Ecommerce Technology

Magento End of Life: Your Survival Guide for a Last-Minute Replatform (6 Month Countdown)

Susan Meyer / 6 min read

Magento End of Life: Your Survival Guide for a Last-Minute Replatform (6 Month Countdown)

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Magento first announced they would no longer be supporting updates to their Magento 1 software way back in September 2018. The date they set for the End of Life (EOL) was June 30, 2020. EOL doesn’t mean your store will disappear from the internet or that you will no longer be able to conduct business; however, the results may be equally damaging.

When you first heard the news of the Magento 1 EOL, June 2020 might have felt far off. But it’s not far off anymore.

We have officially entered the six-month countdown for the Magento 1 EOL.

If you plan to continue transacting and growing your business, the time to leave Magento 1 is now. We don’t want to incite panic, but the bottom line is you’re quickly running out of time. At this point, the EOL of Magento 1 is only six months away. If you want to get your site up before then, you need to choose a new option and get rolling TODAY.

Whether you move to Magento 2 or switch to a new ecommerce platform provider, you will be undergoing a full replatform — including data migration and new themes and templates. As you probably know (and it may be one of the reasons for procrastination): this is a time-consuming process.

You may be wondering: where do I start? Let’s deep-dive into why you need to switch, what life will look like on Magento 1 in June if you don’t, and the process you need to go through to make it happen.

Why Does the Magento 1 End of Life Matter?

If you haven’t yet switched from Magento 1, there are some big reasons why you need to.

Back when Magento 2 was first announced, it may have sounded pretty great. Magento 2 seemed to make a number of clear improvements. Magento 2 offers better site performance (with some exceptions). It’s also more mobile-friendly than Magento 1 and provides a better checkout experience.

However, as the reality of switching from Magento 1 to Magento 2 came into focus, it was clear that this wouldn’t be a simple upgrade. To move from one to the other, you will have to do most of the same steps as a full replatform. You can get the full details here, but suffice it to say, your themes won’t transfer, your M1 extensions won’t work on M2 (because the two have different architectures), and some of your data will have to be migrated manually.

That said, refusing to switch — while it may have been working so far — just isn’t going to fly after June 30, 2020. Here’s why:

1. Your store will be at risk.

While you will still be able to sell your goods through your Magento 1 site, after June 2020 your site will no longer be supported by security updates. You won’t be receiving security patches because Magento won’t be producing any for Magento 1.

That leaves you, your site, and your customer’s data vulnerable to hackers — which could lead to hefty fines, a loss of reputation, and a potential setback from which your business may not recover.

2. Your payment provider may drop you.

Your payment provider is obviously a fundamental part of your ability to run your business and make sales. Adyen, a major payment provider, has already gone on record saying they will not be supporting merchants on Magento 1 after the end of life. Other payment providers are likely to follow.

Why? Your site will no longer be PCI compliant, and if there’s one thing payment providers don’t like, it’s risking supporting an insecure site. As Adyen explains: “Using Magento 1 after June 30, 2020, makes you unable to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), which can result in non-compliance fines.”

As Adyen outlines, being PCI compliance doesn’t just cause you to potentially lose your payment provider, but it also opens you up to significant fines, not to mention the potential loss to your business’s reputation.

3. You will lack mission-critical extensions.

With Magento 1 no longer updating, many of the extensions to third-party systems that you currently rely on will soon become obsolete and non-functional. You may discover that the connections you rely on do business suddenly just don’t work.

4. Routine updates will take longer.

Magento 1 no longer being supported means it will be harder to find developer support to achieve routine updates. When you do find a developer who will still work on M1, your updates will likely be significantly more costly and time consuming. After all, it’s a much bigger ask for a developer to have to create a security patch as opposed to just implementing one provided by Magento. Things that used to be simple may soon be impossible.

Life on Magento 1 After June 2020

Here’s a thought experiment for you. Let’s imagine what life will be like for your store in the days and weeks after the Magento EOL.

The first day you wake up, nothing seems too different. Your site still functions. Because the scripting language PHP that Magento 1 runs on has long since stopped being supported (PHP 5.6 hasn’t been supported since the end of 2018 and PHP 7.2 continues to receive security support through 2020, but is no longer actively supported), you are having to use a patch to get it to sync with a more recent version, but you’re used to that inconvenience.

You sip a cup of coffee and think, “What was all the fuss about?”

A week later your payment provider tells you that because you’re no longer PCI compliant, they will no longer be covering you. You scramble to find another way to accept payments.

The loss of your payment provider isn’t the only consequence of your no longer being compliant. Sites that are not PCI compliant incur fines for the loss of customer records. These fines (and those payment gateway fees mentioned above) will continue until PCI compliance is reestablished.

A few weeks later, your site gets hit by a breach in which customer data is stolen. Previously Magento had been actively searching for vulnerabilities and creating patches for them. Without those patches, your site was a sitting duck. The hackers had been looking for vulnerable sites still on Magento 1 as soon as the EOL happened.

You inform your customers about the loss of data, and they’re understandably concerned about your ability to safeguard them going forward. Even after you’re able to get your site secured — without any help from Magento — some customers have lost trust in your brand and have moved on to competitors.

A week later, after the dust clears, your marketing manager suggests trying something new with your site. It’s a fun update that will hopefully bring back some old customers and draw in new ones. It shouldn’t be a big lift for a developer.

You call up the agency you used to use. However, they’re no longer working on Magento 1 sites. Your updates will have to wait.

You’re beginning to think you need to jump ship and are researching options. While you’re getting the ball rolling, it will still be many months until you can make the switch.

You soon get a frantic call from your IT team. The PIM system you use is no longer syncing data with your site. Their recent update no longer works with Magento 1.

Suddenly, you can’t make updates to your product listings. You live in fear of the next hack. Those PCI compliance fees are piling up. Your coffee is cold. You’re wishing you could go back in time to early 2020 when there was still time to make the switch.

How Do I Make the Switch?

Breathe a sigh of relief. Now that you’ve glimpsed a potential future for your Magento 1 store, you can rest assured that it’s still early enough to move your website to safety.

Admittedly, the prospect of replatforming is itself a daunting task. However, it can help to break it down into manageable steps.

1. Assess your current systems.

Even if you’re completely happy with your Magento 1 store and only switching out of necessity, switching platforms is still a good opportunity to audit your systems.

Talk to your teams and learn what’s working and what’s not. This will help you get a sense of what your new platform has to have and what it can improve on from Magento 1.

2. Choose your new platform.

As you start to choose your new platform, the first thing you need to do is know your priorities. You’re not officially in a time crunch. Of course, you want to find a good long-term fit, but you also need to find a platform that is capable of getting up and running quickly.

Of course, there is no shortage of options for your next platform that make great alternatives to Magento. These include well-known SaaS platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. There are also other open-source options like OpenCart or plugins like WooCommerce that is an add-on for WordPress sites.

Also, depending on when you’re reading this, you may need to make sure you have a solid backup plan in place. If you had to launch in a week, what might that look like? Here’s one customer story who was able to launch a new site just 24 hours after their Magento site collapsed.

We recommend narrowing your search to a few top contenders and then sending out an RFP with all of your needs clearly defined and prioritized. We’ve created an RFP template to help you with this piece of the puzzle.

3. Site build and migration.

Hopefully, your new platform can provide resources to help with this part of the process. Given the short time frame, that may be something you want to consider during the RFP process. If not, you may want to get help from an outside agency that can help you create your site on an abbreviated timeline. You will need to create your site design, configure all of your integrations, and migrate your data cleanly from Magento. You also need to make sure to back up everything from your data and images to your CSV files. And of course, make sure to leave time to test everything.

Obviously, there is a lot more involved than that. If you need a more detailed roadmap to the replatforming process, we’ve created a workbook that can help walk you through every step.

Conclusion

With a well-thought out plan, the sunsetting of Magento 1 doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can spur your organization to a digital transformation that will have a positive impact on your long-term growth.

That said, a less-than-well-thought-out plan opens you up to risk and potentially moving to a platform that isn’t a good fit. You want to do your due diligence and choose the right platform, so you won’t be replatforming again in short order. You also will want to take enough time in the replatforming process to allow for necessary testing. After all, you don’t want to lose important data in a rushed migration.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your replatform won’t be either. Unfortunately, time is the one thing you’re running out of. June 2020 is just around the corner. If you’re on Magento 1 and you don’t yet have a plan in place for moving to your next platform, today is the day to start.

Plan Your Exit Strategy

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    Susan Meyer

    Susan Meyer

    Enterprise Content Marketing Manager

    Susan Meyer is the Enterprise Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where she researches, analyzes and educates brands making more than $10M in annual online sales on tech stack scalability, flexibility and overall growth strategies that alleviate growing CAC. She lives and works in Austin, Texas and her decade of writing experience spans everything from young adult nonfiction to technical documentation.

    View all posts by Susan Meyer

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