Magento is dead Magento 2 vs Magento 1

Is Magento Dead? The Pros & Cons of Magento 2

by Jenna Compton
February 24, 2016

Everyone’s been on the edge of their seat awaiting the launch of Magento 2. Now it’s here, and a few early adopters have already made the switch from version 1 to 2.

The company has been planning to release a new version of their platform for a while now, and have even developing the platform transparently – letting the community know when they’ve reached certain benchmarks every step of the way.

Now that several merchants have made the switch and the development community has had a chance to play around with the new solution, retailers wants to know:

Is Magento dead?

ecommerce platform market share Magento is dead

[image source]

There are a couple of reasons this question has surfaced:

  1. Other platforms are rising in popularity and gaining more of the market share (think Shopify).
  2. The release of Magento 2 has been a bit slow in measuring up to the community and merchant’s expectations.

This article will look at the pros and cons of Magento 2 so that you can decide if the improvements found in version 2 outweigh the cons.

Magento 2 Features Pros & Cons


The Backend Admin is Designed for Non-Technical Users

Ever wanted to bulk-edit your products without calling in the forces of your entire dev team?

This task was a bit more complex on Magento 1. One of the main issues with Magento 1 was that the admin interface was quite difficult for non-tech users to operate. The UX of the admin interface was not optimized for merchants who may not have the in-house resource of an internal development team, thus making it very difficult to use if you’re not a techie.

Magento 2 has a highly-improved admin interface, allowing non-technical users to accomplish more without having to rely on their developers. Improvements to the admin interface include:

  • An overall new look and feel, with optimization for a wide array of screen sizes (merchants who use iPads or tablets to work will find this upgrade valuable) (source)
  • Admin menus have been highly improved
  • Product creation is much easier

Magento 2 improved admin interface

[image source]

With platforms like Shopify Plus on the rise, the necessity of a friendly UX for non-technical users is a very important element for any ecommerce platform solution. Magento has a very large and active development community, however the company has chosen to embody the idea of making Magento a “business tool for business users” with version 2. By recognizing that all business users aren’t developers and orienting their solution toward that user type, Magento 2 has become easier to use.

It’s Faster

Outside of your hosting solution, Magento 1 has been notoriously slow in comparison to load times of other ecommerce platforms. One of the reasons for this is how the caching is set up. “Caching” is a temporary storage of data that aims to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and lag.

If you or your dev team have been working in your Magento 1 platform and found that it takes an extremely long time to load or save changes, and if your actual customer-facing pages are taking a long time to load, chances are you’ve got a Magento cache problem.

Varnish Nexcess Turpentine Magento 2 cache

Optimizing caching in Magento 1 is generally done through extensions which aren’t built to work directly with Magento directly. Popular extensions for Magento 1 are Varnish and Nexcess Turpentine (a module to help you implement Varnish on your system). Without the help of these extensions, stores would be an absolute wreck in terms of scaling and maintaining optimal load times. Read a more detailed developer overview here.

The announcement, then, that Magento 2 has a built-in Full Page Cache component and built-in support for Varnish caching is quite exciting for developers. This means that from Day 1, your Magento solution (if on version 2) supports caching internally and through the Varnish extension. (source)

Caching internally reduces the amount of queries made to the database and instead relies on an internal file system. Your page load time can reduce to 1-2 seconds from a page which normally takes more than 5 seconds. (source) This is a very important improvement.

In a nutshell improving cache means your pages will load much quicker, allowing your content to be delivered quicker to your customer and also to your backend environment. Quicker load time means a better UX: optimization of cache in Magento 2 can help improve your overall customer user experience, meaning a higher conversion rate.

Learn more about Varnish support here on Magento Connect.

It Integrates with Popular Payment Gateways


Another plus of Magento 2 is its tight integrations with popular payment gateways that weren’t previously supported from Day 1. The newly-supported integrations include:

  • PayPal
  • Braintree
  • WorldPay (Enterprise Edition)
  • CyberSource (Enterprise Edition)

Easier integration with more popular platforms ensures that your store can easily implement a variety of payment options for your customers which can lead to a better overall checkout UX. It also means that your development time will be increasingly reduced because these platforms are already supported.

Related: The Best Payment Gateway Comparison Guide for a High-Converting Checkout


Magento 1 Themes Can’t Be Ported

Taking everything you already have on your Magento 1 platform and moving it to Magento 2 isn’t totally possible. The data migration tools are still in development. The more the early adopters use the solutions, the better they’ll be developed, but it’s still a bit early.

So, porting your store’s data is doable. But, taking your customization with you isn’t.

Magento 1 themes cannot be transferred to Magento 2 and have to be built from scratch. Additionally, since Magento 2 is so new there hasn’t been enough time yet for the community to rally and provide many available themes.

Magento 2 migration tools options

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“If you own a Magento 1 shop that works perfectly well, you have at least 6 months when you shouldn’t attempt to transfer your shop to Magento 2. “ – Andrei Vashkevich, CTO Amastay

By waiting a bit for the community and resources to develop, merchants will have more options further down the road for a variety of themes. Additionally, Magento 2 launches with a Blank Theme by default making it highly customizable from the beginning. Instead of spending your development time reducing and eliminating unnecessary elements, your ecommerce development agency can proactively begin customization from Day 1 of your Magento 2 setup.

Not All Extensions Are Available Yet for Magento 2

Any extensions you currently have integrated with your Magento 1 platform cannot be ported into Magento 2. (source) The downside here is that you will have extra cost regardless: you may have to repurchase your extension(s) and you will also have to put resources into integrating them anew on your Magento 2 platform.

This con, in particular, is one that creates a hesitancy in many merchants considering upgrading to Magento 2. It will take time for the development community to dig into Magento 2 and build extensions compatible with the new release. Also, these extensions will need to be verified by the Magento community before making them publicly available.

However, there are many verified extensions already available. You can view a list of those here as well as a list of extensions “coming soon”.

Related: Need More Time In Your Day to Focus? Your E-Commerce Platform Can Help You

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition Cost Rises

Magento Community Edition (CE) has been and will continue to be free. But should you choose to purchase the Enterprise Edition (EE), you’ll face quite a steep price tag. Of course, making this choice has its benefits in that the EE provides features like:

  • Enhanced site management
  • Enhanced catalog management
  • Dynamic marketing & management features
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Dedicated 24/7 support
  • See the full feature list here.

Committing to an enterprise edition has its benefits, but is the cost worth it? In 2015, the cost of Magento EE was somewhere around $18,000 per year (source). Now, several sources cite that the Magento 2 EE comes with a $22,000 per year fee just for the license. (source)

In addition to having to dedicate your budget toward rebuilding your Magento 1 site from scratch on Magento 2, you’ll also be spending more money on the license alone. It seems that the upgrade from version 1 can add up fairly quickly.

Related: Spree vs Solidus: The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Platforms

Should You Make the Switch?

Magento 2 capabilities

[image source]

Making the decision to upgrade your ecommerce website from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is one that requires careful consideration. It’s probably best to consult with an ecommerce development agency – even if you have an internal team – so that you can weigh the pros and cons of moving to Magento 2 now versus waiting until the solution becomes more stable.

Additionally, an outside perspective can help you evaluate if Magento is still the best platform solution for you. If you’re coming to a point where your company is ready to dedicate resources and budget to platform optimization, you should absolutely consider what other platform solutions are available as there may be a more efficient solution fitted for your store’s needs.

With the Magento 2 release, just like any other software release, it’s going to take some time to work the bugs out. The early adopters will be the guinea pigs, and the development will continue. The only thing that remains to be seen is if Magento 2 will work out the kinks fast enough to outpace the the fast-growing competition of Shopify / Shopify Plus.

What are your predictions for the future of Magento? Have you migrated? Are you hesitant to do so? Tell us why in the comments below:

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Jenna Compton Jenna is our Director of Marketing and provides regular contributions to the blog. When she's not reading about business, she can be found running, drinking good coffee, and fiddling with projects.
  • Magnus von Brömsen

    Thanks Jenna for the write up about Magento 2.
    I’m a front-end developer and one of my clients have two Magento stores. The oldest one is still on v 1.7 (because upgrading is such a mess). Both with several third party modules.

    I see two pain point switching to another platform: A lot of time and money spent already and migrations of customer data. And, as a developer living outside the US, I believe that a solution like Shopify is very US centric (but maybe I’m wrong on that).

    • Jenna Compton

      Hi @magnusvonbrmsen:disqus,

      Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Interesting that your client is still on 1.7. I’ve heard that version, in particular, has terrible issues with tax (and the support of a price with more than 2 decimal places). Maybe that is also a US-centric issue. Have you experienced that?

      Agreed on Shopify being more US-centric as for now. However, I have no doubt that things will begin developing in enabling more countries to be served. Stripes new release of Atlas could be a good start…

      Also, since you are a front-end dev, you may enjoy this article from our team member Sadi!—

      • Magnus von Brömsen

        As far as I know, there is no issue with the tax – but in Sweden the taxes are an even 25% (yeah, that high!). Upgrading Magento are in the pipeline…

        I will keep an eye on Shopify (and Stripes/Atlas). Thank you for the link – and many thanks you for an interesting blog at Blue Stout.

        • Jenna Compton

          Thanks @magnusvonbrmsen:disqus glad to have you aboard!

  • Anna Victoria

    Thanks to share amazing Blog.

  • Hi Jenna, thanks for extremely inspirating article! Definitely – it requires careful consideration to make the decision about the migration. There’s an article of CTO of our company that raises this topic as well, I believe it’s worth sharing here

  • Due to advancement in Magento there is one big issue in Magento platform that is its cost rises according to the new version coming in the market

  • Hi, my name is Vlad and I’m Magento developer.
    I have couple remarks about your article. Just my opinion:)

    –The Backend Admin is Designed for Non-Technical Users
    “One of the main issues with Magento 1 was that the admin interface was quite difficult for non-tech users to operate. The UX of the admin interface was not optimized for merchants who may not have the in-house resource of an internal development team, thus making it very difficult to use if you’re not a techie.”

    M1 admin interface was “normal” for none technic users. I’m telling “normal” because it has some contentious issues related to usability, but it was userfriendly enough to let every near internet related person to manage store.
    About M2 admin interface. Guys – it is totally the same as M1, only theme has been changed! Yes, this theme is responsive, you can easily manage store from iPad, and that is all!
    I do not understand why you are saying that M2 has much more improvements in admin area for non-technic user.

    “Product creation is much easier” – Yes, sometimes you think that it is much easier because of new theme, but really – it does not. Time to create simple product in M1 for me is ~1 minute, in M2 it is – ~1 minute too 🙂

    –It’s Faster
    Yes, M2 faster that M1. But only if you will use varnish, redis, memchache and solr for search(now M2 uses elasticsearch) you will find out the difference between M1 and M2, a little. To configure any of these technologies you need at least one middle developer. Without these features it has almost the same speed as M1. Moreover M1 also supports varnish, redis, memcache, and M1 EE supports solr.
    If you will configure fullpackage M1 and fullpackage M2 you will get almost the same page load time result for end point user. So end point user won’t figure out what version of Magento is using.

    “Optimizing caching in Magento 1 is generally done through extensions which aren’t built to work directly with Magento directly. … Without the help of these extensions, stores would be an absolute wreck in terms of scaling and maintaining optimal load times. ” – And again I’m not agree with you 🙂 Optimizing caching in Magento 1 is generally done by redis and memcache technologies which is build in M1. Moreover it is not so hard to install opensource module for varnish integration – “Turpentine”.

    “The announcement, then, that Magento 2 has a built-in Full Page Cache component and built-in support for Varnish caching is quite exciting for developers” – And again it already was in M1. FPC only in EE, about Varnish I’ve already said before.

    –It Integrates with Popular Payment Gateways
    Everybody know that M1 has much more integrations with payment systems, only because it is much older than M2. In future M2 will have the same count of payment methods integration as M2, but only in future 🙂

    I’m not saying that M2 is a “bad” platform, but I’m trying to say that everybody has waiting something amazing from such a great ecommerce platform as Magento2 and didn’t get it. It does not have “killing” features versus M1, only one thing that is much better in M2 – it is marketing of this product.

    Also a few words from developer side: M2 is very interesting platform because it has a great scoupe of new technologies like:
    * backend automatic DI (using object manager, as a result plugins and preferences)
    * knokout
    * requireJS
    * composer
    * Grunt
    It is exciting to learn something new, but it is also time consuming. So from the customer perspective it is not very good.
    As a customer I would like to get cheap shop with max quality, and it is not about M2 🙂 Only if you will google for a couple listed above new technologies you will find out that this is powerful tools, but they are also need at least two days for each to learn the basic. Also it will take at least 2 weeks to “tie” all these technologies in one architecture object inside Magento2.

    So summary (on my opinion):
    * M2 not live up to expectations
    * M2 does not have “killer” features
    * expenses on development overlaps all benefits of M2
    * If you are customer, just use M1 – because it already has a lot of experienced developers and wide used solutions

  • We all expected M2 to be x2 faster and easier and bring a lot of new features.
    What we got is: same features, same speed and even more complexity.

    As though M2 was developed by Microsoft: same speed, same bugs but much more hdd/cpu usage 🙂

    Anyway, I agree with you: we all should use M2. Unfortunately.
    Not because it’s good but only because it’s new.

  • Hi, i am also a Magento Developer.
    Thank you so much for the information, i was dramatically confused about the stability of Magento 2, and you cleared my mind.

    I think it will take more than 2 years for the community to build properly. Currently i will stick to magento 1.