In September 2018, after Adobe had announced that it would end the official support of Magento 1 in two years, the ‘great platform migration’ was expected to begin. However, as of summer, 2020, only a third of the websites running on Magento 1 migrated to Magento 2. The number isn’t surprising though, as migration is a complex process, which should be performed accurately to avoid unwanted expenses and data losses.

However, as hard or uncomfortable as it is to part ways with a loyal and robust platform, the necessity to migrate to Magento 2 is becoming more urgent with each passing day. Your retail business can seriously benefit from relevant security patches, better performance, and newer code that is harder to hack.

Speaking from experience, migration is a painless endeavor if performed accurately. Our example is the migration and enhancement of the Swebike online platform, which is a leisure vehicle retailer that belongs to the North European Trust. Overall, knowing the general structure of the Magento migration process and being aware of the best practices are instrumental in achieving great results and soothing away any migration-related fears and anxieties.

Thus, here is Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration steps along with the best recommendations for safe data transfer and inner tranquility of everyone involved.

Step 0: Preparations

Expert guidance. The first thing to consider is that besides data transfer, migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 involves changing database structures, themes, and working with a new API. Therefore, as Magento puts it, the migration is better performed under “expert supervision,” i.e. by Magento developers.

Make a clone. The universal recommendation is to make a clone of your e-commerce website and work with it. Also, Magento migration should be performed in a testing environment first.

A full and careful review of a website. Remember that if a website is lacking in some regard — underperforms under load, has inconvenient UI, or behaves unpredictably from time to time — migration to Magento 2 will not solve its problems. Therefore, it’s better to ensure that the website’s functionality is fully operational and ‘bugless’ while the UI is polished. An online store review is required to find and patch up the possible issues to not bring old problems to the new world.

Also, it can be an ideal moment to seriously upgrade your system. The retail software review will uncover not only previously overlooked weaknesses but also possibilities for improvements. If you can, you should seize those opportunities, and kill two birds with one stone: upgrade your online store and migrate it to Magento 2.

Data optimization. No matter how thoroughly your employees manage the databases, irrelevant information or data duplicates can still creep in. Thus, before migrating data from Magento 1 to Magento 2, it’s better to wipe databases clean of all unnecessary information. It will streamline the Magento migration process and make databases easier to manage.

Extension review. Magento 2 core’s functionality was expanded to include more features. Therefore, the review is required to determine which of the used extensions are not needed anymore.

Software update. Sometimes, the most obvious things get overlooked because they are that obvious. Thus, it’s important to remember to update the software that is required for smooth Magento 2 performance.

For example, Magento. 2.4 requires

  • MySQL 8.0
  • PHP 7.4.0
  • Apache 2.4 or Nginx 1.x

Magento 2 is still compatible with some previous versions of the software. However, the e-commerce platform wasn’t extensively tested with them, so the performance could be unsatisfactory, or unpredictable issues may occur.

After you prepare databases, review extensions, and polish the website, the Magento migration process will be a much smoother and quicker procedure.

Step 1: Data Migration

First of all, to safely migrate data from Magento 1 to Magento 2 you need to create a data backup. Overall, any proper data migration starts with a data backup.

As for information transfer itself, Magento’s data migration tool will handle a solid chunk of the process for you. The data migration tool, “verifies consistency between Magento 1 and 2 database structures (tables and fields), tracks the data transfer progress, creates logs, and runs data verification tests.” The tool can transfer core configuration, customer, and product data including catalogs, orders, and shipment information.

Unlike customer and product data, the data migration tool can’t transfer any media, admin accounts, access control lists, and certain custom functionality. This chunk of work will be up to Magento developers.

Step 2: Themes and Extensions

Unfortunately, themes aren’t transferable from Magento 1 to Magento 2. You have to create a new theme and customize it or simply buy one from Magento Marketplace. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to preserve the original look and feel of your online store. Given enough time, front-end experts will be able to recreate the UI/UX of your website on Magento 2.

Plenty of Magento 1 extensions are not compatible with Magento 2. You can use a Magento code migration tool to transfer some of them or get newer extensions with similar functionality. The rest is up to the Magento developers.

Step 3: Testing

One of the unwritten rules of software development is to never slack off on testing. After Magento 2 migration is completed, performance testing should be done to ensure that all the systems are functional, and the online shop is ready for the big world. Ideally, Magento developers should make a detailed list of all functionality and thoroughly test it step by step.

Don’t Worry, Magento 2 is Totally Worth It

Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration will take some time and effort, the amount of which will depend on the level of online shop customization and the number of extensions used. However, the resulting benefits and enhanced ecommerce security are worth it.

In addition to the official support, relevant security patches, and plenty of features, Magento 2 provides a whole bunch of business benefits, including

  • Multi-store set up
  • Multi-source inventory management
  • Integrated Amazon sales and Google advertising channels
  • A range of SEO tools
  • Newsletters for fast and convenient communication with customers
  • Native B2B and B2C capabilities.

Overall, Magento 2 has everything required for efficient management of complex inventories, building a convenient customer journey, and increasing the number of sales.

We’ve experienced the advantages of Magento 2 ourselves when working with Swebike. As a result of our cooperation, our client-partners.

  • increased the number of completed orders during peak times
  • enhanced customer satisfaction
  • boosted customer retention rates.


Despite the similarities between software for retail companies, each online store can be unique in how it approaches its functionality, constructs a customer journey, or manages inventory. Therefore, each migration case has its unique flavor and requires a different approach to achieve the most efficient result in the most efficient way. Thus, a considerate and meticulous Magento migration process is a must for safe data transfer.

Software development for retail is our bread and butter while Magento is our primary e-commerce platform. Our developers know their way around Magento down to the tiniest nuances of the migration process. If you need help with e-commerce development or migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2, we are well-equipped to help you.

Feel free to contact us.