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May 23, 2019 | 8 minute read

Migrating to Magento 2: things to consider first

written by Suau


If you’re reading this, no doubt you’re aware of the news that Magento is discontinuing its Magento 1 platform. All of those who are still on Magento 1 will eventually need to make the difficult choice of whether to migrate to Magento 2 or a completely new platform. There are probably lots of questions going through your head right now. ‘How do I choose what solution is right for me?' ‘Is migrating to Magento 2 the easiest option?’ ‘What other platforms will help my business grow?’

And what’s more, as well as other Magento-like, monolithic eCommerce platforms to pick from, there’s a new type of solution in town - the lightweight, headless one.

You’ve probably seen many articles on migrating from Magento 1 to 2 or another similar platform in your quest to work out what is the best solution to your problem but we’re here to compare the differences between what’s required to migrate to Magento 2 vs migrating to a lightweight, headless solution, like Elastic Path.

You can also check out our Magento comparison page which dives into the main differences between Magento and a headless solution outside of just the migration.


Magento 1 to Magento 2

Magento 1 to Elastic Path

Average implementation time

3-7 months

Under 35 days

Certified developer required



Full backup of data required



Dedicated migration tool



*always customized to the business model prior to migration

Hosting maintenance



Migration of catalog and its structure



Migration of orders and customer details



Migration of languages and currencies


*need to buy and configure a Magento 2 extension


Migration of custom logic



Migration of third party services, like taxes, reporting, CMS, shipping, etc.


*if supported by Magento


Migration process

From Magento 1 to 2

Magento is a very rigid platform. If you’re migrating from Magento 1 to 2 you need to remember that you are migrating from one rigid solution to another. This is typically time-consuming, and you’ll need to block at least 3-7 months depending on how complicated your own system is. And it can be very complicated. As we’ve already mentioned, Magento is a big platform, but it includes some nice out-of-the-box features you’d need to otherwise take care of yourself like tiered prices, ability to handle taxes and ability to handle shipping with providers like USPS, UPS and DHL. All these features are pre-built and available to you straight away. At the same time, all these features add dependencies that you’ll need to carefully migrate over without breaking the entire system.

Good news is that you can hire a Magento-certified developer who’ll look into your system and will be able to tell you the exact timeframe. Bad news is, that if you want to change platforms before the holiday season begins, you should have started the migration in April.

From Magento 1 to Elastic Path

Migrating your Magento 1 data to Elastic Path is less time-consuming, because you’re migrating to a headless commerce solution that’s not governed by strict data bindings. There are no system dependencies and each resource is independently consumable. As such, you don’t have to worry about breaking anything.  Additionally, as Elastic Path is an API-based solution, and therefore not being dependant on any programming language, there’s no need to look for a certified and highly-qualified developer to help you out with the migration. Unlike a Magento-to-Magento migration, you don’t need to make a full backup of your data, because migrating to a headless solution is more flexible and doesn’t interfere with the existing data, so there’s no danger of losing or compromising your data.

All these great features that Magento has built into their platform are also available to you in the form of microservices and third party integrations that you can just plug into your system, customized as needed. A great plus side of integrations is that you can deploy them in isolation and you can do it any time without having to take your entire store offline.

Hosting and maintenance

With Magento, you are responsible for finding a hosting platform, and then making sure it’s kept up to date and secure. If you already have a hosting provider, review the parameters carefully, as the Magento 2 platform is not really an upgrade from Magento 1, but rather a rewrite, and you’ll find that technical requirements for Magento 2 are quite different. If you follow Magento-prescribed migration steps, you’ll be advised to review your hosting as part of the migration steps, and they are open to suggest providers most suitable for your needs.

With Elastic Path, or any other SaaS-served headless solution, the backend data is hosted by the API provider. This takes away the hassle of maintenance while, at the same time, you still have full control of how your data is delivered as Elastic Path holds no restrictions on where or how you consume the APIs. You just get peace of mind knowing that it’s stored on a platform that is secure and up to date for no additional cost other than the cost of the headless solution itself.

One of the other main benefits of headless is the ability to plug in other data sources, which we’ll cover more about in the integrations section. A headless solution like Elastic Path allows for easier continuous deployment/integration process with Serverless platforms, like AWS Lambda, Serverless Framework, Zeit Now, Google Cloud Functions, Azure, etc. These platforms are all there to support extending Elastic Path as your business grows and integrating with other services that you may need.

And the good news is, with a solution like Elastic Path, you still have time to migrate before the holiday season begins as you’re looking at a migration timescale of approximately one month.


What gets migrated over?

Migrating from Magento 1 to 2, albeit time-consuming, has its benefits. Essentially, you’ll be able to migrate your catalog, orders, and customers, and most of your Magento-specific data.

However, Elastic Path does have a unique capability of migrating your catalog over, preserving its structure (category tree, collections, etc.). Your customers and orders are migrated over as well, so that they can be linked together and tested. Everything else is treated as custom logic.

Speaking of custom logic, both Magento and Elastic Path move your custom data by assessing and adapting it to their specific standards. You need to be careful with Magento, since some of your Magento 1 extensions and custom data will be outdated and will need to be rewritten from scratch to comply with Magento 2 standards.

It may seem crazy, but it’s actually much easier to move custom data to a headless platform, than it is to move it from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Especially with Elastic Path, who has recognized the importance of flexible data schemas and created their Flows API that allows you to recreate any use case with its custom data that accepts any data type with no restrictions.


Migrating third-party integrations

You can migrate all your third-party integrations provided they’re supported by Magento. You can review the list of the providers in the Magento 2 migration guide.

Elastic Path, being a headless platform, allows you to integrate any third-party provider. This makes Elastic Path a perfect solution for all those who want to create a unique system consisting of best-of-breed tools integrated seamlessly into a system that orchestrates them to work in sync.

The migration process step by step

Let’s take a closer look at the migration process itself. Firstly, we’re going to break down the steps needed to migrate over to Magento 2, and then enumerate steps needed for Magento to Elastic Path migration.

Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration steps

Magento 1 to Elastic Path migration steps

  1. Make a full backup of all your Magento 1 data.
  2. Create a clone of Magento 1 store.
  3. Download and install Magento 2.
  4. Review your current Magento theme and choose a new Magento 2 template to adapt to your branding requirements.
  5. Review your Magento extensions and custom code to see which features are transferable.
  6. Review your 3rd party system integrations according to the list of currently supported Magento tools.
  7. Migrate your data (products, customers, orders). This step includes reviewing and installing Magento 1 extensions and a final migration before your site launch.
  8. Migrate your CMS to move all CMS pages and CMS blocks from Magento 1 to Magento 2. This step involves manual fixes to all custom layouts due to the differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 XML formats and a final migration before your site launch.
  9. Review your hosting provider. Magento 2 has different technical requirements, so you may need to change the providers to match the requirements.
  1. Create an account with Elastic Path and create a store.
  2. Migrate your catalog, customers and orders to Elastic Path via a dedicated migration tool customized to your business model prior to migration.
  3. Move existing third party integrations that you use for reporting, CMS, taxation, shipping, etc., and plug it in with Elastic Path
  4. Adapt custom business logic to Elastic Path standards.
  5. Plug the backend to the frontend.





As you can see, the Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration is more cumbersome than you would expect from a typical upgrade. Additionally, it can prove most costly when you take into account purchasing new extensions from the Magento App market and updating your hosting solution.

Migrating over to a headless solution will typically be shorter and will immediately solve a lot of your existing problems if you’re locked in a monolithic platform. Your commerce project will run smoother and quicker, you’ll be able to integrate any third party service, and add as many microservices as you need.



Hopefully this article has given you some guidance and insight into what it takes to migrate away from Magento 1.  You might still believe that the move to Magento 2 is the right one for you and that’s absolutely fine. However, if you’re ready to make the move to a more flexible, faster and modern architecture, contact us to arrange a chat with a Magento migration specialist today.



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