Xumulus Blog

Why upgrade to Magento 2.2

Magento quickly became a must-have tool for online business owners after its initial release in 2008. The platform stands out from other options because of its affordability, open source technology, and online store customization features.

It has gone through several updates through the years, but a revamped version was recently launched. Magento 2.x maintains all of the popular features that made earlier versions successful while introducing new upgrades that will benefit online business owners.

What is different about this update?

Previous Magento updates fixed bugs and secured the platform through patches. If you used any of the Magento 1.x iterations over the years, you may have noticed some small changes along the way.

Magento 2.x is a significant leap forward from its predecessors with major new features and upgrades. Unlike previous updates, you will need to establish a timeline to switch to this new version since you can’t switch to Magento 2.x overnight.

Why switch to Magento 2.x?

Magento 2.x will soon be the new standard. New plugins and extensions might not be compatible with older versions of the software. Similarly, the third party plugins and extensions you currently use might not receive the fixes and patches they need to remain safe and effective.

Besides, Magento 2.x introduces new features that will create a better experience for your visitors, especially mobile users.

You will notice three main differences after switching to Magento 2.x:

  • Responsive themes.
  • Faster page loads.
  • Improved web APIs.

Responsive themes

A responsive website is one that automatically adapts to screen size. It improves the design and shopping experience for mobile or tablet users since it eliminates the need for horizontal scrolling and zooming in and out. In fact, 67 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase or use a service if a website is mobile friendly. And 60 percent of people won’t stay on a website if the design is not mobile friendly. If your website is not responsive, switching to Magento 2.x is the perfect opportunity to improve the experience for your clients.

Older versions of Magento allow you to employ third party extensions to integrate responsive themes into your online store. But with Magento 2.x, several responsive theme options come built in to the software.

Faster page loading times

Page loading times matter because 40 percent of internet users will give up if a website takes more than three seconds to load. Magento 2.x improves page loading times by using a different type of cache.

If your online store is operating on an older Magento platform, your client’s computer or phone stores a full version of the requested page. When your client visits the page again or views a different page with some common elements, the device pulls the page or the elements from its cache instead of sending a new request to the server.

The advantage of a full page cache is that server loads are lower. The downside is that building pages with dynamic elements can get quite complex since items like the shopping cart can’t be pulled from the cache.

Magento 2.x uses a different method to cache webpages. Varnish cache is an HTTP accelerator that improves page loading times for your visitors by storing pages on your server instead of the user’s device. When a user requests a page, Varnish checks to see if it already exists in the server cache. If the user requests a page they haven’t seen before, a compiler will review relevant data before the user can access the page.

Varnish displays pages a lot faster if they are in the server cache since they don’t have to go through the compiler again.

You will have to make a few tweaks to your online store if you previously optimized it to achieve faster loading time with a full page cache.

Improved web APIs

Magento 2.x is more consistent than previous versions when it comes to web APIs. This new version of the platform also makes integration with other systems a lot easier to set up.

Magento still works with the same two APIs – REST and SOAP. If you used these APIs, you are probably familiar with their main drawbacks, namely the separate authentication mechanism for the REST API and the lack of consistency in SOAP API scripts.

These are the main changes for the web APIs:

  • The REST and SOAP APIs now share more features, including the same authentication mechanism.
  • The SOAP API is entirely WS-I compliant, which means more script consistency.
  • Route definition is simplified.
  • Permission assignment and management are easier, and there are two new permission categories.
  • There are new third party integration points to improve compatibility with other systems (like an ERP or CRM solution).

Planning your migration to Magento 2.x

You need to put together a migration plan to switch to Magento 2.x. The good news is that this new version of the platform is a lot faster and user-friendly.

The bad news is that the migration process won’t be entirely automated. Here are some of the things to consider when planning your migration:

  • Go over your themes and extensions and make sure they will work with Magento 2.x or that Magento 2.x offers similar built-in features.
  • Wait until your busy shopping season is over before your migration since you will probably have to make a few changes to your architecture.
  • Make sure your current host can run Magento 2.x.
  • There is an automated migration tool for your database, but you will have to manually migrate your media and themes.
  • You will need to create a new index for your site and perform testing.
  • Leave ongoing orders in your old database until the last minute to avoid losing them

It is time to start thinking about migrating to Magento 2.x. This version of the store-building tool has been out for 2 years already and you cannot expect developers to keep releasing updates and patches for the third-party extensions you use with Magento 1.x. Additionally, switching to Magento 2.x takes time since part of the migration is manual. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will benefit from the changes introduced to Magento 2.x.

Contact [email protected] for a free upgrade assessment for your magento 1.x store.

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