Magento 1.x to 2.x migration

Magento has produced a number of tools to help with some of the technical aspects of the migration project. Although these tools are useful, they lack the structure and framework to help plan and deliver the migration project successfully. That's where we can help.

The framework we use to plan the migration from Magento 1.x to 2.x is set out below. It's based on four key phases:

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1. Current state assessment

One of the keys to success is understanding the amount of work likely to be involved. Once this has been established, the planning process can begin. It's determined largely by the level of customisation of your site and data structures, which a detailed assessment of the following factors will give you:

  • Current Magento version number 
  • The extensions installed, whether they are vital, non desirable  or not required, together with their version number, license conditions and vendor details 
  • The theme used, whether custom developed or provided by a theme supplier, together with version number and vendor details 
  • The extent and nature of any modifications to these extensions or theme
  • How has custom development been managed and whether there are strong version control procedures in place
  • Whether modifications been completed according to Magento best practice
  • Whether any change has been made to core Magento files
  • The extent and nature of any integrations to third party systems (API and non API based)
  • Documentation and understanding of DevOps and hosting environment
  • Skill, ability and availability of development resources as it relates to migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2

If your current site is poorly managed from a development perspective, avoid replicating poor practices in the new environment.

2. Target state assessment

Migrating to Magento 2 provides a good opportunity to review website functionality and creative. It’s also a good time to assess whether you have access to the skills and capabilities to take your ecommerce business forward.

It may be useful to group the target state work streams into the following sections:

Extension, themes and custom code

Magento has reworked the Marketplace and introduced a notion of ‘quality’ to improve the extensions available. Whilst this is great news in terms of weeding out the lower quality extensions, it does mean that there are now fewer higher quality extensions available. If your extension or theme isn’t available in the Marketplace, you could try contacting the suppliers to see if they have a Magento 2 version available.

If you have modified an extension, then it's a process of evaluating whether it's advantageous to reapply the modifications or use a different Magento extension to meet the requirements.

The theme architecture in Magento 2 is very different to Magento 1, so there will likely be considerable front end development tasks required, and consideration should be given as to how best to approach theme migration, ie start from afresh or apply styling to a new Magento 2 base theme.

Magento has produced a Code Migration Toolkit to help port extensions and custom code and this may save considerable effort. As a guide, the better your system was initially developed and the simpler the functionality, the more likely this tool will be of use.


Data migration is a relatively simple process and Magento has provided a Magento 2 Data Migration Tool. Data types such as orders, products, customers, promotions, media etc should migrate easily. Heavily modified data table structures may present problems though, and extra attention should be paid to these areas.

By familiarising yourself with the Data Migration Tool to understand its relevant strengths and weaknesses as it relates to your data, you'll be able to fully understand the scope of work involved.

API and integrations

Magento 2 is at its core API centric so additional consideration is needed if your migration includes integrations with third party systems. This area of work can be considerable depending on the extent of integrations.

Magento 2's new architecture may well result in a different approach. From a planning perspective, it's worth separating out this activity into a distinct work stream.

Hosting and DevOps

Don’t forget to include DevOps and associated hosting work in the target state assessment. With Magento 2 Marketplace extension installation being Composer based, it is likely that there will be many changes to your DevOps processes and procedures.

Your hosting environment may also need to be reviewed, factoring in the recommended PHP version (7.x). And with the full page caching abilities of Magento 2 you may be pleasantly surprised with the improvement in site speed.

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3. Gap analysis

Having defined current and target states, it's a relatively simple process to define and plan the best approach to either migrate or rebuild functionality.

Since there's no point in replicating bad functionality or poor user experience, we believe that the gap analysis phase is an ideal time to consider additional development, creative and functional enhancements. 


A thorough and well executed planning phase makes the delivery phase more predictable.  

Whether you're planning to carry out this phase through your in house team or your existing or a new agency, upgrading to Magento 2 is important – especially if your current site is operating on PHP 5.6. The clock is ticking for PHP 5.6 end of life.


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