Evaluating your future Magento upgrade can be difficult, mainly because in addition to reviewing your business needs and functionality, you’ll also need to consider the complexities of the Magento platform. As you consider your Magento upgrade strategy, you’ll come across decisions about whether you need a minor upgrade or a patch. Try not to get overwhelmed, we’ve outlined a few helpful tips that can help you understand how to navigate a Magento upgrade and get the best outcome for your business. 

Before we get started, a Magento migration is different than a Magento upgrade. If you’re looking for more information on how to transition from Magento 1 to Magento 2, check out our post: How To Easily Transition from Magento 1 to Magento 2. 

An Introduction to Magento Upgrades

Budget for the Solution You Need: Minor Upgrades or Patches

Magento upgrades make it increasingly easier on e-commerce businesses to run with additional features that can save time and money. Magento’s “seamless upgrades” can ensure security, performance, better checkout experiences, enhanced usability and more. When evaluating your business needs, you should evaluate your current software to understand what version of Magento you’re currently using. Some helpful questions to ask yourself would be have you frequently upgraded your Magento software and leveraged in-software updates? Or has it been years since you’ve updated your software, and this is going to be a larger project? Understanding this will help you determine what kind of upgrade you need and whether it’ll be a minor upgrade or a patch. This is then a great time to develop a holistic strategy towards Magento upgrades moving forward. This strategy should remove the need to perform upgrades on an ad-hoc basis and rather do them regularly to avoid a larger project where more issues could arise. 

Magento minor releases often provide new features to the existing software along with fixes for security and performance. Since these minor releases deliver significant changes, your custom code and 3rd party extensions may need to be updated to stay compatible with the core platform. It’s best to leverage a development team who can quickly solve for the issues your site is having and update your code so that it matches the new features that were launched. 

With patch releases, the changes are generally smaller in scope and primarily targeted at security fixes or minor feature enhancements. Patches are typically done more frequently, as it is important to address potential security risks for your site quickly. Additionally, regular patch upgrades ensure minor upgrades run more smoothly. If you decide to not install any patches throughout the course of the year, your larger upgrades could take significantly longer and cost your business more because of the vast amount of fixes your development team will take on. 

If you don’t have a development team managing your software and checking for updates and patches, your Magento site could become severely outdated. In this case, it may be best to review whether or not it would be more cost and time-effective to build a new website altogether.  

Budget for Time: The Importance of Regression Testing and Fixes

Updating your software alone will take time, but a crucial piece to getting a high-functioning website that generates results for your business is regression testing and this also needs to be accounted for. During this testing, your developers and QA team will review the final updated site and will ensure all functionality and performance is working properly. This is crucial because code updates may have broken some of your previous functionality, and you’ll want these issues fixed before your site goes live. Whether that’s front-end customizations that your customers will be in contact with or back-end admin functions that your internal teams need, both will be reviewed and tested to ensure your site is functioning at peak performance. 

Client Success Stories: A Minor Upgrade vs a Patch

Recently, we helped an e-commerce client upgrade from Magento 2.2.2 to Magento 2.3.2 and spent a lengthy amount of time updating their thousands of lines of code. Because Magento is so complex and has a lot of third-party integrations, our developers made the changes to the custom code and then began their regression testing. During the testing, we noticed that previous functionality their marketing team was using on a daily basis, was now outdated and no longer worked. To fix the issue our developers and QA team worked hand-in-hand to find where in Magento the functionality broke and what new system we could create that would be a good alternative for the client’s team. After establishing a new solution, we trained our client’s marketing team on how to use the new Magento fix to accomplish the same result.  

In the case of a recent a patch, we took one client from Magento 2.3.2 to 2.3.3 and focused on fixing security vulnerabilities they were experiencing. While working through the release, we came across a slew of performance issues that ended up taking more time than initially estimated. In the end, we ended up addressing both the security and performance updates, but having the proper budgeted time made for a happy client.  

In summary, Magento updates aren’t always easy because there are a lot of unknowns that go into them. Even with budgeted dollars and time, things can arise that can change the course of your plan but staying flexible and understanding that the solution you’re getting will positively impact your site in the long run means better customer experiences and the potential for greater ROI.

Want to learn more about our development team and processes? Let’s hop on a call to discuss your next project.