Haven’t you migrated your online store to Magento 2 yet? Its ancestor is no longer supported. Running an eCommerce business on Magento 1 now is like skating on thin ice: no security patches and bug fixes, no third-party extension and theme support, no integration support, and no Magento agency to help you out. Long story short, migration to Magento 2 cannot be delayed anymore.
While in most cases, moving to Magento 2 is quite smooth, there are some scenarios where things that can go wrong and the migration may be ruined. In this article, we’ll provide you with a couple of tips and tricks on migrating the Magento store with the help of a third-party vendor without breaking anything.
Crucial to-dos before the actual migration
Select a trusted partner
Hiring a reliable Magento development company is critical for the success of any migration project. Oftentimes, merchants entrust their store’s migration to a cheap and cheerful vendor and then have to look for somebody else capable of fixing the mess the store was turned into. Miser pays twice — improper migration might do much harm to your business. Therefore, choose your partner wisely:
- Examine the vendor’s expertise and previously completed migration projects;
- Pay attention to how quickly and accurately they respond to your questions;
- Review customer feedback.
Map out a migration plan
I always recommend starting with careful planning. Create a detailed Magento migration plan, where the infrastructure and configuration of the current store and business requirements to the new store are described in detail. Further, specify each migration stage and sub-tasks to be performed within this stage along with the associated costs, risks, and deadlines. The more details merchants and migration vendors outline in a plan; the more likely the migration will run smoothly.
Scheduled maintenance mode
Before the database migration begins, determine the ideal time to put your existing store into maintenance mode. It’s best to pick a day and a timespan when you have a few sales as possible. Keep in mind that you’d be better off adding 5-6 extra hours to your expectations since additional time might be required to address possible issues.
Ready. Set. Go.
Once you’re done with preparations, it’s time to get down to migration.
To keep your existing store safe while the vendor works on the new one, don’t forget to:
- Update your current Magento and PHP to 188.8.131.52 and 7.2, respectively — this will help safeguard your existing store from vulnerabilities and increase chances that it will survive possible attacks until the end of the migration.
- Backup your current store to ensure no data is lost without a trace in case of a crash or an attack. Remember, Adobe no longer supports Magento 1.x, so don’t expect any more updates or security patches.
- Test the updates locally or on a staging environment first — running them against your live store may crash it and take a while to recover.
Caveats to consider
Take time to review the extensions currently installed on your Magento 1 store and decide which of them truly needs to be moved to Magento 2. Bear in mind that your Magento 1 extensions’ functionality may come out of the box in Magento 2. Besides, many extensions may no longer be used and can be safely abandoned, while many ready-made multi-functional extensions can be substituted with lightweight custom extensions to improve performance.
Please don’t install the extensions developed by little-known vendors, since there is always a risk that they are of poor quality. Find a reliable Magento extension developer who offers a wide selection of extensions and, if possible, buy all your extensions from this one vendor to reduce the possibility of extension incompatibility.
Magento 1 themes cannot be migrated to Magento 2. Magento migration vendors either install and customize a ready-made theme or develop a custom theme from scratch. It’s best to opt for the latter option since the custom design will better fulfill your business requirements and have much better performance. Moreover, the costs of customizing a ready-made theme and developing a custom theme are almost equal.
To ensure that all data is migrated intact, it should be migrated to a clean Magento 2 installation with no extensions or themes installed. Now and then, there’s a merchant that does the opposite: installs a theme and extensions first and then addresses someone to perform data migration. As a result, they face a bunch of intractable issues. Don’t make this mistake.
Remember to install triggers into your existing store’s database — they are essential to ensure that the subsequent changes made to Magento 1 will be transferred to Magento 2 during the delta migration. Also, don’t forget that there might be extensions whose data has to be transferred to Magento 2 separately, such as the Advanced Product Options extension by Mageworx.
Migrating is the perfect time to enhance your store by adding new functionality you always wanted. When developing custom features, it’s advisable to pack them into extensions rather than make Magento’s source code changes. Any changes made to the platform’s code will hinder its proper functioning and future updates.
One more piece of advice: custom functionality should only be developed after installing third-party extensions to Magento 2. This will eliminate the risk of incompatibility between the already-developed custom code and the extensions.
Search engine optimization
Since your Magento 2 store is mostly built afresh, its improper configuration might harm your store’s search rankings and, at the end of the day, will cost you money. Here are several tips on how not to mess up your SEO during migration:
- Transfer existing 301 redirects to the new server;
- Ensure that dynamic pages aren’t indexable;
- Check that your XML sitemap is configured correctly and submit it to Google Search Console after the launch;
- Set up canonical tags to prevent duplicate content issues.
When migrating Magento, the vendor can either build the new store on their own server or ask the customer to provide the necessary infrastructure. The merchant should have them work on the merchant’s infrastructure from the start, as this will allow merchants to have access to the server and not be vendor-locked if they want to change the developer. This will also prevent any hiccups that might happen during the store’s transfer from the server owned by the vendor to the one owned by the merchant.
Besides, one should not build the Magento 2 store on the same server where the existing Magento 1 store is — the latter will leave numerous artifacts, slowing down the new store and complicating maintainability.
When the migration is complete, the new Magento 2 store should be carefully tested by both the vendor’s team and the business owner to ensure nothing is broken. The store owner should pay attention to the following:
- Double-check your URL redirects;
- Make sure that the catalog, orders, media files, and other data were transferred correctly;
- Test the website load speed. The new store should not load longer than the old one;
- Place a test order to ensure it is processed correctly.
Having ascertained that everything is as it should be, move on to the culmination — the launch of your new store. If you follow the recommendations above, you’ll hopefully migrate the Magento store smoothly.