It’s well known that Magento team announces new platform upgrades quite often. There is a minor upgrade every second month and a more critical upgrade with new features and more changes to the core almost every quarter on average. If we look back, since the release of Magento 2.0 in November 2015 there were around 30 releases for Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. Looks like a lot, doesn’t it? So the question arises: do these changes actually bring any value to the website?

Imagine you run a physical store. Do you need to improve it from time to time? Do you buy new furniture, change color of the walls, clean the windows? The answer is definitely “yes” if you do care about making your shop look nicer and more convenient to improve your customers’ experience. The same applies to any eCommerce website. It requires improvements and one of the best ways is to upgrade the platform when new releases are available.

Here are the most important reasons to consider a Magento upgrade:

Security

Almost every release has some security fixes in it. In most cases, a new version includes all security patches from previous updates.

Performance improvements

Very often, a new version includes different performance improvements achieved by the platform code optimization.

Functional fixes and code enhancements

Magento team works hard to optimize the platform code and if some of the features require improvements, they add fixes.

New features

Some versions contain new features that help extend website’s functionality as well as improve the overall customer and admin experience.

For example, if we look at Magento 2.2 version and compare it with Magento 2.2.2, we will see that the latter contains advanced reporting powered by Magento business intelligence, new shipping features, which provide integrated advanced multi-carrier shipping and fulfillment, Streamlined Instant Purchase checkout, integrated dotmailer marketing automation software and Magento functional testing framework. Impressive, isn’t it?

Summing it up, the most important is that the Magento platform upgrades help keep your website safe. Regular code optimizations that come with the upgrades have a positive impact on the website performance and functionaluty – you do not need to do performance optimizations so often since upgrades mostly cover it.

And last, but not least – new features. It’s always better to use native Magento functionality as much as possible and reduce the number of 3rd party modules or other customization on the website to avoid additional conflicts and performance issues that can be caused by extending the website’s functionality if it’s done wrong.

Since Magento upgrade is a quite complex task, we would strongly recommend to do it with the assistance of your development agency as they will also be able to fix all related issues on the website afterwards. If you have a clean Magento installation, without any customizations or 3rd party modules, you will most likely avoid that. Otherwise, issues will come up and you will need to fix them.

The most common issues, however, are related to the 3rd party modules or themes where versions are not compatible with the latest Magento version. In this case, you will need to upgrade them as well and it should fix most of the bugs.

Here is a simple plan to follow when upgrading Magento on your website:

  • Make sure that the Magento core files are not overwritten.
  • Check whether all of the extensions on the website are relevant, and then remove redundant ones.
  • Check whether all 3rd party extensions (including the theme) are compatible with the new Magento version.
  • Upgrade Magento on the development website (make sure that the dev website is the exact copy of the live website).
  • Test the website for any issues. Fix them.
  • Double check the result on the development environment.
  • Release the upgrade.
  • Test the live website once more.

Magento notifies about new releases by displaying that information in the admin panel or you can read about it on the official Magento website. The information about the release notes (what features are added or changed in every Magento version) can be found there as well.

We hope our suggestions will help you upgrade Magento easily and everything will go smoothly and without issues.