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magento & ecommerce

How to Smoothly Migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2

Magento has served us well. It has been one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there for years. With Magento 2 on the market for almost half a decade now, online retail businesses are moving to the transformed version of Magento. The support for Magento 1 will end soon, so it’s high time you moved to Magento 2.

Migrating from one eCommerce platform to another, however, is a notoriously problematic process. So much so that everyone will tell you not to do it. This time, though, you have to. Here’s how to make this process as smooth as possible.

Before You Start

Although following these guidelines will make the migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2 as smooth as possible, you should still expect a bumpy road ahead. To make sure that you avoid these bumps, you should take every precaution.

Firstly, make sure that you back up the entire Magento 1. That includes the database, all files, and all folders. Then, come up with a clone of your Magento 1 store. Using the live store for migration is possible but may complicate things.

Now is also the opportunity to analyze your store in-depth. There might be extensions and other components that you no longer need. Keep what you need when migrating to make the transition smoother.

Some Magento 1 themes and extensions aren’t compatible with Magento 2. Make sure that you do your research here. Additionally, some custom code that you may have used for Magento 1 may not work on Magento 2.

Magento Migration

There are four stages of Magento migration, according to their official documentation. Theme Migration, Extension Migration, Customizations, and Data Migration. Even if you’ve done everything to prepare for this migration properly, don’t expect miracles. Problems will likely occur, and you should be ready.

That said, if you do everything properly, you’re looking at a relatively smooth migration process. Smoother than migrating to a completely different eCommerce platform, of course.

Theme Migration

First of all, you should know that you won’t be able to migrate your current Magento 1 theme to Magento 2 directly. Magento 2 has introduced new technologies and methodologies that enhance the experience for users and merchants. You wouldn’t want to miss out on these new options anyway.

You’ll either have to create a new theme or modify the current one that you’re using to fit the Magento 2 standards. If you want to avoid this hassle, you can find a fitting theme in the Magento Marketplace or search for other reputable sources.

Extension Migration

As a Magento 1 user, you know how important extensions are. As components that extend your webstore’s functionalities and provide new features, extensions are an essential part of the Magento experience.

Unfortunately, Magento 1 extensions won’t work on Magento 2. You could try integrating the Magento 1 extensions, but you will likely experience serious compatibility issues and end up dropping the extension migration either way.

Yes, this likely isn’t what you wanted to hear, but you should only install the most relevant extensions that you need for your Magento 2 store and research the new ones. Magento developers, development agencies, and the Magento community are still working on Magento 1 ports for Magento 2.

You could create your custom extensions, but this would require a lot of expertise that you may not have.


Luckily, the custom codes that you used on Magento 1 are likely compatible with Magento 2. That’s quite a relief, as coming up with brand new custom codes for Magento 2 would take a lot of time and turn into quite a nightmare.

That said, don’t expect a completely smooth experience here. There are many structural differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2, and a successful code integration means you’ll have to get your hands dirty.

Magento does offer a Code Migration Toolkit that you should use to help you with the custom code migration process.

Data Migration

The final step in your Magento 1 – Magento 2 migration is migrating your settings and data. Luckily, Magento has come up with a Magento 2 Data Migration Tool to help you along with this process. This tool essentially helps the devs use CLI commands to move the store data.

We’re talking about critical data such as products, orders, categories, store configurations, and settings, etc. With this tool, the whole data migration process is hassle-free.

So, how does Magento 2 Data Migration Tool work? Essentially, it migrates all data from Magento 1’s database to the Magento 2 database using an XML file-defined set of rules. Right now, the Data Migration Tool transfers settings and data, while extensions, themes, and code customizations can’t be migrated automatically.

The goal for this Data Migration Tool is to ultimately provide a hassle-free, smooth Magento 1 – Magento 2 migration process. It will eventually become available, but, as of this writing, you’ll have to resort to the approaches outlined earlier.

Installing the Magento 2 Data Migration Tool

Magento 2 Data Migration Tool isn’t a Magento 2 extension. It is a shell, a standalone application that requires the Magento 2 store.

Before installing the Data Migration Tool, make sure that your Magento 2 store version matches that of the Data Migration Tool. To check your store’s version, go to the Magento 2 root directory and enter “php bin/magento –version

Now, update the Data Migration Tool package location in the composer.json file. Do this by running the following commands:

  1. composer config repositories.magento composer
  2. composer require magento/data-migration-tool:<version>

The <version> part refers to the Data Migration Tool’s version.

Now, enter the developer authentication keys, sign in, and the Data Migration Tool should install on your Magento 2 store. Now, configure the tool and migrate your settings and data.

Magento 1 to Magento 2

As you can see, the Magento 1 – Magento 2 process isn’t inherently smooth. The Data Migration Tool certainly helps a lot, but you still have to deal with finding the best way to migrate your themes and extensions. As far as your custom codes go, you shouldn’t experience too many problems and hitches.

Fortunately, the Magento community is working hard to improve the Data Migration Tool so that it makes the entire migration process smoother and simpler. Hopefully, this will happen soon and make the Magento 1 – Magento 2 integration seamless.

By interactivated • on February 29, 2020

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