upgrade options from magento 1

Is your online store still running on Magento 1? If so, it’s time to move to a new platform as quickly as you can make it happen. 

Why? Magento 1’s official end of life was June 30, after several years of Adobe winding it down and encouraging people to move to Magento 2. 

“End of life” sounds ominous, like something that could cause your site to stop working. And it will—slowly, as code breaks and old extensions fail, or suddenly if hackers exploit an unpatched vulnerability to take over your site (yikes). 

But change is hard, and there are still more than 100,000 web stores on this now-zombified platform, which puts owners and customers at risk of data breaches and card fraud.

Here’s what you need to know about the risks of sticking with Magento 1 and your options for moving your store.

End of life = lots of risk

Even if your Magento 1 online store is still working fine right now, there are four big reasons to replatform it. 

  1. No more Magento 1 support. Adobe issued one last security patch for Magento 1 (which you should install now), and that’s it. The company is taking down its official Magento 1 documentation and no longer handles support tickets for Magento 1.
  2. No more Magento 1 extensions in the Magento Marketplace, or in the repository as of Aug. 6. Bad news if you need to add functionality to your Magento 1 store.

The lack of support and extensions is reason enough to move to a new platform. But the next two issues are urgent, because the security and liability risks to stores on Magento 1 are much higher now.

  1. Magento 1 stores are now out of compliance with PCI-DSS, the global security standard for taking card payments. Unless you’ve invested in third-party tools and new protocols to comply with PCI requirements, you could be liable for fines and investigation costs if there’s a breach. Worst case scenario? Your store could be blocked from accepting card payments.
  2. Magento 1 stores face a huge risk of customer data theft and other cyberattacks. Criminals have been targeting Magento 1-powered sites with formjacking (card-skimming) attacks that steal data as customers enter it. With no more security patches for Magento 1, those stores will be more vulnerable as time goes on and hackers find new ways to break in.

Can I just upgrade to Magento 2?

You can move to Magento 2, but it’s not as simple as a typical upgrade, because Magento 2 is a totally different system. That means that one way or another, you’re going to have to export your store data to a new platform. 

Replatforming is work, but it’s also an opportunity to pick a platform that offers the best combination of features, ease of use and pricing for your business. Here are three options to consider.

Popular eCommerce platform options

1. Magento 2

Small retailers as well as large brands like Albertson’s and Marc Fisher use Magento as their eCommerce platform. Magento 2 is the newest version, available as a free Community Edition and as a more feature-rich (and pricey) Enterprise Edition. 

magento ecommerce website

Magento 1.x users can use Magento’s Migration Guide, which walks you through the steps and resources you’ll need to follow to move your data, extensions and custom code, themes and other customizations to Magento 2. It’s straightforward information, but the process involves lots of steps.

On the fence about whether you can/should handle this yourself? Check out the guide to creating a 7-step migration plan. If that looks like something you can do in-house, you’re all set.

If not, consider hiring a developer, using a tool like LitExtension to automate the migration, or working with Magento for migration support

Cost: Magento 2 Community Edition is free. HostGator Magento hosting business plans start at $6/month for the first year. Third-party Magento 2 extension prices vary, with many in the $100-$300 range. LitExtension all-in-one migration services start at $149.

Better for: 

  • Businesses with large or complex stores that want Magento 2 features
  • Businesses with the resources to shore up PCI-DSS and other security requirements while they make and implement a Magento 2 migration plan
  • Businesses with the developer resources to manage the migration
  • Store owners with coding expertise and the time to manage the migration

2. WooCommerce WordPress

WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform that runs on WordPress. HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting plans make it easy to keep your site secure and up to date so you can focus on running your shop.

woocommerce website

You can migrate from Magento 1 to WooCommerce a couple of ways. 

  • The DIY method: To move to WooCommerce, you’ll need a WordPress site with the WooCommerce plugin, a theme and your data, imported from Magento as a .CSV file. Follow the detailed migration steps at the WooCommerce blog to move your store. You may also need to point your domain to your new WordPress host. HostGator’s support team can help you if you need a hand.
  • The outsourced method: WooCommerce recommends using Cart2Cart to migrate your store data if you don’t want to handle it yourself. Cart2Cart services start at $29, with lots of a la carte add-ons to tailor the migration to suit your needs. Bonus: Cart2Cart handles everything while your Magento store stays up and running, so you’re not offline while you’re making the switch.

Cost: WooCommerce is free. Most WooCommerce extensions cost less than $100 each. WordPress hosting starts at $6/month for the first year. Cart2Cart migration starts at $29. 

Better for: 

  • Store owners who are comfortable working with WordPress
  • Owners who want a huge menu of themes, extensions and integrations
  • Owners who want to spend less on extensions

3. eCommerce Website Builder 

HostGator’s website builder lets you create a secure eCommerce store with drag-and-drop tools. It works with payment processors including Stripe and PayPal, and Shippo shipping management.

hostgator ecommerce website builder example

To migrate your store from Magento 1, you’ll need HostGator’s website builder’s eCommerce plan and your current product catalog data in .CSV, Excel or Google Sheets format. Once your data’s imported, you can format your pages.

You’ll see an option to connect your existing domain to Gator. If your domain is registered with a service other than HostGator, you’ll also need to point your domain to your Gator hosting plan.

Cost: Gator’s eCommerce plan is less than $10/month for the first year. 

Better for: 

  • Budget-conscious store owners
  • Store owners who don’t want to code or hire someone to code
  • Owners who want to replatform a small store fast

Ready to get started? Get the HostGator eCommerce Website Builder. This post will walk you through setting up your online store, and you can always contact HostGator’s support team for help.

Before you move your Magento 1 store

Whatever new platform you choose, you’ll want to back up your existing site before you migrate, learn how and when to point your domain to your new site, and find out how much downtime—if any—you can expect while you’re moving your site.

By planning ahead, you can make the transition to a safer website easier for you, your employees and your customers.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention

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