Magento 1 Upgrade

How big an upgrade?

There are three categories of Magento 1 upgrade:

  • Upgrades that span more than 1 point-release, such as 1.7 to 1.9
  • Upgrades that are from one point-version to the next, such as 1.8 to 1.9
  • Upgrades that just fix bugs or security vulnerabilities

It's well worth upgrading to the latest version of Magento for various reasons not least of which is performance. As everyone's sites are different we can not give a fixed price for upgrades, we struggle to even give you an accurate estimate until we have had chance to investigate things further.

Things that can cause issues are:

  • Theme incompatibility - some older themes will not work with the latest version without some modifications. If you are using a paid for template, contact the vendor and ask for an upgraded version. If it is a custom theme then we will be able to do the work for you to make it compatible but can not give an accurate up front fee.
  • Extension incompatibility - it may be that extensions that you are running are not compatible. Hopefully there will be a compatible version available, if so it should not be a problem. If there isn't then we have the choice of trying to make it compatible or disabling it.
  • Core code changes - with Magento you should never edit any code within the app/code/core folder. Unfortunately though we see a lot of sites where this rule has not been respected and this can cause a lot of problems when it comes to upgrading.

Standard Upgrade for smaller Upgrades

Magento upgrades are less likely to result in breaking changes than they used to, so we can usually predict how well they will go.

We will still need to check for the issues mentioned above, and we can usually give you a good idea of how long it should take by checking your extensions, customisations and theme.

Exploratory Upgrade for big Upgrades

For significant upgrades - ones that span more than one point-release, we often find incompatibilities once the upgrade has completed.

The way we normally do this is we do an initial exploratory upgrade which will highlight what is working and what isn't and will give us all the information we need to figure out how much more work is involved. After that, we can give you a much better idea of how much work is involved to fix the issues that will result from the upgrade.

All of our work is done offline, on our own servers and does not affect your live site at all. While we are upgrading, the worked is pushed on a regular basis on a staging server so you can see the progress and test the work on your side.

Once the upgrade is handled, we would then update the live site with the working upgraded system safe in the knowledge that everything is working as expected and there will be the minimum of downtime.

Bug Hunting

The exploratory upgrade will give you an upgraded but largely untested version of your site running in our staging environment. This is a password protected copy of your store running on our servers that you can use to test the upgraded site.

We also use an issue tracking system where you can raise tickets to report bugs that you find with the upgradedsystem. Bug hunting can be quite a time consuming processes and doesn't really require a fully fledged web developer to do it so most of our clients opt to take on this role themselves, finding and reporting bugs. Once there are a few bug tickets, we would suggest you book some time with us to fix these bugs. If you are less concerned with budget and would like to get us to take on the bug hunting and reporting side of the project I would suggest allocating a good amount of time to this. You would still want to do some bug hunting also as no one knows your site better than you do and each Magento site is different. As suggested, the major time requirement can actually be met by you if you wish to keep costs down, though of course we are also happy to help.

If you require an estimate for fixing the various bugs before we start work please let us know. No work will be commenced without your authorisation. In certain circumstances, problematic extensions may be more cost effective to remove rather than repair and we will discuss this with you should it arise.

Deployment to Live

Once you are happy that all bugs have been found and resolved we are then ready to push to live. This involves taking a database dump of your live site and putting it into maintenance mode for a few minutes whilst we upgrade the copy of the live database and switch the site to be served from the upgraded and bug fixed new code. We handle this in a way that minimises downtime to the barest minimum amount and also ensure we have a full reverse path should anything catastrophic happen, though to date this has not been required. Once the live site is upgraded, we strongly recommend you place some test orders and generally ensure that all of the key functions of the site are working as required. We will of course work on this as well. If there are any bugs that have not become apparent until the live site is upgraded, these need to be reported to the bug tracking system and we will get fix them ASAP for you.

Other things to consider

If you were considering a redesign at some point in the future, it makes a lot of sense to combine this with the upgrade. The reason being that when doing an upgrade, we find that a lot of the work tends to revolve around getting the current Magento theme to work properly with the new version of Magento. If we are doing a redesign, we can effectively forget the current design and instead focus on making a fully compatible new design based on your design requirements. In general this approach will save time, effort and money in the long run. In some circumstances, a new design might actually take less effort than fixing the old design. This is something we can shed more light on once we have done theexploratory upgrade. Enterprise/Professional Editions If you are running either the Enterprise or Professional edition, please ensure you either give us the upgrade files or give us access to your support area where you can download the files so that we can complete the exploratory upgrade for you.

If you can give us access to your support area it will enable us to raise tickets on your behalf which will speed up the whole process so this is the ideal situation in this case.