Making the Move from Magento 1 to Magento 2: Lessons Learned

Matt Trimmer

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What our team has learned from migrating Magento 1 sites to Magento 2. 

Any software upgrade project will come with its fair share of challenges, but upgrading to a newer version of the same platform is typically the least fraught option. Making the move from Magento 1 to Magento 2, however, is like moving to a whole different software, not just a newer version of Magento 1. The improvements found in Magento 2 are incredibly valuable, but the changes between the two versions make the upgrade more challenging than some would expect.  

Magento 2 provides the user with new features and options  that far outweigh any problems faced during development, but that’s not to say that the challenges faced are insignificant. Our team survived the Magento 2 certification process, and we’ve learned even more while helping clients upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento 2. With every new challenge we face, we learn new ways of developing strong eCommerce sites on Magento 2 

Data Migration 

Magento has a data migration tool that essentially takes the database from M1 and moves it to M2. While this is a valuable tool, one of the challenges with making that migration is that some M1 users have been on the platform for years and their data is so old that it isn’t formatted to make the transfer successfully.  

We’ve seen products tied together, data statuses that have been corrupted, tables that migrate incorrectly, and some data that simply doesn’t get moved at all. During our first M1 to M2 upgrade, it took months of our team and the client team stumbling across incorrect data and then fixing it to resolve the issues.   

As we’ve completed more M1 to M2 upgrades, however, we’ve learned how to format certain data aspects to make sure they migrate correctly. And, now that we know which aspects of the database are vulnerable, we know where to look for potential issues so we can resolve them quickly. Thanks to these challenges, our team has become more familiar with how data is stored in Magento 2 than ever before.   

Magento Admin 

As we’ve mentioned before, it took our team awhile to get accustomed to the new layout of the Magento 2 admin panel. Some things have moved around, and there are new categories in M2, including: 

  • Stores, which contains Settings, Attributes, Taxes Currency, and Other Settings 
  • Marketing, which houses Promotions, Communications, Private Sales, SEO & Search, and User Content 

While this new organizational structure is fairly intuitive and makes a lot of sense, if you’re a Magento 1 user who has moved to Magento 2, then finding what you’re looking for might be a bit of a challenge. 

Not only have these changes been a challenge for our team, they have affected our client teams as well. Clients switching from M1 to M2 have had trouble finding everything since they were so comfortable in Magento 1 and aren’t in the admin panel nearly as often as our team is. Our team conducts training with clients to make sure that they can continue using all of the functions they were using in Magento 1.  

One new feature to highlight is Page Builder, the new way to build and edit content pages in Magento 2. Page Builder gives you more freedom to create the web experience you want and need to delight your customers, without the constraints of pre-defined templates. Learn more about Page Builder and how it can improve the way your marketing and development teams collaborate here


According to our development team, deployment for Magento 2 is very different from Magento 1. Magento 2 includes a lot of commands that are intended to speed up the website, but updating Magento 1 sites to the current system is more difficult due to those changes. So, while the addition of those commands has an overall positive impact on the finished site, it can cause the development process to slow down a bit.  

Additionally, M2 has different methods of programming than M1, including the added features of dependency injection and a repository pattern. While these changes posed a bit of a challenge during our team’s first M1 to M2 migration, experience has helped our team learn how to successfully leverage these changes. 

How to Begin Implementing Magento 2 

It can seem like a big undertaking to switch software systems, especially when new updates are coming out regularly, but after getting comfortable with Magento 2, the initial stress will fade away.  

Additionally, partnering with an experienced team will help the implementation move much more smoothly. Our team has years of experience with Magento and, now that we've gone through a few M1 to M2 migrations, we're ready to apply our best practices to the next challenge.    

Is your company considering moving to Magento 2, but you aren't sure where to start? Our team has worked out the kinks of moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Contact our team to see how we can help with your project.  

Access our Magento 1 to Magento 2  Migration Guide

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