This is the process many experienced and inexperienced online retailers fear the most – upgrading Magento to a new version. Although the new releases of Magento are created to provide better functionality and solve common problems with the software, migrating from one version to another is a complex process, with a long list of things, which can go wrong. If you want to upgrade your Magento store to a new version of the software and avoid losing important data in the process, we recommend trying one of the following methods:
A Migration Extension
If you have never upgraded your Magento store before and you have no technical background in this field, we would recommend using an extension, which is designed to migrate your store from one platform to another. An example of such extension is Cart2Cart, but you can also find other similar extensions for Magento. The biggest advantage of this solution is that many of the required tasks are performed automatically. All you need to do is port all data, themes and extensions and then import them to the new version of Magento platform. The biggest downside of this solution is that migration extensions often do not recognize and do not support certain types of files. For example, Cart2Cart does not import custom database tables.
An alternative method of migrating your online store is to use the built-in file system upgrade. To do so, you will have to use upgrade scripts, which are utilized by Magento to upgrade its databases. Be prepared that your shopping cart contains numerous upgrade scripts, which can be very big in size, so the upgrading process will be complex and prone to errors. We strongly recommend contacting your Magento enterprise designer and ordering proper services. If you have not worked with a Magento developer before, look for competitive eCommerce website development pricing among your local providers and order upgrading services to avoid potential problems. If you feel confident enough to try and migrate your online store by yourself, here is what you have to do. Start by running a thorough check of your Magento files, especially edited core files. You can use special code comparison extensions, which make it easier to find potential differences between code bases. Also remember to make a backup copies of all important files. To do so, you might need to shut down your live website. Next, install new Magento version on your development domain. Now you need to copy across all extensions, theme files and custom layouts, migrating them from the old version to the new one. Check if the new website is still working. Be aware that the new website will contain none of your products and categories, so you might want to add a few ones just to test it. Next, remove or rename app/etc/local.xml, create a new database and import the old database into it. Run the installer with the new files on your old database and wait – this process can take a few hours, so be prepared for that. After completing, double check all pages before setting live.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.