The news that Magento is to discontinue support for Magento 1 merchants has undoubtedly caught the attention of many. To others, it will need to be thought about seriously, and soon. Though migration of such scale will be daunting to some, we genuinely believe that it's a necessity and would like to remind everyone that it's not as bad as it seems.
The fact is that by sticking with Magento 1, the day will come when your website is no longer supported, or more worryingly, no longer secure. So let's assume that you won't be doing that.
Magento is offering a Data Migration Tool that will be applicable after installation. Of course, this will need to be configured, at server-level, but that was expected. Design and themes may need tweaking, too. Magento's Code Migration Tool will ensure compatibility; giving us all less to worry about while making any potential adjustments there. The Data Migration Tool will transfer customers, catalogues, orders, shipments, and core configuration, and media files can simply be copied.
It is a pain, and we get it. But we will be thankful for it. Some changes will have to be server-level changes, and new solutions might be needed for redundant extensions. All in all, though, the change is absolutely a positive one. After all, Magento is not doing this to offer us less. We do, however, urge caution and the use of extensive testing and backups. We also recommend using experience and talent (in code, servers, and databases) to steer well clear of any pitfalls. Though unlikely, they are potentially significant, transferring data of any sort carries danger, so we need to wear both belts and braces while we do it.
Magento is offering extra time to make the transition, and give everybody confidence to do so at the optimum time (which is more or less now, if it hasn't been started already). Until the end of June 2020, support such as software patched and quality fixes will be provided for Magento Commerce 1 (formerly known as Enterprise Edition) users. For Open Source 1 (formerly known as Community Edition), security patches will be supplied, which will make sure that sites remain secure and compliant.
Magento themselves have said "While we're committed to supporting the success of all merchants, the time to upgrade to Magento Commerce 2 is now. Magento Commerce 2 delivers superior cloud-hosted performance at scale, freedom from IT bottlenecks with creating, scheduling, and launching compelling content, and true business intelligence capabilities."
But June 2020 doesn't leave us very long, and we should look at alternatives, too, if the risk of trying to do things too quickly is so significant. Magento admits its documentation is explicitly written for developers, and so it can be confusing if you don't have experience writing code and managing servers. An alternative like WooCommerce is specifically built for small business owners. We recommend hiring the best developer you can to build you the best store possible, but with something like WooCommerce you have the flexibility to really build something custom. Woo is only flexible, but open-source eCommerce platform, built on WordPress. WordPress is one of the main PHP built CMS and powers a large 36% of the whole Internet. it's a safe, modern and up-to-date / trusted platform that backs some very big companies around the world such as BBC America, Bloomberg Professional, Sony Music, Microsoft News, TechCrunch, The Walt Disney Company, Facebook Newsroom and so on.
What is most important is that upgrades must be planned as soon as possible. If there are any doubts or fears about doing so, reach out to someone who can help. Be that your Customer Success Manager at Magento or WooCommerce or expert coders, designers, database builders, and customer carers like us.
We are here to help.