Migrating from Magento Go to Magento Community Edition

Magento Inc. have recently announced their hosted Magento eCommerce service, Magento Go, will be shutting down on 15th February 2015.

What was Magento Go?

Magento Go was a cloud based eCommerce solution geared towards supporting small business, offering a less customised version of Magento. It didn’t require any technical knowledge and contained many of the basic features the fully fledged Magento Community and Magento Enterprise included.

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As of July 2014, if you visit the Magento Go website you will be unable to sign up for the service, instead you’re greeted by a shutdown notice. Customers already hosted on the service have until 15th February to move their website to another platform or their own hosted Magento solution.

Moving to Magento Community Edition

For the majority of Magento Go customers the process of moving to either Magento Community or Magento Enterprise will be relatively straightforward. Due to Magento Go’s limited customisation, many of the complications that come with moving Magento are avoided.

For most customers wishing to stay with the Magento platform they will be looking at hosting their own version of Magento Community. As Magento Go was aimed at new start ups and small businesses, Magento Enterprise is unlikely to be a viable option as it can be very costly.

Magento Community Edition is a powerful eCommerce platform allowing you to completely customise the look and feel of your website. You’ll also have access to thousands of plugins through Magento Connect. It will require some technical knowledge to setup and we would highly recommend speaking to a web development company if you’re unsure.

Before moving from Magento Go to Magento Community you need to understand the differences between the platforms. While they both have similarities, there are also distinct differences.

Technical Differences

Support

Magento Go offers telephone, email and live support direct from the Magento team. The Magento Community Edition does not offer any official support. If something goes wrong while installing something you will not have any official support to guide you. However, there is a large community of volunteers who are happy to help. There is also a vast number of articles and tutorials covering the Magento ecosystem, a quick Google search can often find a solution to your problem.

Hosting

Magento Community Edition does not come with hosting. When moving your website from Magento Go you need to consider which hosting provider to use.

Many hosting providers offer an easy-to-install Magento setup wizard but unfortunately only a small handful of hosting companies offer optimised hosting that has been designed with Magento in mind. Magento is a processor intense application so without an optimised hosting platform you may find your website performs poorly.

We recommend speaking to a few different hosting providers to find the best solution taking into account the amount of traffic you receive. Remember to not choose a hosting provider on price alone. Your business is reliant on reliable hosting and a hosting company that provides tuned hosting and great support will go a long way.

Payment Gateway

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Magento Go is PCI Compliant so there is no worries when it comes to taking payment, Magento has handled everything for you. The Magento Community Platform is not PCI Compliant straight out of the box but with a little effort and a payment gateway such as SagePay or WorldPay it can be. We recommend speaking to your bank and a payment provider to find the best solution for you. We use SagePay for many of our Magento eCommerce websites because it is easy to setup and their fees are competitive.

Automatic Upgrades

Magento often releases security patches and feature upgrades. Magento Go installed these automatically so there was no need to worry. Magento Community Edition is a self hosted solution so automatic updates are not available, you will need to ensure you upgrade Magento yourself. We recommend that you contact a web development agency if you are not confident upgrading. Many agencies like ourselves provide an ongoing support agreement allowing you to benefit from speedy patching against possible security threats.

Feature Differences

Gift Cards

Gift cards are not a standard feature of the Community Edition. There are plenty of plugins available on Magento Connect that will fulfil your requirements but you may have to reissue any existing gift cards.

Store Credits

Magento Go offered this out of the box, like Gift cards this is not a standard feature of Magento Community Edition. Again, there will be some plugins available for you to install but you may need to consider how you will transfer any current store credits to your new Magento installation.

Themes

Magento Go offered basic customisation of your website through the administration interface. Magento Community Edition does not have any theme customisation through the admin but instead you get access to the theme files. This offers the ability to create a completely bespoke web design to create a website that is perfectly on-brand. This will require some knowledge of a number of coding languages such as XML, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

There are lots of themes available online, both free and premium. Uploading these files to the correct folder will give your site a completely new look and feel but unfortunately any further customisations will require you to modify the theme files.

Extensions

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Magento Go offered the ability to add extensions to provide additional functionality. All of these plugins were predetermined and therefore tested to ensure they worked as desired.

Magento Community Edition also allows you to install additional extensions. There are lots of free plugins available on Magento Connect and many more premium extensions available from lots of reputable companies. Unfortunately these extensions are not vetted by anyone on the official Magento team. This means that some plugins might not work as expected or play nice with other plugins. Also remember that the Magento Community Edition doesn’t come with any official support so you will not have anyone to fall back on if your website breaks.

We recommend installing extensions with good reviews, that have been built by reputable developers. We’ve had good experiences when dealing with developers including Amasty, aheadWorks and AITOC.

Magento Go helped small business and new start ups to create a Magento eCommerce website without the technical headaches that are sometimes associated. Magento Community Edition is far more flexible and can accomplish anything that Magento Go did, plus more. It can be very fast, scalable and secure when hosted on the correct infrastructure.

If you are unsure about moving your Magento Go website to another platform we recommend contacting a web development agency like us who will be able to help you in the smooth transition to Magento community.


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