lot of extra work, while you can still never be sure that there won’t be any new security vulnerabilities discovered a day later.

If you’re thinking long term, stability should be an important aspect, one that definitely makes Magento 2 the right choice for those who are currently using Magento 1.x or are planning to launch a new ecommerce store.


tips UPDATE: Jason Woosley, SVP of Product & Technology at Magento Commerce, explained in a blog post that “Magento 1 will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future”.

“We have no intention of denying access to our world-class software and know your business relies on Magento to drive growth and differentiation for your brand.”

Woosley assured users on Twitter that the Magento 1.9 support, originally planned to end in November, 2018, is now extended by at least 18 months.

With this being said, the SVP encourages every merchant to upgrade to Magento 2 to be able to benefit from the innovations it has to offer, when “the time is right” for them.


Is it worth it to upgrade now?

The answer to the question depends on the state of your project and your budget.


tips Our advice:  If you’re planning to launch a new ecommerce store and you have a larger budget, go with Magento 2.



What’s the bottom line?


Thinking long term, you can ensure stability by upgrading to Magento 2, because one way or another, Magento 1.x versions will start to become dangerously outdated in a few years, typically due to the lack of official support, security patches, and updates.

If you have a smaller budget, but you also need customized features, you might want to make plans about when you will upgrade to Magento 2, which will be a bigger project.

If you have a well-functioning ecommerce store running on one of the latest versions of Magento 1 generating a regular income, you should make plans for upgrading to Magento 2 in one or two years.

If your online store runs on an already outdated 1.x version, then you should definitely continue development on Magento 2.

Either way, you’re going to require a lot of development, so, if your budget allows it, upgrading to Magento 2 is a must in the long run – Magento 2 versions are going to be the prominent ones for the upcoming 7-8 years.