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Which version of Magento to go for in 2019

by  David Dwyer on  08/04/2019

The pros and cons of Magento 1.9.x and 2.x

Right now, there are two versions of Magento existing side by side: Magento 1.9.x and Magento 2.x.   

We continue to see both versions being developed upon and launched, however to the uninitiated you’d think that other than the license fee they are not that much different. So which one should you choose, and why? 

To the unfamiliar Magento is an Enterprise Level e-commerce solution that used by many large businesses and also a large number of smaller business who wish to be able to scale their online offering. In essence though they serve the same purpose in terms of enabling businesses to transact and trade online.  

Each version has advantages and disadvantages, which will have influenced the developer or Digital Agency as to which they recommend a business adopt.   

So, again if you’re about to kick off with a new project, you’ll be wondering which version to use. Your tried and trusted Magento 1.x series (latest is 1.9.x) companion, or its much more recent and younger sibling? 


Magento 1.9.x 

Starting back in 2007, Magento 1x set a high standard in eCommerce, with huge popularity amongst its users (whether they be Developers, Digital Agencies or Users, or Business Owners).   

Its sophisticated design created a flexibility that enabled us to do everything we wanted to do from outside Magento’s core.  As a result, “out of core” enhancements or updates, when developed and released led to a minimal level of “update anxiety” (it’s often the case that new code that use the same libraries or function calls cause conflicts with existing code, which in turn create more work) can arise as they’re using different libraries and features. Future development then enabled impressive scalability, functionality and most importantly 3rd party integrations. 

As Magento version 1.9.x has been developed upon and improved over the last decade this has created a platform with greater stability.  As an e-commerce platform you as a client can be confident it will meet your most challenging requirements.  It certainly has a large number of plugins (3rd party pieces of code) that would save your developer time, money and energy when you need it most: at the start-up phase. 


Magento 2.x 

The new version of Magento has been around for quite a while now, November 2015 in fact but it is only in the last year that it has really started to make a positive impact.  Magento’s original intent was to move Magento 1.9.x from working on PHP 5.6 to instead run using PHP7 (see our articles about the PHP7 Tsunami).  

This approach proved to be very difficult and it became clear Magento needed an entirely new version of their platform, not just an enhanced version of the 1.9.x platform. 

However this enhanced version had too many bugs in its initial design, some of which took months to sort out in Magento’s debug tracker. In fact, Barclaycard refused to allow it’s payment gateway feature to be included as a plugin, as they deemed it not stable and very much insecure. This instability meant that developers were reluctant to adopt as they couldn’t really take it seriously or consider it as an alternative to a hyper-tested and ever-reliable Magneto 1.9x. 

Magento 2.3.x has now ironed out many of those issues and you could say has much more of a spring in its step in that it has made that big leap to a much greater level of stability, although it’s not quite up there with Magento 1.9.x.   There are the new features that users have been asking for on and off over the years, for example, the multi-warehouse or B2B, elastic search and page builder facility; the Progressive web app allows online betting on mobile.   

So given the background, you can see why developers, Digital Agencies and Business Owners have been reluctant to readily adopt Magento 2.3.x. 

It’s also important to note that Adobe is putting its faith in the company, which it acquired back in May 2018, with a view to integrating it into Adobe Experience Cloud, its own Enterprise CMS platform.   

This is a great result for Magento, who can use Adobe’s significant resources to develop its strength and flexibility.  Adobe, in turn, benefits from the newly acquired commerce capabilities Magento offers, and it helps them complete the commerce experience in the digital world.  Ultimately, this should provide an even better product for the customer. 

In reality, though, most of the important components are available in both versions of Magento.  But it’s fair to say that you don’t get as much for free in Magento 2, when you compare it to Magento 1x.  However, the designers have made some major architectural changes to the internal workings of the platform, so in terms of its power, speed and flexibility, it’s way ahead of the game by comparison. 

Unfortunately, there is no ongoing support for Magento 1.9.x from June 2020 so what this now means for the developers of Magento 1.9.x is greater pressure to take the plunge and head over to Magento 2.x.  

No-one wants to invest time and energy on a platform (Magento 1.9.x) that will have zero support for new bugs and security vulnerabilities.  

Given the forecast demand for experienced Magento 2x professionals, we anticipate there will be a shortage of resource available to cope.  

But, even so, Magento 2 is the natural leader in the e-commerce market in the years to come, for a number of reasons: 

  • For power and flexibility, Magento 2 OS has no rival in the world of Open Source platforms. 

  • It’s the obvious natural successor to Magento 1.9.x, who currently reigns supreme (Ed: BigCommerce would disagree but look at who is using Magento and it’s a literal who’s who of online e-commerce businesses) 

  • Magento has officially confirmed that June 2020 is the cut-off for availability of support for Magento 1x.  In reality, users will essentially not have a choice: they will have to transfer to Magento 2x, or risk being without e-commerce support.   


So, what does all this mean for you? 

If you’re about to begin something new, it really doesn’t make any sense to do it with Magento 1x.  Magento 2x is now a much more reliable platform and - as always happens in these cases – will continue to evolve and improve in each successive version.  So don’t worry about making the transition.  The key to success is to make sure that whatever you’re working on, you’re in Inspire's expert hands so you can trust your support to create the success you need, without any issues. Magento 2 needs an experienced team to guarantee that success.   And Inspire's extensive experience in Magento 1x and Magento 2x gives you the confidence and support you need.   


However, if you’re thinking about making the transition from Magento 1x to Magento 2, we suggest that you use the support that’s being offered until it runs out in June 2020.   

In the meantime, we can help you make your preparations for the move over to Magento 2, so your transition is planned, resourced and delivered on time.  

There’s less than a year to go – plenty of time to plan your changeover to the future’s leading e-commerce platform.  

If you have questions about how Magento 2 could work for your retail business, contact us or give us a call as we are experts with Magento 2.x. 


Customer Experience, CX, Developer SOS, e-commerce, e-tailers, Magento 1.9.x, Magento 2.x.x, Magento e-commerce, Online Stores, Search Engine Optimisation, Technology Innovation, The Evolving Web, User Interface, UX Design, Web Consultancy, Web Design
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