It’s common sense for any online retailer, big or small, to use an ecommerce platform that’s up-to-date and secure. However, if you are one of the hundreds and thousands of retailers globally on the Magento system that could be about to change, with the announcement that the Magento 1 ecommerce platform is set to reach its ‘end of life’ in June 2020.
While June 2020 will not see the immediate shutdown of the early version of Magento, it’s when feature and security updates from Magento will cease, meaning that anyone still using it after this date will be on a platform that’s significantly less secure.
The wider technology and ecommerce community may provide some security patches after this date, however those on Magento 1 will be at risk as time goes on and new vulnerabilities are discovered, either with the core code or unsupported plug-ins. Additionally, the PHP, the server-side scripting language support that Magento provides will finish at the end of November 2020, with early versions of PHP already no longer supported on Magento 1 since the end of December 2018.
Unfortunately for retailers, it’s not simply a case of flicking a switch to leave one platform and re-start on another without any disruption. Websites will need to be completely re-built on a new system. A significant amount of data migration is required to move from Magento 1 to Magento 2, or any ecommerce platform.
In fact, looking at the overall re-platforming process, much work is required in planning, integrating the new platform and testing it along the way. It can take a lot longer than you think. And as most retailers know, running and developing existing stores can fill their day, leaving little to no time for additional re-platforming activity. However, for those who plan ahead, it provides the opportunity to take stock and think about what they want from a new platform provider – such as how will it help meet their objectives – and think more widely about what features are working well and what needs to be improved on their website.
The end of life of Magento 1 provides a great opportunity to set up on a more up-to-date platform, like Magneto 2, that offers new features, performance improvements and security enhancements, as well as the ability to scale up an ecommerce business quickly. Also, because of the amount of work required when moving from one ecommerce system to another, it makes sense to seize the opportunity to update or re-design the front-end of the website.
For those that do re-platform, it’s vital to ensure that the new system allows for a range of direct and development-based integration options. This is complex and resource intensive services, like plug-ins, are taken off the platform, reducing server load, hosting, and development and maintenance costs of those features. But most importantly, this ensures that the site continues to deliver a fast user experience for shoppers.
Now that a few months have elapsed since Magento made its end of life announcement about the early version of its platform, it’s time for retailers to check which version they use, with those on the older Magento 1 system needing to make some big decisions early in 2019 as to the next steps they take.
While in our busy working lives it’s often easy to push back deadlines that seem a long way in the future, retailers on Magento do need to act now because of the time and effort required to ensure their ecommerce business is on a fully supported platform that meets their future needs.
For those that require help with any re-platforming, it’s essential that they seek out an impartial ecommerce agency which has plenty of experience in Magento, and other leading ecommerce platforms, who will help ensure a seamless transition.
Mark Fitzsimmons is the managing director at Xigen.