Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: Head to Head Comparison

The world of websites, online stores, content management systems (CMS), and other such platforms is a crazy one. Making the proper judgments has never been more challenging as technology continues to exceed all expectations in terms of growth and utility.

Magento 1 vs Magento 2 article cover image

Users are confronted with a plethora of questions and a multitude of answers to those questions: Which CMS is the best? Is this CMS appropriate for me, or is there a better option? Is this CMS capable of assisting me in reaching my goals?

All of these issues can be intimidating for anyone, especially for individuals who wish to start an online store but lack technical skills.

So, in an effort to answer some of the questions and make our lives easier, I will be comparing the latest Magento version with its predecessor: Magento 1 vs. Magento 2. These two Magento versions will go head-to-head in multiple essential categories to see whether Magento 2 is genuinely better than Magento 1 and whether Magento made the right decision to stop supporting its first version.

But first, let’s get to know our competitors better.

What is Magento 1?

Magento 1 was initially released in 2008 and was met with positive responses to its high level of customization. Over the years, it had garnered a large loyal following, who were not at all pleased when Magento announced that it would stop supporting it in 2018. Due to the enormous outcry and initial mixed reviews for Magento 2, Magento prolonged its support for Magento 1 until 2020.

Magento 1 has two editions: Magento Community Edition, the open-source edition, and Magento 1 Enterprise Edition.

screenshot of Magento Blog

What is Magento 2?

Magento 2 is the latest version released on the 17th of November, 2015. Due to its complex and scalable architecture, Magento 2 is the most widely used CMS (Content Management System) for creating online companies globally. It’s compatible with the most up-to-date technology, such as PHP7. Therefore it’s faster than Magento 1. Magento 2 allows users to update their e-commerce websites automatically.

Magento 2 is a feature-rich platform with a flexible codebase. Organizations with small and large operations worldwide use it for a wide range of projects because of these features.

The Magento 2 comes in three editions:

  1. Magento 2 Open-Source, previously known as Community Edition, is the free edition that anyone can get from the Magento website
  2. Magento 2 Commerce which is the on-premise premium option that has more advanced features and support, is usually picked by larger businesses as it is more expensive
  3. Magento 2 Commerce Cloud is the cloud-hosted version that offers the same features as the Magento 2 Commerce on-premise edition but removes the need for self-hosting

screenshot of Adobe Commerce page within Adobe Experience Cloud website

Magento Hosting

Let’s talk about Magento hosting. To assure your success and enjoy the best Magento hosting experience, the hosting provider you want must meet the following requirements:

  • The technical hosting environment for Magento
  • Magento’s hosting plan
  • Magento hosting provider

So, when looking for a Magento hosting provider, keep these three things in mind. Your store’s success will rise once you’ve identified the proper provider who meets these and all of the other standards. So, basically what you have to do is research some providers that you think are good, make sure they meet the requirements I mentioned above, and then choose the one that satisfies your and the needs of your business.

Additionally, you can also choose from:

  1. Shared hosting
  2. VPS hosting
  3. Dedicated hosting
  4. Cloud hosting (the most recommended)

Any of the hosting types you pick are compatible with Magento hosting, so pick the one that suits you best. However, the final decision on which provider to choose and what sort of hosting to purchase, whether managed or unmanaged, cloud or dedicated, and so on, is entirely dependent on your preferences and needs.

So, now that we know a bit about the two different versions, let’s dig into the differences between the two and the updates that Magento 2 brings.

Updated Security

It’s time to look at the features of the platforms in more detail. And, because security is one of the essential aspects of everything done online, I believe it’s a great place to start. Security is crucial as consumers are apprehensive about the security of their personal information. They are hesitant to buy from a company they do not trust with their personal data. Also, even the company itself can face backlash when security is concerned because if a store is not PCI compliant, it will have to pay hefty fines and risk tainting its reputation.

Let’s start with Magento 1. Where security is concerned for Magento 1, it is vital to know that since Magento stopped its support for this version, Magento 1 will not be having security updates and patches. This means that users won’t be able to keep their sites secure unless they spend a lot of money on developers to generate and update the patches for them.

screenshot of Security Center page

Magento 2 may be as secure as you like. Even simple stuff like SSL will require certification and maintenance. Magento 2 will provide updates to address security gaps that have been discovered. Your team is still in charge of keeping your site up to date. You will also be directly accountable to PCI rules if you use Magento 2. Magento does not take care of this for you.

Of course, if you don’t make any changes, Magento 2 is technically PCI compliant. Still, no one uses an unmodified version of Magento 2, which is why you and your team are taking on PCI compliance management on your own.

However, many updates have been made for Magento 2, including strengthening the hashing algorithms (SHA-256) for passwords, making passwords more resistant to the dictionary types of attacks.

So, seeing as there will be no security patches or updates for Magento 1, and passwords are more secure with Magento 2, it is safe to say that Magento 2 has better security and is the safer choice.

Who Has Better Value for Money?

Now let’s see how the two versions of Magento differ in the pricing category.

It is essential to know that even though Magento 1 has an open-source edition (Magento Community), it is not supported by Magento and will not be receiving any security updates and patches. And like I mentioned earlier, users will have to pay developers quite a bit of money to secure their online stores and receive patches and updates.

When it comes to payment gateways, on their Magento 1 site, store owners can use most of the leading payment gateways. However, this frequently demanded the use of a third-party integration or, in some cases, custom development.

screenshot of "Magento Open Source" banner

When it comes to Magento 2, it also has an open-source edition (Magento 2 Open-Source) which is free to download from the Magento site. However, it does not include any additional features for free such as web hosting, security, extensions, or domain registration. As a result, the overall cost of using Magento is decided by several factors and the features you want.

You’ll also need to pay for themes and extensions, which come at various prices. It’s worth noting, however, that Magento is primarily targeted at businesses and organizations that can, in most cases, afford to spend more money. Magento also does not charge a monthly subscription to its users.

An update to the pricing category for Magento 2 is regarding the payment gateways. Unlike Magento 1, Magento 2 now automatically supports the most popular payment gateways, eliminating the need for additional integration. Some of the automatically supported gateways include PayPal, Braintree, and Authorize.net.

So, it goes without saying that although Magento 2 is a bit more expensive than its competitors, it has better value for money as it is supported by Magento and receives security patches and updates. It also has automatically supported payment gateways.

Is Customer Support Better?

Customer support is vital for any business, especially for Magento, where some technical knowledge and expertise are required.

Magento 1 was sunsetted, which means that it was no longer profitable, and the company shifted its focus to something else, in this case, Magento 2. With Magento 1 being sunsetted, it no longer enjoys the support of Magento and does not receive any patches and updates. Also, Magento 1 was built using technology from 2008, and with no support, it will not be updated to support new technology.

screenshot of Help Center

Magento 2 is a community-based platform, and it provides user tutorials that help you through the whole process of opening an online business. There are step-by-step tutorials and a wealth of valuable material from other Magento developers. However, because Magento 2 is a self-hosted platform, it does not offer standard support methods like live chat, phone, or email unless you subscribe to the Magento Commerce Cloud plan for B2B.

But Magento 2 includes troubleshooting, a help center guide, and support tools. It also supports all recent innovations in the eCommerce world, like voice search, speed & performance improvements, UI/UX, AI, and lean application footprint.

So, seeing as Magento 1 is not supported anymore, the better option when it comes to customer support is definitely Magento 2.

Is Magneto 2 More User-Friendly?

This article would be complete without comparing the user-friendliness of the two Magento versions. I will focus on the admin of both Magento 1 and 2, as it is the place where the majority of users spend most of their time.

The admin panel of Magento 1 was quite messy and difficult to navigate. Also, its dashboard did not have any advanced features.

The admin of Magento 2 is way easier to navigate, more responsive, and interactive. It has a modern and straightforward design and does not require users to have the advanced technical knowledge to use it as Magento 1 did.

Many features, such as last, new, and average orders, lifetime retail sales, top search terms, income tax, and bestsellers, are easily accessible from the Magento 2 dashboard. Customers can also modify products and customize data grids only to see the information they need. However, you’ll still need some technical knowledge and expertise, as well as an understanding of internet jargon and code, to use Magento 2 at its fullest.

screenshot of Products page

So, Magento 2 has definitely improved its ease of use, and the new dashboard is straightforward to navigate compared to Magento 1.

Performance and Speed

Performance was one of the main points of complaint that users had with Magento 1. The loading speed of Magento 1 sites was over two seconds, and experts believe this to be slow and not acceptable for eCommerce websites.

That’s why Magento needed to fix and upgrade the performance and loading speed, and that’s what happened with Magento 2. Magento’s updates to the Magento 2 version helped optimize Magento websites, allowing faster loading speed and better server response time. Magento 2 can boast 50% faster-loading pages for homepages and product pages, and the check-out process is 38% faster as well.

However, users should take matters into their own hands and be proactive in optimizing the speed of their websites. Slow speed impacts SEO integration and can cause some of your pages not to be indexed by search engines. Another thing that can affect performance and speed is the quality of the web hosting provider you use. And while Magento 2 Commerce Cloud offers web hosting, the other editions do not.

screenshot of Adobe Commerce page

It is safe to say that users should rest assured that they will not encounter the same performance and speed issues they had with Magento 1 if they switch to Magento 2. The company has done an excellent job in fixing and improving this aspect of the platform.

What About Extensions?

Add-ons are an essential feature of any CMS since they allow users to customize the store according to their own preferences and ideas. No single CMS can satisfy all the needs and wants an individual or business might have, so they need to have a good range of extensions and add-ons to address the potential gap.

Magento 1 users heavily complained about issues they had with conflicting third-party extensions. Namely, it wasn’t easy to make multiple extensions work together, as two or more extensions tried to rewrite the same function. Also, this problem could only be resolved manually, which was a costly and time-consuming process.

Magento 2 is better than Magento 1 in this aspect because it allows for those extensions to overlap and not override one another. Magento 2 makes installing extensions easier by using technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and REquire.js.

Magento has over 4 000 extensions available, and some of them are:

  • Custom discount coupons can be added to orders using Amasty Multiple Coupons, and multiple discounts can be given to a single transaction, making consumers feel valued and encouraging them to buy again.
  • Product Pre-Order sends automated emails to customers when a new product is available to gauge interest in your present offering.
  • You may connect your store to email marketing campaigns and social media with Remarkety.
  • Banner Slider increases revenue by adding advertising banners with personalized URLs to your store.

screenshot of Extensions for Adobe Commerce

However, even though Magento 2 does a better job in this category than Magento 1, it can still be a bit difficult to customize your Magento store. All things considered, though, Magento 2 is significantly better when extensions are considered.

Is SEO Better?

When it comes to SEO integration, the upgrades made to Magento 2 are not really significant ones. However, the updates still make Magento 2 better than Magento 1 for SEO.

Some of the most important updates that were made are:

  • Duplicate Content: Because Magento 2 includes a Canonical tag, duplicate content concerns can be avoided.
  • Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords: Meta tags for individual pages are enabled in Magento 2.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Magento 2 is well-suited to mobile devices and is also used as a criterion for ranking.

Magento 1 vs. Magento 2 (Comparison)

However, Magento excels at SEO and offers a wealth of SEO resources to help users get started with the SEO integration. On the image search platform, users can change picture alt tags, which assist search engines in categorizing photos. To make websites more discoverable, Magento additionally customizes URLs. And, as if that wasn’t enough, all of the features listed above are built-in.

So, the SEO integration of Magento 2 is excellent, even though it wasn’t updated too much compared to Magento 1.

Architecture/Store Performance

Magento 2 has significantly boosted its technological make-up compared to Magento 1. The architecture of Magento 2 is based on PHP7, which makes the platform better-suited for optimization and customization. Also, Magento 2 supports HTML5 and MySQL Percona 5.6 or greater.

One of the most significant differences between Magento 1 and 2 is that Magento 2 supports the Zend Framework 1 and 2, while Magento 1 only supports Zend Framework 1. Other technologies that Magento 2 supports that Magento 1 doesn’t are: NGINX, Varnish, Composer, Symfony, Redis, etc.

So, it is safe to say that the architecture of Magento 2 is technologically superior to that of Magento 1.

Category Overview

CategoryMagento 1Magento 2
Ease Of UseDifficult for beginners, technological expertise neededEasier to use, bit still requires some technological expertise
Value for MoneyNo security patches or updates available, fewer payment gatewaysMore automatic payment gateways and security patches, and updates included
Performance and SpeedOffers high-level sales featuresOffers more extensive sales features
ExtensionsExtensions override one anotherExtensions overlap and do not override each other
Customer SupportNot supported by Magento anymoreAdvanced level of expertise
SecurityNo security patches and updates are availableSecurity patches, updates, and stronger passwords are available

Some Key Differences Between Magento 1 and Magento 2

Magento 1Magento 2
Slower loading speedsFaster  loading speeds
Imported JQuery and Prototype, which slowed the platformPrototype was replaced as the core JavaScript library with the RequireJS library, which improved performance
Supported older version of PHPSupports the most recent PHP versions, which are more advanced
Less user-friendly admin panelMore user-friendly admin panel
Has to be modified and enhanced to be more mobile responsiveHighly mobile-friendly and responsive
Made using older technologyMade using PHP 5.5 and 5.6, which are more advanced
Doesn’t support HTML5Supports HTML5
The check-out process is slowerThe check-out process is 38% faster
Doesn’t support the Ajax add-to-cart featureSupports the Ajax add-to-cart feature
Admin panel has limited features and is not easy to useAdmin panel is very interactive, easier to navigate, has superior management
Comparatively, fewer native features and functionalityComparatively, more native features and functionality
Demands third-party integration for most payment gatewaysAllows automatic payment gateways like Paypal, Google Checkouts, Braintree, etc

New Features with Magento 2

Key Features
  • Product catalog management
  • ElasticSearch site search
  • Integrated check-out
  • Order processing, payment, and shipping functionality
  • Mobile-first design templates
  • The App Marketplace allows functionality to be added
  • Accepting several currencies and shipping abroad is available
Advanced Features
  • A dedicated account manager and technical support
  • Magento Cloud hosting
  • B2B functionality
  • Promotional marketing tools email marketing, SEO, and Google API are available
  • Admin-controlled content staging, preview, and scheduling
  • Loyalty functionality
  • Built-in CMS
  • Visual merchandising
  • Analytics and reporting

Final Decision: Is Magento 2 Better?

From everything I’ve stated in this article, I believe that it is safe to say that Magento did an excellent job at upgrading Magento 2 and fixing the issues that users had with Magento 1. Also, Magento 2 is definitely better when considering the long-term existence of an online store or website, seeing as Magento 1 is no longer supported and updated. Moreover, Magento hosting makes the experience of Magento 2 superior and more integrated, in comparison to Magento 1.

How To Migrate to Magento 2?

Migration to Magento 2 can be done in four easy steps via:

  1. Theme Migration
  2. Extension Migration
  3. Customizations Migration using Code Migration Tool
  4. Data Migration using Data Migration Tool

But before migrating, it is vital to take care of the following two issues:

  1. Make a clear plan for your website
  2. Have a clear understanding and detailed budgeting plan

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