What’s the Difference Between Magento 1 and Magento 2?

What’s the Difference Between Magento 1 and Magento 2_ _ MediaOne Singapore (1)

You’ve probably heard the buzz about Magento if you’re in the digital marketing game. It’s a powerhouse when it comes to e-commerce, but what sets Magento 1 apart from Magento 2? Stick with us as we break it down in plain.🗣️

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The Tale of Two Magento Versions

Magento, What’s That?

Before we get into the juicy details, let’s quickly introduce Magento for those who are new to the scene. Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that empowers businesses to create online stores with all the bells and whistles. It’s flexible, robust, and beloved by many online retailers.

Now, let’s jump into the main event:

Magento 1: The Pioneer

1. Technology Backbone

Magento 1 was the trailblazer, setting the stage for e-commerce excellence. Launched in 2008, it brought a revolutionary change to online shopping. However, as time rolled on, its technology started to show its age.

  • Tech Stack: Magento 1 was built on PHP and relied heavily on JavaScript. While cutting-edge back in the day, it lacked some modern technologies.

2. Flexibility and Customization

Magento 1 was no slouch when it came to customization. Store owners could tweak, twist, and tailor their sites to their heart’s content. Extensions and themes galore!

3. Community Support

One of the standout features of Magento 1 was its vibrant community. Developers, store owners, and enthusiasts gathered to share knowledge and build a thriving ecosystem.

4. Security Updates (or Lack Thereof)

Here’s where the first crack started to show. As the years rolled by, Magento 1’s security became a concern. The lack of updates and patches made it susceptible to vulnerabilities.

5. End of Life (EOL)

All good things must come to an end, and that includes Magento 1. Adobe, Magento’s parent company, officially announced the end of support for Magento 1 on June 30, 2020.

Magento 2: The Next Level

1. Modern Technology Stack

Magento 2 is like Magento 1’s cooler, more tech-savvy sibling. It’s built on the latest technologies, including PHP 7, HTML5, and CSS3, making it faster, more secure, and responsive.

2. Enhanced Performance

Say goodbye to sluggish load times. Magento 2 is optimized for speed, ensuring that your customers won’t be twiddling their thumbs while your site loads.

3. User-Friendly Admin Panel

Managing your e-commerce store is a breeze with Magento 2’s revamped admin panel. It’s intuitive and designed to make your life easier.

4. Improved Checkout Process

Shopping cart abandonment is the bane of e-commerce, but Magento 2 tackles this issue head-on with a streamlined and efficient checkout process.

5. Mobile Responsiveness

In an age where everyone shops on their smartphones, Magento 2 shines with mobile responsiveness. Your store will look stunning on any device.

6. Ongoing Updates and Support

Unlike its predecessor, Magento 2 receives regular updates and security patches, ensuring your online store remains safe and sound.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

Now, you might be thinking, “Magento 2 sounds amazing! Why would anyone stick with Magento 1?” Well, there are a few reasons:

  • Legacy Systems: Some businesses have deeply integrated Magento 1 into their operations, making the transition to Magento 2 a complex and costly affair.
  • Budget Constraints: Upgrading to Magento 2 involves a financial commitment. Not all businesses are in a position to make this leap immediately.
  • Time and Resources: Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 can be time-consuming. Businesses with limited resources might need to plan this transition carefully.

Magento 1 vs. Magento 2: The Nitty-Gritty Details

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty details of what truly sets Magento 1 and Magento 2 apart.

Extensions and Compatibility

Magento 1:

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Magento 1 had a vast library of extensions and themes available. This was both a blessing and a curse. While it allowed for extensive customization, it also made the platform somewhat bloated and prone to conflicts between different extensions. Compatibility issues could be a headache for store owners and developers.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 introduced a more structured and organized approach to extensions. It’s easier to find high-quality, compatible extensions on the Magento Marketplace. The platform’s modular architecture ensures that extensions are less likely to clash with one another.


Magento 1:

As mentioned earlier, Magento 1 was cutting-edge in its time, but as e-commerce demands grew, it started showing signs of strain. Stores with a large number of products and customers often experienced performance bottlenecks.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 addresses performance issues head-on. With its optimized code and full-page caching, it can handle a higher volume of traffic and product listings without breaking a sweat. Your customers will enjoy faster page load times, leading to higher satisfaction and potentially more sales.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Magento 1:

SEO capabilities in Magento 1 were decent, but they required additional extensions and customizations to compete effectively in the search engine rankings. This often meant added costs and complexity.

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Magento 2:

Magento 2 stepped up its SEO game. It comes with built-in features like SEO-friendly URLs, sitemaps, and rich snippets. This means you can achieve better search engine visibility without relying on as many third-party extensions.

Multi-Store Management

Magento 1:

Magento 1 supported multi-store functionality, allowing businesses to manage multiple stores from a single admin panel. However, setting up and maintaining multiple stores could be complex and resource-intensive.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 takes multi-store management to the next level. It simplifies the process, making it easier to set up and manage multiple stores, each with its own unique catalog and customer base. This is particularly valuable for businesses with diverse product lines or international reach.

Data Migration

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Magento 1:

Migrating from an older version of Magento to Magento 1 could be a challenging task. It often required third-party tools and experienced developers to ensure a smooth transition.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 provides a more streamlined migration process. While it’s not without its complexities, the official Magento Data Migration Tool simplifies the process significantly, making it more accessible to a wider range of businesses.

Cost Considerations

Magento 1:

Magento 1 had the advantage of being more budget-friendly, especially for small businesses. Extensions and themes were often more affordable, and there was a broader pool of Magento 1 developers, which could lower development costs.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 does require a larger upfront investment due to its improved features and performance. Extensions and development services for Magento 2 can also be pricier. However, the long-term benefits, such as improved performance, scalability, and security, can outweigh the initial costs.

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User Experience

Magento 1:

User experience in Magento 1 depended largely on the quality of themes and customizations. While it was possible to create stunning and user-friendly stores, it often required more effort and investment.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 comes with a more user-friendly default theme and improved checkout process, enhancing the out-of-the-box user experience. This means you can get your store up and running with a more polished look and feel without extensive customizations.


Magento 1:

Magento 1 was suitable for small to medium-sized businesses but could struggle to handle the demands of larger enterprises without significant optimizations and infrastructure investments.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 is designed with scalability in mind. It can grow with your business, accommodating a larger product catalog, more customers, and increased traffic without sacrificing performance.

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Third-Party Integrations

Magento 1:

Magento 1 had a wide range of third-party integrations available, but compatibility issues could arise, leading to additional development and maintenance costs.

Magento 2:

Magento 2’s improved architecture and modular design make it more compatible with third-party integrations, reducing the likelihood of conflicts and simplifying the integration process.

Community Support

Magento 1:

While Magento 1 had a robust community, support started to wane after the platform reached its end of life. Finding developers and resources for Magento 1 became more challenging.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 has a growing and active community. With ongoing updates and support from Adobe, it’s likely to remain a vibrant ecosystem for the foreseeable future.

Customization and Development

Magento 1:

  1. Flexibility in Customization: Magento 1 was known for its flexibility. You could create a unique and tailored shopping experience for your customers with extensive customization options.
  2. Large Developer Community: With a substantial community of developers and agencies experienced in Magento 1, you had a wide pool of talent to choose from for custom development work.
  3. Abundance of Themes and Extensions: The Magento 1 ecosystem offered a vast selection of themes and extensions, allowing you to enhance your store’s functionality and appearance easily.
  4. Complex Development Requirements: On the flip side, Magento 1’s customizations could get complex and resource-intensive, particularly when dealing with large-scale projects. It often required a skilled development team to execute effectively.

Magento 2:

  1. Streamlined Customization: Magento 2 improves on its predecessor by streamlining customization efforts. Its modular code structure makes it easier to implement changes and extensions without disrupting the entire system.
  2. Advanced Developer Tools: Magento 2 introduces advanced developer tools and technologies like Composer, making it easier to manage code and dependencies, which can lead to more efficient development processes.
  3. Quality Over Quantity: While the Magento 2 marketplace may have fewer extensions compared to Magento 1 initially, the focus is on quality and compatibility. This means you’re more likely to find reliable extensions that work seamlessly with your store.
  4. Scalable and Future-Proof: Magento 2’s architecture is more scalable and future-proof. It’s designed to accommodate your business’s growth and evolving e-commerce needs.

Content Management and Product Management

Magento 1:

  1. Content Management: Magento 1’s content management capabilities were adequate but not as user-friendly as some other platforms. Managing content, such as static pages and blog posts, often required additional extensions.
  2. Product Management: Handling products in Magento 1 could be time-consuming, especially if you had a vast catalog. The admin interface was functional but not as intuitive as it could be.
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Magento 2:

  1. Enhanced Content Management: Magento 2 places a more significant emphasis on content management. It offers a more intuitive and user-friendly CMS, making it easier to create and manage pages, including blog content.
  2. Improved Product Management: Managing products in Magento 2 is more efficient, thanks to enhancements like the drag-and-drop product image uploader and improved attribute handling. This makes life easier for store owners with extensive product catalogs.


Magento 1:

  1. Security Concerns: As Magento 1 reached its end of life, security concerns escalated. The lack of official security patches made it vulnerable to various threats, including data breaches and hacks.
  2. Dependency on Third-Party Solutions: Maintaining security often relied on third-party security extensions and services, adding complexity and cost.

Magento 2:

  1. Robust Security Measures: Magento 2 takes security seriously. With regular security updates and patches, it’s better equipped to fend off potential threats.
  2. Reduced Reliance on Third Parties: While additional security measures are still advisable, Magento 2’s improved core security reduces the need for as many third-party security solutions.

Community and Enterprise Editions

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Magento 1:

  1. Community Edition: Magento 1 had a free Community Edition, making it accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. It offered essential e-commerce features without licensing costs.
  2. Enterprise Edition: For larger enterprises, Magento 1 had a premium Enterprise Edition with advanced features, support, and scalability. However, it came with a substantial price tag.

Magento 2:

  1. Open Source and Commerce Editions: Magento 2 continues the tradition of offering an open-source version (similar to the Community Edition) for those on a budget. Additionally, there’s the Magento Commerce Edition, which provides more advanced features, support, and cloud hosting.
  2. Flexibility in Choice: With Magento 2, you have more flexibility in choosing the edition that aligns with your business needs and budget.

Hosting and Performance Optimization

Magento 1:

  1. Hosting Requirements: Magento 1 had specific hosting requirements, and it performed optimally with dedicated hosting solutions. This could be costly for smaller businesses.
  2. Performance Optimization: Achieving optimal performance often required extensive performance optimization efforts, including server configuration, caching, and code optimization.

Magento 2:

  1. Improved Hosting Options: Magento 2 offers more hosting options, including cloud-based solutions. This can make hosting more affordable and scalable, even for smaller businesses.
  2. Built-in Performance Enhancements: The platform’s performance enhancements, including full-page caching and improved code, reduce the need for extensive optimization efforts.

Upgrade Process

Magento 1:

Upgrading from one version of Magento 1 to another (e.g., Magento 1.8 to 1.9) was relatively straightforward. However, migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 was a complex undertaking that often required a fresh installation and data migration.

Magento 2:

Magento 2 has a more streamlined upgrade process from one version to another within the Magento 2 ecosystem. However, migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 remains a complex project that demands careful planning and execution.

Conclusion: The Right Choice for You

In conclusion, both Magento 1 and Magento 2 have their merits and drawbacks, and the choice between them depends on your specific business needs, budget, and long-term goals. Here are some key takeaways to help you decide:

  • If you’re starting a new e-commerce venture or looking for a significant upgrade and can afford the initial investment, Magento 2 is the way to go for its enhanced features, performance, and long-term support.
  • If you’re already on Magento 1, it’s crucial to plan your migration to Magento 2 due to the end of support for Magento 1. The sooner you make the transition, the better.
  • Consider your budget, customization requirements, and the size of your business when making your decision. Magento 2 offers more scalability and modern features but comes with higher initial costs.
  • Remember that the choice between Magento 1 and Magento 2 isn’t just about the platform itself. It’s also about the quality of your development team, the compatibility of your extensions, and your overall e-commerce strategy.

In the end, the Magento platform, in any version, remains a powerful tool for e-commerce success. With the right approach, you can create a stunning online store that caters to your customers’ needs and drives growth for your business.

We hope this in-depth comparison has shed light on the key differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2, helping you make an informed decision on your e-commerce journey. If you have any more questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to support your marketing endeavors every step of the way! 🚀🛒

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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