The sun has set on Magento v1. What does this mean for your online shop?

Magento is a popular piece of software which underpins hundreds of thousands of ecommerce operations around the world. It may be the driver for your own online shop and if it is, it’s vital that you ensure that you’re up-to-date.

The very first version of Magento launched in 2008. Many slight tweaks and revisions took place over the years but in 2015, a whole new version was released. Adobe, the company which produces Magento, continued to offer updates and support for the first version, but as of June 30 of this year, that is no longer the case.

What does this mean for your shop?

The first version of Magento is now in its ‘sunset phase’. That’s the rather romantic term for software that’s been abandoned by those who created it.

There will be no more updates for Magento v1, no fixes for security or bugs. The official online resource which housed manuals, related documents and compatible add-ons and extensions has been closed.

If your online shop is built on Magento v1 then it will still continue to run, for now. Over time, parts will begin to fail, you’ll be vulnerable to hackers and you may struggle to find payment processors who’ll handle your transactions.

What are the dangers?

Switching away from Magento v1 requires investing in a replacement system, and the cold, hard truth of this is that it’ll cost you to do so. Some businesses will question whether it’s worth the investment if their shop seemingly still runs fine.

The simple answer is that it is essential that you upgrade to a more up-to-date system. We’ll discuss your options later, but just to underscore the importance, here’s a few ways in which you’re now vulnerable if you stick with Magento v1.

Huge security risks

First and foremost, any website running Magento v1 is vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters. In the normal run of things, whenever a bad hacker (or benevolent good hacker) finds a security flaw, the software firm will update the code to remove the vulnerability. There are no more updates, so any new vulnerability found from now on will now stay that way. It’s like leaving your front door unlocked without the ability to go back and lock it.

The danger of an unsecure ecommerce operation is that hackers can break in and do any number of things: take down your website, steal your customer data, carry out fraudulent transactions. It’s their playground.

This could cost you a great deal of money, and your insurance provider is unlikely to help owing to the fact that you exposed yourself to danger by using outdated software. Worse, you’ll suffer a huge hit to your reputation. Nobody wants to shop with a company who can’t keep data and card details safe.

No official support

Adobe has removed its documentation and will no longer be responding to requests for help relating to the older software. You may be able to search online for answers to your questions, but you won’t be able to go to the source.

Extensions that stop working

One of the great things about Magento is that it’s customisable in so many ways, in part because you can take the core software and add individual elements that tailor it to your specific wants and needs. There are now no more official extensions to be found, and those that already exist will also begin to fail as those who created them also move on to other projects.

Lack of compliance

To trade online and handle money requires you to undertake a series of steps to ensure that your processes are secure. Visa has already posted official guidance that Magento v1 is no longer considered safe. Other payment processors have published similar, and some are even beginning to unhook their systems, meaning they won’t even handle transactions on your behalf any more. Shops running the original Magento range from vulnerable to unable to even take payments.

What can I do next?

That’s a pretty hefty list of reasons that you can no longer rely on Magento v1 and is probably not happy reading if that’s your current setup. But there are things you can do and the up-side is that many of them will actually improve your shop.

You now need to weigh up your options. There are a number of different pieces of software you can switch to, each with their own advantages. Shopify, for example, is a great entry-level choice. It can be an affordable way to get going (or to switch from Magento v1), however it is best for low volumes of sales as the fees can soon add up.

Alternatively, the route we are most likely to recommend is Magento 2. The set-up costs may be higher than Shopify, but the ongoing fees are lower and you tend to get a better return on your investment. It’ll also feel more familiar if you’re upgrading from v1.

Magento 2 was launched in 2015 and has proven very popular so far, and offers many advantages over v1.

Magento 2 loads pages quicker for the customer, which is crucial in a world where every second matters. Not only do shoppers prefer sites that load quicker, so do search engines – they rank them higher. It works much better on mobile devices, too, which is again preferred by both users and sites such as google.

The new software is also much more customisable than the original, with even more options to fine-tune things just the way you want them. Many of the processes, such as checkout, have also been streamlined, making it easier to use for you and your customers.

So while there’s no getting around the fact that an upgrade will require a capital investment, making the right choice can take your online shop to another level.

If you’re currently running an online shop based on Magento v1, or you’re interested in learning more about the best ecommerce options for your business, we would be happy to discuss your options with you. Call the eBusiness UK team for a free consultation.